Yep, I’m talking about this.
In order to take you on the intended journey, I have to cover this from the top, and that means addressing content in Street Fighter V that a vocal minority have made some noise about and give some context as to why this happened.
In the process of setting a larger stage, I hope to help further illustrate the real reason Capcom’s desire to have its cake and eat it besides is deceptive, anti-consumer and harmful to the legacy of this great series.
So, back in December, there was this whole kerfuffle about a few of the animations discovered while players were putting the Street Fighter V beta through its paces. It turns out that gamers were witnessing Japanese puroresu sensation Rainbow Mika, or R. Mika for short, slapping her ass as the opening visual for her ‘Critical Art’, which is nomenclature for Street Fighter V’s ‘super move’.
For reasons that anyone familiar with social media in this hypersensitive age well knows, some took offense to the animation, feeling that it was yet another example of the sexual objectification of women in video games.
Capcom, like so many other companies in the past year or two, caved to the pressure and decided to alter the camera angle during R. Mika’s Critical Art animation so that the butt slap isn’t visible. She still performs the motion, but at its ‘mysoginistic’ peak the view shifts up so you hear, but do not see, hand smacking rump.
Out of sight, out of mind? Congratulations? A winner is you? Pics or it didn’t happen? Whatever colloquialism you wish to use for turning a blind eye , go right ahead.
Clearly, Capcom has saved us all from our own internalized deviant fetishes for nonexistent women in video games about psycho power, sonic booms, yoga fire and spinning pile drivers from twenty stories up.
But for further context, here is the animations in questio. First, the uncensored version:
And now the censored version with the altered camera angle:
Another instance of censoring in the game is Cammy’s entrance into a battle, where she vaults and twirls in mid air, drops down and slides, anime style, to a stop in a dramatic crouching position before rising up.
The perspective in the original version is from her foremost ankle, so you are able to see up to the space between her legs (which is covered by her combat outfit, naturally). The altered perspective raises the camera a bit so that you are now getting all side leg and thigh action. Remember when legs were considered sexualized? In some places, they still are.
Here is a video that shows the differences:
I find the objections to the Cammy animation baffling, given some of the content in this game that would have been a target for social media outrage, but the R. Mika change is the example that truly proves how much context matters in this discussion.
On the surface, the objection is one you’d expect the so called ‘dreaded’ SJWs to make: she’s sticking her butt out and slapping it, which is clearly titillation for the immature and undersexed masses to enjoy, further objectifying women in the supposedly troubled and ‘problematic’ media of electronic entertainment. It’s a pernicious expression of misogyny that serves to further indoctrinate vulnerable minds to patriarchal systems of normalcy.
It’s nonsense, but it’s what they believe.
I’m about to go off on a bit of a tangent before I continue, and it has nothing to do with attacking progressives. I think I’ve done that enough already. Although it must be said that a few more salvos may be fired in that direction. No promises.
So let’s talk about pro wrestling. Smooth transition, right?
R. Mika is, as I described above, a Japanese ‘puroresu’ sensation. This is an abbreviation of two words, which the Japanese like to do from time to time in order to tighten up the verbiage. It is shorthand for ‘puro resura’, which is how the Japanese say the words ‘Pro Wrestler.’
I didn’t learn any of this from Wikipedia, but here’s the link if you want to know more about it.
In pro wrestling, it’s not unusual for a given performers to act in a brazen, aggressive and arrogant fashion. Some like to flex, some like to swing their hand around and bring it to their ear to get the crowd riled up (which the Japanese call ‘crowd appeal’), some throw up middle fingers, some draw their thumb across their throat as if signaling they’re about to ‘kill’ their opponent with a devastating move, and there are others. I really could go on and on.
The reason this is relevant is because R. Mika’s butt slap is just another form of ‘crowd appeal’. People often associate offering their rear ends to others as a symbol of disdain. For example, ‘kiss my ass’.
Now, that is not to say that a slap on the rump CAN’T be an inviting and sexualized gesture, as anyone that’s ever been to a strip club can tell you. But this is where context matters and it’s something that the tumblrinas of the internet would rather not consider.
R. Mika is not slapping her butt as a way of inviting others to strap in and go for a ride on the Rainbow Express. This gesture is occurring in the middle of a street fight where she is trying to beat her foe into submission.
And just like in the wrestling profession, as anybody with half a clue about R. Mika’s character background can tell you, this is meant to both appeal to the crowd to get them to cheer and to insult her opponent before knocking their ass out.
This is not up for debate., discussion or interpretation. It does not have some sinister hidden message about sexual objectification.
There are video games that have that kind of content in them, which I also don’t care about since I’m a grown ass man and can decide for myself when something is going beyond the bounds of good taste, but the R. Mika butt slap is not an issue. Especially when the game has so much more of this 'dangerous' content in it with seemingly little or no objection from the progressives.
For the remainder of this post, I will be sprinkling other images from the game throughout so you can see that Capcom clearly still has a lot to do if they want to make this game more inclusive.
And yes, that's sarcasm.
Now we get into the meat of this article.
This is only part of the problem with Capcom’s dissonant actions as it regards the release of Street Fighter V. The mea culpa to social media objectors is a placebo, not an actual attempt to address the issues they are bringing to bear on this game.
By removing the ‘controversial’ animations, Capcom acted as though they were being respectful of the feelings and thoughts being expressed in unassailable bastions of objectivity such as Twitter and Tumblr.
Never mind that most of the grousers will not buy the game and that what we see in Street Fighter V is par for the course for this series and entirely harmless. The REAL problem here is how two faced Capcom is being about this.
I’ve heard Capcom apologists state that the surrender of R. Mika’s butt and Cammy’s crotch to social media outrage is their way of settling the fearsome beast so the devs can include all the rest of the stuff the objectors might have complained about but have since shifted their attention to other fronts and then snuck it through while the dragon was looking in the other direction.
I ain’t buyin’ that. And furthermore, neither should anybody else. Capcom is LYING to the public in order to get the game out with as little controversy as possible. And it’s because they know there are much bigger problems with Street Fighter V than whether or not R. Mika likes to spank herself before spanking her opponent in a fight.
Their supposed moral high ground is a joke because of its inherent hypocrisy. If Capcom REALLY cared about this kind of scrutiny, they’d just remove everything from the game that could possibly be considered offensive.
But if they did that, they’d have no game at all because it’s violent, has characters with impossible physiques, racial and national stereotypes and a paywall to quickly unlock content.
The right thing for Capcom to do in this case would be to stand up for the game that they chose to create and defy the wave of neo-puritanism currently gripping the west. Be proud of what their gifted artists have created and tell people that they don’t have to buy it if they don’t like it.
But in these ‘troubled’ times, it’s easier for a company to just tell a big lie in order to hide all their small inconvenient truths.
And all of this is to say NOTHING of Ono’s nonsensical comments about ‘being more inclusive.’ Let’s examine this in a little more detail, shall we?
So. You’ve got Street Fighter V, which is now safe for women to play because you’ve taken out the animations for a butt slap and a crotch shot. R. Mika still slaps her ass and Cammy still has a crotch, but now your eyes won’t have to bleed witnessing them. Now everyone can get in on the fun. Now the broader, casual market can sit down to enjoy some Street Fighter V.
But there’s hardly any single player content.
Let’s be frank about this. Appealing to a ‘broader’ market, being more ‘inclusive' and opening up the game to a larger consumer base means you are going to invite a casual audience to purchase and enjoy your product.
Casuals, by their nature, do not play fightng games in a hardcore fashion. They may BECOME hardcore, but this has hardly ever been the trend in this genre. Fighters have been around for twenty five years, and if it were normal for casuals to become hardcore over time, then it wouldn't be as niche as it is.
And fighting games are niche, with their status as such based on the IP in question, the amount of skill and technique required for hardcore players to master them how much fun they are for casuals to mess around with and, most importantly, how everyone can play them in different ways to enjoy themselves.
That last part is the most important.
That last part is the most important.
Casuals like things like story mode. Arcade mode. Challenge and Trial modes. They like cutscenes. They like alternate outfits. This is not to say hardcore audiences DON’T like them, as many of them do. But for casuals, this is all they need. If they had any desire to compete at a high level, they wouldn’t be casual. They’d be hardcore.
Street Fighter V has:
No real story mode.
No arcade mode with best 2 out of 3 falls.
No Challenge or Trial mode.
No alternate costumes at launch UNLESS you purchased a season pass.
Most casuals don’t WANT to go online and have their asses handed to them by top flight players who have already grasped the three frame combo system, wrecking anyone that doesn’t have a similar degree of skill in less than a minute.
Casual players that enjoy the online fight scene don’t necessarily always want to play other people in competitive matches. Not even the supposed Casual Match online option that is available. Many times, they just want to fire up the game, do some trials and turn it off.
Sometimes, they just like a few characters and want to play them for a bit and move on to the next thing.
Sometimes, shock and horror, they like the story.
Street Fighter V is geared towards high level competitive play by sheer virtue of its available play modes and features. And in those respects, the game shines. The character balance is good and the combat is superb.
But there is nothing here for the larger market. The casuals. The people Ono claims he wants to ‘include’ in the experience. The kind of people that will shell money for the game and play it, look back on it fondly and probably buy the next iteration so long as they feel like they were rewarded during the period of peak interest.
The kind of people that appreciated Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN-, for example. That game had a much more robust story mode and single player content, as well as wicked technique and high level competition for those that desired it, and Arc System Works doesn’t possess even a THIRD of the resources of a Capcom.
A game that offered different kinds of engagement for different kinds of players. Sure, it doesn’t have the notoriety of Street Fighter V, but you also know what it doesn’t have?
A dearth of content.
Capcom has released an early access game to generate hype for EVO and e-sports in general. They’ve promised more modes will be released in the coming months. So this is what has befallen Street Fighter?
This is exactly what any publisher does when they release a game as an early access title. They release a playable build of a video game that needs some tweaking and promise ‘more features and functionality’ at a later date.
But most don’t charge $60 on launch for an unfinished product.
Doesn’t anybody else see the problem with this? It’s incomplete and there is almost nothing here for the broad market to enjoy. This game caters to a niche group of dedicated hardcore players. All the current build of the game offers is high level competitive play modes.
Spare me your ‘git gud scrub’ trolling. Spare me your ‘get wrekt’ bunk. This is a home console release, not an arcade title. And it’s not being advertised as the beta that it is. It’s being hailed as a finished product.
And it’s not.
Besides, all of that trash talk could still be applied to Street Fighter IV and you won’t find me objecting. That game, for ALL its numerous flaws, has something for everyone. Casuals aren’t required to become top flight players to enjoy it.
It’s the kind of game Capcom touted Street Fighter V to be.
More appealing to a broader market.
With ‘objectionable’ content removed so as not to offend or insult some of its potential audience.
Also, with less play modes for casuals to enjoy.
Capcom lies. Again.
What happened to you, Capcom? You used to be so good at what you do.
You had one job, guys.
And you fucked it up.
My advice? Just give us all the bonus costumes for free. Make it up to us with a REAL mea culpa. I don’t care if you leave characters behind a paywall. It’s already well known that you can also unlock them by simply playing the game as well, so that’s fine with me.
Also, and I won’t couch this with distractions to protect the easily offended like Capcom does.
Put the butt slap and crotch shot back into the game. And no, I don’t mean some fan patch that relieves Capcom of having to take responsibility for their actions.
The people that cried about it are gone now. It’s safe.
It always was safe.
Rise up, Capcom.