Interview: Peter “Combofiend” Rosas on Ultra Street Fighter IV

By on August 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Everyone wants to know what’s going to be new and different in the upcoming Ultra Street Fighter IV update, but aside from a few key event announcements and a slow-but-steady drip of Twitter tidbits, Capcom hasn’t said a whole lot about what they’re changing. I got a chance to chat with Capcom’s senior community specialist and longtime fighting game competitor Peter “Combofiend” Rosas about his opinion on what USFIV needs to do differently from AE 2012 — with the caveat that he wasn’t allowed to answer questions about specific character or system changes.

So read on to learn more about Capcom’s process for fine-tuning the Street Fighter IV series, bringing new people into the game, and what it’s like working on the developer’s side instead of the player’s.


Patrick Miller: What’s your take on the current value of a knockdown in SFIV? Personally, I’m not a huge fan of how defenders seem to have exceptionally poor options; it seems that one knockdown routinely costs you 80% of your health in vortex mixups, and I’d love to know if that is considered an intentional part of the Street Fighter IV design philosophy or something that should be fixed.

Combofiend: I think the importance of the knockdown is at the heart of Street Fighter. When you look at any of the classic Street Fighters (ST, Alpha, CvS2), players had to learn footsies to avoid knockdowns due to the high damage (and possible KO) associated with it. In Street Fighter IV, you actually have quite a few options at your disposal on your wake-up such as: focus attacks, anti-airs, ultras, and supers, not to mention a larger window to input said moves in. The vortex mixups you see today are derived from players who put in the time to create them. I personally think that they’re fine, as it does require a bit of a time investment and solid timing to pull off said vortexes.

PM: Related to above: Is changing wakeup time a tool you’re employing in USFIV, or are these parameters fixed? (I played Adon in Super and felt the pain from that nerf.)

Combofiend: At this moment in time, we’re not doing anything to wakeup timing as it wasn’t really brought up during our feedback collection. In Adon’s case , people complained quite a bit (during Super) about how much faster he got up and that it gave him too much an advantage, hence why it was changed.

PM: It seems to me that Capcom has been significantly more open and encouraging about soliciting feedback (and making fun of the weird suggestions). How do you turn that feedback into an actual game change?

Combofiend: As it stands, we currently have all the changes needed at this moment in time. The information for the changes was gathered from the 20,000+ comments on Capcom-Unity and over 12,000 Japanese respondents, as well as feedback information from top players in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and the United States. These changes requests were then sifted through and discussed internally in regards to what the effects of said changes would have to a character’s balance and ultimately their standing. Currently the changes are being checked for their implementation. Also, in an effort to make sure that changes aren’t too overpowered, I will be monitoring location tests and taking feedback from those as well.

PM: Since its release, SFIV has been repeatedly criticized for its emphasis on links as the primary mode for combos — usually because they’re very hard for new players to learn, and advanced tech like plinking simply isn’t intuitive. Can we expect any notable changes to USFIV’s combo system?

Combofiend: No, those will also stay. I haven’t really heard people complain about links in combos, but I have heard many people mention how they felt that certain character’s links were too difficult to perform consistently. Those issues have been addressed. As for linking in general, it definitely takes practice. My recommendation would be to approach it like a rhythm game, due to the specific timing. Once one gets a feel for it, it’s surprising how natural links become.

PM: Capcom producer Tomoaki Ayano recently said that Street Fighter V wouldn’t be due out for a long time (and jokingly dropped a 2018 mention). How do you feel about the SFIV playerbase’s rate of technique burnthrough? Do you think there are five years left of new tech discovery? Are there any characters or matchups in AE that you think players haven’t adequately explored (and want to encourage in USFIV)?

Combofiend: I’ll have to pass on this question.

PM: More generally speaking, Street Fighter is a hard game to pick up. Is any of your current work on USFIV intended to lower the barriers to entry at all?

Combofiend: Street Fighter, much like anything else you are unfamiliar with, may seem hard at first and will take time to learn. Haunts and I have every intention of putting out informative videos on our Capcom Fighters channel to try and help new players overcome the challenges they’ll face when first picking up Street Fighter; but at the end of the day it truly falls on the person on whether they want to keep playing or not. New players should realize that at the heart of Street Fighter lies a psychological battle between two individuals. Everything one learns (attack distances, combos, option selects, etc) are tools to support you in overthrowing your adversary. If this sounds appealing, then I’m sure that person will stick around.

PM: You’re planning on doing training videos with Haunts? What kind of videos are you planning to do? Do you have a sample list of topics you can share with our readers? What level of experience will you be aiming at?

Combofiend: Currently the specifics are still being worked out. We have some topics in mind, but the focal point will be to help new players overcome the challenges one faces when first starting with Street Fighter IV.

PM: What’s your take on the viability of fireball heavy zoning? Not just for Akuma but for other strong fireball characters like Ryu and Sagat. Are they where you want them to be?

Combofiend: I feel that the fireball characters are in a good place right now. They all have their own strengths and weakness that their projectiles either add to or subtract from. Using projectiles properly does take a lot of work due to the high risk associated with them, so kudos to those who have become proficient at using them properly.

PM: Street Fighter has a significant presence on live video streaming communities — communities that didn’t exist when SFIV was released in 2008. Are you designing with “watchability” in mind? Is there any baggage left over from SFIV’s core design that makes it harder for your team to design a viewer-friendly game?

Combofiend: I’ll have to pass on this question.

PM: You’ve only been working at Capcom since late 2012; what’s it like approaching the game-design process from the perspective of a developer, rather than a player? Have you had to learn, change, or adjust to this different perspective?

Combofiend: Well, I’ve found it interesting that all the “small” things I took for granted as a player (i.e. hit stun, block stun, invincibility, etc.) are so genius in their design, and it’s these little things that differentiate fighters from one another immensely. Approaching the game from under the hood and seeing how the hitboxes, hurtboxes, and throwboxes all interact, and studying frame data the game is another thing I’ve had to learn as I’ve always been a person that’s played by feel.

I’ve also had to come to terms with a lot of the misconceptions I had with development in general; particularly in regards to how much time goes into everything. Before, I used to think a developer was dragging their feet when there was a delay in a game coming out or changes being made. But now being behind the scenes, it’s amazing to see just how many pieces of the puzzle there are and how tight schedules really are on a title.

  • Marvin Choi

    Those are really weird questions he chose not to comment on.

    • No doubt trying to avoid telling you something he is not supposed to tell you.

      • Luisito

        It felt more like: “This is a really stupid question and I see no point in answering it.”

    • Jetztream

      Purely speculation, mind you, but I would think he passed on a question that second time because they are including a new feature that he cannot reveal at this time: integrated streaming perhaps? It’s been included in other games recently, why not this one?

      • Cat Astrophy

        I still feel like a lot of those questions could have been answered using what is already known w/o revealing new features. Meaning he could have at least given a partial answer.

    • vastreammonster

      I don’t think they were weird questions to pass on at all. It makes sense that Capcom wants to keep Street Fighter 5 business strategy in house, and any new features like streaming and viewership stuff may be held for a later reveal when the game is further in development.

  • O. G. King Haggard

    Passes on the two most important questions… :-/

    • O. G. King Haggard

      Depending on what they add in Ultra, yeah, the game probably has five more years in it, sure. But that’s up to the players. If you’re just going to be a Ken scrub forever, you’re going to get bored quicker, so your own adventurousness or curiosity will lengthen the game considerably, as well as your own skill.

    • KingofTheT2ill

      yep, only relevant info in this is the stuff he won’t talk about

      • Cat Astrophy

        Sounds like a typical Blizzard interview.

  • Martini Whoelse

    Most important question:
    When’s Mahvel?

    • Setsu Oh

      when dc will be finished smooshing netherrealms and be interested in having what we all wanted from the beginning:
      DCvsMARVEL….and capcom somewhere in a corner. ^^

  • xespool

    I’ll have to pass on reading this article.


    • BigDiggerNick


  • Inan

    Thank god they’re not touching the combo system.

    Links are probably my favourite kinds of combos. Plus, a combo with links flows a hell of a lot better than chains from an aesthetic perspective. I’m glad SFIV has them in, and I’m hoping SFV will have them as well.

    • Cat Astrophy

      I wish they would relax the window, though. 1 frame is just insane. There’s plenty left in the game to weed out the pros from the scrubs w/o these absurd 1-frame links that are impossible to use online or on any screen with the tiniest lag.

      • Spabobin

        You really want me to be able to consistently hit you with a double tsumuji loop into vortex with Ibuki? If you want to get stunned in 2 combos then okay…

        I think every character should have a reasonable BnB that’s not a 1 frame link (Rose comes to mind) but optimizing damage and stun with 1 frame links is a huge part of high level play. Even pros drop the links sometimes. If you made them all 2 frame links, you would almost never see a combo drop even at upper-mid level play, let alone world class tournament play.

        • Cat Astrophy

          That’s so not true. Mahvel 3 has the easiest combos ever and that shit was getting dropped left and right at EVO. Sure a ton more people would be able to combo in SF if they relaxed the window but comboing is a very small part of what makes you a top FG player. If they suddenly made the links 2 frames I’m not going to start bodying Justin Wong. Execution is the boring part of a fighter. The mark of a good player is how you deal with your opponent, which in a good game lets you focus far more on the mental than the technical.

          Divekick is probably the best example, now. It takes two damn buttons to play, there’s no combos, and there aren’t really many mechanics to get down. But I’m still going to get stomped by top tourney staples because they have the important part of every fighter down, the mind game.

          • Peter Locke

            Thank you, Cat Astrophy, for saying exactly what i was thinking! Strategy and footsies and vortexes and mixups is all stuff that happens inbetween combos. all combos do is increase the gap between beginners and veterans. It can be fun to do combos, but combos are not a necessity in fighting games.

          • Spabobin

            I never said nor implied that easier combos would make bad players suddenly beat the pros. But the fact remains that being able to consistently perform difficult links makes a player more effective than they would be without it (depending on the character). Yes, someone with great footsies and mind games can still win without much execution, but they would win a lot more if they could convert those good pokes into big damage and resets/mixups. Execution is a skill set that should be rewarded just like any other skill.

            Some examples: Evil Ryu can kill in 2 combos if you can execute it properly. Without difficult links, his damage is nowhere near as good.

            Ibuki is another character that can get good damage and incredible stun with proper execution, but it’s difficult enough that even Sako will drop it sometimes. If 2 Ibuki players faced each other and were equally skilled, but only one had the high execution required for her loops and grounded mixup game, the one with better execution would win most of the time.

            If you think Marvel combos are easy, you should try playing the game long enough to get beyond the “magic series, OTG + hyper” stage of the game. The more difficult combos in Marvel are WAY harder than any combo in AE (barring some ridiculous, impractical, and ineffective stuff like the Evil Ryu combo with 17 one-frame links). That’s a game where execution CLEARLY makes a big difference even at top level. Yes you still need to have a good neutral game to consistently do well, but the ability to ToD someone from any hit is vital because you can’t give your opponent a second chance in that game (unless you play Zero, in which case a dropped combo gives you an almost inescapable reset).

            If we were talking about ST with incredibly high damage and very limited combos, you would be absolutely correct, but the relatively low damage in AE makes optimized, difficult combos an important factor for many characters to be used well.

          • Inan

            That’s an interesting point about combos, but the way I see it is this: 1f-link combos are advanced stuff and are NOT important in lower levels of play, even being detrimental at that level.

            Using a sports example, if two elite boxers—defending champion and strongest challenger—were to go at it, what would separate them from the other boxers? It would be their phenomenal mental strength and experience, being able to recognize openings and opportunities to push or punish, but their control of their muscles through conditioning and muscle memory leads them to maximize the damage they get from the very rare opportunities they get in the ring.

            Between two people who have equal jab speed and reach, the one who can convert a jab into a straight punch in rapid succession while backing out of danger can easily wear down the opponent if they cannot do the same. They would win in the number of punches that connected, translating to dealing more damage to the opponent, and pressuring them closer to a loss.

            When bouts get to such a high level, the margin of error is so minuscule that the winner could be determined solely by whoever was the one to capitalize on that one opportunity that presented itself for just that one 1/100 of a second.

            The one who can get their one-two punch to land consistently and with power under pressure; the one who can get their final duck, left body hook, right uppercut, left straight finisher done without missing that small window of opportunity, of recognizing an opening, reacting to it, sending the message from the brain to the muscles, and ensuring the muscles react fast enough to prevent an interruption to the punching sequence (counter-hit, block, dodge)—could potentially win.

            Sure, instead of the above finisher, they can just do a duck into alternating left and right jabs, but that’s not maximizing the opportunity presented, and the champion’s one shot at downing the challenger is gone. With the challenger still standing, now given a break—an opening—and with the challenger being just as skilled, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity for a guaranteed knockout. It only took less than a second for the defending champion to go from being the defending champion yet again, to giving his belt up to the new champion.

            Heh, this somehow turned into an essay. The point is, I hope 1f links are here to stay, because while difficult, it serves as a mechanic for the very best players to take advantage of in order to maximize their damage on very rare opportunities, and the average player who drops these links all the time are opening themselves up to greater punishment… or maybe the problem with 1f links now is that they are not risky enough, or are able to be utilized in too many situations?

            Of course, y’all can just disregard this example as fighting games not being akin to combat sports in any way 🙁

          • CRAYONSEED

            So goddamn true… Even if you know the timing, it’s still difficult to hit right if you aren’t practicing a bunch to stay crispy. Not against *some* combos, hell even some characters being execution heavy, but I’d say being execution heavy is the rule in SF4 rather than the exception.

        • Luisito

          The real question is why you would NOT want low-mid level opponents to be able to play their character at their fullest potential. Because the way I see it, it shouldn’t matter at all if links are easy to do because at tournament level most players can land them consistently anyway with plinking. Personally, I would LOVE it if every Ibuki, Evil Ryu and Sakura could pull off their 1f links because for me it would only mean better matchup experience.

          The main reason why top players drop links is due to tourney nerves and laggy PS3s more than anything. I’ve seen a lot of top players drop stupid baby combos in Injustice, SFxT, TTT2 and Marvel.

          The only thing that execution barrier does is give you a false impression that you are good/better at fighting games than others when in reality you might just have better execution. Execution is part of every fighting game, but it does not define your actual skill as a player. The true qualities of a player are his ability to react, adapt and make reads.

          The way I see it, a lot of players with bad/under average execution could actually be higher level than you or me if execution was less of a factor in fighters. Because then the game would actually come down to skill, fundamentals, footsies, knowledge and mental strength since everyone would be on equal footing execution wise.

          As a competitor myself, I find it hard to understand how lowering the execution barrier could be a bad thing. If anything it just means I would have more and better challengers to test my skills against.

          Not to mention having execution barriers is isolating the game. It’s shutting down thousands of potentially exceptional players just because a couple of mid-level frauds think it’s important to have hard to do combos.

          • Spabobin

            You mention mental strength, yet list tournament nerves as a factor in dropping combos. Building up the mental fortitude to play consistently at a high level is an important factor in being a top player.

            And you can’t really plink jabs or standing short without a heavily modified stick in AE, so things like Ibuki’s loops are hard to do even for top level players (mostly because of how character/spacing dependent they are, but the 1 frame links don’t help).

            Laggy PS3s? Are you serious? This isn’t Marvel where that’s a legit excuse, the muscle memory of doing combos doesn’t change between systems, and people have dropped combos in high level play long before the PS3 ever existed.

            High level play is a combination of many skills, only one of which is execution. You can play most characters just fine without difficult links. On the other hand, if your neutral game is lacking but you have perfect execution, you will still lose most of the time but you will stand a better chance since you can get more damage in when you do land a hit.

            The people who aren’t dedicated enough to get to at least average execution probably wouldn’t have played long enough to develop the other essential skills to get good at fighting games. Viscant is an example of someone who never goes for any execution-heavy stuff, but still could beat 99% of Marvel players without even trying. If someone has all the skills you mentioned, execution wouldn’t really be much of an issue for them. They just wouldn’t be able to get max damage off every hit they land (which is fair, you shouldn’t be able to get 500 damage per combo without any difficulty when most characters can barely get that in 2 combos).

            If you take your argument to its logical extreme, fighting games shouldn’t even have combos. They can be replaced by quick time events to test reactions, and otherwise the game is all about footsies. The closest we’ll get to that is Divekick, which has all the characteristics you value in fighting games with none of the execution.

            Funny how a game like SFxT or MK9 removes a lot of the execution barriers for fighting game players, but almost no one is interested in watching or playing it anymore. I think AE will be fine as it is.

          • Azarel

            I agree with you. In a game like SF4 that is skewed moreso toward vortex characters, lowering the execution barrier across the board would be an error. If it were lowered, I shudder to think how many more Cammy’s, Ibuki’s etc. you would see.

            The vortex characters are a little too brain dead, especially with unblockables in the game. Making it even easier for them to get more damage without having people put in the necessary time and work would be crazy.

            If everyone were a vortex character sure and if everyone had unblockable setups against everyone else ok, but in SF4 that isn’t the case.

            All that would happen if the execution bar was lowered across the board is that the next update after that would be the nerf bat

          • Xavier Wilson

            Look, I totally understand the whole “execution is just a barrier” thing but I actually appreciate execution. You know why? Because it shows that the person loved the character and game so much that they sat in the lab and practiced it until their fingers burned out. I got to the point with Evil Ryu (when i was practicing) where I was pulling off nasty ass combos off of crazy hit confirms and consistently hitting multiple one frame links ONLINE. Why? because I practiced and adapted, you take that away and you take away the most honorable part of practicing any fighting art and thats the hard work. I am a boxer and throwing a good right straight and placing it well takes execution. If they took away the execution barrier of executing the technique all these people who DONT have work ethic and dedication would be doing the same shit I worked so hard to do, which is retarded and unrealistic. You will bear the fruits of your training, so people need to shut the fuck up and stop whining about one frame links, they arent that hard IF you practice. Lazy assholes..

          • CRAYONSEED

            I think there should be a challenge, but think the challenge is currently misplaced. I think it should be somewhere between a target combo and 1f, kinda like your average 3d fighter. Take Tekken for example. Some very execution heavy stuff there, but by and large you don’t even need to do most of it to be successful. Reading and footsies and max damage punishes on reaction are where the “real” skill is IMO. Not being in practice mode for 3 days learning one combo.

          • Xavier Wilson

            There have to be more skills than that. People need other things to be good at and work hard at to make it to the top. Some people may not have the best combos but make up for it with reads and setups while others may be execution monsters. Take away execution and you take away all the hard work of people like marlinpie. You may not like grinding training mode, but to be the bestand win you SHOULD have to work hard for it, even if it means grinding. I am a boxer and if by some magical occurrence you could remove the hard work and dedication it takes to learn how to throw a certain punch then it would be fucking retarded. I practiced a punch HUNDREDS of thousands of times and you’re gonna take that hard work and faith I put it to it away? Skill isn’t just what kind of decisions you can make in a match. Sometimes unrelenting hard work and dedication overcome talent and such. It’s only fair that if I work hard enough I can achieve what others can’t BECAUSE of the hard work.

    • A link buffer or some common links becoming changes wouldn’t change the aesthetic or strategic component of their respective matchups one bit, save maybe (maybe) making the combo take up a bit less real time, speeding up the match.

    • Setsu Oh

      i found that question vvery weird!
      touching the combo syst and any other syst like utlras would alter the games spirit thus making ultrasf4 not a version but a totally different game! why not call it 5 altogether then?
      weird question….

  • dopeedoo

    “SFIV has been repeatedly criticized for its emphasis on links as the primary mode for combos”

    who is the bitch nigga that is complaining about this? learn how to combo else play some carebear shit. even league has SOME shit thats required to be good over others and that game is carebear as shit.

    • Gun_Vanguard


    • Useless and ridiculous comment.

    • Justin Archer

      But i like care bears.

  • Setsu Oh

    sf4 hard to pick up??? sf is the best for noobs! how is it hard to pick up? KoF is harder!

    • Cat Astrophy

      They’re probably comparing it to Divekick LOL

    • CharmingRogue

      Too much tech, execution is hard for beginners. Ultra never comes out. Yeah, other games are harder, but SF4 is still a hard game to just pickup and be good at. Links are hard to learn, FADC combo’s are hard to learn, etc. You take all these things for granted cause it’s muscle memory. But I see beginners struggling with this every single day.

      • Cat Astrophy

        That’s the thing. It’s not really skill. It’s just practice. How smart you are will ultimately dictate your success, and less about how much time you spend sitting alone in practice mode burning combos into memory. Rote memorization is not skill. Execution is a time barrier, not a skill barrier.

        Unless you have cerebral palsy or some other physical limitation anyone can eventually get even the roughest combos (like VF) down. But not everyone has the potential of mastering footsies, downloading your opponents, mind games etc. That’s the difference between a competent player and a great player. A well designed game gets players to the “competent” level very quickly so that it remains fun w/o that daunting “lifting” phase where you spend months by yourself in training mode.

        I can’t expect things like damage values, frame data, and things like that to go away so there’s always going to be a huge level of memorization to maximize your performance, but I feel like combos that are very complicated to execute topple the tower on how much you need to have in a game to consider it “deep”.

        • CharmingRogue

          While I agree that the fun starts when you get your execution down. I would argue that execution is part of the skill level. Practice is definitely what set apart the beginners from the experts, that’s the defining factor in every sport. That’s like saying, “Oh, why can’t we all just be born with athletic bodies so we can play soccer with our minds and strategic movement instead.”.

          That being said, Street Fighter is an execution heavy game. If you don’t like it, you should play a different fighter. Mortal Kombat has some of the easiest execution combo’s that I have found in a fighter. Took me less than a day to master most combo’s.

          • Setsu Oh

            the hole in your argument is some athletes have good genes and are already far beyond the average abilities effortlessly. like for fighting games, most manipulators are really good at them because they are good at reading people and their brain is wired a certain way(cold analyses, splitsecond tactic mods…). Daigo’s father was an olympic level martial artist for example.
            what he does in 10hrs of practice i wouldn’t be surprised if it took me one week to do it. some ppl are just good.i wouldnt go as far as call them ‘newtypes’ but well. we all saw them at school.takes them no prob to ace stuff while you know they didnt practice that much.

          • CharmingRogue

            This is where you’re wrong. In no way has it ever been proven scientifically that this idea of ‘talent’ exists. The theory in the scientific world as of today is that if 2 people put in the same amount of work, they’ll achieve the same level of skill. Though there’s a big difference between just 10 hours of playing, and 10 hours of deliberate PRACTICE. That’s what makes the difference. The key is deliberate practice. It’s not fun, but it gets results.

            Like how a tennis player would practice the same hitting technique over and over and over and over until he gets sick of it, and then does it some more. That’s deliberate practice. The tennis player that just plays for fun and just plays games normally would maybe encounter this same angle of hitting the tennisball maybe twice per game. Whereas the tennis player that does deliberate practice would’ve practiced this same angle of hitting at least 100 times. Which is what makes him get better results, and achieve greater things.

            Which we then look at and say, “Well, they both put in the same amount of time. But that 1 tennis player is much better. He obviously has ‘talent'”.

            This is why execution is part of the skill level.

          • Setsu Oh

            talent is a matter of how your brain is wired, why some play piano and understand it easier than guitar for example. why some have a hard time dealing with math while language is easy for them and vice versa. some a more calculating than impulsive and vice versa.
            THIS difference is what i m talking about.
            what a math aficionado would accomplish easily, a linguist would too, with much more practice.
            i got right away(less than 1 week) the mouse/keyboard fps gaming. two of the guys i knew had a HARD(months) time.

          • CharmingRogue

            That has nothing to do with talent, but moreso to do with the prerequisites of practice and transfer of that practice onto other and new hobbies. Like how you have practiced elementary school math, and in highschool you get statistics. It’s not math, but it kinda looks like it. This is where transfer occurs from math to statistics. Allowing that one individual to learn statistics faster and easier over someone who doesn’t have a background in math.

            Same thing applies to learning piano, guitar, fps gaming, etc. It’s not talent, it’s practice.

            I have read countless of studies on psychologists trying to find ‘talent’ and it has never been proven. It all comes down to deliberate practice. Even the idiot savants (you know, the people like Rain man), who look like they have extraordinary mathematical skills aren’t doing anything special. The only thing that sets them apart is that they have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) with numbers. They recite them in their head every day and are fixated by it. And what happens when you practice with numbers and counting every day? That’s right, you get good at it. Practice makes perfect.

      • Setsu Oh

        have you played old KoFs?
        year after year they would mess with the timings and how well you had to input your commands.

        it is a really easy game to pick up you just like in any game have to deal with timings, and commands. once you get them it is all about habits. like an uncharted, a halo or others.
        again another one with tec jargon i dont get, and i ve been playing sf4 for years. FADC?
        noob: pick up and play.can t play for shit yet

        casual: got used to every mecanics’ timing and commands can play well

        tec talk: not noob anymore.low lvl evo washup. not a casual anymore either.advanced fighter though.

        tec know-how: advanced player, mid to top lvl evo competition.

        *all of my rankings are my interpretation of things and might differ from yours. just saying…dont refrain to tell me yours though i might be wrong somewhere*

      • Azarel

        Everything is hard at the beginning. Beginners in any area, games and or work don’t just pick up something and be good at it. Any new skill takes time to hone. SF4 is much easier than its previous iterations.

        I played SF4 for awhile and I was decent, even reached A rank on PSN. I then tried ST and literally could not execute the Super or Dragon Punch when I wanted to and got ripped apart. It took me awhile to even get average in that game, but it was fun so I kept at it.

        I can’t think of any skill, and gaming is a skill, that was easy to pickup and just master. Struggling is part of the process.

    • Luisito

      But it IS hard to many players. I play AE on pad and I can’t plink for shit. Yet I have no trouble with most combos. But it was still awkward the first time I played SF4 to get used to the links timing. And I wasn’t exactly a casual player when I started playing SF4 so I can only imagine how infuriating 1f links can be for the average casual joe.

      What most of you fools fail to realize is that this is a huge reason why the FGC is so small compared to the other e-sports. Players don’t need to have extremely precise execution timing or purchase 200$ joysticks to play games like LoL, DOTA and CoD so more people can actually enjoy those games even if they are bad at it. But the problem with fighters like AE, KOF and Tekken is that if you can’t do your BnB combos or struggle to move around properly then how can you even enjoy the game and want to keep playing/improving?

      Not everyone can afford to spend/waste 10 hours in practice mode everyday to practice combos. So personally, I think if execution was less of a factor in fighting games the FGC would have a lot more players, better players and more viewers which in turn would mean more sponsors and bigger payouts etc.

      Why would you not want more players to play KOF and Tekken? Why would you not want everyone to be able to have fun with the game and their character? Personally I wouldn’t mind if my neighbor was able to pull off just-frame moves easily because I’m confident I would still be the better player regardless.

      • Setsu Oh

        i dont know what plink is.

        when i talk about picking up i m not talking about getting frametraps and what not that is ADVANCED play. like what i suppose plink is. wait. ok, i do remember: hit three buttons so the game think it is 2 and link the hits, right?

        i have been playing fighting games for more than 15yrs and m still a casual. why? i get bored easily with FGs. once i get timings and shit i m done. got 60hrs(1year) in ssf4, got bored sold it back.
        whats more, the throw back to the simple sf2 antiques like no parry in air make me blame the old ass shit tactics of jp gaming when i loose:’no it isnt more difficult we just keep logical abilities on lock’. MORE OPTIONS IS MORE FUN.

        Sticks are not 200$ anymore and my old 3-4yrs old stick i got it new at half that price. stop smocking, stop buying gross overpriced food, drink more water, stiop buying over priced clothes and shoes, go the the cinemas, and drink alcohol. it is worth living like a monk for months to get one.

        there is not that much difference with other games. if you can t play with both sticks on, cam and movement, you wont be able to enjoy uncharted.

        casual gaming is not competition, guys.

        competition is ADVANCED gaming. you get competitive when you clear the hardest cpu difficulty and then you are not a casual not a noob anymore doods!(i can t clear either sf4’s nor tekken revo’s. i m not a noob anymore but still a casual)

        you dont need 10hrs of practice for sf. any sf.
        again easy to pick up: NOOB lvl.

        it is funny how you talk a LOT about competition and tech terms like just frame i never got into with my years of fighting gaming casually, while my comment was about noobs.

        fwi, i got so much fucking fun getting used to the VERY challenging tekken tag2 gameplay….MONTHS it took me and i m casual. i dont care about framedata, dont give a shit about tech stuff. i enjoy watching evo, and non commentary fights bore me.

        NOOB FEST from memory:

        easy to pick up FGs sf(the hardest would be sfz3),Fatal furys,

        average challenge : orochi/nests KoFs,GG,BB,Mortal Kombats(yeah i had a hard time, still do)

        HARD: art of fightings, ttt2(specially when you havent touched a tekken since 5)
        nightmare: bushido blade

        • Setsu Oh

          and the big hurdle to FGC not being as big as the others is more the humans than the games: the community booed like kids KI because they wanted their (bunny blanket) mahvel early.or because they had bad memories of the xbone. choose which one, it is difficult to know when kids throw tantrums.
          now because of all this collusion shit one cant really forbid anyway , we might not have that fucking Moment when a favorite looses rounds, takes a moment then select a character no one has seen him with before to throw off his opponent’s tactics.
          what will be pointed at as collusion, what won’t?
          some organisers have said it b4 they do not want the big e-sport machine to breathe down their necks(my words) so yeah. human element, not the games. in fact there is more and more viewers and bcause there is no player to player reselling system on psn or xbla we cant see how many are buying and selling used fighting games.
          and dont get me started on the white collars and or devs not releasing demos for the ONE category of games that NEEDS them. only NOW in 2013 do we see AT LAST free2play things like tk Revo. b4 then a noob had to spend 60 bucks to be able to cope a feel. talk about barrier to the entry……

  • pootnannies

    the whole link thing is old. that’s one of sf4’s trademarks and what differentiates it from other sf/fighter games. i’m not in love with it but that’s a design that should stay. over reliance on vortexes however… what combofiend said about that part scares me a bit. looks like any system changes that i wanted are not being considered because they would allow vortexes to not be so important in keeping the game less defensive and momentum for the aggressor.

    • Timothy Ian McMillan

      You must not have played ST, where you literally do get KOed with one wrong guess.

    • Spabobin

      How about this: you can get vortexes nerfed with things like changed wakeup timing, but in return Ibuki gets her walkspeed doubled, significantly more range and priority on all her normals, more throw range, tsumuji loops become universal on all characters, 50 more health and stun, kunai becomes an actual projectile that will destroy fireballs and can’t be swatted away, and gains a 3 frame DP. Apply similar buffs to other vortex characters (not Cammy or Akuma cause they can actually win a footsies-based matchup lol).

      Sound fair? Or I suppose we could nerf everyone else in the cast so there are no good footsie tools anymore. Either one works. People can whine about vortexes all they want, but if they aren’t gonna give every character tools to compete without a vortex, their opinion shouldn’t be taken seriously. SF4’s damage and defensive options give you a way better chance of surviving than you would have ever had in a SF2 game

    • Luisito

      Most vortexes are fine. For example Fuerte’s vortex, while extremely annoying is very low damaging and he has to make the right guesses many more times than most characters at huge risk because if you guess right you can sometimes punish Fuerte with a big combo into a setup. It’s only a few vortexes that are very powerful because of the character’s ability to knockdown+stun+option-select (e.g. Akuma, Cammy, Seth and Ibuki) and those characters are getting toned down.

      The only really bad thing was the unblockables but those are getting fixed.

  • Kingkarl12341

    they better not dumb this game down, the question this guy asked made it seem like everyone who played street fighter was a retard

  • GGPO please.

    Links would be fine if there was like a 2-frame buffer at the end of normals. Not ideal, but way better than current link fetishism.

    • Spabobin

      Learning to do links is part of the game. Having a 2 (or even 1) frame buffer at the end of normals defeats the entire purpose and makes every link baby-mode (if someone can’t get 2 frame links with 90-95% consistency offline, they have a long way to go). Sorry if I don’t think a scrub picking up a character should be able to do max damage/stun combos consistently day 1.

      • Guest

        I love how the defense for keeping pointless execution hurdles in any given game is always “it’s part of the game,” and never any good reason.

        Given how you think this would make someone 100% effective with a given character the first time playing said character, the only scrub here is you, at reason.

      • Guest

        I love how the defense for keeping pointless execution hurdles in any given game is always “it’s part of the game,” and never any good reason.

        Given how you think this would make someone 100% effective with a given character the first time playing said character, the only scrub here is you, at reason.

      • I love how the defense for keeping pointless execution hurdles in any given game is always “it’s part of the game,” and never any good reason.

        Given how you think this would make someone 100% effective with a given character the first time playing said character, the only scrub here is you, at reason.

        • Spabobin

          I’ve already given good reasons before, and you definitely lack reading comprehension, but I’ll bite.

          No one HAS to be able to do 1 frame links to play AE. It’s an ability that confers a benefit, which is more damage and stun than you would get from easier combos. Why should someone be able to do incredibly high damaging combos with characters without any difficulty, when they can already do decent damage with no execution barrier? A good example is Cody–you can win with solid fundamentals and piss-easy combos, but if you have the execution you can do combos with 2 or 3 fierces and some 1 frame links, which allows you to do 50% + damage off one hit (especially on counterhits, which Cody excels at getting).

          I never said that someone would become 100% effective with a character the first time playing it. You are just being an idiot by saying that. But they would be able to do their most optimized combos without difficulty, which is an important part of mastering a character. If they made things like Ibuki’s tsumuji loops easy to do, they would have to significantly nerf her damage and stun to compensate, which would hurt the players who rely on fundamentals and lower-execution combos as well. Obviously player with supreme mind games and footsies would still win, but execution is another ability set that can affect the outcome of a match between 2 players of equal skill.

          • And with the “it’s part of the game” argument thrown out there, it’s on to the #2 most used/least valid “point”: “you don’t need it in a game explicitly designed around this mechanic and showing consistent tourney results in line with mastery of said mechanic.”

            Reading your posts is like wading through a tsunami of shit.

          • Spabobin

            What are you even going on about? It certainly has nothing to do with anything I said. Are you really trying to say that SSF4 is designed solely around doing difficult links? No one has ever won an AE tournament because they can do links, but you won’t find many tournament winners who have horrible execution either. It’s just one fragment of the skills you need to be a good player.

            Street Fighter is designed around footsies and mind games that allow you to get the advantage over your opponent, which sets the stage for a mixup game,which is where combo execution comes into play. Mastering execution gets you the most bang for your buck once you get in on your opponent, and varying levels of skills in this area should be rewarded differently.

            I’m still waiting for you to make ANY kind of valid point. Talking to a wall gets old pretty fast.

          • Jesus Christ it’s like trying to talk to an infant.

          • Spabobin

            Still waiting.

          • You’re an idiot.

          • Spabobin

            Still waiting.

          • Azarel

            Honestly i don’t think its as much about the game as it is about mindset. The idea of doing more work, which takes time, to get better results seems to be lost. Everything is now, now, now. I don’t want to practice, I want to be good now! I want to do the maximum damage combo now! Never mind fundamentals, never mind footsies etc. I just want to be able to win quickly.

            People would say that until players with better fundamentals, waited them out, knocked them down and then applied said combos to them. Then it would be, “This game is broken, crap etc.”

            Once the unblockables are out, the game is good. If ever those high damage combos become easy, out comes the nerf stick to ensure that no one set of characters has a significant advantage…philosophy of new players is different though..the whole mindgame, mixup strategies that are the heart of SF seem to be lost in favour of “Gimme a way to win right now easily”

        • Azarel

          No Spabobin is right. If you give everyone the ability to do high damage combos in SF4 easily, vortex characters will own even more and all that would happen is that the nerf bat would come down even harder on them in the next iteration.

          If you played a vortex character, you would win in the short term, but guaranteed they are going to nerf something on them in the long term to make sure that it evens it out and there is a good chance it makes the character worse than before

          Whether it be life, walkspeed, or even nerfing the combo itself after awhile, something will get hit with the nerf bat.

          • That’s a non-issue: in high-level play, links are rarely missed anyway. If the balancing mechanism is “well the link is so hard that nobody will 100% nail it all the time,” all that does is favor anyone able to hit that dexterity threshold. The character’s options aren’t suddenly better or worse; if they need a buff/nerf later, that’s an entirely separate issue.

          • Azarel

            It isn’t really a separate issue. Sagat isn’t even a vortex character and they nerfed him after SF4. Why? Damage output was too high. Too easy to win with, his basic combos took off too much life etc.

            The whole idea was now that you had to work a little harder to win with Sagat. Everyone wasn’t willing to put in that work and quite a few people switched.

            If they did that to Sagat, a zoning character that doesn’t have strong mix up after a knock down, will they really give players the ability to easily execute high damaging combos with a vortex character that can put you on your back again and again?

            Look at Yun. Too strong a character that everyone was starting to use, hit with the nerf bat. The nerf had nothing to do with options but the ease with which he was able to win and his damage output potential. Now you have to work a little harder to win with him

            So even if you get an extra frame or buffer, all they will do is nerf the damage on that combo and introduce more hit scaling and/or make it more difficult to win with that character which will bring us back to square one.

            “That’s a non-issue: in high-level play, links are rarely missed anyway.”
            That’s the thing, most players aren’t high level players. The difference between high level players and the rest of us is practice and sheer hours spent in the game. Most of us aren’t going to do that because it isn’t easy to get to that level

            This ensures that those who put more work into the game get more out of it which is Capcom’s modus operandi now. I don’t really have an issue with it…to play online and then have any and everyone pick up Ibuki/Akuma/Cammy and do high damaging combos easily would be insane…

          • Again, irrelevant. A high level player, assuming he isn’t a fraud, will remain so even if the rest of get the slightest little link buffer to help with combos. If that suddenly makes someone start winning who wasn’t before, that’s a statement about what the game primarily rewarded: dexterity.

            Sagat nerfs have nothing to do with this. Those nerfs were a combination of the usual Capcom knee-jerk reaction and Sagat being too dominant, not that he was easy to play. If he could still cancel stand LK into Tiger Shots all day making him arbitrarily more difficult to play from an execution standpoint fixes fuck all.

          • Azarel

            It isn’t the high level players I’m concerned about. Its the intermediate and beginners and specifically vortex characters. The only thing that stops intermediate players from abusing the vortex and really maximizing damage is the execution barrier.

            Vortex characters already have a huge advantage over the rest of the cast after a knockdown. Why give them even more of an advantage by lowering the execution bar and allowing easier access to more damaging combos?

            They already have a significant advantage. If players want more, hit practice mode and work for it, the way high level players do…

    • Rahavic

      GGPO would be great as much as it doesnt work exactly the same on console! That’d be the selling point for me on Ultra, right now I’m on the fence just playing the game here and there in case I see something huge that makes me go all in.

      • Spabobin

        I find AE’s netcode on xbox to be much better than 3S Online which uses GGPO. I don’t think making the switch would be beneficial at all.

        • Well, if you needed any proof this guy was an idiot, here you go.

          • Spabobin

            Have you ever played 3S online? In my experience, the netcode is okay but not great, and even with a perfect connection there is a slight but noticeable delay (mostly comes into play with parrying). With AE, my good matches are flawless, and the more laggy matches are a little worse than a laggy match in 3S. I’d rather keep the flawless matches and just avoid playing the laggy people than have every match be slightly worse than it would normally be.

    • windsagio

      Any fetishism is good, including GGPO fetishism.

      Edit: I’m shocked and appalled that anybody would even try to defend links though.

  • Alfred Macaspac

    Links are fine as is. There is no sense of satisfaction when you complete a combo that took no practice to get down. There always has to be an executional barrier in a fighting game in my opinion. It adds to the intensity of the match and being able to stay calm and perform a 1 frame link in the most intense part of a match is vital to personal satisfaction and for viewers as well. Might as well put bumpers in pro bowling matches. It’s the same thing.

    If you don’t want to do 1 frame links, pick up a character that doesn’t rely on them. It’s really that simple.

  • RunningWild1984

    Links should be obsolete, CHAIN COMBO’S were supposed to be THE FUTURE.

    Just play Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 and see how much better it is than garbage like Street Fighter 4.

  • Guest

    Wow @ his answers what to do against vortexes.
    Stuff like aa, ultra, super(what) will simply not work against developed vortexes by good players (which he indirectly admits)which is why theyre so effective and target of criticism to begin with.

    And for claiming to listen to all feedback etc, there sure are a lot of ‘no we’re leaving it as is’ answers…I’m assuming they havnt fixed DP/Ultra mashing between blockstrings and combo drops which is by far the biggest criticism sf4 since day 1.

    So what ARE they changing about sf4 system? This interview didn’t tell my anything nor giveme any hopeful insight.

  • Guest


  • Guest

    Wow @ his suggestions against vortexes. Stuff like AA,Focus,Ultra,Super(lol wut) will simply not work against developed set ups by good players as a range of safejumps,OSs cover their safety. If you get AAed,Ultra’d whatever, youre doing it wrong. He even indirectly admits how good vortexes are. And thats the whole reason why they’re critisized!

    Also for claiming to listening to the fans, there seem to be a lot of ‘No we’re not changing it, everythng is fine the way it is’ So I’m guessing mashable DPs Ultras, the biggest criticism since sf4 isn’t going to be addressed and ‘is as intended’ ?

    Not only did this Interview answer nothing it totally denounced approprite criticism as ‘we’re not changing anything’
    Again what is new for USF4 other than SFxT chars and move porpertie changes???

  • Terry Barcelona

    How lovely to click on an interview link and find a structured, edited print interview, rather than a shambling, lazy, video.

  • Jordan Hoffman

    I am so sick of old farts arguing about “Have you played so-and-so??? Back in my day we had to time 1 frame links for every single jab in every single combo!!! And if you messed up it was an automatic KO!!! And we had to walk 15 miles in the snow to go to school!”

    No one cares about the execution hurdles you enjoyed. The overall core of the game wouldn’t change by giving a 2 frame buffer. It would just make the game more user friendly which means true skill will be what determines the winner rather than sitting on a cushion of execution superiority. I know you’re all proud of your ability to push buttons with 1/60 of a second precision, but I’m more interested in developing fighting techniques rather than spending hours upon hours of repetition to learn how to time a button push…