If you could go back in time and tell your parents that one day people would play videogames for millions of dollars, do you think they would let you stay up late, practicing your dragon punches and hadoukens? Because that’s exactly the state of things in 2016, and both the competition and prize pools are bigger than ever. And while MOBA’s and first-person shooters are all the rage at international tournaments, fighting games still reign supreme when it comes to one-on-one virtual warfare. With Street Fighter V, both Sony and Capcom are banking on the fighting game community’s dedication to this classic franchise and with the 5 following aspects, this is why they might be right and Street Fighter V can take over the competitive scene.

 

Pedigree

Street Fighter 4 was the high-water mark for the series in multiple ways. Not only did it refine the franchise that had been 20 years in the making, it also garnered a competitive scene that was laser-focused on improving their SF skills more than any other game on the market. So for over half a decade the level of competition increased, culminating in can’t-miss events around the world. Even if recent history or fighting games aren’t your thing, one can argue that the original eSports was standing around a SF2 machine at your local 7-11 or laundromat with a bunch of people, putting quarters up against the screen to call dibs. That fighting spirit still exists today, even if we’re now using virtual quarters and headsets to talk trash.

 

Evo 2016

Evolution aka Evo is the biggest and most competitive event in the fighting game universe. Every year, the literal best and brightest take on one another for cash prizes and the reputation of being an Evo champ. Even if you don’t go on to win the Capcom Cup—the culmination of a yearlong tournament circuit—capturing victory at Evo is something very few get to proclaim. So when those that run the tourney shocked people by saying Street Fighter V would headline and SF4 wouldn’t even be played, it signaled the end of an era and beginning of another. Most of the other main events around the world will host both games during their weekends, but Evolution’s backing of SFV says loud and clear that this is the game you have to be good at if you want to be an Evo champ.

 

Education

One of the biggest hurdles for both new players and veterans alike is the degree to which a game will help you learn. Practice goes a long way, but Capcom has added an extra layer to both the pre-release marketing and in-game training to help people once the game is out. Capcom’s side YouTube account, Capcom Fighters, released character profiles every day leading up to its release, giving a little insight into each character’s strengths and weaknesses. In the game, potentially the most robust training mode awaits those looking to sharpen their skills, including handy shortcuts built for the PS4 touchpad and advanced options most pros have been dying for, like practicing guard and recovery options with an enhanced training dummy.

 

Mechanics

With every new game in an established franchise comes a new layer of moves and mechanics to memorize. Add that up over years and years and you’re left with a game too dense for newbies that can often segment the user base, as some will just stick with the game that best fits their playing style. SFV is wiping the slate clean, removing the EX moves and multiple Supers from its predecessor and replacing them with V-skills and Critical Arts. First off, Critical Arts are basically just Supers under a different name, but each character only has one, instead of the two or three from the prior game. This simplifies character selections and gets rid of some of the variations that might keep people from playing. The various V-skills are different for each character, maximizing damage, mobility, and combo potential for characters that might lack strength in one of those areas.

 

Capcom Cup

Every year, Capcom takes Street Fighter on the road, holding tournaments around the world to showcase the best fighters. This year, that roadshow is growing to over 70 events across more than a dozen countries and it even includes online tournaments for those that can’t make it in person. This is an unprecedented amount of organized competition, with reformed bracketing rules to ensure only the cream of the crop make it to the big show at the end of the year (presumably at the Playstation Experience conference in late 2016). In its first year, Street Fighter V will have the largest competitive scene for any fighting game ever, and potentially the biggest in the industry.