UPDATE: At the PlayStation Experience keynote, Capcom confirmed that the game is console exclusive. No Xbox One version anytime soon, folks. Gameplay trailer and official screenshots below.
This weekend is the PlayStation Experience (PSX, natch), Sony's two day event showing off all the gaming action you'll find on PlayStation platforms. It's the company's chance to show us that it's taken those admonishments of "lack of exclusives" to heart. What can Sony scoop up to keep the PlayStation 4 the current king of the gaming industry?
Apparently, some pretty big stuff.
A leaked trailer has revealed that Street Fighter V is coming exclusively for PlayStation 4 and PC. (Yeah, I screamed a little internally myself.) The trailer shows a bit of gameplay featuring series mainstays Ryu and Chun Li. Visually, the game is an improvement over Street Fighter IV, though certain flourishes from that series can still be found. That's pretty much the extent of our information on the game; no details on the gameplay systems, the roster, or the release date. It's the kind of announcement that's pure speculative excitement, giving fans just enough so they have fill in the rest for themselves.
I'm sure Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono was going to have fun announcing that at PlayStation Experience. Oh well.
"Personally, I don't want to stop Street Fighter's main numbered series at IV," he said last year. "Realistically speaking, developing a title for next-gen consoles requires a huge amount of staff members, and a large sum of money. The issue of money also applies to everyone else, as it'll be required to invest in a new console, game, and arcade stick."
It looks like Capcom found the budget. Sony's budget. (The game could be a time exclusive. Details still forthcoming, of course.)
It feels like we're moving into a new era of exclusives, where platform holders pay developers to focus on a single home console. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era was marked by the rise of multi-platform games from third-party publishers, because game development was too expensive to focus on a single console. Final Fantasy XIII's release on Xbox 360 felt like a definitive end to the one console focus for publishers who really wanted to make money.
This is slightly different from previous generations. Like Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U or Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One, a platform holder has stepped in to make a title a reality. It's a calculated risk, Bayonetta 2 was a great game, but it didn't light up the charts. Rise of the Tomb Raider may build on the excellent 2013 reboot, but players who picked the game up on PlayStation 3 or 4 have the taste of coal in their mouth.
The surprising thing is the online reception to Street Fighter V on PS4 is wholly different from the Rise of Tomb Raider announcement. People seem pretty excited, while the Tomb Raider news seemed full of resentment. There's probably something to be said for the linear, story-based nature of Tomb Raider in this case. If you started the new Lara Croft's story on one platform, being told you have to switch to another could be angering. Street Fighter V on the other hand is another Street Fighter game, potentially as different from Street Fighter IV as that title was from Street Fighter III. It's an easier pill to swallow.
The PC version also helps take the sting out of things.
The days of the Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat rivalry are back, with Street Fighter on PlayStation 4 and Killer Instinct on Xbox One. Microsoft is probably thanking its lucky stars that Killer Instinct turned out as well as it did. Fighting games have passionate communities, so having a great one in your corner is a good thing. The difference is Sony just locked up what will surely be the headliner at EVO 201X, the annual fighting game tournament that marks the culmination of a year of competitive play. Depending on release timing, Sony could move just a few PlayStation 4 systems.
It reminds me of the 8-bit and 16-bit days. The hard-fought, crazy console wars. Who needs to fight over resolution and framerate differences when there are full exclusive titles? The wars of old are back. I look forward to reading "I didn't want to play Street Fighter V anyways" or "Killer Instinct is just a poor man's fighting game."
As E3 2015 rolls around, I'll be interested to see the full extent of this new era of exclusives plays out. Is it just a few key titles, or will we be seeing more of this outside of the big three publishers (Activision, Ubisoft, and EA)?