Fans and the community have been ecstatic with the news of Street Fighter V and seven other esports titles being included in Asian Games 2022 as medal events.
However, many people have been curious about the addition of Street Fighter V, and rightfully so. Compared to its other esports counterparts in the tournament, fighting games are niche and are not easily accessible. Let’s look at what the inclusion of Street Fighter V in Asian Games 2022 means and why it matters.
The birth of Street Fighter and its World Fighters
Japanese video game series Street Fighter by Capcom started as a follow-up to an arcade beat-em-up in 1987 and had a simple setup. It had two characters and best two out of three rounds, except with a twist. In older beat-em-up games, players would fight a big bad guy controlled by a computer. What Street Fighter did, is instead of letting players compete against computers, players can now duke it out against each other.
Competitive games like Street Fighter were still an alien term in Japan, and Street Fighter 1 was the first game of its kind. It wasn't before Street Fighter 2 was released that it became the cultural icon that it is right now. Street Fighter 2 was released for arcades on February 6, 1991, to critical acclaim and popularized competitive video games' player vs player format. The game had eight characters, various moves for each character, specials, and beautiful locations as a stage.
Street Fighter inspired various grassroots tournaments like the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) and is regarded as one of the greatest video games ever and the most important and influential fighting game ever made. The series gave birth to one of the most essential pieces of Fighting Game and esports history: the EVO moment #37.
Street Fighter is considered a vital game within its genre, credited with popularizing the fighting game genre during the 1990s and inspiring other companies to create their fighting series. It sparked a renaissance for the arcade game industry and impacted competitive video gaming and broader popular culture such as films and music.
Street Fighter V and why its inclusion in Asian Games is important
Street Fighter V is the fifth numbered entry in the Capcom Fighting Game series and the 37th entry in the long-running Street Fighter franchise. Released on February 16, 2016, for Playstation 4 and PC, Street Fighter V had an initial rocky release with a thin roster, polarizing gameplay mechanics, and a broken net code. As of 2021, the game had its fourth primary season rolling in, with an ever-growing roster of character fun gameplay mechanics. It is a regular game in various fighting game tournaments. Street Fighter V has given us some memorable matches like the 2020 EVO Japan finals between the Japanese players DNG | Nauman, and Mago.
Or some hilarious hype matches like the rivalry match between American players Wolfkrone vs EG K-Brad in Final Round XX for Capcom Pro Tour 2017.
Fighting games in India have always been niche compared to video games like Battlegrounds India, DOTA 2, CS: GO, and others. The primary reasons are how difficult fighting games are to pick up and master and the general disinterest towards the genre. The scene, however, has always been thriving, with India having one of the most active Tekken communities, a very active Super Smash Bros Ultimate community, and even a very humble Street Fighter V community.
The problem the players for fighting games, and in this case the Street Fighter V community in India faces, is the difficulty to travel to various countries to showcase their talent and gameplay skills due to logistics and monetary reasons. Even Capcom Pro Tour, the premium competitive tournament hosted by Capcom, doesn’t have India on its map for Asia Qualifiers. Having Street Fighter V as a medal tournament in Asian Games opens it up to the community to finally showcase their talents and finally face against the dominant Korean and Japanese player base.
Japan and Korea have always been the dominant countries for Street Fighters, with Japanese players like Tokido, Diago Umehara, Momochi, and Korean players like Infiltration being the household names for the Street Fighter Esports scene around the world.
It is no shock that Asian Games 2022 will showcase some of the best talents in the Street Fighter community from Asia. The Indian community going head-on against these talents might help expose the current Street Fighter talent in India to a wider audience and put India on the map. It is not like India does not have talented, promising talents from the Fighting Game community, so Asian Games 2022 might finally provide them with the platform to go and showcase their skills against the dominant Korean and Japanese community.
“To be honest, Capcom holds Capcom Pro Tour (CPT) events around the world, but India isn't on the map. So if India has a good showing in the Asian games then chances are they might host CPT events in India too which would be pretty good for fighting games in India, since eSports in India is mainly dominated by PUBG, CS: GO, DOTA 2, Valorant and maybe Rocket League. having an FG in the mix would be pretty cool.
Says Indian Street Fighter V Youtube streamer Prateek b_HAUNT, also known by his IGN b_HAUNT. You can catch him streaming the games over at his Youtube channel.
It only may get better from here on forward
Overall, the inclusion of video games and esports in the Asian Games 2022 as a medal event has certainly been an exciting development, one which raises a lot of eyebrows, and one which finally opens up an opportunity for a lot of budding players to showcase their prowess in their choice of games. If anything, this might be an opportunity for Street Fighter V players in India to finally showcase their skills and talents in the game and bring long-awaited exposure to the community and the Indian Fighting Games community.