Capcom is adding a new esports series to their lineup for Street Fighter V entitled the North American Street Fighter Pro League. The series will feature 3-on-3 team matches with six teams formed from seasoned veterans, newcomers, and fan favorites alike.
“We thought adding team play to a Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition tournament series would bring a compelling layer of strategy and drama to the format,” said Yoshinori Ono, Street Fighter series Executive Producer, Capcom. “We are exploring this new format within a new tournament series, in addition to our ongoing support of the existing popular Capcom Pro Tour. We hope our fans will enjoy this fresh perspective on Street Fighter esports and we’ll be analyzing their feedback to incorporate into future seasons of the League.”
Here is how it will break down, straight from Capcom’s press release:
Six top ranking players on the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT) 2018 North American leaderboards will be extended invitations to participate in the League as team captains. The second slot on the team will be a finalist from an online qualifier. The third slot on the team will be comprised of a pool of players selected by the community. Captains will be able to draft their teams at the start of the season from the player pools.
The first season is expected to start in April 2019 with tournaments airing every Thursday through June. A season one final will take place in late June, where the top two teams will roll into season two. The season two draft will kick off in August and run through November, culminating in the first North America Pro League Champion. Details on the online qualifiers and community vote-in process will be announced in the coming weeks.
One extra wrinkle to this league will be the introduction of a “character ban” system. Players can ban a character at the start of each match, and each player on a team must play a different character. On paper, this is to make matches more interesting to watch and make players really stretch their muscles by playing and doing well with multiple different characters. But while that sounds good, banning characters in a Capcom fighting game just feels bad, especially before other major games’ esports leagues like Overwatch. It remains to be seen how this will pan out, but it feels like starting out on a slippery slope.
Also, this “North American” league will not include Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbeans, which some non-stateside players feel, understandably, upset about.
This league will remain separate from the main Capcom Pro Tour, which is slated to start at Final Round this year in March.
Kevin has been a fan of fighting games since he first walked up to a Marvel vs. Capcom cabinet at the tender age of 8 at the local arcade. (Kids ask your parents what an “arcade” is) He may not be very good, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying them.