ComboFiend Talks Tier Lists & Going Pro In Street Fighter V


GameSided asks a pro fighting game player, now working at Capcom, how Street Fighter V will aim to capture the attention of, and grow, the fighting game community.

One of my biggest gaming regrets is not getting into fighting games at an earlier age. While it’s never too late to start, in order to go pro you need to put in a lot of time and effort to practice your moves. As your brain’s reaction times start to slow at age 24, time spent making reads and reacting to opponents’ attacks is in your prime when you’re younger.

Street Fighter V associate producer, Peter “ComboFiend” Rosas, is helping Capcom bring in an entirely new audience to the fighting game community using his expertise of knowing the crowd. He’s been a pro fighting game player for years, reaching high finishing spots in tournaments like Evo and Devastation in a number of games. We asked him a number of FGC-related questions this week, including how Capcom will help players learn to become the very best with the February 16th release of Street Fighter V.

GameSided: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. As we approach the launch of Street Fighter V, I’m seeing a lot of talk online, in social media and on gaming forums, about how to effectively “get good” at fighting games. What would you say is the most important skill required to make that leap from noob to fighting game enthusiast?

Peter Rosas: I would say the most important skill is resilience. As you learn more about Street Fighter V, such as what attacks your preferred character uses, you will definitely take losses against players who may know more than you. Being able to bounce back from those losses with an understanding of what went wrong will help you improve and win faster than you know it.

GS: There will be 16 different fighters at the launch of Street Fighter V, including four newcomers. What measures will the game offer beyond Tutorial Mode that will help fighters better improve their skills that past Street Fighter games haven’t offered?

PR: In March, we will be introducing battle tips. These tips will teach players the ins and outs of Street Fighter V through helpful demonstration and tutorial content for each of the 16 characters. The content also contains advice for our more experienced players.

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GS: It has been announced that six additional characters will join the roster in 2016, with Yoshinori Ono also noting an additional wave of characters beyond that slate will be released at some time. In terms of game mechanics, how do you expect the slow drip release of characters to the roster to alter the matchup and tournament viability of certain characters in the years ahead?

I think it’s pretty clear that Street Fighter V would not have been made if not for the fighting game community.

PR: In terms of game mechanics, I feel the slow drip of new characters will give players something new to toy with as each character’s V-Trigger is quite unique. In terms of tournament viability, we’re working hard to ensure that every additional character added to the game is capable, but not overpowered; as protecting the game’s balance is of the utmost importance to us. Additionally, we’ll be making battle balance changes at the end of every year to ensure all characters remain strong.

GS: One of the first ever matches of Street Fighter V shown to the public involved you playing as Chun-Li facing off against Mike Ross’ Ryu. How has the switch to being on the developmental side changed your views on the fighting game community and their importance to the longevity of a fighting game?

PR: I think it’s pretty clear that Street Fighter V would not have been made if not for the fighting game community. That’s not to say that all of our fans aren’t important, but it’s the fighting game community that keeps playing Street Fighter years down the road. Our biggest challenge during development was making sure any mechanic added to Street Fighter V met the expectations and desires of most of the fighting game community, but were also inviting to new players. We definitely love our community and want to see it grow!

GS: A recent TV spot for the game even showed up late during the NFL playoffs, repurposing the FGC-heavy announcement trailer of Street Fighter V. How important is it to grow a competitive audience for the game amid an ever-growing field of fighting games, and do you find that pairs well with a football-watching crowd?

PR: It’s extremely important to grow our competitive audience and what better way than with football fans? Football fans are competitive strategists, which is what we see our Street Fighter players as. We hope that more football fans give Street Fighter a chance and go from watching their favorite team every Sunday, to becoming the favorite player watched on Sundays during tournament finals.

GS: You know firsthand just how difficult it is to succeed at a high level in any fighting game field, let alone a big draw like Street Fighter. Is it more beneficial for a newcomer to play every type of fighting game out there in order to understand the entire field of gameplay mechanics, or is it better to focus on one game you like most and chip away hours of practice strictly there?

PR: I think it’s better for a new player to focus on the mechanics of the game they’re playing instead of multiple games as each fighting game differs greatly from one another. This is similar to how both boxing and MMA matches are both classified as fighting, but have very different rules.

GS: How will the ability to grind for characters to unlock them in Street Fighter V alter how young players (who might not have access to credit cards to pay for DLC characters) learn to play all characters game at a competitive level? Will we see more Noah Solis’ playing as characters like Urien at Evo 2017?

PR: Personally, I think the ability to earn characters by playing the game benefits younger players the most as they have the most time on their hands. And yes, because these younger players will have enough Fight Money saved up to access the new post-launch characters as soon as they’re released, they’ll have as much time as anyone else to master them and show them off at popular tournaments like Evo 2017.

GS: Speaking of Evo, tournament organizers recently announced that players can enter tournaments with a DualShock 4 controller. Despite allowing more players to compete for the first time due to accessibility, does a fight stick remain the best option players have to succeed in a tournament setting?

PR: Not at all. Two of the best Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament players in the United States currently use a controller. With Street Fighter V being more accessible than USFIV, we think those on DualShocks will do just fine!

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GS: The launch of a new fighting game will be a time of experimentation for many, especially when learning matchups and which characters appeal to which sensibilities. Will the ongoing balance changes of Street Fighter V embrace or differentiate from any observed “tier lists?”

I’d say with the Capcom Pro Tour this year, we will definitely see more players pursuing a career in Street Fighter.

PR: Tier lists are rather subjective and as such don’t specifically help us narrow down a character’s strength or weakness. What’s more important to us when looking at balance changes is, “What is it that players are complaining about? Is this something that is genuinely strong or is this a case of inexperience and perhaps not figuring out the right solution?” If it turns out after testing that the mentioned attack or tactic is too strong for a character to fight, then we’ll look into the optimal adjustment.

GS: As the years go by, more and more attention has been paid to games as eSports. ESPN even has a wing dedicated to coverage of its games. Will we start to see more careers in fighting games start to take off, and what does Capcom have in store for the coming year that will help make such a path a legitimate option?

PR: I’d say with the Capcom Pro Tour this year, we will definitely see more players pursuing a career in Street Fighter. This year’s tour encompasses 72 events over five continents, allowing players a chance at $500,000 in prizing. If that doesn’t make playing Street Fighter legitimate, then I don’t know what to tell you.

GS: Thanks again for talking with us. Any final words of advice for someone who has made Street Fighter V their first fighting game?

PR: Welcome to the exciting world of Street Fighter V! Although Street Fighter V might seem rather complex initially, it’s much like anything else in life, the more you learn about it the easier it becomes. That said, the road to greatness will be filled with perfect victories and nail-biting losses, but at the end of the day, if you continue to rise up, you’ll become a respected Street Fighter before you know it.