Street Fighter IV: Hello, Yes, Still Here

By Alec Meer on April 29th, 2009 at 1:37 pm.

The months since the latest iteration of the evergreen fighting series appeared on filthy console grow longer, and still there’s no sign of a release date for the much-anticipaterooed PC version. Let’s hope it’s a sign Capcom are really committed to getting it right. What we do now have, however, is word on some PC-exclusive new features…

To get the bad news out of the way, it will include Games For Windows Live. It’s an oft-annoying system to be sure, but some of the community’s hatred for it does seem a little disproportionate these days, given its recentish redesign is slightly less grating and there’s no longer a need for a paid subscription. Yeah, it’d probably be better if it weren’t there, but it does at least mean that Achievement point nonsense everyone gets so excited about is included, plus built-in voice comms for smacktalk and shouting Ha-Do-Ken in a silly voice.

Quite the deal-sweetener is the revelation of bonus render modes, thanks to some shader trickery. Choose from Poster, Sumi-e ink or watercolour, in addition to the default sorta-cell-shaded look. Gimmicky, perhaps, but I quite enjoy such things – always enjoyed dicking around with Far Cry’s odd shader modes. Compare and contrast below – there’s not an enormous difference between a few of ‘em, but presumably everyone will end up finding a favourite:

More comparisons and higher resolution shizzle (in which the differences are a tad more apparent) here.

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69 Comments »

  1. Freudian Trip says:

    My favourites the 2nd. Love those comic book thick black outlines.

  2. Jockie says:

    They’re announcing the release date of the pc version on friday according to Kotaku. Why they need to set a date to release an announcement of a release date it seems, is beyond everyone.

  3. Real Horrorshow says:

    If the netcode for searching for matches is even 1% better than on PS3, it will be glorious. I’m gonna wait to see the sales numbers before buying it though, I don’t want to buy it a second time and find out there’s only 10 other people online and everyone else on the planet downloaded it and plays over Hamachi. Because that’s probably what’s going to happen.

  4. A:\Big.bat says:

    I can barely tell the difference between those screens – hardly a major change!

  5. Rook says:

    Yeah, the first time I read it, I thought it must mean that may 1st is the release date.

    Also, I really don’t care about extra features, I’d rather that all the platforms got the same thing at the same time.

  6. Ian says:

    If what I’ve heard is correct, it appears there’s an achievement on the console version along the lines of: Pretend Ken is the only playable character in online mode.

    Hopefully there will be more variation if I get this for PC. :)

  7. PC Monster says:

    Bonus render modes? I’m struggling to see the added value this provides to the retail purchase beyond a momentary amusement playing with the settings. If they were wildly different then there may be a point to their inclusion: play in 1930′s film-grain style, for instance. But the four squint-to-see-the-differences screenies above are so broadly similar there’s practically nothing to choose between.

    Bullet-point fodder only.

    Also, GFWL = FAIL. Quite why games now cannot avoid being tied into systems designed to allow the MySpace generation to continue to promulgate their meaningless pseudo-communication between one another is utterly infuriating. Give me the choice, please? Remember choice? Back when gamers didn’t need to be force-fed things YOU the publishers feel we need? I think this is what sticks in people’s craw most about the system, Alec, over and above the brain-boiling technical failings of the system.

  8. Real Horrorshow says:

    If you guys can’t at least tell the difference between the 2nd picture and the other 3, see an optometrist.

  9. Radiant says:

    Nice.
    Hopefully they fix El Fuerte’s infinite combo.

  10. Cooper says:

    If only they’d included a ‘pixel art’ shader…
    Anyway, I’m sticking with Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo for now.

    Also, ditto with PC Monster. We’ve had this before with games trying to ram gamespy and the like down our necks. Thankfully, they were always an option in the install (or could, at the least, be removed afterwards)

    GFWL is non-negotiable in many games. This is not good. It shows a massive misreading of PC Gamers that they think they can make it a requirement – many of us play mostly on the PC because of the amount of freedom and choice it provides. Diminishing that does not a grateful PC gamer make.

  11. ZIGS says:

    Remember when that Capcom guy said one of the big reasons for the delay on PC was because they needed time to adapt the game to the PC platform? Well, I just read on another site (can’t remember which one, I got there through N4G) that the PC version is if fact, a straight port from the consoles. Yay Capcom!

  12. MeestaNob! says:

    I think Capcom’s new engine(s) are based around PC first and foremost, making the consoles games technically the ports (although usually much better optimised ones as opposed to ones going the other way around, sadly).

    GFWL is a travesty. The biggest insult is that there wont be cross platform (PC vs X360) multiplayer. Why do we have to tolerate GFWL garbage if we cant even utilise it’s biggest advantage?

    Give me Steam or leave my game offline Capcom, please. That said, at least we can be thankful they have attempted some ridiculous Rockstar-esq Social Club misfire. That would have had people rummaging in their closets for pitchforks and maps to Capcom HQ (and rightly so).

  13. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i quite like GfwL but i agree that it should be optional, there’s no reason why it can’t be technically and it annoys people although a bonified alternative to steam is something i’d like to see from an anti monopoly point of view.

  14. Black Mamba says:

    I’m amazed its even coming out on the PC its not like there is a community for this kind of game, the last fighter game I can recall was One Must Fall!

    Also I don’t get the GFWL hate, it works well enough for what it does or is it just disguised Microsoft hate – what are the odds those folks are running warez Windows too ??

  15. Saul says:

    Ah, One Must Fall, now that was a game.

  16. Nick says:

    What is it it works well at? Installing itself when you don’t want it and it adds nothing you need or use?

  17. Jim Rossignol says:

    What is it it works well at?

    Peer to peer matchmaking. That’s why it’s being used so much by devs afaik.

  18. DMJ says:

    A beat-them-up? Upon the Personal Computer?

    A true gentleman scoffs at this childish frivolity. Toribash, anyone?

  19. Dan Harris says:

    What do people think will be the best input device for playing this on PC? All the serious console folks use summat like this:

    http://store.videogamecentral.com/xbox360-sf4-arcade-stick-tournament-edition.html

    So I’m guessing the same, though a plain old keyboard might be doable for the nimble fingered.

  20. Jim Rossignol says:

    Inevitably, I’ll play this on a 360 pad.

  21. Serenegoose says:

    I wouldn’t consider GFWL a big deal if it was optional, but frankly I perpetually too-small hard drive and buy every game I have except l4d and TF2 for the singleplayer, I just don’t need GFWL and it’s silly I should be ‘forced’ to have it.

  22. subedii says:

    plus built-in voice comms for smacktalk and shouting Ha-Do-Ken in a silly voice.

    Yeah, and no push-to-talk. Granted fighting games like this are one of the few occasions where all-talk would be a good idea, but seriously, why on EARTH does MS insist that all-talk should be mandatory?

    I realise that it’s standard on XBL, but on the PC push to talk has been standard for probably over a decade now. It’s a keyboard, we have enough buttons that we can spare one. Heck, I usually bind it to mouse-button 5. If at all possible, I want to be spared the sound of mouth breathers, masticators, and random static noises as if player is gaming whilst standing neck deep in the ocean.

    Then again, in a game like street fighter if you’re playing random games you’ll probably want to switch off voice comms altogether, and save yourself having to listen to an endless stream of high pitched pre-pubescent smack-talk swearing.

  23. Dan Harris says:

    Jim: I read somewhere the normal 360 pad was a bit wank to play on. Was I lied to? (Haven’t tried it.)

  24. subedii says:

    The D-pad on the 360 gamepad isn’t really up to much. You’d be better of with another pad, or possibly getting yourself an arcade stick.

  25. psyk says:

    what he said

  26. Smurfy says:

    Attention, developers: STOP USING GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE, WE LIKE STEAM MORE

  27. daniel says:

    Does this mean SF4 wont be available on Steam? I believe there are other games by capcom offered on steam. Ive come to a point where i really dont want to buy non steam-games. Mainly for their ease of use.

  28. subedii says:

    I wouldn’t go that far. We still need competition to Steam. And realistically, tying games to any mandatory online service has always been iffy.

    At the moment, Steam definitely outclasses GFWL as a community service, but I’m hoping (HOPING) That MS will start giving it some real investment and realise that they need to treat it differently to XBL.

    The cynical part of me though, guesses that MS is only going to give real investment to the service that they can get people to pay a subscription for. Right now the only actual thing they can claim to have over Steam is their “TrueSkill” matchmaking system. If Valve start implementing skill-based matchmaking, then GFWL has nothing. They need to make changes.

    Starting with an external client and Push-to-Talk. I mean really, that stuff’s been evident from day 1.

  29. Ian says:

    @DMJ: I loved Toribash for quite some time, but unfortunately my feeble brain could only manage spectacular brutality by chance, rather than design.

  30. Serondal says:

    I’ve only ever been any good at DOA games and got pretty good with the latter Tekkens, I’ve never been good at these street fighter type capcom fighters though I can do passable in Marvel VS Capcom series games since a lot of the moves are pretty easy to pull off but like Ian says no massive chains. I don’t see a big difference between this and SF 2 O.o

  31. StormTec says:

    @Radiant: I doubt that, seeing how it’s actually El Fuerte’s final hard trial.

    And do you know how effing hard it is to actually pull off his runstopfierce infinite infinitely? It’s hard enough trying to do it 3 times (which is what the trial asks of you) let alone constantly until stun. We nickname it the RSI loop for a reason…

    I’ve actually already got this for the 360, and an EX2 fight stick. So I could get it for the PC as well, I suppose. But I’m not that dedicated a fan XD

    @Serondal: On the face of it, and at basic to low-intermediate level play, there isn’t. I suppose. Focus attack dash cancels, and ultras I guess, are where this and SF2 diverge rather greatly, I feel.

  32. EyeMessiah says:

    Signed re. pixel art shader.

    I don’t mind GFWL much these days. Have been tolerating it in my DOW for a while now, and I’m not completely offended by it anymore.

    I’m not sure if I will re-buy SF4 as I did buy a PS3 for it.

  33. klumhru says:

    Besides the fact that I don’t get why they are even porting this to PC, there are several alternatives to GFWL for matchmaking etc. We’re using the RakNet library for our game, which has a full featured matchmaking lobby system, and includes methods for NAT punch-through and the other features that you need for peer to peer matchmaking. It even has auto updating functionality and a plethora of other stuff that neither FGWL nor SteamWorks offers. Codemasters among others use it for their games. It’s also well priced with indies in mind.

    I started using it after Valve didn’t even answer my emails for access to the SteamWorks library. It never really occurred to me to call Microsoft for access to their SDK :p

  34. Benjamin Ferrari says:

    I don’t see much difference between the screenshots, and I do not really care if the PC version is released a few month sooner or later than elsewhere. I love playing with my rumblepad.

    However, I am a proud cheap-ass PC Gamer, and I’m interested in this “some fighting game” as soon as its price drops below 20,- Euro. I only pay 40,- if it comes with high quality long term service and tons of content.

    Welcome to the not regulated, competitive PC Market, Capcom.

  35. Rich_P says:

    What’s with the peer-to-peer matchmaking fad? Based on my experience with the DoW II and L4D demos, it completely sucks. (I decided against purchasing both of those titles due, in part, to matchmaking issues. Still waiting for another round of multiplayer demos so I can see if there’s been an improvement.)

    Sounds like Demigod also suffered from p2p issues at launch, too.

  36. Serondal says:

    What is wrong with good ol “make a game” and “join a game” with server browser? It works for DoD and CS and every other game made before this fad started. So what if you get trouched some times, you’re not going to learn anything just narrowly beating someone who is just as good as you. You need to get stomped by an expert to learn his skills ect :P (This is how I learned to play Pool)

  37. Dominic White says:

    Serondal: Servers wouldn’t work with the netcode that Street Fighter 4 uses. It’s an entirely peer-to-peer system that actually runs a seperate full simulation on each players sytem.

    What this means is that no matter what your ping, any button press you has plays out on your screen as if you weren’t online at all. Your button inputs are transferred to the other player, who sees the action a fraction of a second later.

    This is a gigantic advantage in a 2d fighting game like this, where an action taking a tenth of a second can affect the outcome of a match. The fact that it feels completely lag-free on your end cannot be understated.

    If at any point the two simulations become desynched, the game rewinds to the last synched point – what this means is that in particularly heated melee, you may see tiny stutters and frames ‘undone’ now and then, but it’s a helluva lot better than the traditional single-state multiplayer mode.

    This couldn’t work with a server. It’s entirely peer-to-peer.

  38. Tom says:

    Man alive, I’m seriously looking forward to this one!

  39. Crispy says:

    “Peer to peer matchmaking. That’s why it’s being abused so much by devs afaik.”

    Fixed. If the matchmaking is as horrendous as DoW2, there could be stormy weather ahead.

  40. Gorgeras says:

    P2P is especially hit and miss depending on your ISP: some of them ‘manage’ their bandwidth to discourage torrents.

    Does anyone have a list of which ISPs do this?

  41. Funky Badger says:

    Smurfy: but GFWL is better than Steam, in that it can actually perform the basic functions its designed to without causing you to pull your own hair out in frustration. Steam isn’t a bad idea, but its broken, and adds zero value to games.

  42. Nighthood says:

    @Funky Badger, good job, you made me laugh out loud there. I mean, what is more funny than the suggestion that GFWL has a real use at any point in time?

  43. Tetracell says:

    I think people throwing out statements like “Attention, developers: STOP USING GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE, WE LIKE STEAM MORE” are funnier since it basically has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  44. Funky Badger says:

    Nighthood: erm, I don’t know, is it unquestioning acceptance of the status quo? ;-)

    I’ve used both systems, and Steam has caused me more hassles than GFWL, therefore its worse. (Friends search in GFWL works like a charm – in Steam, not so much – , and the integrated voice chat is nice, although not as good as the XBL version)

  45. Capital-T-Tim says:

    Dominic White:

    Servers wouldn’t work with the netcode that Street Fighter 4 uses. It’s an entirely peer-to-peer system that actually runs a seperate full simulation on each players sytem.

    What this means is that no matter what your ping, any button press you has plays out on your screen as if you weren’t online at all. Your button inputs are transferred to the other player, who sees the action a fraction of a second later.

    (snip)

    This couldn’t work with a server. It’s entirely peer-to-peer.

    Not to be overly pedantic, but there’s no reason you can’t do this in a client-server architecture as well. In a p2p setup you have all clients sending packets directly to each other. You could imagine a client-server setup where the server simply receives packets from one client and sends them to the other without doing much else – you’d get the same result as what you’ve described. Many games do work this way (full game simulation running on all clients; server sitting in the middle of all data transfers). There are still benefits to having a server in this situation: it can do data validation, for example (to potentially detect cheats); make tie-breaker calls if two clients try to perform the same exclusive action simultaneously; etc.

    I would imagine the real reason for a p2p network model is that it reduces packet latency. Instead of data going from one client to another having to travel through a server (total latency = client1->server latency + server->client2 latency), the data is going to directly from client1->client2.

  46. DMJ says:

    Ah yes, P2P multiplayer. It worked so well in Dawn of War 2 and Demigod…

  47. Tetracell says:

    Worked fine for practically every RTS in history before now so I don’t really get your comment there, DMJ.

  48. Psychopomp says:

    To concerns about playing on a 360 pad
    Yes, it is terrible
    Abso-fucking-lutely terrible. Get a arcade stick or just use your keyboard. I don’t know what it was, but getting a move more complicated than HADOUKEN is completely luck-based, you more often than not just punch the air.

  49. Tetracell says:

    I really don’t get why it is so difficult for manufacturers to make a controller with a decent d-pad. The last real good d-pad I used was on an old Hammerhead FX controller. I’d kill for that to work nowadays, but the last drivers were for win98 :(

  50. Starky says:

    For those worried about using the horrible Xbox 360 Dpad (and rightfully so) there ARE options if you’re willing to spend a bit of money.
    One of the best controllers for street fighter ever invented is the Sega Saturn official controller, which you can pick up on Ebay for like a fiver, and then get yourself a Saturn to USB adaptor (though they can be hard to find now).
    There are a few other options also if you look around.
    Also keep in mind that the Xbox 360 street fighter arcade sticks and controllers should work fine on the PC with the 360 controller drivers.

    Or you could always build your own (which isn’t even that hard if you gut a circuit from some old PC controller).

    Though personally I don’t get what kind of idiot designer would make a Dpad like that for the 360… clearly one who’s never picked up a game in his life.
    I just don’t get why every controller designer doesn’t just steal the Saturns dpad, it was without a doubt the best dpad ever to grace a controller.

    Edit: Oh, or you could just buy a PC/PS3 USB Saturn controller.