Great news, Street Fighters! Capcom announced recently in a new press release that the PS4 exclusive Street Fighter V will have a “cinematic story mode” as a free update this summer. Not only that, but each character’s individual stories—i.e. the stories for each one in the arcade mode, most likely—will serve as prologues to this larger tale.
“Players will have the opportunity to play through individual character stories that provide important background information on each of the characters, their roles in the game, and their relationships with other fighters. The character stories have a recognizable throwback art style created by Bengus, a famous Japanese illustrator who has worked on a variety of past Street Fighter projects,” Capcom said.
Then in June 2016, all SFV players will receive the cinematic story mode for free. Capcom says it takes place between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III (the former is actually a prequel to the latter, which, admittedly, is a bit confusing), and they promise it will bridge the gap between the two games. “This is the first time in franchise history that fans will be able to play through this type of cinematic-story experience in a Street Fighter game.”
Here’s a teaser trailer for the upcoming mode:
Capcom went on saying players will be able to earn in-game money called “Zenny” to purchase DLC characters (no word yet on if it can be used to buy other DLC items like costumes), by playing through individual character stories and other single-player modes.
Finally, Capcom announced that the final SFV beta will run January 30-31.
Personally, this has me more excited than ever to play the game. Heck, it’s the big reason why I’m using a portion of my tax refund to buy a PS4. While I’m sad that certain characters like Sagat don’t appear to be returning for this game (at least as playable characters), hearing about this in-depth story mode makes me think this could be the best Street Fighter game yet, especially for longtime fans like myself.
In previous games, the Street Fighter mythos was mostly developed by piecemeal with each character’s ending (and sometimes prologue) in the arcade mode. These formed semi-coherent though simple plotlines. Instruction manuals for most of these classic games also included some biographical information on each character, which fed into the narrative. However, as time went on, things did start to get a bit confusing—like who the heck is Gill? Street Fighter V promises to deliver on what appears to be an epic story, which could also be dangerous. As I mentioned, most of the cast of Street Fighter II—and Street Fighter IV, for that matter—are absent in Street Fighter III. Capcom could be crazy and kill off some characters. I don’t know if they would, and it would have to be done carefully to avoid an abundant backlash from fans.
It’s refreshing to see Capcom continuing the trend of story-driven fighting games. For years the genre lagged behind most others, which have steadily increased the amount of narrative in their games to keep players interested. Just as games like the new Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat X have borrowed gameplay elements from Street Fighter, Capcom is following suit on adding more story. Interestingly, while most think this started with NeatherRealm’s 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat, they actually did it first in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Before that, cult classic games like Guilty Gear X2 and, to a lesser extent, the King of Fighters series featured in-depth story modes. The difference is these older games utilize still artwork and Japanese dialogue with subtitles to detail their plotlines. It doesn’t help that these stories are convoluted and, honestly, insane. Street Fighter may be comic book-y, what with its supervillains bent on taking over the world…
…among other things in its minimal storylines, but it still makes more sense than most of what goes on in those other games’ complicated narratives.
At the moment, plot details remain scarce. I’d daresay, “Mum’s the word,” with Capcom as to what might be going on in SFV’s cinematic story. There’s no word yet on if players will cycle through playable characters like in Injustice: Gods Among Us or sit back and watch like in Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-. If Capcom is smart, it’ll follow NeatherRealm’s example with the former. It looks like M. Bison may once again be the final boss, which hasn’t happened since the Street Fighter Alpha games. Considering that other than Necalli no other characters seemed like they fill that role, it’s a welcome throwback to the series’ roots.
For now, players can be excited that Street Fighter V is only a few weeks away. It will be released February 16. (I’m getting the special edition).
Get those fight pads and arcade sticks ready!