Ultra Street Fighter IV Japanese Location Tests, Delayed Standing Mechanic Revealed; Interview with Producer Koichi Sugiyama and Assistant Producer Tomoaki Ayano

By on November 15, 2013 at 9:48 am
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After revealing their plans for the United States and Singapore, Capcom has announced the first location test details for Ultra Street Fighter IV in Japan. In preparation of the game’s April 2014 arcade release (console release planned for sometime in 2014), from November 22-24, Capcom will be hosting location tests in six cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sendai and Sapporo.

  • Tokyo – Taito Station Shinjuku Nishiguchi Game World
  • Osaka – Taito Station Osaka Nipponbashi
  • Nagoya – Taito Station Ohsu
  • Fukuoka – Taito Station Fukuoka Tenjin
  • Sendai – Taito Station Sendai Clisroad
  • Sapporo – Taito Station Sapporo Tanuki Koji

Capcom has also revealed a third new mechanic for Ultra Street Fighter IV: Delayed Standing. As the name implies, the timing of a character’s wake-up after knockdown can be delayed, allowing players to avoid ambiguous wake-up offense. Famitsu interviewed newly-appointed producer Koichi Sugiyama and assistant producer Tomoaki Ayano on the new systems and characters available in the location tests.

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Left, producer Koichi Sugiyama. Right, assistant producer Tomoaki Ayano.

Famitsu: First off, for this game it’s the two of you working in a two-producer system. Can you tell me about each of your roles?

Tomoaki Ayano (below, Ayano): Title-wise, Sugiyama is the producer, while I’m the assistant producer.

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Koichi Sugiyama (below, Sugiyama): You might be thinking “Does this guy understand Street Fighter?”, but up until now I’ve been tied into Street Fighter working under Ono, so rest assured.

Famitsu: I see, so you’re thoroughly knowledgeable about the series. Why are there two producers for this title?

Sugiyama: We’re making the game with the concept of developing Street Fighter together with the user. In North America, player opinions are collected on a site called Capcom Community, so we thought that we needed to that sort of thing in Japan as well. So Ayano, who is known to the players, should have a role working closer with the user community. But if Ayano is doing that, the producer role will be neglected, so I’ve been appointed as producer.

Famitsu: So Sugiyama is tasked with production of the project, while Ayano will be closer to the fans than before.

Sugiyama: That’s right. For Street Fighter, Ayano makes frequent trips to North America, leaving Japan frequently unoccupied, but working as two producers with Ayano, I think the flow of work will be smooth.

Ayano: Emotionally I’m at ease, but continuously moving between Japan and America 24 hours is rough physically (laughs).

Famitsu: Now, let’s get to the main subject. This is the first Famitsu.com interview for the game, so first, can you tell me the concept behind Ultra Street Fighter IV (below, USFIV)?

Ayano: First of all, we are able to develop USFIV thanks to the strong demand from all the fans. From all those requests, there were many voices wanting a lot of new elements added, so instead of “___ Edition” we wanted to make a “new Street Fighter”, putting Ultra to the title. The concept for USFIV is adding new things and “reforming”.

Famitsu: I think one of those new things is new battle systems and balance tuning, but what direction are you taking them?

Ayano: From AE to 2012, there were some who said, “I want new systems and bold changes”, but at that time, the concept was “creating versus tools that you can enjoy for years”, so we didn’t opt for that choice. For USFIV however, as mentioned before, we wanted to embrace a feeling of reform. We’re balancing the game in a direction so that even when using the existing characters, you can play with a refreshed feeling.

Famitsu: On that note, can you tell me about the newly added Ultra Combo Double system?

Ayano: Ultra Combo Double is a reflection of fan demand for the ability to use both Ultra Combos at the same time. Specifically, it’s a system in which during one round, you can use Ultra Combo I and Ultra Combo II. Ultra Combo select remains as it was before, so now there are three options: Ultra Combo I, Ultra Combo II and Ultra Combo Double.

Famitsu: And what about characters like Gen, who has multiple Ultra Combos…?

Ayano: Gen has two Ultra Combos for each style, so he can use a total of four Ultra Combos. So it’s Ultra Combo Quad… so to speak? (laughs)

Famitsu: That’s something (laughs). But in that case, being able to use two with Ultra Combo Double seems more advantageous than selecting Ultra Combo I or II. What is the merit for selecting Ultra Combos individually?

Sugiyama: Primarily, the strength is different. Selecting Ultra Combo I or II will inflict heavier damage than Ultra Combo Double. The value is still in the development stage, but using Ultra Combo I and II as the basis, Ultra Combo Double will do 60% of the damage. Of course it’s not uniformly 60%, and we intend to tune each Ultra Combo.

Ayano: For example, people who want to bet it all on a single shot with Zangief should choose his highly damaging Ultra Combo I and aim for an Ultimate Atomic Buster. For those who want to be able to land a throw but also deal with the opponent running away with jumps, you can select Ultra Combo Double and deal with both. We want you to select what fits your own play style.

Famitsu: When I first think of Zangief I think “throw character”, but it seems like he will be very strong with both Ultra Combos (laughs). But with 60% of the damage, it seems like opinions will differ on whether to go with Ultra Combo Double or an individual Ultra Combo.

Ayano: You get the impression that we expanded Ultra Combo select, so I think it would be more interesting if there are a diversity of opinions based on play style. I hope there is a lot of discussion with all the users.

Famitsu: It would be great if the players can express their individuality. Incidentally, will the properties themselves of Ultra Combos be adjusted from AE beyond the addition of Ultra Combo Double?

Ayano: Of course. Currently we’re updating them about daily. For example, there is a tendency to use Makoto’s Abare Tosanami just to run away with its invincibility, so we want to work on that.

Famitsu: Personally, I wish Ultra Combos did as much crazy damage as they did in SFIV. Since then Ultra Combos don’t do that much damage (laughs).

Ayano: They are Ultras, above Super Combos. It would bring out the merit of Ultra Combo I and II. We’ll keep it in mind as a user opinion.

Famitsu: Next, what kind of system is the Red Focus Attack, the evolution of the Focus Attack?

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Ayano: Before we get into the functions, there’s actually a bit of a story to it. Back during SSFIV AE, along with the addition of Yun and Yang there were rumors spreading on the net of a multi-hit Focus. At that time there was a lot of positive opinions from the community who thought it would be really interesting. We wanted to expand on the Focus Attack in USFIV, so we wanted to take that idea and actualize it. We proposed it for development, and what came from it is the Red Focus Attack.

Famitsu: Ah, there were rumors like that. How does it work in the location test version?

Ayano: To put it simply, you can focus multiple-hit moves. We’re tuning how many hits it can absorb. Currently it can get into the double digits.

Famitsu: Double digits!?

Ayano: Currently double digits. Still, activating it costs 2 blocks of the EX Gauge. I think it’s fine if it can withstand that many. Of course this is just how it is in the location test version. For the final version we want everyone’s opinion on whether to implement it as it is.

Famitsu: So it consumes meter. Does it change from Level 1 to 3 based on the charge length like normal Focus Attacks?

Ayano: In the location test version, like normal Focus Attacks, based on the charge length it changes from level 1 to 3. The effect of the Focus is also the same. However, in contrast to regular Red Focus, if you cancel into it from a normal attack or special move as an EX Red Focus Attack, there is a difference. EX Red Focus will cause the crumple effect even with Level 1. For example, Ryu can do Heavy Punch → EX Red Focus Attack (crumple) → Metsu Hadoken.

Famitsu: I imagine many characters’ combos will change dramatically. Until now you could connect into an Ultra Combo by canceling a Focus Attack without the move itself hitting, but it seems like Red Focus Attack will be included in a lot of combos. The benefit of Focus cancel for characters with charge special moves was weak, but that might change in USFIV.

Ayano: Agreed! We had charge characters like Guile, Blanka and M.Bison in mind for USFIV. It has been said that the game system is disadvantageous for charge characters, so we picked up on those opinions.

Famitsu: So what is the command?

Ayano: This is for the location test version, but it can be done by pressing Medium Punch + Medium Kick + any other button at the same time. For example, Medium Punch + Medium Kick + Heavy Punch. After taking in consideration various combined input techniques, this is what we went with.

Famitsu: This way the techniques that users have come up with until now won’t become unusable as a side effect. On the subject of users, it’s already being called “Red Focus”, is that nickname fine?

Sugiyama: When we revealed it on the web days ago, there was an echo in the Twitter real-time search rankings for “Red Focus”, so I think that nickname is fine.

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The Red Focus Attack, activated by expending two blocks of the EX Gauge. Currently it can absorb hits into the double digits.

Famitsu: I see. Next, give me the details on Delayed Standing.

Sugiyama: In its current form, the concept is simply delaying the rise from the ground, a counter-strategy to difficult-to-guard wake-up offense. This is because we thought that the offense after moves that force a knockdown was too strong.

Famitsu: Is there any visual effect when performing a Delayed Stand?

Sugiyama: We’re currently examining that. In the location test version there is no visual indicator. If the Delayed Stand is exposed to the opponent then it would amount to nothing. However, we do think that it would bad if the rising side can’t discern whether their Delay Stand was successful.

Ayano: It would meaningless if the offensive side could react to it and change their actions. Even if we do add some sort of visual indicator, we’ll make it so you can’t recognize the delay and change your attack in time.

Famitsu: If the defensive side uses Red Focus and Delayed Standing properly, I get the feeling that the evasion methods will be too strong. Does the offensive side have any kind of counter?

Ayano: Up until SSFIV AE Ver.2012 the impression has been that wake-up offense is too strong. We don’t think the addition of Red Focus and Delayed Standing alone will make offense meaningless. Red Focus is indeed powerful, but like normal Focus Attacks it’s weak to throws, and the gauge cost is high so you can’t use it recklessly.

Famitsu: I understand. Because offense was too strong, the defensive options have been increased, creating a chance for escape.

Ayano: Exactly. Still, because we can’t test the game with hundreds of staff, there will be things that the development team miss. Because of that, we want to see how the new systems are used in the location tests. We want everyone to join in the location test and send feedback.

Sugiyama: Please send your pointed opinions to Ayano (laughs).

The New Characters Are Entirely Different Beasts from SFXTK!

Famitsu: On the subject on the location test, in USFIV four new characters Hugo, Elena, Poison and Rolento will be playable. What’s the appeal of these new characters?

Ayano: All four characters appeared in Street Fighter X Tekken (below, SFXTK), but if anyone thought that we brought them over as they were in that game, that’s totally not the case. We’re tuning them as separate characters, so please try them out in the location test.

Sugiyama: Actually the new character tuning we’re worried about the most is Hugo’s. In SFIII he was a character based around the Parry, so figuring out how to adopt him into a SFIV style is difficult. He’s being updated daily, sometimes very strong, other times weak. We want to gather opinions from users who try him in the location test.

Famitsu: In SFIII Hugo had three Super Arts, but how are his Ultra Combos allocated?

Ayano: Hugo and Elena’s SFIII Super Arts are assigned as their Ultra Combos and Super Combo. Rest assured, we didn’t do away with them. Rolento will also have moves he used in previous series as his Ultra Combos and Super Combo.

Famitsu: What about the Ultra Combos for Poison, who appeared in SFXTK?

Ayano: One is her Super Art from SFXTK. As for the other, those who are in the know will notice her “Aah!” move has been made into an Ultra Combo.

Famitsu: Huh, you mean from Final Fight!?

Ayano: Think of Revenge…

Famitsu: That’s too crazy (laughs).

Ayano: There’s a console version on the Sega Saturn, so if you can predict it from that (laughs).

Famitsu: In SFIV offense and defense using normal attacks is important. Are you tuning their normal attacks to be more SFIV-like?

Ayano: We’ve played around with the hitboxes quite a bit, so they’re entirely different. Frankly, the hitboxes in SFXTK were a bit bold, so to make them fit into SFIV they are stricter. Regarding normal attacks, we’re having trouble adjusting Rolento because it’s all multi-hit attacks (laughs).

Famitsu: Moving on, will the existing characters have new moves?

Ayano: For this location test, we’re focusing on the tuning the new characters and systems, so first please enjoy those. Naturally we’re implementing adjustments to hitboxes. In the new versions until now, we primarily changed the start-up speed and hitbox sizes of moves, but for USFIV the properties are the moves have been greatly changed, such as Dhalsim’s Medium Kick becoming two hits. We want players to attack more, so we’ve made some offensive adjustments. However, we’re weeell aware that all the players want to use new moves.

Famitsu: Will you publish those change points on the official blog before the location test? I’m looking forward to playing in the location tests, and if there’s no information it looks like I’ll just test my own characters and won’t get around to the new systems…

Ayano: That is true. It might be difficult to reveal them on the web, so we’re looking into a venue-limited display.

Famitsu: I think all the users will also want to know, so please do. Incidentally, will NESiCA cards be usable at this location test?

Ayano: They’re still unusable. Currently we can’t say if battle records will carry over, but we don’t want to handicap the players. Please wait for NESiCA details.

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Famitsu: Now, can tell me about present state of development?

Ayano: We’re currently at 65%. If there are no particular opinions at the location test it will be 100% (laughs).

Sugiyama: It means that the remaining 35% is left to the user feedback we gather. We want to develop the game together with the user.

Famitsu: New systems have been announced and location tests are being held, players can also see the direction of USFIV. On that note I was wondering about release timing…?

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Sugiyama: The arcade version is planned for an April release. There was discussion within Capcom not only in Japan, but in America as well, and quite a bit of worry, so it feels like we finally made it this far.

Famitsu: Do you have a message for the fans?

Sugiyama: I’m now the producer for USFIV, so some might say “Does this guy get it?”, but I too have been going to arcades since the SFII era and have the same passion for Street Fighter as everyone else. I want to collect everyone’s opinions on the balance. Perhaps some may feel dissatisfied that there are also parts of the game that haven’t changed since the previous title. But ultimately if we can gather everyone’s opinions, we can understand those parts. The new characters are in the location test, but we can’t say they are in their final state. For that we want to everyone’s opinions so we can develop them together. Please let us know about your impressions from the location test.

Ayano: First of all, please participate in the location test. We want to make Street Fighter not just with Japan, but together with users all over the world. Please let us know about your impressions from the location test. We want to hear a loud noise from the users in Japan. I also plan to make my way to the location tests as time allows, so thank you for participating.

Participants in the Japan location test will receive an original NESiCA card sticker. (Two types, Elena/Rolento and Poison/Hugo)
Participants in the Japan location test will receive an original NESiCA card sticker. (Two types, Elena/Rolento and Poison/Hugo)

Source: Famitsu