Capcom Officially Announces Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
I knew it was real once I saw the listing on Amazon.
So that Reddit leak we mentioned has to go down as the most accurate leak in internet history, right? On January 16, 2018 Street Fighter V will have its first expansion, and they're doing it in the best possible way. After the initial promise that players would never be forced to purchase a new version of SFV, a huge change after Street Fighter IV's five different versions, SFV:AE is free for anyone who currently owns the base game. If you already have it, you're simply getting a newer, fancier version of something you've already bought via patch, at no additional charge. If you don't own it, or if you want a new box and a quick way to scoop up all 11 DLC fighters, you can get all that for $39.99. Considering that all the characters can be earned with fight money, the game's in-game currency, you could actually pick up a cheap copy of vanilla Street Fighter V now that they retail for $19.99, and frequently go on sale for even less. You would essentially be receiving Arcade Edition for half the price...
SFV:AE will add a few new modes to the game: Arcade, Extra Battle, and a Gallery (presumably an art/character viewer). The game's arcade mode will be split into separate ladders that appear focused on each iteration of Street Fighter throughout the years. I'm assuming you'll fight characters from SFIII if you select that game's ladder, but details are currently sparse on how exactly these will be divided up. Similarly, we know almost nothing about what Extra Battle is, and modes by that name have had numerous functions throughout the history of fighting games, so it's difficult to predict.
The most significant gameplay change revealed so far is the addition of a second v-trigger for each character. This is a genius move and it's actually a better idea, I'd argue, than the equivalent of what Street Fighter IV's first expansion did: adding a second critical art. By keeping critical arts the same, your existing combos could still work. Doubling the number of v-triggers adds a ton of variety to the game, but doesn't completely change a character match up the way that a second super would. Considering the importance and variety that already exists with the v-trigger system, I expect to see some crazy stuff. And, admittedly, it's probably easier for the development team to change some numbers and parameters to create a second v-trigger than it would be to animate new CAs for everyone.
Beyond all that, we've also seen glimpses of an enhanced menu treatment. Capcom calls it "completely redesigning the UI to amplify the epic quality of this new version," and I have to admit, it looks like they're not wrong. They're hinting at more to announcements for this expansion in the future, but even if this is all they add, I think it's perfect for the game. A re-release will get more eyes on it, the v-trigger changes will deepen the fighting system even more, and a new look for the UI will help separate it from the base game (for those who still have the bitter taste of launch-month SFV in their mouth). The timing of the release, a few weeks after Capcom Cup 2017, means we can expect Season 3 to begin at the same time. There's even a "Ver.03.000" tag in the upper corner of the menu. That would mean upon release of AE, we'll also have new balance changes and a new roster of DLC characters. The future looks bright for the world's most popular fighting game.