Balancing Ultra Street Fighter IV

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Balancing Ultra Street Fighter IV

What’s up guys? Peter Rosas here; some of you may better know me as “ComboFiend.” I’m the Fighting Game Community Specialist here at Capcom USA and have acted as the Associate Director of Battle Design on Ultra Street Fighter IV (USFIV). First and foremost, let me say it’s definitely an honor for me to be on the official PlayStation Blog to talk to you guys about how the character specific battle balance changes for USFIV were decided upon and what you can expect to see in USFIV.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

For those who may not be aware, the entire reason USFIV was made was due to ever-mounting requests from fans. They let us know that although a lot of characters had a possibility of winning in Super Street Fighter IV AE ver.2012, the gap between the highest and lowest ranked characters was a tad noticeable. Additionally, the characters that were regarded in the dreaded “bottom five” category had an almost zero chance of ever winning a high level tournament. Since it was the fans who requested the game to be balanced further, we figured “who better would know what Ryu or Ken needs to win than those who are grinding with them every day online?” And with that, we began the great feedback collection process of 2013, which lasted from late March to late April / early May.

After all was said and done (over 20,000 comments from our Western audiences and over 12,000 comments from Japan), we carefully went through to look for the requests that came up the most consistently and see whether applying that change made sense.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

Here are two quick examples:

  1. Chun-Li players asked for Chun-Li’s life to be boosted to 950, as her defensive attacks have been rather lacking since Super Street Fighter IV. After reviewing the defensive attacks in question and the case presented by Chun-Li players, we agreed that this change was warranted and put it in the game.
  2. Another change came from Makoto players, who requested that her Hayate punch have little to no recovery on block as they were tired of being punished. As Makoto is primarily an offensive character, allowing her yet another way to be almost unpunishable was a recipe for mayhem. After reviewing this change, we had to pass on it for the greater good of the game.

After going through the most common changes requested by fans that addressed immediate weaknesses, we started looking at some of the more unique requests that came in. Some of them came out of left field, so we had to see if they made sense, as they would change the way a character has been historically designed to play. In other words, if a character was primarily defensive, they would receive offensive tools and if they were primarily offensive, they would receive defensive tools. This way, a majority of the cast would feel well rounded and therefore overall fun.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

An example of this is Vega (Claw) receiving a cross up in the form of his jumping light kick. When this was first presented, everyone was confused on whether this was something he actually needed or not. However, since Vega’s offense is questionable, Vega players have to rely on defense to win and therefore can only play one style with him to be effective. After taking this into account, it was agreed that giving him this cross up would allow Vega players to now choose whether they want to play offensively or defensively, which would in the long run be that much more fun for them.

Once all of the initial changes went in, we took the characters to a slew of location tests around the world, where players let me and a few of my colleagues from Capcom know directly if the changes implemented were what they imagined or if they still felt off. It was at these location tests that players realized that changes that seemed pretty grand on paper turned out to be not as big as they thought they would be, while other changes that seemed small, actually had impact. Once we received feedback, we went back and made modifications and then went out once more. After doing this for about six months, we’ve finally ended up with characters that we think players will be very happy with.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

So here we are, less than two weeks away from USFIV’s June 3rd digital upgrade release. Players will finally have a chance to get their hands on the characters they have wanted for oh-so-long. Besides balancing the characters out, we made sure to put in as much extra content as we could, as a way of thanking the fans for their continued support. With new characters, stages, battle mechanics, and modes, fans are going to have their hands full for quite a while!

Pre-order your digital upgrade for $14.99 right away — those who do before June 3rd will get the 2014 Challengers Costume Pack, consisting of one exclusive costume for each of the five new characters. Remember, you’ll need to own either Super Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV AE in order to utilize the digital upgrade. You can find the direct PlayStation Store pre-order link here.

Fans who are interested in the full retail or download version can pick it up on August 5th for $39.99. What’s cool about the full version is that it comes with all previously released DLC costumes, making it a great deal. For more general information about the game, visit our official Street Fighter website at

As an added bonus to Street Fighter fans out there, Machinima has launched their live-action web series “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist”, so check it out over on their YouTube page. No cheesy Hollywood stuff here; this is the live-action treatment Street Fighter has deserved for a long time!

Anyway, I know what I’ll be playing come June 3rd. See all you World Warriors online!

Comments are closed.


4 Author Replies

  • Shoryuken?

  • I’m actually pretty excited for this. Got SSF4: AE due to plus and I’ve put a fair share of time for it. So i’ll probably end up picking USF4 when it comes out. Glad to see they’re super fine tuning it and adding all the previous costumes with the full version.

  • @ Peter Rosas ,Specialist (Capcom USA)

    Any news about Resident Evil for PS Vita? We really are waiting for this game on our Vita and I heard RE7 could be announced at E3 2014 for PS4,please add it to Vita as well.

    Most Vita’s owners are waiting to play it on their popular handheld console.

    Make it this year!!!

  • OOOOOOOOoooooooo God Damn!
    USF4 is looking great, Thank You Based Combofiend
    Its gonna be exciting to watch what players do with the new changes at EVO this year =)

  • Even though i will be away for a week when this game releases, i pre-ordered anyway for the extra costumes. Hope this rekindles how much fun i had with SF4 5 years ago when i first got it.

  • I know someone else will ask it, so I’ll just get it out of the way now.

    USF4 for PS4 When? ;)

  • I know u probably won’t comment but i hope Tekken X Street Fighter is still coming especially for PS4/Xbox One/(hopefully) Wii U

    • Surprise! I’m commenting on this! Sorry, but no news for Tekken x Street Fighter on my side. Got to look to Namco for that one.

  • wow….how many times are Capcom going to keep cashing in on this game? At least other publishers have the sense to change the setting or name when they milk a franchise (battlefield, Assasin’s Creed, CoD), but Capcom just keeps doing Street Fighter 4 over and over again. :/

  • probably when playstation now starts

  • how big is the download size on the upgrade?

  • Already pre-ordered Ultra. Imo, Capcom did a great job with the game so far! :)

    Combofiend, can we expect a patch to address some balance issues after the launch? Looking @ the final change log, some characters looks way too strong (Evil Ryu, Yun) and others were nerfed a lot (Seth, Fei Long).

    • We will be monitoring the game upon the release to see if there are any critical issues that need to be addressed. That said, we want to give people time to explore all the new things going in to Ultra before committing to any type of big changes. Sometimes those who look strong, end up being ok, whereas those who may not look that strong, may end up being a huge threat.

  • Pre-ordered as of last friday. Pre-loading starts this week I believe and people can start playing it as early as 6/2?

  • Holy crap! Looks like Howard Stern is in this game!

  • I have to laugh pretty hard. Everything after 3rd Strike is a joke; Both mechanically and aesthetically.
    At the moment, I can’t figure out which is funnier.

    A) The “new” character – – Out of all the bison clones.. They picked the one that requires the smallest effort possible to create?

    B) The Costumes , again.. Where’s the effort?

    C) There are actually people who bought this four times.

    D) “Delayed Standing”
    Are they honestly serious calling this a new feature? It’s already been in older street fighter games and cross overs.

  • @14: Too true. SF4 is the worst entry in the franchise and the hilarious thing is that it makes Street Fighter EX feel and look a lot more awesome in comparison…and that was considered mediocre for a time.

    @8: LOL @ Ryumoau whining and moaning yet again on the PS Blog. It must be difficult to live your life when such trivial things bother you so much.

  • If only they had the rights from Disney to balance umvc3 :(

  • PS4? Yes? No? Maybe so?

  • Class / Character balancing.

    Not enough to repurchase the same game, over and over.

    Loved it, but believe SFvT will be the last for me.

    @Maplestory kind of like whinning about his freeom of speech so much you have to post it.
    Wow, if that is not irony.

  • +1 Capcom showing some serious Vita love.

    My wallet (dreams and hopes),is waitng.

  • I have 4 sons, firstborn is named Ryu, and 3rd named Dante.

    Although not entirely based on the games, you can see my affinity for your characters.

  • Did I mention my name was Chris. :)

  • As for costumes, I think it’s wrong. I paid $ 59.99 at Super Street Fighter IV disc version, bought the Arcade DLC Pack for $ 14.99 and now bought the Ultra DLC Pack for $ 14.99 and I have not got all costumes like someone who bought the new game now for $ 39.99. And I’m loyal gamer? You should have given all the costumes for loyal players and not new players.

  • @ 22, why’d you pay $60 for SSFIV? The game retailed for $40 at launch, unless you bought some type of CE. If not, then you were ripped off


  • @22 you bought ssfiv when it was brand new so of course you paid top dollar.

  • Will it include a gallery mode like Street Fighter 4 and also personalize button configuration like something from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, that would be nice for non-competitive players.

    • Sorry. Unfortunately there will not be a gallery mode. You can configure your buttons as you see fit at the selection screen however.

  • I was going to agree with #23, it launched for 39.99, I remember because I gave my copy to my brother with his ps3 and bought another one for myself, so we could play together like we did with 2 on snes, and tekken 6 and sc4 like we did on playstation.

    I bought the preorder it’s not so bad a deal when you think about it even if they do put out a ps4 version and or support the Fightstick in game (the sticks are not supported by ps4 officially)

    I am not in a mood to buy a new fightstick so I am really happy I can get all that for 14.99.

    The only ambiguous part and it doesn’t effect me as I also bought arcade edition the same way 14.99 and was happy with it, and it has less content than Ultra if you look at it. If I have Super and not Arcade and I buy Ultra update do i get all the Arcade characters / content? I would assume it’s likely.

  • The costumes have all gone on sale at one point or another for bundles. I paid for femm fatales on Vanilla and I bought the rest as a bundle deal with the exception of the Arcade characters, which was on sale as well at one point.

    The only question on costumes is for the SF4 one there is a bundle for 6.49 for the 25, but i bought femm fatale, will there be a sale at some point on that so i have a chance to complete all the costumes? I would just pay the 6.49 but I already spent 3.99 or some such thing for the one pack years ago.

    Good deal for my brother or new players. 39.99 no tax sounds like a complete edition, but for the rest we did get to play the game so it’s not like we are getting worse value when you really think about it.

    Also for those that got SS4AE full with plus this is a really fair deal as an upgrade or if you like it, you could wait for the full one with all costumes and feel no guilt as well.

    Having purchased a TE Round 2 fightstick I practically am happy to spend 14.99 as it extends the value of my stick, which I only favor SF games for the most part. I prefer the pad for tekken and SC.

  • Still need to place a pre order for this, Still super excited for this, and cant wait to see Capcom All Stars on PS4

  • Call me back when y’all decide to add in R. Mika.

  • Really excited to pick up this one. Balance changes are always great.

  • Combofiend, you need to convince the CapCops to do a balance patch for Marvel! I miss seeing you compete :(

  • Peter Rosas it’s been too long. Where’s Violent Ken?

  • Well after reading into this a little more I’ll wait and buy the game on disc that way I get everything.

  • I need a response on this. Please respond CAPCOM or SONY

    If we got Super Street Fighter AE from PS+ and buy the $15 digital upgrade, do we get to keep the whole game if our subscription runs out?

    • Hello. You’ll be able to keep the upgrade, but you will not get to play it. You will need the Super Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV AE file to launch the title.

  • As long as Ken is top tier, I have to admit, i’ll likely spend another bit of cash on the same game. But to be fair, (with regards to the SF4 is the worse SF since 3 comments) 3s was really off-putting for a lot of people. Capcom wanted SF4 to go back to its roots of heavy zoning and arcade play with friends. The first and second iterations were heavily zoning. Remember Ryu, Sim, Sagat, Rog were always placing in the finals, all defensive zoning style characters. I do think that SF4 needed refinement and not added features, but what can I say, I love playing as Ken, and it’s still a fun game. If more people played VF where I live, it would easier to ignore the SF scene.

  • Pre-Ordered!!!! I wasn’t at first but then it was confirmed that I would get the costumes for the new characters, which completes the set (the rest acquired through the 25th anniversary set).

    I want to chime in and say that a vita and ps4 version is HIGHLY recommended. Street fighter x Tekken vita (and persona 4 golden) was one of the main reasons I purchased a vita, and I wouldn’t be nearly as good at the game if I didn’t have it in my pocket even though the ergonomics on the device sucks. I really really REALLY want to get better at street fighter 4 (3ds version is out of the question unless you update it to Ultra), but seeing as I’m always working, I won’t be able to put time in otherwise.

    Finally, I’ve been more of a Tekken guy during the fabled “Capcom Drought” and I’m not afraid to say that I STILL prefer street fighter x Tekken. So I suggest you guys do a similar reboot for that series and make it for PS4 and vita of course.

    Characters I wanna see include adon, c.viper, dan, makoto, rose, twins (I mean come on), kunimitsu, jun kazama, jinpachi, feng, zafina, Alex

  • Hi , can we get any info on when will Europe PSN players be able to pre order digitally , as i would currently really want to but can’t find it in our store yet .

  • Any word on if Edition Select is going to be online, in the near future?

  • Hey mr Fiend sir

    When is Capcom ever going to release the digital version of Street Fighter X Tekken. Honestly, compared to the immediacy of the vita version, booting up the slow PS3 XMB interface and disk swapping is kind of a chore. plus I like to have my fighting games digitally cause, aside from convenience, it diminishes lag and speeds up load times (in my mind at least).


  • You guys should consider putting ssfivae in the psn store on sale, i know a lot of people will purcashe it with the ugrade if youdid soincluding me. Or in entire sale across street fighter games. What do you think?

  • Hey, Combofiend

    Has there been any changes in the online net code? Also are you going to be doing any twitch streams to show off some gameplay? If anything it’ll be cool to see you get back on FGTV with Fchamp or over to PR Rog’s and show off some moves.

  • Since this is a Capcom post I thought I’d ask a few questions

    1. Can we get some more classics remastered such as Disney’s Aladdin and Darkwing Duck?
    2. Can we get a Mega Man collection? The Mega Man X series were my favorite and haven’t played them in ages. I would love to be able to play them again. Don’t forget to include Mega Man Soccer. That was such a great game.
    3. Can we get Okami HD for PlayStation Plus?
    4. Whatever happened to P.N. 03 or Viewtiful Joe? Can you bring them to the PlayStation Network?
    5. Are we ever going to see a Power Stone 3? That was such a great game.

  • Nah, I’m cool. Will wait a few years til you move onto Street Fighter 5 when I buy into SF IV. At least then I know I can get all the characters and balanced gameplay. I’ve played this “game” with you since SNES. lol

  • Hi Peter,
    do we get a pre-order option for the EU PSN-Store?

    greetings :)

  • For all those that are so critical of Capcom’s dlc practices here’s something to consider when you compare the cost of this Ultra update.

    from the current store update:

    Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma
    •Additional Character – Terumi ($7.99)
    •Stage Bgm Set 6 ($3.99)

    There are a whole slew of these types of dlcs with many other fighting games. Questionable at best and predatory at worst, many of the others have dlc like this, look at King of Fighters, Blazblue, even the Namco ones have a bunch of dlc nickle and diming. Ranging from background music and item / cosmetic packs to characters and the like. DOA5 has a ton as well.

    Whereas Capcom’s dlc is a proper expansion pack, and then costumes. Which are just cosmetic and do not impact gameplay in any way.

    The SFxT being the worst offender.

    Food for thought when you’re critisizing them.

  • Capcom, please release Ultra Street Fighter 4 on the PS4! This NEEDS to happen.

  • Also, Street ighter 4 on the Vita would be awesome :) PSP and PS Vita are fantastic machines to play fighting games on the go.

  • Totally Agree^^^

  • So, in addition to having the audacity to charge money for yet another balance patch which undoubtedly will still be Ryu-Moveset Fighter IV at its heart, and necessarily must be incomplete to leave room for another $14.99 balance patch down the road, Capcom literally just throws in everything from the failed SFxT and that’s good enough for another unnecessary reversion. Because, apparently, they know all-too-well how poor the majority of gamers’ pattern recognition skills are.

    Not cool, guys. Not a good way to rebuild Capcom’s reputation among the fighting game community after SSFIV AE did nothing to help the fact that Ryu-Moveset Character is and always has been the best choice for anyone, anywhere. As long as that tends to remain true, I can’t trust a third re-release of what is essentially the same game, with the same top-tiers that have existed almost since day one. Give non-Ryu-Movesets a chance, please, for everyone’s sake.

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