Street Fighter 6’s simpler modern control scheme explained

To the uninitiated, fighting games can seem impenetrable. The innate complexity of a series like Street Fighter is part of what makes it so beloved by fighting game fans. But it also makes it difficult for casual players who may want to pick up and play the game without spending tens of hours memorizing complex combos and counters. Street Fighter 6The answer to this conundrum is a new “modern” control scheme that Capcom hopes will lower the game’s barrier to entry and make players of all skill levels jump right in and feel competitive.

Street Fighter 6The modern controls basically halve the number of buttons the player has to worry about for basic input, while assigning certain essential functions to their own dedicated buttons. Instead of six separate buttons for light, heavy, and medium kicks and punches, the simplified control scheme places light, medium, and heavy attacks on the controller’s face buttons. That means players using the modern controls will have less precise control over exactly which attacks their fighter use with every input – you can’t choose between a heavy punch or a heavy kick, for example. Instead, when you hit the heavy attack button, the game picks for you based on which character you’re using.

The fourth face button is dedicated to each character’s special attacks, which vary depending on which direction you push the joystick, not unlike in the Super Smash Bros. series. That makes it easier to perform flashy specials without memorizing complex combos or landing exact timing. Super attacks are performed by pressing the heavy and special buttons simultaneously.

A Street Fighter 6 menu screen comparing the game's classic and modern control types with a PlayStation DualSense controller.

Image: Capcom

Meanwhile, the triggers have specific functions that are easy to understand. Grab attacks are assigned to L2 (when using a PlayStation controller), while L1 performs ‘Drive Impact’ attacks that use up your Drive meter, one of Street Fighter 6‘s other new features. These attacks are powerful, but if you use up your entire Drive meter, you can’t take a parry stance – which is assigned to R1. Holding that stance will cause your character to crack with blue energy and block any attack coming at you (excluding grappling attacks) with no precise timing required. This also consumes your Drive meter, but also replenishes it quickly if you successfully block attacks. Finally, holding R2 and pressing the face buttons will perform several predefined combos without the need for more complicated input.

Less precise control over their fighters may not be what high-level players are looking for, but the modern scheme is designed for those who would otherwise resort to insane buttons. A Capcom representative told Polygon that the modern scheme could serve as a stepping stone for players to eventually adopt the “classic” controls; for example, while modern controls allow you to use grappling attacks with L2, you can also use grappling attacks by pressing the same combination of buttons as in the classic scheme. That way, players can work with the more complex inputs at their own pace, while mostly sticking to the new modern style.

“We want to have a lot more ways to play and have everyone of all skill levels, whether you’re an esports competitor, even a budding fighter,” said Jackie Simmons, senior brand manager working on Street Fighter, at a recent hands-on. on event with Street Fighter 6† Simmons said that while she enjoys the modern controls, other members of her team still prefer the classic scheme. Still, she feels like she’s capable of brawling with them.

During our demo we did indeed play against another, more experienced player. Our competitor used a fighting stick and switched between classic and modern controls, while we stuck to modern controls and used a traditional gamepad. Our competitor has definitely won more rounds, but we’ve also won some even while switching between multiple characters, including Ryu, Jamie, and Chun-Li. The more nuanced aspects of each character, from their varied moves to specific character traits such as Jamie’s drunkenness system, are all still in play, and it will take practice to master no matter which control scheme you prefer – just like the new Drive system, which adds strategic layers to any battle.

A menu screen showing Ryu's controls when using the modern control scheme in Street Fighter 6

Image: Capcom

The most skilled players will still have an edge over the classic scheme, with more precise control over which attacks their fighters use at any given time. In addition, high-level players can more easily counter opponents of modern controls, as the modern scheme puts limits on the attacks each character can access.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Capcom has attempted to add a simplified control scheme to the series. capcom vs. SNK 2 EO and Street Fighter 4 3D Edition recommended similar ideas, with varying degrees of success. But this might be the game where the feature hangs.

†[The developers] took the input and feedback from people who are not that experienced in fighting games, as well as people who were ex-competitors/ex-FGC members, who played on both sides to get some sort of balancing act in terms of gameplay,” said simmons. “As a novice fighter you don’t have to panic and immediately continue with knots. You really feel like you’re working on the game.”

Street Fighter 6 arrives sometime in 2023. Capcom’s new fighting game is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X.

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