When Street Fighter V (SFV) released in 2016, the game’s netcode was mediocre. Online matches played spotty. This resulted in a multitude of compilations and videos by the gaming community, making fun of the netcode’s lack of functionality.
Despite the community’s disappointment in the Street Fighter V netcode, Capcom did not release a fix until Feb. 18, a little after four years since its release.
As of today, fans are split on the results of that patch.
“Capcom is a traditional Japanese video game publisher, so they are going to be slow in the way that they make changes to corporate culture and communication style,” said Ryan Gutierrez, also known as Gootecks, co-founder of CrossCounterTV.
Japanese fighting game companies are known to not admit if they make a mistake. This is why it took so long for Capcom to make adjustments to their netcode. It came to the point where it was not Capcom that began the process of adjusting the netcode, it was a fan.
Fighting game modder, Altimor, released a fan-made patch that fixed a bug in the netcode that had been present since the game’s beta.
“SFV has a bug where one player’s game can lag behind the other’s online. This can cause artificial lag and one-sided rollback for the other player,” said Altimor in their original release of the patch.
Altimor’s patch, via feedback of the community, seemed to be a great success. It allowed players from other countries to play with greater success and made bad connections actually playable. However, the one glaring issue with it at the time was that it wasn’t available for PS4.
Street Fighter V features cross-play functionality, meaning that players on PC and on PS4 can play with each other. With Altimor’s mod only being available on PC it had stark implications for PS4 players, making them lag much more than the PC player they were against.
Despite this issue, the patch told players that there was a simple solution to the game’s online functionality that Capcom could have put into practice years ago, sparking criticism towards the gaming company.
In response to criticism, Capcom released its own patch adjusting the netcode. The patch did not have a description of what Capcom had actually changed.
Without a description of what Capcom changed, the players had to come to their own conclusions. The first thing they noticed was that Street Fighter V wasn’t able to be played with the Altimor patch installed. This basically banned the use of the mod.
The banning of the mod forced outrage out of fans. Hundreds of replies to the tweet announcing the patch were full of harsh complaints towards Capcom. This outrage could have been avoided.
“If these guys would just be more transparent, then people would probably be less way less upset, but transparency is sort of the opposite of what Japanese culture generally defaults to,” Gutierrez said.
Fans have since concluded that Capcom tried to improve the game’s netcode. However, their changes were not enough.