Street Fighter V: 16-character launch, all post-launch characters will be earnable for free

New details from the EVO 2015 panel.

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V will ship with a 16-character core roster. Out of those 16, four will be brand new to the series. All characters and content released post-launch will be earnable free by simply playing the game. You can also purchase new characters to use them immediately.

Given all new content will be made available for free, the initial release of Street Fighter V will be the only disc you need to own.

This news comes from Capcom’s Street Fighter V panel at EVO, where the company detailed its strategy for the game.

Get the full lot of information below.

■ Three Key Principles

Street Fighter V will be the first iteration in the franchise where it is possible for dedicated players to earn all gameplay-related content for free by playing the game.

  • The initial release is the only disc you will need to own.
  • All balance and system adjustments will be made available for free.
  • All post-launch gameplay-related content, including characters, will be earnable for free by playing the game.

■ 16 Character Core Roster

  • Street Fighter V will launch with a core roster of 16 playable characters.
  • It will feature four fighters brand new to the Street Fighter universe.
  • The plan is to continuously add new characters to the roster post-launch. Every post-launch character is earnable for free via gameplay.

■ In-Game Currency

  • Fight Money – Can only be obtained by playing the game. Can be used to earn new content.
  • Zenny – Can be purchased with real money, and used to access new content immediately.

The beta tests will be used to collect the data needed to balance the in-game economy before launch.

■ Looking Back

By releasing new characters regularly, it will ensure that there is always new content to look forward to in the short term, and allow the competitive environment to never become stale.

Players also have more freedom, as they only need to purchase or earn they content that appeals to them.

This will also create more long-term engagement, because the more you play, the more you are rewarded.

The player base is never shrunk by requiring a paid update. Players can come back at any time and play with the characters they already own.

■ Overall Concept

The overall concept is to make Street Fighter more intuitive for newcomers while paying homage to series fans.

Street Fighter is synonymous with memorable characters, and even more love is being put into them this time around.

  1. Create a battle system that puts the spotlight on characters.
  2. Focus on highlighting character personalities.
    1. Achieved through the Variable system.
  3. Lower the execution hurdle for new players.
    1. Easy to play, difficult to master. The V-Trigger system is something anyone can utilize and execute in a match. However, it might take a lot of practice to perfect using…
  4. Take what what we learned from Ultra Street Fighter IV and apply it to Street Fighter V to make a game that can live on as a competitive e-Sport (balanced characters).

■ System Concept

The system concept is to bring the characters to life.

The core concept from the beginning is to showcase the characters’ personalities.

Character personality takes priority of battle systems. We parted ways with standardized systems like Street Fighter IV‘s Focus Attack.

Another reason is that we wanted to avoid a game where certain characters could not take advantage of the battle system.

With , it was difficult for characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, and Zangief (grapplers and characters with slow dashes) to utilize the Focus Attack FADC system. But with the V-Trigger system in Street Fighter V, each character has its own V-Trigger (Ryu is Hadoken, Chun-Li is multiple hits, M. Bison is specials, Nash is mix-ups, etc.)

■ Design Pillars

Street Fighter IV was extremely complicated (1F links, option selects, FADC), tough for new players, whereas Street Fighter V has input buffer and is more straighforward.

This takes Street Fighter V Back to the heart of the series, which is playing the opponent and reading the situation.

Character Personality

We reviewed returning characters closely. If they were lacking, we gave them tools. If they were amusing, we made them even more amusing.

And the Variable System brings characters to life. For example, Ryu and Ken are very similar Shoto-style fighters, so it was difficult to make them seem different. Instead of changing their classic specials moves, we let their personalities shine through with their V-Skill and V-Triggers.

■ Character Approach

Rethink Returning Characters

Birdie, Nash, and M. Bison are all pretty different from before. We took a good look at their abilities in the old games, and redesigned them to make them feel fresh.

  • Birdie was considered a grappler due to command throws, however since his Bull Head special was charge-based, he had to play defensively. He’s been redesigned to be a mid/long-range character who’s also a bruiser in close.
  • M. Bison‘s concept is “The Strongest of All Time.” We wanted to create a big difference between his normal and psycho modes to really play up the power of Psycho power.

■ Lessons Learned

  • Character Balance – Large character diversity in each tournament. And don’t greatly nerf characters, but buff the weaker ones instead.
  • Community Feedback – Having open and direct communication is important. We’ll continue to monitor the community throughout the game’s life cycle.
  • All About the Players – Characters alone don’t make a game interesting. It’s how the players play the game that makes it fun.

■ Character Design

Use Ryu as the Standard

Ryu has all the tools and he is the poster child that all characters are compared against.

Startup, throw range, movement speed, jump and dash values are all standard. When creating other characters, their frame data is measured against Ryu in terms of their specials, V-SKills, and V-Triggers.


  • Ryu – The standard. The character which anyone can pick up and play. Using him teaches the fundamentals of Street Fighter. Depth comes from his V-Skill and V-Triggers, which are hard to master.
  • Chun-Li – Easy-to-moderately hard to use. She has a kick for every situation. She excels at mid-range and countering for her opponents attacks. The damage boost she gains from her V-Trigger makes up for her damage shortcomings.
  • M. Bison – For moderately skilled players. Hhe has heavy and powerful special moves that inflict major damage. He’s even stronger in V-Trigger mode. Utilizing his many special moves will allow him to put pressure on the opponent in new ways.
  • Birdie – Great buttons which are good for beginners. Deep movement for better players. He’s been overhauled with completely new moves and abilities that allow him to deal with characters at all ranges. Birdie is no longer just a grappler character, but also one with great pokes.
  • Nash – Difficult to use. Redesigned completely to be extremely offensive. The depth of his strategy can be displayed with his V-Trigger. His abundance of target combos guarantees damage in any situation.
  • Cammy – Easy-to-moderately difficult to use. She’s aggressive, yet footsie-oriented. She overwhelms opponents with her quick attacks and movement. She can land big damage in her V-Trigger mode, but be sure not to miss!
  • Ken – Anyone can pick up and play, yet rather hard to master. He’s been completely re-tooled and plays different from Ryu. Utilize his V-Skill and V-Trigger to rush down the opponent. Even when blocked, Ken can apply pressure, so rush to your hearts content.

Some character designs have changed greatly while others have not. There is a reason for every change in the story and you’ll have to wait to find out more.

In related news, it was announced that Peter Rosas, a community manager at Capcom better known to the fighting game community as ComboFiend, has been promoted to associate producer on Street Fighter V.

Street Fighter V is due out for PlayStation 4 and PC in spring 2016. A PlayStation 4 beta will begin on July 23.

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