I've stated many times before that arcade modes in fighting games were worthless. Playing through the game just to get an ending for every character, most of which are contradictory to actual canon events, would offer very little in terms of replayability. At best, practicing against the CPU can get you accustomed to the system faster, but it's in no way a good training tool. I know this because I managed to beat Gill with Dudley back in New Generation. I thought I knew the character fairly well after accomplishing this, but by the time I started using him against human opponents in Super SF4, I got my ass brutally handed to me.
Despite all this, it remains the ONE thing about this genre that casuals care about. Why that is, I still don't have a fucking clue. Because once they've seen all the endings, they're likely to just trade the disc in at Gamestop for a real single-player game that happens to be the next popular thing on the market, like Destiny or The Last of Us. And these games are typically just one-time roller coasters themselves; they're too dependent on story-telling. Is there really any incentive to play through it a second time after you've seen how everything plays out? Fuck no. Yet the story presented in a fighting game is often presented as an even shorter, highly convoluted mess due to the nature of having a vast selection of characters. It gets worse when you include an actual cinematic story mode, such as SF5's, since that's the ONE mode that gives you everything you need to know in terms of what happens. Everything in the main story mode is canon. Why waste time and resources implementing individual character endings that don't adhere to it?
For the longest time, this single-player format has been a complete joke for that sole reason. Thankfully though, if you've been keeping up with all the announcements about the upcoming arcade mode for SF5, that's no longer the case.
If you're really into the lore, the game will include over a 100 endings: one for every character, for each of the arcade branches pertaining to the rosters from previous games. A lot of these endings may be repeats, yet for characters that weren't featured in games prior to their official debut, I imagine they'll probably get an ending that details something factual about their whereabouts during their absence. So if you want to know what Alex was up to in the days of SF Alpha or SF2, you can have him fight through all the SF2 characters and find out.
But all this is merely a surface attraction. In addition to providing yet another good way to accumulate fight money, this arcade mode will actually give you the chance to earn a free premium costume each month. For ONCE, the leaderboards actually serve a purpose. Back when arcades were still a prominent business in the US, nobody really cared if you beat the final boss and got the highest score. But now? Competing to get the highest score possible, against millions of other players around the world, means you get to save real money and unlock a costume you want for free.
I'm so glad that Capcom hasn't settled on keeping the arcade mode basic again. THIS is how single-player modes in fighting games should be done. It not only draws more and more casuals into buying the game, but it's engaging enough to keep even competitive players occupied. There's INCENTIVE to come back for more. And that, by definition, means more replay-value for all buyers; the one component to any video game that actually matters.
So to all the scrubs clamoring for more content: Be grateful. Arcade Edition is truly shaping up to be everything SF5 should have been on launch. It's a free automatic patch for existing players. But if you haven't bought the game yet, you get to access these new features and all the previous content released at a discounted price. Anyone who still wants the game to fail at this point is a lost cause. And a fucking imbecile.
Looking forward to this patch on January 18. See you online.