The long-awaited and badly needed March update for Street Fighter 5 will launch next week along with Alex, the game's first post-release character, developer Capcom announced today. But while the second patch will add an in-game shop to Street Fighter 5, players won't be able to spend real money in it just yet.
The first part of the March update launches Monday, March 28. It includes the Challenge Mode, an extensive series of tutorials for fighters of all skill levels. In addition, the patch features combo trials for all 16 characters, as well as various bug fixes and gameplay balance tweaks. The update will also add eight-person lobbies and a rematch option to the game's online multiplayer component.
Alex and the in-game shop will be released Wednesday, March 30, in a separate patch. For the time being, the shop will only allow players to purchase content with Fight Money, the in-game currency that is earned by playing Street Fighter 5. Extra characters will cost 100,000 Fight Money each, and story mode costumes will cost 40,000 Fight Money each.
Capcom previously announced that Street Fighter 5 will also feature a currency called Zenny that players can buy with real money. However, that functionality needs more work.
"We have taken a long hard look at this part of the store, and after much review, have decided it is not ready to launch just yet," said Capcom. "As Zenny is purchased with real money, we wanted to be extra careful and make sure it's fully tested and optimized before launching it."
Capcom added that it doesn't currently have a time frame on when Zenny will be available for purchase, although the company said, "We will release it as soon as it's ready."
The problem here is that players won't be able to buy Alex if they don't have enough Fight Money saved up or don't own Street Fighter 5's season pass. Capcom is aware of the issue, and in an effort to make up for it, the company is releasing Alex for free to all players, for now. The character will be available free until the debut of the Zenny shop, at which time players will need to purchase him with Fight Money or Zenny if they don't own the season pass. (This also applies to any other DLC characters that may be released before the Zenny shop.)
"Any DLC character related content (such as costumes) that is purchased with Fight Money during the trial period will remain in your account once the trial period ends, but you'll need to purchase Alex to use that content," said Capcom. "The same goes for colors and character progress, etc. that are earned during the trial period; everything will be saved, you'll just need to purchase the character to resume your progress once the trial period ends."
Season pass owners, as Capcom's most passionate customers, will have exclusive access to DLC characters' premium costumes until the launch of the Zenny shop. Capcom will also release a new stage "in the near future" that will be available only to season pass owners. And as a make-good for all Street Fighter 5 players — in light of the issues with the game's initial beta phases, and its bare-bones launch state — Capcom will release the story mode costumes for Ryu and Chun-Li on March 30 for free.
For more on Street Fighter 5's March updates, check out the video above.
Update: Capcom released a trailer for Alex on March 30. You can watch it below.