Update: I received clarification on how post-launch content will work in terms of what can be earned and what must be purchased with real-world money. While all gameplay-related content will be earn-able, some premium content will not be. The section near the end of this story has now been updated to reflect that clarification.
Original: With the game now just a few short weeks away from release, Capcom has finally lifted the lid on what players can expect from Street Fighter V?s single-player story modes.
While previous iterations in the Street Fighter series typically went with an arcade-style linear progression of fights with the occasional cutscene or post-battle dialog thrown in to give some context, Street Fighter V looks to mix up that formula.
There will still be something akin to those older games present, coming in the way of character stories. Here, each individual world warrior will get his or her own story segment, focused on explaining how and why they came to partake in the events of Street Fighter V. These stories will be personalized for whomever you pick, so who you fight along the way?including who that character?s end boss is?is specific to each roster choice.
Much like the training mode we?ve recently had the chance to experience in the game?s beta, the characters stories will have dialog scenes drawn by famous Japanese artist Bengus, a man whose name should be well known to any long-time Capcom fans. Bengus has done artwork for a number of previous fighting games for the developer, including Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Marvel vs Capcom 2, so I think it?s pretty cool to see Capcom tap his talent as a bit of an homage to the legacy of the franchise.
Character stories will be part of Street Fighter V at launch, and as new characters as added, their stories will be available as soon as you unlock those fighters for yourself.
I did, however, say ?modes? instead of ?mode,? and that?s where things get especially interesting. In addition to those character stories, the game will also have a bigger, beefier cinematic story mode. (All these names, by the way, are still tentative as of now.) Here, players will be treated to one giant, canonical tale that helps bridge the gap between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III, giving Street Fighter V its proper place in the timeline. In the cinematic story mode, you won?t choose your character; instead, as you progress through the narrative, who you?re playing as will shift, as events unfold and you learn more about what?s going on. All of the main roster will show up in this mode, including a few of the first wave of DLC characters; as of now, however, the story won?t expand as more roster additions happen down the road.
The experience will be big?Capcom promises more than an hour of ?cinematic content? beyond the fights themselves?but even bigger could be the company?s ambitions for the mode. In previous games, part of the focus was to give players something interesting depending on who they were running through single-player with. Unfortunately, that played more than a little havoc on what the ?true? story of the game actually was. With Street Fighter V?s cinematic story mode, having one solid, focus storyline is now the goal, so that there?s no question of whose ending is considered canon and whose isn?t. (At least, you know, for us weirdos who actually care about what the ?true? story is in our fighting games.)
The one downside is that the cinematic story mode won?t be hitting alongside Street Fighter V at launch, but at least it won?t be too late to the party. As of now, Capcom expects it to be added to the game come June.
To quickly hit on a few questions you might have: No, you won?t need to play either of the story modes to unlock any major content in the game, but of course you will earn Fight Money to help do just that, and playing them will supposedly net you some kind of ?bonus?; Yes, the story modes will be voiced, in both English and Japanese; The official timeline, as of now, is Street Fighter > SF Alpha > SF2 > SFIV > SFV > SFIII; And no, the cinematic story mode will not feature Bengus? art, as it?ll use in-game assets for all of its narrative moments.
Finally, Capcom also clarified a few details surrounding the service model for Street Fighter V. The in-game store will open in March, in order to give players a chance to really get a feel for the game and earning Fight Money before having to worry about what to do with it. As such, there will be no day-one content?you?ll have everything available at release when you purchase the game. After that, Capcom reiterated that all gameplay-related post-launch content must either be free for players or earn-able with Fight Money. (Some items, such as “premium” costumes, will only be purchasable with Zenny, which requires real-world money.) So, with both skill and patience, you?ll be able to unlock everything that comes for the game without paying any extra money. For those lacking in either time or talent, Daily challenges will also kick off once the store has launched, and those will be one of your primary long-term methods for generating Fight Money in the months and years ahead.