Tekken and Street Fighter are both iconic fighting video games coming from the days of old. While Street Fighter holds a candle by a couple of years as it was released in 1987, Tekken is not a new game either released in 1994 by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. These two have been at it for a very long time trying to outsell each other on every front possible. However, things changed with the Street Fighter 5, which managed to sell a decent amount but nowhere near the Tekken 7 amount. So why did this happen? What caused such dismay in popularity and why are fans dropping Street Fighter as a whole at this point?
First, let’s get one thing straight. Both of the games sold quite well with Tekken leading the race with more than 5 million copies sold at the start of 2020. Street Fighter 5 on the other hand is boasting 3.9 million copies sold at approximately the same time. Both of the games were released a couple of years ago but SF5 had an edge since it came out in 2016 while Tekken 7 joined the fray in 2018. How have things turned though? Street Fighter II was crowned a champion of fighting games since it managed to seal the deal with 15.5 million copies sold.
Street Fighter 5 | How Not To Do It
Fans were anticipating Street Fighter 5. Everyone wanted to get into the newer and better iteration of their favorite video game but to call the release “less than perfect” is going to be the same kind of overstatement as calling the last season of Game of Thrones a new Lord of the Rings. The game barely had any fighters or modes. The story mode was locked behind a DLC paywall. It included the DLC characters in it although to fight with these fighters you had to buy yet another DLC. At the time of release, it was nothing but a glorified training session grinder. This obviously turned away a number of fans who just did not want to put up with this money dump. The game also did not have an Xbox One port which is a strange thing to happen as Street Fighter is by far not a Playstation exclusive game. Why would anyone have played this version while Ultra Street Fighter 4 was available on the same platforms is beyond any reasoning and thus nobody bothered?
It was a painful sight for people like me who have loved and followed this franchise for as long as it has existed. There were moments when the title was so popular companies left and right were paying to associate their products with Street Fighter. I remember the weirdest release was Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Slot game, which was developed by NetEnt for online gamblers. It was quite successful in its weird genre and managed to put itself on top online casino games lists a number of times. This can largely be attributed to the love and affection towards the franchise by the developing company. Bryan Upton, NetEnt Director of Games has even shared his insight on the topic by stating that they were trying really hard to stay true to the original art style and sound effects that were present in the arcade iterations of the game. Remembering all of this and then looking at the base product was more than disappointing.
Capcom did a good one by starting to work on fixing their problem. With the release of a number of updates and releases like Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition and finally the ultimate version Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition I think they have redeemed themselves. The Arcade Edition was by far one of the most important additions since it added, well, Arcade mode which was strangely enough mission from the main game. Currently, there are more than 10 DLCs available for this game but it is highly recommended to buy the Champion Edition and just not bother with anything else. It provides 40 fighters, 200 new costumes, 34 new stages, a totally renewed UI which was quite different from the first iteration where it was just a blue filter put on top of some blurry images that nobody could even differentiate from each other.
The botched start was, unfortunately, just a start. There were numerous issues like too much focus on the competitive crowd which turned a lot of casual players away, then there was the story mode which wasn’t the best either. Some of the worst cases were when a rootkit was detected in the PC version of the game, which obviously made another number of people just look away from this franchise as a whole. The online play was and still is terrible. The netcode, although “adjusted,” is so bad that the game is only playable at home in a good old two friends two joysticks style. However, with the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing laws, I am unsure how many people are risking it right now.
Tekken 7 | How It Should’ve Been Done
Tekken 7 and Namco are totally on the different side of the world when it comes to their releases during this console generation. Everything that was supposed to be present in the game was there. This means a huge roster of characters, customization options, arcade mode, and the story mode was all done on day one and did not require anything else neither from player nor from the developer. The game was a complete package, which momentarily puts it much further ahead than whatever SF5 was when it first came out. Not to sound too biased Tekken 7 also had some connectivity issues, however, other than that the game was in a superb working condition.
Apart from the game itself, it matters how the developer and publisher are acting in the eyes of the fans. It is worth noting that Capcom has not been the most user-friendly company for the last couple of years. A lot of people are still angry at the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 that had the very same on-disc DLC shenanigans that I honestly thought we went over like 10 years ago. Mega Man cancellation streaks are not helping the reputation of the company either. Dead Rising 4 was a hollowed shell of what it used to be and did Ace Attorney arrive at all? What happened to the Devil May Cry? Lost Planet? Darkstalkers? This is turning into Capcom rant but we have to understand that the company is solely responsible for the demise of such great titles that used to mean a lot to people and gained huge followings.
Namco as a company has not acted out in the same manner as Capcom. Licensed titles are always becoming international releases and even if it doesn’t there is always an Asian English language version that can just be imported.
In conclusion, Street Fighter 5, although in a good working condition right now – 4 years later, had a very rough start and it is a surprise they sold as much as they did. If the game was in the same condition as it is right now, which means a finished product with arcade mode, training, story, and a good roster of fighters then it could’ve been a much different story.