By YukoAsho 23 Comments
Seriously, this is the fourth release of Street Fighter IV.
Now I'm not against special editions that pack everything together in a single version. Hell, I prefer to get expanded versions of games that way (as opposed to DLC that likely won't be there when XBL and PSN leave this generation behind). I have GOTY/Complete editions of Mortal Kombat, Oblivion, Skyrim, Saints Row the Third, and several other games that I can't remember at the moment, and I'll likely get the complete edition of Injustice when it comes out.
Hell, it also serves as a great reason to be against the stupid DRM MS wanted to have on the Xbone. Who needs multiple versions of any one game instead of easily being able to pawn off obsolete editions, right?
However, what Capcom is doing isn't releasing a special edition after a game is successful. This is Capcom doing what they did with Street Fighter II: making minor tweaks and adding a couple characters in an attempt to milk a single game for all it's worth in a desperate attempt to milk a dedicated fanbase.
This is, need I remind you all, a huge part of what killed the 90s fighting game craze. Mind you, the game first came out in 2009, and has since had two special editions, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Now I'll give them credit for offering this at a reduced price like they did with Arcade Edition and for offering a DLC pack for those so inclined. However, seeing how little effort is apparently going into this (The four announced characters are copy-pasted from Street Fighter x Tekken), this is less a special edition and more an excuse not to get working on a true successor.
Now the question that I'm sure is on everyone's mind is "why does Capcom get away with this nonsense?" The answer, in reality, is quite simple: the FGC worships Capcom.
Pretty much anything that wasn't Street Fighter was abandoned the instant Street Fighter IV came out, and now it's the primary game in most fighting game tournaments. The only game that comes close to the tournament popularity is Marvel VS Capcom 3, a noisy button masher with an equally noisy, obnoxious fanbase. This while other fighting games are doing interesting things with the genre. There's pretty much a block of fighting game fans who look down on any game that doesn't have Ryu and Ken in it. Hell, if it wasn't for Capcom not granting MLG rights, Namco and Netherrealm would have been forgotten.
With this in mind, why wouldn't Capcom exploit this blindly loyal fanbase? They've successfully cultivated a large group of people willing to buy the same game on a near-yearly basis with nothing but roster updates. Street Fighter IV is now confirmed to be a game that can be released on an almost-yearly basis. It's Madden. No, it's better than Madden. EA has to pay the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars for NFL exclusivity, something Capcom doesn't have to worry about when it rubber-stamps Street Fighter rehashes. So they don't have to pay in licensing fees, and they don't have to put nearly the amount of effort and money in that Ubisoft or Activision have to for their annualized franchises.
It's a formula for making wads of cash with very little investment that any company with a brain would die for. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the only work going on at Capcom right now is porting the game over to next-gen for yet another re-release with a couple more characters and balance tweaks. This while games that are really pushing the boundaries of what can be done in the genre are left to a fraction of the fanbase.
This isn't just a re-release. Capcom's gone past that. This is, once and for all, a confirmation that the fighting game genre, like any sports game, only has room for one mainstream game.
So, how about you guys? You gonna pick this up? I'm not sure I am, but what I am sure is that I won't be buying the first release of Street Fighter V... Assuming there is a first release of Street Fighter V, as opposed to endless yearly Street Fighter IV editions. There's just no reason to be first in the door with Street Fighter anymore.