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Crash Course: ‘Street Fighter V’

Chances are you’ve played Street Fighter II at some point. A ubiquitous fixture in pizza places, laundromats, and arcades all over the world, SFII is right up there with Pac-Man and Mario as one of the all-time video gaming greats. It’s been over two decades since SFII though, and the games have come a long way. Flashier graphics, more characters, and most importantly, online play have revolutionized the genre and updated it for a new generation. So what’s the deal with Street Fighter VWith the release of the new game this month, we wanted to bring you up to speed on the franchise. Whether you’re a veteran World Warrior needing a refresher or new to the series, this Crash Course will help get you into fighting shape.

What Is Street Fighter V?

Street Fighter 2
Ryu and Ken in the original arcade version of Street Fighter II from 1991.

A descendant of the genre-defining global smash Street Fighter II, Street Fighter V is the latest entry in Capcom’s legendary fighting game franchise and the direct follow up to the massively successful Street Fighter IV. SFV aims to uphold the previous game’s global popularity with a wild cast of characters and competitive online gameplay, while still being welcoming to new players. Unlike previous iterations, Capcom has stated that SFV will avoid the multiple “Super Turbo Championship Edition” re-releases of the past, leaning instead on individual DLC sales of new characters and costumes.

What’s It About?

Fighting mostly. Street Fighter V’s story takes place between the events of Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III in the timeline, detailing a previously unknown period of the series’ lore. The game will launch with illustrated stories for each character, and will receive a Cinematic Story expansion in June that adds in-game cutscenes. But yeah, it’s still mostly about beating up your friends and strangers online.

Who’s It For?

People who enjoy a little competition and don’t mind putting some work in. While SFV will have single player content, Street Fighter games have traditionally shone their brightest in player versus player situations. And unless you’re comfortable getting your butt kicked forever, you’ll need to practice and figure out how to overcome your competition. Fortunately, SFV is like a good book; it’s designed to be dug into, explored, and theorized over. The old “simple to play, difficult to master” axiom comes to mind.

What’s the Community Like?

Street Fighter games are a staple of EVO events. Image courtesy of David Zhou and Polygon

The Fighting Game Community, or FGC, is still mostly a grassroots community. Local tournaments are organized by community members with minimal corporate sponsorship. The rise of the Evolution Championship Series (a.k.a. EVO, the world’s biggest fighting game tournament), the Capcom Cup (a year-long tournament based on a points system), and esports at large finds the community in a state of flux — several officially sanctioned tournaments, pro players, and shoutcasters clearly try to integrate the many FGC ad hoc factions under the esports banner. People in the community are generally super friendly as long as you’re not a close-minded blowhard, and attending a local tournament is a great way to both improve your skills and meet some sparring partners.

When Can I Get It?

Street Fighter V launches Feb. 16 for PS4 and PC. Capcom spokespeople have been adamant about the game not being ported to Xbox One, so Microsoft fans are likely to be left out in the cold on this one.

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