Street Fighter 5 is easily the most anticipated fighting game currently announced. The only game that even comes close is Pokken Tournament or perhaps Tekken 7 (although it’s already out in arcades). The next Street Fighter 5 Beta period begins on October 22, but will not feature any of the characters available in the first leg of the Beta. While all of the characters from both Beta periods will be available when the game releases in early 2016, what else can fighting game fans expect from the highly anticipated sequel? Capcom and Sony are keeping some details under wraps, but we havesome insight into the game’s release.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. Street Fighter 5 launches early next year for the PlayStation 4 and PC. You can be sure the game will hit before the end of March 2016, but it’s likely Capcom and Sony want it out as soon as possible to avoid the rush of games that generally occurs in March. We already know Dark Souls 3 is targeting a March release as well, and while they’re in two different genres, they’re also both heavily sought after PS4 titles. The official word is SF5 will hit retail shelves before the end of March, but we won’t be overly surprised if a February release is announced. It all depends on how quickly Dimps, Capcom and Sony can get the game ready to go.
The main purpose for the Beta periods is so Capcom can properly test the network code included in Street Fighter 5. It’s no secret the company had some issues with the Beta, but things seem to have smoothed out considerably (we’ll know for sure next week). Either way, expect the game to have smooth online functionality by the time it releases. You’ll be able to hop online on day one and get smooth games in without the headaches of the first Beta test period.
In the upcoming Beta test, PC players will finally get a chance to get in on the action. While they will only have one full day to play, no one will have to worry about a lack of people playing on the PC. Fighting games haven’t always sold well on the PC, but in recent years this trend is starting to change. In the case of Street Fighter 5, there will be cross platform play between PS4 and PC players. That means there will always be someone to play so long as you have the game. It won’t matter which platform you choose to play on.
The biggest piece of information in regards to Street Fighter 5 is the roster of characters. We know that the game will release with a roster of 16 characters. That’s pretty close to the roster size of Street Fighter 4 when it first hit Japanese arcades back in 2008. Does that mean players should expect over 40 characters by the time everything is said and done? The answer is both yes and no.
Capcom is following the Killer Instinct path of offering one version of Street Fighter 5 that will be updated with characters and balance changes on a relatively frequent basis. We don’t yet know if there will be seasons similar to Killer Instinct (although Capcom has mentioned individual character DLC), but we do know that all gameplay-related DLC can be purchased with in-game fight money. Balance adjustments will be free to all, while characters can be purchased with real money or in-game currency. We don’t yet know how much characters will run when purchased with in-game money, or how much effort players will have to put in to earn enough in-game currency, but rest assured you will not have to spend real money for anything gameplay-related after your initial purchase.
There will also be costumes and similar cosmetic features, just like in Street Fighter 4. These items must be purchased via real money. It’s possible Capcom will offer a few free bundles or a promotion that gives you costumes with other purchases, but expect to pay for most of the additional DLC that isn’t directly related to gameplay.
The only question left is how often these updates and DLC will come. The best answer? They’ll come quite often. Capcom wants people coming back and playing frequently. The company mentioned offering individual characters, which would imply we’ll see them at more frequent intervals (instead of waiting until a group of characters are done, then releasing them all at once). We don’t know exactly how often we’ll see new characters, but once a month is the rumor.
We’ll have more on Street Fighter 5 following the upcoming Beta period. For the time being, be sure to check out how Street Fighter 5 stacks up to Street Fighter 4, and what to expect from the netcode in SF5.