Dark Side of the Groon

Welcome one and all (or more likely, Lartens and Bedgell), and buckle up as we go on a journey through time, for you join us on a retrospective jaunt of epic proportions! We come here today with a sense of anticipation, counting down the minutes until 8am on 12/4/11 when the media-restraining embargo regarding information on the happenings in the world of Street Fighter will be lifted! Woo hoo! But what has lead us to this moment, I don’t hear you cry? Well Mr.Nobody-who’s interested, all will be revealed shortly.

street fighter logo

Capcoms annual Captivate event is just gearing up in Miami where they’ve promised great things – specifically Street fighter X Tekken info according to Street Fighter producer and self confessed community troll, Ono. Apparently we can expect another look at the game and fresh new info on this highly anticipated title. However, SF X Tekken is not my boggle. I mean don’t get me wrong – I’m gonna get that sucker, but my mind is on more immediate issues. And by that, I mean Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition finally coming to home consoles. The Blanka toy wielding wind up merchant has basically spent the last six months getting up to his usual trolling antics, messing with the fans and not really shedding any light on what’s really going on, instead laughing when asked questions about it and tweeting vague photos of… well, nothing really.

But the usual sources have been at work digging and prying in order to get behind enemy lines and start to figure the mystery out, and from that, some pieces of the puzzle have been unearthed, though it’s still a muddle to put together. But one thing is for sure – by this time next week, the murky waters will be a whole lot clearer! But for now alas, Captivate is where it’s all happening, meaning that the real info is for the exclusive delectation of those privileged gamesmiths and pesky journos deemed worthy by Capcom. Maybe next year, eh Griggers?

Anyhoo, in preparing ourselves for this reveal, we look back at the various clues and leaks that have crept out over the past several months as we don our finest Columbo style trench coat while lighting the fattest cigar that we can find before nailing the whole darn thing by going ‘Oh just one last thing, it’s probably nothing…’.

You know how it goes. Textbook.

Okay so here’s what we want: SSFIV AE on console with at least 6 additional characters on top of the 4 new(ish) ones we already know about. More game modes. More stages. Budget release a la SSFIV since this is the third console version.

Here’s what we’ll probably get: SSFIV AE. Literally just the Arcade Edition to crush our dreams. Full price. No fan requested characters, although we might get the dolls as DLC two years after they send an unlock code for them to one Dutch arcade who don’t even have the machine. Ono tweets a picture of a cooker with Blanka in the corner. He laughs. We speculate.

But I live in hope! Or at least, I live. Just. And until Capcom let me down, I’m gonna keep dreaming! So okay, what we got to go on here? Let’s have a look!

The Clues

Mystery Dhalsim Pic – The mischievous Ono tweeted this one out a long time ago now, well before AE launched in Japan. It shows Dhalsim torching an unknown opponent. The speculation on this one was rampant as nobody could quite confirm if it was someone already in the game or not. And people tried. Hard. Some even recreated the pic with all the characters in the game, but it all came to nowt, and Ono still hasn’t fessed up to who this flaming foe is. For every ‘It’s just Chun!’, there were ten proclamations of ‘It’s Gill’, and even more ‘ALEX you fools!’.

Leaked Achievement List – Before we even knew about Oni and Evil Ryu, an achievement list leaked containing icons featuring the two characters. Totalling up to the standard 200g in ‘chievmo’s, this had DLC written all over it. For those that considered the list to be real, the backlash was immediate – no one had asked for either of these two and cries of ‘wasted slots!’ were plastered all over SRK and Eventhubs. And for all of those people who cried Photoshop, they were made to think twice about their allegation when a couple of days later…

Confirmation of Oni and Evil Ryu – Capcom release a new AE trailer. No big deal, just the standard fighting fare. But wait a minute. Wait a dog-gone minute! What was that? Near the end! Why it’s only artwork for Evil Ryu and Oni Akuma! The characters in the leaked list were accurate, and before Capcom had officially shown them themselves. Again the message boards lit up, people hoping that they may be just boss characters. But as time (and a leaked unlock code) proved, they were in as playable characters, for better or for worse.

Leaks About Dates Ahoy – Around Christmas, rumoured leaks were starting to point to a few likely dates on which we could expect some action, with some kind of announcement in April followed by a June release being the most hotly touted. People asked ‘why so long?’, the response being that Capcom would have given arcades enough time to recoup AE machine investment. But a hungry gamer careth not for such nonsense! Alas, it’s again the gamers who get the short end of the stick as Capcom forced us to look on as they waste their time by continuing to flog the dead horse that is the arcade scene resulting in about only 2% of the community being able to play it. It’s almost the ultimate troll – as arcades shut down world wide, Capcom release an arcade only game. Brilliant. But I digress! All in all, this leak is looking accurate!

Oni and Evil Ryu unlock codes leak – Not really anything to do with pin pointing what we can expect any more since everybody knows about these two, but it was definitely a significant moment in SSFIV AE history! It was a late night in cold old Blighty when I received a tweet from SRK linking to a fuzzy video of these two characters in the hands of arcade goers. I watched. More and more videos came. I watched them too. To be honest, I don’t care about these two. I didn’t care when they were first shown, and I don’t care now. Capcom asked arcade owners to relock the characters and threatened action against people uploading videos. But it was too late – the cat was out of the bag and everyone had seen it. Evil Ryu was officially unveiled a couple of weeks ago. Oni this Friday. Meh. To be honest, I’m more annoyed that Capcoms plan was to show pictures of two characters and then wait about five months to do anything about it. They can shove plans like that, I tell thee! And so AE finally has Evil Ryu and Oni officially. But it’s the hope of other new characters that has people hyped!

Rumoured 8 Additional Characters – This one’s been kicking around for a while now, months in fact. This kind of sounds like more than I could possibly hope for, and I would be very surprised if this came to pass given what appears to be the lazy creation of the four AE exclusive characters (Evil Ryu = Ryu/Akuma, Oni = Akuma/Gouken with Blanka’s head, Yun and Yang = 1 character model with different heads). However, they’ve had a significant amount of time since AE launched now so who knows what could be coming. And coming they may be! Check out the pic taken from Capcoms Japanese site! Add Oni to the right, and we got ourselves some free character slots! Come on Capcom! And while I acknowledge that isn’t how the current AE character select screen looks, it’s certainly a way it could be re-jigged!

Korean AE listings – The Korean Games Rating Board is not usually the source of much SF news, but this one was a hum-dinger! Two listings showed up for SSFIV AE. What exactly were they? We’re still not sure. Usually two listings show up when there’s a multi-plat release of the same game, the most obvious being a PS3 and Xbox 360 release. But with SSFIV AE also thought to be announced for the PC at Captivate or a potential proper arcade machine launch, speculation was rife!

BBFC Listings – This was perhaps the most revealing of discoveries, as only last week news broke that the BBFC had a listing for SSFIV AE releasing on June 24th 2011 in the UK for Xbox and PS3. The certificate details around 6 minutes of new anime footage which should account for intros and endings for the 4 AE exclusive characters. As discussed on the forums, the BBFC allegedly only assess physical releases (I have no idea if that’s true or not – I don’t care enough to look it up with an announcement so close) which points to a disk based release, although it doesn’t rule out DLC as well, much as Red Dead’s Undead Nightmare also came in both flavours. Ono in fact tweeted just the other day that he is aware of the opinion people have wanting not to have to buy yet another disk. Not that basing opinions on anything he says is much of a good idea with his messing! However, the discovery of this certificate is bitter-sweet as this implies that the 4 new characters will be all that we can expect from this game as 6 minutes isn’t much at all for the inclusion of more. Sigh! But they haven’t broken me down yet! No matter how black and white this is looking!

The Conclusion

Well, that’s the bulk of what’s been going on leading into this weeks Captivate. If I was to put all my cards down on the table, I would have to say that it looks like a disk based release is a certainty, and the leaked achievement list and the fact that Ono has at least acknowledged people want the choice, points to a DLC option. However, I fear that with Capcoms new DLC character philosophy to milk us dry, we will literally get AE and nothing more at first. This would fall in line with the BBFC revelation detailing such a short time for new anime cut scenes. However, I do believe that new characters are on their way – the community has cried too loud and for too long for Capcom to just ignore everyone. I fully expect Karin, Elena, Alex and Rolento at the very least. My concern is that these characters will come in the form of individual DLC much like they’re doing with MvC3. With Mortal Kombat also adopting this model, it unfortunately seems to be the future of fighting games. But lets not be negative, I’ll be doing that next time I get the chance to talk about EA – the point here is that there is hope, particularly given the empty slots on the character select screen image.

So what do you think? Am I talking out of my ayne – and by that, I use phonicular method to divide and portray the word ‘anus’. Are Capcom preparing a video gaming feast fit for a king, or are they just laughing mercilessly as we follow information breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel-style as we try to escape Capcoms lair while they merrily stir the diarrhoea cauldron and hope that we all jump in? Only time, and a week of bricking it over the thought that all they would have to do is change Cammy’s head to make the dolls, will tell.

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