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

  • Considering that I have owned Street Fighter X Tekken since it came out and they’re just ripping characters and backgrounds from that game for the Ultra SFIV upgrade, I do feel a bit burned by Capcom, but not as much as I did with the whole horrible and ethically irresponsible on disc DLC fiasco that occured with SFXT. I guess if you never haved owned SFXT (and judging by the poor sales worldwide, a lot didn’t) the Ultra SFIV expansion is a good deal but I feel kind of burned by this whole latest Capcom endeavor. They also seem like now they can’t count to 5 when throughout most of the 90’s they couldn’t count to 3.

  • To Rocketpop:

    SFxT didn’t “fail”, and USFIV was created due to fan demand (as was AE 2012, actually). Capcom would have been perfectly fine to have left the game at AE, but because the game continues to be popular (see tournament attendance rates), they’ve decided to continue supporting it. They’re not throwing out updates in a vacuum. For the people still playing SFIV, USFIV is a welcome addition. Get over yourself.

    Also LOL at “Ryu-Moveset character” and “the same top-tiers [sic] that have existed almost since day one”. The games may change, but the same scrubby attitudes, thunderous ignorance and excuses never change.

    Unless you’re facing top tier players on a regular basis, getting bodied by shotos is *your* problem, not the fault of the game. Either man up and get more skillful, or stop complaining.

    re: update

    Combofiend, why does no one at Capcom not only not play BIson, but clearly have *never* played him in any game, EVER? Why does auto-correct Skull Diver after connected (block or hit) Head Press still not exist after FIVE iterations of the game? It’s hardly a stupid change, and I wouldn’t even call it a buff, but a FIX for a move that has been broken since SFIV came out.

  • I want this for PS4!!!

  • TheHerbinator75

    Actually SFXT and Ultimate Marvel vs.Capcom 3 were big disappointments for Capcom sales wise. SFXT due to the broken net code and on disc DLC characters as well has UMVC3 due to they released the finished version of the game after releasing essentially a beta version of the game 9 months prior as a finished game. I agree that it’s great that Capcom is still supporting SFIV but they stop trying to fool people that with the exception of the pallatte swap Cammy that these are 4 new characters and new stages when they’re just ripping them out of SFXT. I own SFXT and feel that I am just paying again for content that I already owned in SFXT.Capcom and honesty/integrity have never been synonomous in my eyes.

  • Will there be a PS4 release? Is there any chance of a Darkstalkers game coming? I think Capcom underestimates the Darkstalker fan base.

  • Any news on this coming to PS4? Really is a huge asking for it.

  • Sigh, saw this and heart skipped a beat thinking this might be coming to PlayStation 4 (or even PS Vita!). No love.

    Please put out some Street Fighter for PS4! =)

    I’d also love to see Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (whew!) for Vita or PS4 too! Please? :)

  • Failed to load downloadable content. Downloadable content may not be available in the game as a result.

    WTF it clearly says that Ultra will be playable 9pdt on june 2nd. It is 12.44am eastern on the 3rd now and it refused to a) let me play my arcade dlc and b) does not let me play the new content as advertised. I stayed up to play this and now I have to consider redownloading everything and that might not even work.

    Thanks a lot.

    there is just a 7gb super street fighter data file, with the preloads mashed over the arcade dlc and the install. Really displeased.

    I’m going to have to think long and hard about giving you money in advance in the future. This is how your repay my trust.

  • For the record the game was working fine until the preload data was installed. What am I supposed to do now to play the Ultra update that you advertised I would be able to do Capcom?

    This is false advertising to say I can play when I cannot. To tell people the benefit of pre order is costumes and pre load and play at 9ptd on the 2nd.

    I went in made sure I had everything installed and updated, and was careful to check the Ultra stuff to preload, I checked earlier today to make sure it had installed. It had. I got this failed to load screen and figured it was time locked to the time you said. So did a bit of practiceing in anticipation of the game going live…

    thanks for taking my money on false pretenses and wasting my time. If it isn’t working tomorrow I’m calling Sony and demanding a refund.

  • Hello ComboFiend

    I bought the Ultra Street Fighter IV Upgrade DLC (14.99), but I didn’t get the new costumes and XMB theme, I guess the pre-order time ended, but I must have barely missed it cause I bought it before midnight PST, maybe you can check the time. I saw the pre-order was still up a couple hours before, but I didn’t have enough money on my PSN wallet, so I bought a $20 psn card first, but that took me a while…

    I don’t know much how pre-order works, I honestly thought it could be done until the PS store updated, the only times I preordered was for SSF4AE and for SF3OE. The whole reason I bought the USF4 dlc now (besides playing it as soon as possible) was to get the costumes and theme… Can I still get them please?

    I bought the USF4 dlc way before it was playable, also the store description said it would be playable at 9pm so I thought i’d have no problem, it even is still being sold with the pre-order bonus at Gamestop, but I preferred buying it from the PSN, I bought all the other SSF4 costumes there. I’m a huge SF fan, I was really hype for USF4, but i’m really bummed out over this now :(… Could you PLEASE help me? It would mean a lot to me, thank you for reading.

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