It’s been two and a half years since the release of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and while it received some positive reviews overall, its distinct features left the community at large somewhat unimpressed. Yes, it was great to have an entire collection of different versions of each series, but the emulation for certain games was questionable (especially at launch) and there are features still missing from certain core titles. So, here’s some ideas on what certain fans (i.e. me) want from the next collection should Capcom release one in 2013.
First, let’s get into what games should be included in a 35th Anniversary Collection. It should be natural to include the thirteen that are included in the Switch version of 30th, since it also got Super Street Fighter II: the Tournament Battle while the other versions did not. That means Street Fighter, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, Super Street Fighter II: The Tournament Battle, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams, Alpha 2, Alpha 3, III: New Generation, III: Second Impact, and III: Third Strike. In addition, a new collection should also have the various versions of Street Fighter IV to fill out the hardware: that means Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, and Ultra Street Fighter IV. By this point, condensing especially the later titles could help alleviate high storage space issues, but the generation will be nearly a decade dead by the time 2023 comes around and stands in a separate part of fighting game history.
Next, we should determine which games get “special” treatment, such as training modes and online play. Personally, I would take no less than Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, Alpha 2, Alpha 3, Third Strike, and Ultra Street Fighter IV, though I would understand and encourage those features in vanilla Street Fighter IV as well, since it’s the game that brought 2D fighting games back into mainstream prominence. I would like to see a training mode for every title included, even if it is extremely basic, but it would at least be understandable to not have it be a feature for every one of them, though these ones should all get that treatment at the bare minimum. I pick these in particular because they all represent different pivotal moments in Street Fighter’s history, or continue to have active online competitive presence. It’s somewhat astonishing Alpha 2 didn’t already have online play in 30th, because it just had over 120 participants at Frosty Faustings 2021 and has had a fairly consistent interest since it was released in 1996. The usual assortment of artwork and galleries, perhaps even music from game soundtracks, could be included as well, and maintaining the different visual display options such as CRT scanlines for each game could be included as well.
And here we arrive at the one point that absolutely cannot go without mention: rollback netcode. See, Capcom claimed be be using a type of technology they called “rewind” technology in an article for Eurogamer, but whatever it is they did, it didn’t work very well. Instead, whatever games decided to have online multiplayer needs to have good rollback implemented, whether it be GGPO or consulting experienced rollback developers and implementing it with a team behind it internally at Capcom. It might be impossible to do with any version of Street Fighter IV without reconstructing the game, but it’s certainly possible with its older titles, at the very least. If Capcom did simply absorb the cost and implement rollback into even just playing Ultra Street Fighter IV online, it would easily become the definitive way to play the game online, and perhaps even lend itself to a new age resurgence in popularity as we’ve seen in other revered games such as Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R and King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match. Additionally, there should absolutely be crossplay added to any game that can play online, since Capcom would likely release such a collection on multiple platforms. After all, these are fighting games- there is no inherent console or platform that gives a player an edge, as long as the game is properly developed and optimized for its performance.
Naturally, there are a number of problems with this approach. Some are smaller, such as including old assets that were already showcased in 30th and simply need to be transferred over into a format that runs on PS5/XBox Series X, but issues with reconstructing games to work with rollback netcode would be pretty large scale in comparison. The real question still sits at whether or not Capcom would be willing to invest in that effort to have serviceable online play for their older titles. (Of course, had they cared to simply implement good netcode for their online games in the first place, the issue would be moot, but it’s a problem that has only compounded over time.) I was pleasantly surprised by how many options there existed already in the 30th collection, but its UI is pretty bad and it still lacks multiple features I would expect of a company as big as Capcom. Not to mention, before it was patched, there were a ton of performance issues with each game on the collection, with variable input delay and some serious issues with framerate in certain titles. The less of those problems happen, the better.
Capcom is in a position where they can have one of the greatest collections of classic fighting games in history with a great online experience. It will take a lot of effort for them to actually develop it into reality, and it would take the right studio and knowledgeable figures involved to make sure the code works properly. 30th was a good step forward, but it was still lacking in several regards and nobody uses it to play a competitive environment online because its network features were so poor. The only question still remains: will Capcom invest, or will it simply pump out more mediocrity for quick cash?