Capcom’s revealed its plans for the latest incarnation of its classic fighting game Street Fighter at E3 today, including one major change that could upend how the series is played.
The company’s president, Haruhiro Tsujimoto, emphasized a push to broaden the player base in Street Fighter 5 to make the game more profitable. And that could mean monetizing some elements of the game—essentially making a pay-to-win title.
The two ideas may be closely intertwined. Tsujimoto indicated a desire to make the game more accessible to beginning players by allowing them to attain advantages in play over more capable and experienced opponents. These advantages would be paid for, allowing a new player to improve their chances at winning by spending more money than their opposition.
Tsujimoto did not indicate what might stop an experienced player for paying for the same advantage, something that would bring further profits to Capcom while nullifying the idea of leveling the playing field.
Capcom has already attempted to implement a pay-to-win feature with their release of Street Fighter x Tekken. Players were able to buy gems which could be used to grant characters special abilities during fights. The feature was poorly received and may have contributed to Street Fighter x Tekken’s inability to gain traction in the competitive scene.
Another feature that could help new players is a spectating mode that would allow them to watch top-ranked players do battle, Tsujimoto suggested.
Other fighting games such as BlazBlue and Skullgirls have attempted to assist new players with thorough tutorial modes, something not yet seen in the Street Fighter series. BlazBlue has also offered a simplified control method allowing players to execute special moves without needing to learn the motions normally required to use them.
Notably, neither of these methods cost any extra money once you’d already bought the game.
Many fans of the Street Fighter series, and of Capcom’s fighting games in general, have long pushed for better and more complete learning options for new players while also decrying any attempt at introducing potential pay-to-win features to a genre that is based entirely on competition between players. Tsujimoto’s comments are unlikely to sit well with those fans.
Tsujimoto did indicate the next entry in the series would focus predominantly on online play.
The title is currently slated for a release on both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles, though no specific dates were given. Tsujimoto implied that the game’s release was still multiple years away.