by Joseph Leray
When Capcom rolls out "Ultra Street Fighter IV" early next year, it'll come with a brace of tweaks, changes, and re-balancing measures. Don't worry about your favorite character, though -- Capcom's strategy is to raise the floor, not lower the ceiling.
"Our philosophy this time around has been to make everybody a threat," says Matt Dahlgren, Capcom's fighting game manager, in an interview with Siliconera.
"We don’t want to say these characters are the best in the game and nerf them -- that isn’t fair to the players that put a lot of time and effort in learning those tactics," Dahlgren continued. "The super powerful characters will have slight modifications, but our real intent is to take the lesser used characters and make them an equal threat as the top tier characters.”
One of those lesser-used characters is T-Hawk says Peter Rosas, Assistant Battle Director. In order to make him less reliant on command throws, Capcom "gave people what they were requesting terms of giving him more focus cancel options, giving him stronger attacks, and things like that," Rosas explains.
T-Hawk's crouching middle kick is now cancelable, his walk speed is faster, and his Ultra 2 has been improved as well.
Ken's walking speed has also been kicked up, so that "he has a difference between him and Ryu. Because he's supposed to have more flair, more speed, more kicks, and things like that," said Rosas. "His Ultra 1 does a little more damage so it is more of a threat because if you get hit with it now, nobody cares."
Cammy, however, is on the chopping block: her heavy attacks will have reduced stun damage, which means her combos will be a little trickier to execute. I'm glad they didn't nerf her anti-air Cannon Spike, though, as some fans had requested.
Previously announced changes planned for "Ultra Street Fighter IV" also include improvements for Chun-Li (increased HP and more powerful EX attacks), Balrog (longer range, reduced recovery and charge times), and Dudley (larger hitboxes and increased damage).
As a Cammy and Adon player, I'm not exactly thrilled by Capcom's plans: I see plenty of Kens online as it is, and I've never been good at zoning the grappling players like Zangief and T-Hawk, so making them stronger isn't an exciting prospect. But I'm just being selfish, and seeing a different mix of characters at next year's Evo should be a treat.
The "Ultra Street Fighter IV" -- which also includes five new characters -- will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC early next year as a $15 download or a $40 disc that includes all previous DLC.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter