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!

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