At a recent press event, Capcom pulled back the curtain to explain Street Fighter 5’s mechanics and show what makes the game different this time around.
To start, each player gets two gauges at the bottom of the screen. The EX gauge fills up as you hit opponents, and when full allows you to perform super moves — or when partially full allows you to perform special moves. The V gauge fills up as your opponent hits you, and when full allows you to perform V-Trigger actions — or when partially full allows you to perform V-Reversal counterattacks.
Super moves, or Critical Arts as the game refers to them, work as they always have, with a lot of double fireball motions for big attacks. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been performing them for 20 years.
The game mixes things up with the V-Trigger actions. These put your character in a certain state for a period of time, and are different for every character. Depending on the fighter, that might mean you get faster, stronger, earn extra abilities, etc. The idea is to play into each character’s personality and to add variety, says Capcom Director of Marketing Matt Dahlgren.
Another new action, the V-Skill, works in a similar way. Like the V-Trigger, every character has a unique one of these and they are designed to fit their personality. Unlike the V-Trigger, these don’t use up the V gauge and you can perform them whenever you choose. As an example, Ryu’s V-Skill is a parry that plays out similarly to how parries worked in Street Fighter 3. But in Street Fighter 5, he’s the only character who can parry because the V-Skill is unique to him.
In an effort to make the game accessible, Capcom has set up the controls to make V-Skills and V-Triggers very easy to perform. All characters use the same commands — pressing medium punch and kick together for V-Skills, and pressing hard punch and kick together for V-Triggers. (Though some characters have variations that involve pressing two buttons and a direction.) Similarly, you can throw an enemy, or try to escape a throw, but pressing light punch and kick together.
Based on what Capcom has shown of the game to date, some series fans have expressed concern that the game’s mechanics are too simple for hardcore players. "The whole system is pretty simple to comprehend, however the depth is with each character," says Associate Producer Peter Rosas.
"The idea here is to make the game accessible," Rosas says. "We want everybody to be able to access cool unique skills and attacks per character. ... Let’s say a player might have issues with projectiles or something like that. We wanted them to have a way around it in case their dexterity wasn’t very high."
For Capcom, the inputs are part of a strategy to make the game popular amongst a large group of players. Dahlgren points to a long term strategy for the game, noting that Capcom has been hiring more fighting game staff and investing more in the genre.
Dahlgren says that Street Fighter 4 — through all its incarnations — has sold more than eight million copies to date, and that Capcom "has every intention for Street Fighter 5 to be the dominant fighting game of this generation of consoles."