Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called Focus Attacks (Saving Attack for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra Moves. The traditional six-button control scheme has returned, with new features and Special Moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.
Stephen Kleckner of 1UP.com has stated the game has a similar feel to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but also has a few features from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. As in Street Fighter III, throwing is performed by pressing both light attack buttons, while pressing both heavy attack buttons performs the character's personal action or taunt. Pressing both medium attack buttons performs a character's Focus Attack. Dashes and quick standing are also in the game. C. Viper and Dan (with the air taunt) are the only characters who can perform a high jump.
It was intended that bonus rounds such as the car-smashing stage from earlier Street Fighter games would return. Ono later stated that the bonus stages would not be in the arcade game, citing the reason to be that the time players spend on bonus stages is time during which they have no chance of losing, which ultimately takes money from arcade operators.
Focus Attacks, known as Saving Attack in the Japanese version, is a new system introduced in Street Fighter IV. The Focus Attack is a move that allows the player to absorb an attack and launch a counterattack, and it is performed by pressing the medium punch and medium kick buttons simultaneously. There are two phases to the attack. In the first phase, the player will shift into a new stance, at which point he or she is able to absorb a single hit from the opponent. The second phase is the counterattack. The longer the player holds down the medium punch and kick buttons, the more powerful the attack will be. If the buttons are held for long enough the attack will be unblockable and cause the opponent to crumple slowly to the ground, allowing the player to follow up with a free hit. Attacks that were absorbed during the first phase of a Focus Attack still cause damage to the player; however, life lost from the opponent's attack will be quickly regenerated afterward. In addition, during the first phase of the Focus Attack, the player may perform a dash either forward or backward to cancel the Focus Attack. Finally, at the cost of two bars of the Super Combo gauge, many Special Moves can be canceled into a Focus Attack. By executing a Focus Attack during the Special Move, the animation of the move will be cut short and go instantly into the Focus Attack animation. This allows players with precise timing to cancel Special Moves into Focus Attacks, and in turn cancel Focus Attacks into the forward dash, resulting in new combo possibilities. If a Special Move is blocked by the opponent, the new system allows players to cancel the blocked move with a Focus Attack, and then cancel the Focus Attack by dashing backward safely away from the opponent. Ono has stated that this system was incorporated in order to shift the emphasis away from combos and toward a more realistic system he has compared to boxing, in which "the skill is in reading your opponent's move before he or she starts moving ... We haven't forgotten about combos and linked moves, but focus makes it so that you have to read your opponent." The system aims to make ground attacks as viable a way of approaching opponents as jumping was in previous games. The focus system is a core part of Street Fighter IV's gameplay.
In addition to the powered-up versions of Special Moves introduced in previous Street Fighter games such as Super Combos and EX Special Moves, the game also introduces a new type of powered-up Special Move officially dubbed the Ultra Combo. Ultra Combos are long and cinematic moves featuring a lengthy combination of punches, kicks and other fighting techniques. Just as there is a Super Combo gauge, there is also an Ultra Combo gauge (officially known as the Revenge Gauge or Revenge Meter), but whereas the Super Combo gauge fills up when the player hits their opponent or performs a Special Move, the Revenge Gauge fills when one takes damage from their opponent (similar to the K Groove featured in Capcom vs. SNK 2). Along with the Super Combos, Ultra Combos are one of the only times (besides Zangief, E. Honda, Seth and Abel's command throws) the camera breaks from its normal fixed position to show a more dynamic, cinematic view of the gameplay.
Street Fighter IV takes place several months after the events of Street Fighter II (thus is chronologically set between Street Fighter II and III). After M.Bison's survival from his encounter with Akuma, the S.I.N. corporation began another fighting tournament in order to draw out the most powerful fighters on Earth to complete the BLECE project. Each character has their own reasons for entering this tournament, but S.I.N.'s real desire is to lure Ryu to them in order to analyze the Satsui no Hadō, believed to be the last piece of data needed to complete BLECE.
Chronologically set between the Street Fighter II series and the Street Fighter III series, the playable character roster of the arcade version includes the cast of the original Street Fighter II (all 12 characters, including the four Shadaloo Grand Masters) and four new characters. Akuma from Super Street Fighter II Turbo also appears as a hidden playable character, as well as a secret opponent, for a total 17 playable characters. Additionally, the game includes two more secret characters: Seth as the game's standard final boss, and Gouken as a secret opponent, which makes for a total of 19 characters.
Newcomers:Abel, a French fighter who utilizes Russian combat sambo to defeat opponents (note his kurtka). He is described as an amnesiac, a "man with no past" looking to defeat surviving members of Shadaloo. He is later revealed to be a prototype of Seth's model.
Crimson Viper, a female American spy wearing sunglasses, leather gloves and a form-fitting suit with weapons she entered the tournament in order to "test" her skills.
Rufus, an obese kung fu fighter, who seeks to fight Ken to prove himself as the best fighter in the United States.
El Fuerte (Spanish for "The Strong One"), a Mexican luchador and aspiring gourmet chef.
Seth, also known as "The Puppet Master", is the new boss character. He is the CEO of S.I.N., the weapons division of Shadaloo. His body has been modified using advanced technology. His Special Moves are techniques used by other characters.
Gouken, the elder brother of Akuma, and Ryu and Ken's master, appears in the arcade version as a secret computer-controlled challenger in the end of the single-player mode, making his debut as a fighter in the Street Fighter series.
The returning characters are Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, E. Honda, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, M. Bison and Akuma.
Before producer Yoshinori Ono pitched the idea to Capcom R&D head Keiji Inafune, the prevailing attitude around Capcom was that a new numeric entry to the Street Fighter series would not be made. Initially, there was much resistance to Ono's pitch for a new Street Fighter game so many years after the original. The gap from 2000 to 2008, since Street Fighter EX3, the latest Street Fighter game at that point, represented the longest time the series had gone without a sequel. However, in light of fan demand plus the positive reception to Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting on Xbox Live Arcade, Inafune eventually allowed the project to begin. This was Ono's first take on a new entry for the Street Fighter series as a producer, although he had previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike as a "sound management director" and previously produced Capcom Fighting Jam. The experience provided by Super Street Fighter II Turbo became the main influence for the Street Fighter IV development team.
The original game concept, titled Street Fighter IV Flashback, imagined in part by David Sirlin, the designer of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, never made it past the proposal stage. Flashback would likewise feature the 2.5D gameplay and a roster made of classic Street Fighter II characters plus Sakura and a few new characters. The game would have also featured a single-player mode with third-person 3D action (similar to this of the God of War series) that focused on Ryu's backstory, as well as all Street Fighter arcade games in their original forms and a 3D version of Super Turbo. Flashback's proposed easy control system was later used in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, minus its titular "flashback" gameplay feature.
While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect, similar to the Street Fighter EX series Capcom produced with Arika. Initially the title had been developed to use 3D hitboxes, but the testers felt it didn't have the "pixel perfect" precision of a Street Fighter game, and the game was therefore changed to use 2D hitboxes.
Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.
The game runs on the Taito Type X2 arcade board inside a Taito Vewlix cabinet and takes advantage of the Type X2's network capabilities and allows players in separate machines within the same LAN to fight each other.
Street Fighter IV was also released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows, featuring additional playable characters and features not found in the arcade game. Capcom later released an iOS version on March 10, 2010.
The notable addition in the home versions of Street Fighter IV are eight unlockable and playable characters not available in the arcade version. Seth and Gouken, computer-played characters in the arcade, and six characters from other Street Fighter games were added, to a total of 25 characters, all of them playable. The introduced characters are Dan, Fei Long, Sakura, Cammy, Gen, and Rose.
Home versions also feature online play, six new stages, downloadable content, a Challenge Mode that acts as a training module for players, requiring them to reproduce indicated moves or combos with successive levels of increasing complexity, as well as selectable English or Japanese voices for the characters (similar to the voice option settings in the Soulcalibur games), making Street Fighter IV the first game in the series since the original Street Fighter to feature English voice acting for all the characters.
The game also offers a new opening cinematic scene featuring the song "The Next Door", by Exile, in both Japanese and English (depending on language settings), and animated opening and ending sequences for each character.
The iOS version allows for bluetooth-based multiplayer between devices, but features only eight of the console version's characters and stages. The characters consist of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Dhaslim, Blanka, Abel and M. Bison. In an update two more characters were added: Zangief and Cammy. The most recent update features Sagat and an unlockable character, Dee Jay.
The Windows version of Street Fighter IV includes all the features found in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and some extras, that Capcom representatives say could make it "the definitive version" of the game. The game features online play via Games for Windows - LIVE, with built-in voice chat and PC-exclusive achievements, but no cross-platform playability would be available with Xbox 360 players. Also, the game features higher resolutions, and three new freely selectable visual styles, named "Ink", "Watercolor" and "Posterize". There are also two bundles of the game: regular (game only, $39.99) and a bundle that includes the Mad Catz FightPad (with the Ryu design) that is currently sold separately for the Xbox 360 version. Those who pre-ordered the game at Best Buy received a DVD with an Eagle One animated comic (this is not the same as The Ties That Bind that comes in the collector's editions of the console versions). Additionally, Svensson has stated on the Capcom Unity forums that the retail version uses disc-based SecuROM as its main form of copy protection for the North American release.
The specifications for the game were released on May 15, 2009, and are considered relatively modest.
For Western markets, three different packages for the game were prepared—the European release, the North American standard package, and the North American Collector's Edition. The contents of the Collector's Edition are nearly identical to those featured in the European version, and are the following:A comic book style mini strategy guide by Prima (which also published a full strategy guide for the game in the U.S.), featuring artwork by UDON.
A disc including the 65 minutes animated film titled Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (新たなる絆, Aratanaru Kizuna), produced by Studio 4°C as a prologue for the game, and a selection of the game's trailers (a Blu-ray disc for the PS3 version and game disc with the movie in 720p for the Xbox 360).
A soundtrack CD (not in Europe).
Crimson Viper and Ryu figurines (in the US release, PS3 owners will get a Ryu figurine, while Xbox 360 owners get a Crimson Viper figure. In Europe, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners got both figurines in place of a soundtrack CD.)
Five downloadable character costumes, which is known as the Brawler Pack that includes alternate costumes for: Zangief, E. Honda, Rufus, El Fuerte, and Abel.
Mad Catz produced six controllers for the game, two Arcade sticks and a game pad each for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. These products include a basic model joystick, the "Street Fighter IV FightStick"; a heavier and sturdier stick, the "Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition'; and a six-button game pad, the "Street Fighter IV FightPad". Meanwhile, peripheral manufacturer Hori also produced two joysticks for the game for the Japanese/Asian markets based on previous joystick models produced by the company.
An iOS version of the game was released on March 10, 2010. This version retains many of the console version's features, but contains a simplified combo system. The game was released with eight playable characters, though more have been added through free updates. The game also includes Bluetooth multiplayer and Game Center achievements. Additionally, a version called Street Fighter IV Volt was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch on June 30, 2011, which enables online play.
On January 5, 2012, a version of the game called Street Fighter IV HD was released for LG's Android-powered Nitro HD and Optimus LTE phones.
On December 30, 2012, the exclusivity was dropped and the game was re-released on Google Play, this time titled Street Fighter IV, with a region restriction in place that makes it available only in Japan.
The console versions of Street Fighter IV support downloadable content (DLC), made available for download via Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony's PlayStation Network.
The first expansion pack, titled "Championship Mode", was released free of charge on April 24, 2009. It provides players with a replay mode, a new points system and an enhanced tournament matching system. Championship mode is a game mode where a series of players compete against each other for ranking points. The higher the ranking, the harder the contest the player will participate in. The PlayStation 3 version of the download allows the player to vote on the parts of the recorded match they thought were "funny", "awesome", and "beautiful". The Xbox 360 version allows the player to download their recorded fights to the console.
In addition, five alternate costume packs are available for purchase. These costume packs include the alternate costumes already seen in the arcade version, and were released on separate dates following the game's launch.February 17, 2009 (North America); February 20, 2009 (Europe): Brawler Pack including alternate costumes for: Zangief, E. Honda, Rufus, El Fuerte, and Abel.
February 24, 2009 (North America); February 27, 2009 (Europe): Femme Fatale Pack including alternate costumes for: Chun-Li, Cammy, Sakura, Rose, and C.Viper.
March 3, 2009 (North America); March 6, 2009 (Europe): Shoryuken Pack including alternate costumes for: Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Gouken, and Dan.
March 10, 2009 (North America); March 13, 2009 (Europe): Shadaloo Pack including alternate costumes for: Seth, M. Bison, Sagat, Balrog, and Vega.
March 17, 2009 (North America); March 20, 2009 (Europe): Classic Pack including alternate costumes for: Guile, Dhalsim, Fei-Long, Blanka, and Gen.
A single package called the "Complete Alternate Costume Pack", containing alternate costumes for all 25 characters was made available for download on May 5, 2009 in North America, and May 8, 2009 in Europe.
Although initially Capcom stated that there were no plans to add any additional characters to the game, wanting to focus on core gameplay values, Yoshinori Ono later revealed that unfinished versions of Dee Jay and T. Hawk (the only two missing characters from SSF2T) had been made, and given sufficient fan request for them, they could eventually get added into the game. These characters eventually found their way into Super Street Fighter IV.
There was an update for the iOS version that added Zangief and Cammy to the roster. A second update added C. Viper and E. Honda whilst a third added Sagat and Dee Jay - the latter having to be unlocked. DLC is also available. So far Ryu and Chun-Li each have one new costume each. Additional music, 'Street Fighter II Arranged BGM', can also be purchased to provide alternate in-game audio.
Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind is an animated movie directed by Jirō Kanai that was featured in a bonus disc included in the Collector's Edition of Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The plot, which takes place before the events of Street Fighter IV, begins with Cammy's Team Delta Red task force who are investigating an energy anomaly. At the same time, Chun-Li and Guile investigate the disappearance of well-known martial artists. Meanwhile, Crimson Viper is sent to capture Ryu on orders from Seth, who knows about Ryu's Satsui no Hadou and desires it for himself.
Additionally, four promotional anime shorts featuring characters from the game were released.
In addition to the The Ties That Bind animated film included with the collectors edition of the game, UDON also published a 4-issue comic mini-series based on Street Fighter IV, with the first issue being released February 18, 2009. The comic focuses on the new characters (Abel, Viper, El Fuerte, and Rufus) and their interactions with many of the series' mainstays.
In the PlayStation 3's online community-based service PlayStation Home, Capcom has released a Street Fighter IV themed game space. The space is called "S.I.N.'s Secret Base from Street Fighter IV". It has such features as Challenge Opponent which lets users do an action based on their fighting level in Street Fighter IV, as well as a shop with themed costumes and ornaments of all the characters from Street Fighter IV. This space was released in the Japanese version on July 30, 2009, in the Asian version on September 24, 2009, in the European version on October 9, 2009, and in the North American version on October 23, 2009.
In addition to the game space, costumes, and ornaments, Street Fighter IV also fully supports Game Launching in PlayStation Home which lets users set up multi-player games in Home, with advanced options, and launch into the game from Home. This feature was added on April 23, 2009. Some trophies in Street Fighter IV also reward Home rewards.
On October 12, 2011, Enterrise released a pachislot version of the game in Japan. This version features all of the characters from the console release. The player plays as Ryu in the game's story, although other characters such as Ken or Chun-Li can only be played at certain points in the game. New to this version are 3D overworld segments where Ryu travels through some of the game's stages and destinations. The battle segments also return in this version, but unlike the arcade and console versions, the pachislot version's battle segments are now turn-based (similar to Pokémon Stadium, its sequel and Pokémon Battle Revolution). The Reg Bonus in this game features a new door-opening bonus stage that didn't make it into the arcade and console versions of Street Fighter IV and it's updated versions. A sequel based on SSFIV:AE was released on March 22, 2016.
Both the arcade and home versions of Street Fighter IV have received an aggregate rating of "universal acclaim" from Metacritic based on the reviews of critics. The game received an aggregated score of 94 from Metacritic for its PlayStation 3 version, 93 for its Xbox 360 version, and 91 for its PC version.
The arcade version of Street Fighter IV was voted Best Game of 2008 in Japan by the editorial staff of Arcadia magazine in the February 2009 issue of the publication. The game also won in the categories of "Best Graphics", "Best Production", and the "Reader's Choice Award". The character Ryu took the No. 1 spot in the magazine's "Top 20 Characters of 2008" in the same issue. The February 2009 issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine has rated the game 5/5, while the February 2009 issue of the Official Xbox Magazine has given Street Fighter IV a score of 9.5/10. IGN gave the game a 9.3/10, calling it an "irrevocably deep fighting game", but said that the anime cutscenes are "so poorly animated and tell you almost nothing about the story or the context for each character's participation in the tournament." GameSpot gave it the best Fighting Game of 2009 in the Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice areas. Additionally, GameTrailers named the title as the Best Fighting Game of 2009. Street Fighter IV also won "Fighting Game of the Year" at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards.
Giant Bomb gave the game 5 out of 5 stars stating that "Street Fighter IV combines old and new in powerful ways, resulting in a game familiar enough to bring retired fans back into the fold while being different enough to appeal to the players who have stuck with the genre since day one." Eurogamer gave the game 10/10 stating that "after over a month of playing Street Fighter IV almost daily, what has become quite clear is that it manages to appeal to a huge range of abilities and tastes without ever compromising its fidelity".
The iOS version has been critically acclaimed as well. Gameplayershub.com gave the game a 97% score, indicating that the game had such polish it should lead the way for future games on the platform.
The game topped the multi-format charts and set sales records in the UK, with 53% of sales being on the PS3. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions have sold 3.3 million copies. It was also one of the most rented games of 2009.
It has been listed among the greatest games of its generation. Edge ranked the game #14 on its list of "The 100 Best Games To Play Today", stating "SFIV opens up the genre to all-comers without ever compromising the system's depth or fidelity."
Released on April 27, 2010, Super Street Fighter IV is the first major update to Street Fighter IV. Super Street Fighter IV includes several new online game modes, five new stages, a new announcer and ten additional characters, as well as tweaks and changes to the existing ones, such as new Ultra Combos and additional costumes. Among the added characters are returners T. Hawk, Dee Jay, Adon, Guy, Cody, Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley. The newly introduced characters are Juri, a Korean Tae Kwon Do fighter who works as a spy for Seth's organization, S.I.N., and Hakan, a Turkish oil wrestler. The game also featured new intros and endings for all characters from previous installment.
The game was originally released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, later getting an arcade version with extended content. The arcade version was later backported to consoles in the form of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. A handheld version of Super Street Fighter IV, titled Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, was also released for the Nintendo 3DS in March 2011, including stereoscopic 3D graphics and new features.
An arcade version of Super Street Fighter IV was released by Capcom in December 2010, titled Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. Arcade Edition added Yun, Yang, Evil Ryu and Oni to the roster, as well as changes to the existing characters. The Arcade Edition was later released as both a standalone game and as a downloadable update. In late 2011, a free balance update patch called Version 2012 was released.
A new update called Ultra Street Fighter IV (ウルトラストリートファイターIV) was announced for release in early 2014 at the 2013 Evolution Championship Series. Before the release of the game, Capcom set up test locations to gather fan feedback that was taken into account for the final product.
The game was released in Japanese arcades in April 2014, later being distributed for home platforms as both a paid downloadable update for Super Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, and as a standalone retail game. The update version for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was released on June 3, 2014, with the full retail versions to follow on August 5. The PC versions (both digital and retail) were released on August 8, the PC port being delayed to get the console versions ready in time for the 2014 Evolution Championship Series. The PC version of Ultra Street Fighter IV was the first game in the series to use Steam from day one, following the discontinuation of Games for Windows - LIVE.
The update introduces six new stages, a different announcer and five new characters: Rolento, Elena, Hugo and Poison (all four of whom had been featured in Street Fighter X Tekken), in addition to Decapre, a member of M. Bison's Dolls, who makes her first playable appearance in the series. It has been revealed that, despite some of the new characters having been recently featured in X Tekken, their gameplay mechanics are substantially different in order to match the game's pace. This brings the total number of fighters to 44. The game also adds a feature called "Edition Select" which, similarly to Hyper Street Fighter II, allows players to select different versions of characters, based on their properties in past Street Fighter IV iterations. Also, the update adds a "Double Ultra" option, which makes both of the character's Ultra Combos available simultaneously, at the cost of them doing reduced damage.
Alongside the usual balance changes, the update introduces some new fighting mechanics. The first is a new move called Red Focus, similar to the regular Focus move, but having more invincibility hits. Also new is a "delayed wakeup" technique, which allows a knocked-down player to slightly lengthen the time before the character gets back up. Finally, based on fan feedback, the update removes most unblockable setups.
In September 21, 2014 it was announced that Ultra Street Fighter IV is getting a free DLC pack due for release in October, which, among other things, adds a new Omega variation to the characters, which gives them new moves and properties. For the PC version of the game, improvements are also expected in the online play experience. This download was finally released on December 15, 2014.
On December 6, 2014, it was announced at the PlayStation Experience that Ultra Street Fighter IV will be ported to PlayStation 4 by Other Ocean Interactive; the game was released on May 26, 2015. The port became noted for containing a large number of bugs and glitches; while the PS4 port was originally scheduled to be used at EVO 2015, it was later announced that the tournament would revert to using the Xbox 360 version. On July 18, 2015, the Steam port of the game was free to play (until the next day) in celebration of EVO 2015. Around the time of EVO 2015, Capcom's Peter "Combofiend" Rosas mentioned in a blog that Capcom and Sony have come to a statement that the PS4 port is now the definitive version. He stated that all major issues with the port have been resolved as well as the input lag being on par with the Xbox 360 port. Regarding Capcom Pro Tour events, all Western Capcom Pro Tour events would be migrating over to the PS4 port starting with VSFighting 5. He mentioned that Asian events will continue to use the PS3 port until the PS4 version's release.