GDC '08: Street Fighter IV Updated Hands-On

We get our hadouken on at GDC with Street Fighter IV.

by

SAN FRANCISCO--The first public unveiling of Street Fighter IV was only a few days ago in Japan, but Capcom's rushed some full arcade units all the way to the United States this week to show off the newest entry in the venerable fighting franchise at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We wasted no time in jumping on the game to pull off some fast hadoukens, and it's immediately clear that Street Fighter IV sticks closely to the tried-and-true mechanics of previous entries in the series and is particularly reminiscent of Street Fighter II.

The units Capcom had playable at GDC seems to be exactly the same as those displayed at Japan's Arcade Operator's Union (AOU) show last week--only 10 characters were selectable (the original eight world warriors plus newbies Abel and Crimson Viper) and all of the text and audio snippets in-game were in Japanese. The Capcom rep manning our arcade machine assured us more characters were definitely on the way, although he wouldn't be drawn on giving any hints whatsoever.

As we mentioned in our earlier preview, those worried that this game treads into Street Fighter EX territory need not fret--Street Fighter IV is well and truly a 2D brawler, even though the characters and environments are presented in highly-detailed 3D. The only time the game ever breaks out into a 3D view is for small cinematic animations when characters perform their specific ultra combos. The characters themselves all move extremely fluidly even at this stage. All of them sport plenty of fine details in their costumes, and there are lots of cool details in their animations and facial expressions. Blanka, for example, wears an extremely convincing worried look every time he backs away from an opponent, while Chun Li strikes an awesomely cool defensive-looking pose every time she blocks an attack. As for the weird (in an interesting way, of course), inklike effect shown in the very first trailer for the game, all that seems to remain of it are some graphical flourishes which pop up occasionally, such as when Ryu performs some specific special attacks.

Speaking of special attacks, the eight original cast members all feature what is now probably considered their "traditional" move sets which have evolved through Street Fighter's many various versions. For Ryu and Ken, that means the good 'ol hadoukens, shoryukens, and hurricane kicks are back. Chun Li has her spinning bird kick, kikonen fireball, and lightning leg kick (she also retains her double jump off the edge of screens, as well as the head stomp). Blanka has both his vertical and horizontal rolling attacks, as well as his trademark electric shock, while E Honda also has his flying head-butt and hundred-hand slap (although you can't move forward while performing this). Zangief still has his variety of throws, such as the spinning pile driver, as well as the double lariat. As for Guile, his sonic boom and somersault kick make returns. The timing and technique required to pull off most of these moves are all familiar, although performing Chun Li's spinning bird kick seemed to take an awfully long time to charge up. All of these characters' super combos will also be familiar to fans of the series, such as Ryu's super-fireball, Blanka's chargeable rolling attack, and Zangief's extremely damaging super pile driver.

If you've played a Street Fighter game before, then chances are you'll be able to play IV with little to no hassle whatsoever. Thanks to the inclusion of all eight original characters and with no major new special attacks introduced, the game feels instantly familiar on first touch. Fireballs seem to fly at the same speeds, attack distances are the same, and the same weaknesses can be exploited in each of the eight original characters. This can be seen as both a blessing and a drawback--if you're a Street Fighter purist, then you'll more than welcome these characters back with open arms.

The two newbies to this game--and we hope more new characters are unveiled soon--are Crimson Viper and Abel. Crimson Viper is a new female who's supposedly a secret agent, hence her use of modern technology while fighting. This technology is made apparent in her electric-based attacks, such as a dashing punch performed by doing a forward-quarter circle on the joystick. The strength of the punch (fierce, strong, or jab) determines the direction--fierce makes it an upward punch, strong sends her straight ahead, while jab is low. Viper also has a fiery spinning kick and ground tremor attack which can knock opponents off their feet from across the screen. Abel is more a power/grappler type in the vein of Zangief. One of his more interesting moves was a devastating combo which begins with a dashing punch and ends with a throw, pulled off by performing three consecutive quarter circles on the joystick. Abel also has a rolling dodge that places him behind an opponent, as well as an attack which grabs airborne opponents and slams them to the ground.

Another major new addition to the series is focus attacks (sometimes known as saving attacks). Taking the place of the parry system from Street Fighter III, focus attacks are performed by pressing the two strong buttons. Performing a focus attack cancels out one of your opponent's strikes, and retaliates with a hit of your own. There are three levels of focus attacks depending on how long you leave the strong buttons pressed--at level three, the focus attack becomes unblockable. During our game time, we found focus attacks somewhat easier to pull off than parries, and we can see it becoming an essential part of an experienced player's armory once the game ships. Since focus attacks can be used to start combo strikes as well as being able to be canceled halfway through to "fake out" opponents, its use will become quite strategic.

The other new gameplay tweak comes in the form of a revenge meter that sits at the end of the character's life bar. The revenge meter fills when your character takes damage--have a full revenge meter and perform a super combo with two buttons pressed and your character will pull out a flashy ultra combo. Some of the animations for these ultra combos are quite impressive. Honda, for example, performs an ultra-powerful flying head-butt that pins his opponent to a wall, which he then follows up with a hundred-hand slap. Guile does a double-somersault kick, lashes out a leg while his opponent is still in midair, and then performs a third somersault. Interestingly, in the build we played, performing an ultra combo would deplete the revenge meter, but would leave the super combo meter still filled. We're not sure if this will stay the same when the game finally ships--if it does, expect some truly damaging strings of ultra combos followed by super combos.

We're still keen to hear more about Street Fighter IV, including exactly what the storyline is and how many more new characters we can expect. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information.

Discussion

71 comments
HatchetKill
HatchetKill

oh yeah im stayin tuned, been lookin foward to this one

not_
not_

i just hope Akuma is in this game or im not buying it

ambiorix1974
ambiorix1974

In my opinion the best fighting games are Street Fighter 2 and Samurai Showdown 2. I hope they don't get too crazy with this game by adding cheap moves and unblockable cheap shots!

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

@m4crz3y It's not just another remake of SFII. Otherwise they'd call it SFII 3-D.

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

I play alot of Streetfighteronline.com so I'm happy to see it come back. As to the Original eight.. I'm not that happy about but anyways... Hurry up!

m4crz3y
m4crz3y

It seems to me they are just recreating the old street fighter game, that game was good back in the day, but fighters now-a-days have improve fighting mechcanics. the old fighting style of street fighter might not macth up! just my opionion.

PhoenixVenom
PhoenixVenom

this better come out soon cause im itchin for some new SF

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

@ blowtress And Super Smash Bros. Don't forget that.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

Next, Gem Fighter 2, Capcom Vs. SNK 3, Fate/Unlimited Codes, and Sengoku Basara 2 and X right Capcom? We need those games. Make the Gem Fighter and Capcom Vs. SNK sequels and localize the other ones. I'm begging.

subz3ro999
subz3ro999

I'm truely a MK fan, but I also love SF, Good stuff!

PhoenixVenom
PhoenixVenom

i cant wait for this i grew up playing SF in the arcade and have never gotten enough of it. its about time a new SF game came out

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

They absolutely HAVE to release this in US arcades. And also, include Akuma an Sakura in the game.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

Make a Super Gem Fighter sequel next Capcom.

blowtrees
blowtrees

Original eight eh, am I to assume Vega, Sagot, Balrog and MBison are not playable? That's just silly. I'm glad it's back to roots for SF, but almost would like to see a huge amount of playable characters ala Marvel vs Capcom.

Ghutch55
Ghutch55

Its cool that they are staying close to the roots. But Capcom needs to do more than just put out SF II with cool looking 3D graphics. There should be a new combat system. I would like the characters to be able to dodge their opponents attacks much like how Ryu dodges Ken's attacks in the original SF IV trailer.

aznboi86
aznboi86

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ffejufo
ffejufo

they need to update the graphics to that of dead or alive not to ps2 graphics. Com'n Capcom try to actual do some work on this one.

rijahs
rijahs

I hope this game lives up to the hype that it is creating.... This was "the" fighting game for the older consoles...

willripyouanew1
willripyouanew1

where is the blood? the first triler showed off some bloody punches . I see none of that in the gameplay footage.

Testament
Testament

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pyro77
Pyro77

Looking forward to this as I said earlier but I was thinking the same thing as Chris. It was like "Hey you, wanna do the voice over for Blanka?" , "Um...but im just the janitor here dude." "No worries, if you do it we'll give you a weeks worth of quarters to play." "Sir, you got yourself a deal!! RAWR!!!" Seriously, the voice for Blanka is just god awful. They need to replace that with animal samples or somthing. Please fix before release capcom,thanx, iloveyou, bye.

fernan17893
fernan17893

yo they need to bring this to consoles in the us. I was practicaly raised with this game

Wezker619
Wezker619

they need to add more chars.

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

@Rowr14 just what do you think is a full on 3D fighter of today ? because all i have seen fight on a 2d plane and just the character models are 3d , good job capcom for saying and showing how it is and keep the 2d game mechanics going because until we get FULL 3D ENVIRONMENTS to interact and fight in just leave well alone and let Namco and Co do their 3D cough cough but they are 2D really fighters .

maxil0pez
maxil0pez

Sakura!! What happenened with her?

NND1
NND1

I am up for another street fighter challenge!!

cckcmain
cckcmain

Thanks Hisoka75 for those video links. I think Capcom should've just pooped in a box and tried to sell it. This is the same old game we got sick of years ago but with graphics that are subpar by today's standards. Honestly, the gameplay is EXACTLY the same and now the characters look damn ugly. Capcom has lost their minds.

Chris_555_TK
Chris_555_TK

Really cool but seriously, dump Blanka's grunts. Just sounds like a guy screaming "RAWR!" into a microphone

Bad-Chad
Bad-Chad

I would love to see D.DArk in this. I hope this is actually popular and you see it everywhere- in sports bars, bowling alleys etc.. SF3 arcade units were few and far between- that's the main reason it did so poorly in my opinion.

Yoshi-chan
Yoshi-chan

I hope they give like...original skins for the characters, because lets face it...all these character's faces look straight busted...like their all on steroids or some drug...or rather they all hit the ugly tree then got punched in the face on the way down...just ewwww...other than that everything else seems fine

NX75
NX75

I'm simultaneously proud of their willingness to make a new top-tier 2D game in today's market, and thrilled that the fan reaction to that decision is positive, and also happy and nostalgic for the ways in which the game hasn't changed, but terrified that it's so much a remake of the original. I want 2D games to be as respected a choice as 3D (and I think a 2D renaissance is already building), so I'm happy to see them come out when they do, but when they're too much a nostalgia trip, it worries me they won't be respected as new games and therefore not inspire more 2D thought. On related subject, polygons are way better-looking than sprites; admit it. :) Seriously, they've got a lot more going for them.

ColonelGuile
ColonelGuile

This looks amazing! Capcom should include selectable original CPS music from original Street Fighter games as a bonus to fans.

Craig410
Craig410

I Want Street Fighter to be a good game. but im still not getting it. For It To Be a "Next-Gen game" The EX3 Graphics for the originial XBOX look better than this. Ill Get Soul Calibur. Man I'd rather have SSB Brawl Instead of this.

Pyro77
Pyro77

Its a given that all the classics 8 will be in it. I'd like to know more about new characters and "boss, mini boss" characters. Vega? Akuma? So help me if Sagat is not in it......grrrr. Also, if physics are now applied to Dhalsim's bracelets, then why dosn't Honda's fat jiggle. Its 2008 and gamers expect real fat jiggling physics these days. Get with the program Capcom.

Hisoka75
Hisoka75

Lot of video matche of street fighter IV [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=183&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Viper_vs_Ryu&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=181&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Viper_vs_Chunli&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=180&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Viper_vs_Abel&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=179&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Ryu_vs_Honda&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=178&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Ken_vs_Chunli&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=177&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Guile_vs_Zangief&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=176&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Guile_vs_Ryu&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=175&title=Street_Fighter_IV_4_Guile_vs_Honda&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=174&title=Street_Fighter_IV_Aou_show&ref=Itachi[/url] Other games from Aou show [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=167&title=BlazBlue_01&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=168&title=BlazBlue_02&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=169&title=BlazBlue_03&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=170&title=Arcana_Heart_2&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=171&title=dodonpachi&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=172&title=King_of_Fighters_XII&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=184&title=kof12&ref=Itachi[/url] [url]http://otakushow.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=185&title=samurai_shodown_sen&ref=Itachi[/url]

nelo_uk
nelo_uk

i pray to god sagat is gonna be in this

ZhugeMarc
ZhugeMarc

Rowr14: No-one *wants* a fully 3D Street Fighter. They did them, and they weren't very good. If anything, Capcom should be commended for sticking to what fans want.

Rowr14
Rowr14

Streetfighter. now available in all new 3 dimensional graphics...sort of. Yet dont say a bad word about it. I never understood before (because i enjoy halo), but im starting to see how some people might perceive halo, and its fans. This looks like a massive step up! about 4 years ago maybe.

Priest57
Priest57

As long as it doesn't turn out like EX3 we're good.

davidgiff
davidgiff

Street fihter rules so can they please make this game good

Dragonblade01
Dragonblade01

While the awesomeness of 3D fighters can't be denied, they still don't hold a candle to the classic 2D style. Can't wait to play this!

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

mookaone sounds good so far! my first gaming obssession was SFII...I really hope this turns out well. back to basics seems lik a good start. fingers crossed for Xbox Live multiplayer!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm pretty sure online is a givin.

o_laggy_o
o_laggy_o

@donmega1: What are you talking about? Those are like Viewtiful Joe graphics with more testosterone.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

donmega1 I bet the home consoles are not strong enough to handle the graphics.... ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lol dude, where have you been for the past 3 years?? the characters are almost Cell shaded (Don't think they really are but sure looks close) The OLD xbox could have probably or almost pulled this game off.

mraithel
mraithel

Is it on the show floor? I can't find them anywhere. Was it a gamespot exclusive?

lathan94
lathan94

Im a Soul Caliber person street fight was fun to fight when i had friends with me. So mabey this will be the same.

ocdog45
ocdog45

2d is the way to go with fighting game. i don't like 3d fighting games

mustafanakipogl
mustafanakipogl

i think Capcom has made a wise decision about returning to 2d. it'll be really exciting i think.