Major system changes coming to Street Fighter V

At the PlayStation Experience, Capcom showed off a brand new build of Street Fighter V with some massive changes to the core gameplay system. These changes are set to be implemented at the start of Season 2, along with the release of Akuma. They will fundamentally change the pace of the game, especially when it comes to wake-up moves and reversals. Let’s take a look at what we can expect.

Reduced Input Delay

When Street Fighter V first came out, people largely criticized it for its immense frame delay during offline play. At one point, this was mentioned as an attempt to make offline and online play feel similar. In Season 2, the input delay will be cut by about half, to around 4 frames. This is fairly standard for fighting games, especially slower fighting games like Street Fighter. In fact, it was exactly the delay that Ultra Street Fighter IV had.

While this doesn’t have incredibly profound effects on the mechanics themselves, it does make everything a little bit easier to react to. This makes mix-ups, resets, and throws all slightly weaker, as people will have to predict their opponents less and react to more situations on sight alone.

White Life Regeneration Has Been Slowed Down

White life is the life that is left behind when you take chip damage or otherwise absorb/parry a move without going into hit-stun. Right now it regenerates at a decent rate. If a quarter of your life is white life you can regain it all in less than 10 seconds, provided that no one is attacking you.

In Season 2, white life regeneration has been slowed down significantly. In fact, the same quarter of white life seems to take around 20 in-game seconds to regenerate.

White life doesn’t regenerate when you are blocking and it disappears if you get cleanly hit. In standard Street Fighter V, it was common practice to turtle up and play defensively in order to regenerate your white life. This new change will switch things around so that you have to be more offensive to regenerate your lost life. It regenerates too slowly on block to offset the extra life you are losing in chip damage, so you’ll have to assault your opponent and keep them from throwing even a single attack in order to ramp your regeneration up. 

No More Wake-Up Dragon Punches

The shoryuken or dragon punch is widely known as the go-to defensive tool in Street Fighter. These moves are invincible on start-up, allowing them to beat literally any attack that is thrown their way – but not for long.

All meterless full body invincible moves are losing their ground invincibility on their first three frames. What this means is that a sufficiently quick attack, or a “meaty” attack which is overlapping the opponent while they get up off the ground, will beat out dragon punches and dragon punch-type moves. EX versions of the move will retain their invincibility. Essentially, this means that you cannot get out of pressure for free anymore, you have to spend meter.

Many fans have expressed worry that this change will prevent dragon punches from being used as anti-air attacks. However, Capcom has made it clear that only ground invincibility will be affected. Dragon punches will still be invincible to all attacks coming from the air, allowing it to continue to operate as an anti-air in all situations.

If you are having a hard time imagining how this will operate, think of Guile’s flash kick. These are the exact mechanics that the flash kick has been operating with since Guile was introduced to the roster. This is also how call-in invincible assists work in Skullgirls.

Capcom has decided to make this change in order to diversify character move-lists. Classic dragon punches are a Swiss army knife of a move. They are reversals, anti-airs, defensive moves, and some (like Akuma’s) even set up combo opportunities. By limiting invulnerability, characters with powerful dragon punches will have to look to other moves in their move-list when getting up off the ground.

This change will also shift the game toward offensive, since it’s harder to get out of pressure when knocked down. It will also make meter more precious, as meterless characters will have their options vastly reduced. It will also prevent players from mashing out dragon punches on defense. Doing so will just get them hit, putting them into a painful reset situation.

No More Anti-Air Lights

One of the biggest complaints about high level Street Fighter V play was the relative lack of safety in the air. The air has never been particularly safe in Street Fighter. Characters cannot block in the air, so their only method of defending themselves is sticking out a powerful air move with a large hit-box.

The basic Street Fighter formula gives each player a few anti-air normals, some air-to-air normals, and maybe an anti-air special. But in Street Fighter V, many characters had anti-air light moves (usually a jab). This is a design usually seen in fast anime style fighters, and it makes sense there. Characters can air dash and attack in the air very low to the ground, forcing characters to have a quick move they can use in response.

But Street Fighter is much slower and doesn’t have any air dashes. As a result, the air became a no-man’s zone unless the opponent was knocked down, or you were using a well-known mix-up or vortex. They are fast, safe, and easy to do. There’s no particular reason to use any other anti-air when light attacks work so well.

This new change rolls things back to the standard Street Fighter design, which will be welcome for players and spectators alike. It’s not particularly fun to watch a professional take a gamble with an aerial approach, only to see it get stuffed by his opponent mashing a light attack as quickly as possible. It will also help diversify character move-sets, much like the aforementioned dragon punch change.

Throw Distance Has Been Increased

Both normal and command throws have been nerfed across the board. Opponents are now flung much farther after being hit by a throw. As a result, it’s harder for characters to continue pressuring the opponent when they wake up. This will make most throws result in a neutral situation, unless they land the opponent in the corner.

On one hand, this makes a certain amount of sense. Aggressive striking characters need the corner to successfully pressure their opponent over long periods of time, so grapplers should need the corner as well. On the other hand, a grappler’s biggest weakness is his inability to put on pressure. Making it even harder for them to apply pressure seems like a good formula for invalidating them as low-tier garbage.

Somehow this feels specifically like a response to R. Mika’s rise through the tiers to become a mainstay in Street Fighter V competitions. Even the Capcom Cup champion, NuckleDu, ran Mika as his main character. While this might reduce Mika’s power level, it will also negatively affect slower characters like Zangief. Capcom will have to make quite a few adjustments to his character in order to keep him viable after the Season 2 patch, as he will also be negatively affected by the white life regeneration change and the change to anti-air lights.

What do you think about the new Street Fighter V changes? How do you think they will affect the game? Let us know in the comments.