Control Grappler Concept

Character Overview

This is a concept for a new character type in a future SF game. It’s more or less a rough sketch that could give some ideas for the developers. I’ve considered type of character, frame data, and a general concept. The concept is a “Control grappler”. In 4 Street Fighter series so far, excluding SF4 Zangief, we’ve never seen a pure grappler type character that is able to fight on equal grounds with more than a tenth of the whole roster. By pure grappler I’m referring to big, slow, powerful type characters like Zangief, T.Hawk, Hugo, Hakan and Alex. El Fuerte is a mixed grappler, being small, fast and weak. Abel is a mix of both.

These characters are all very unique and interesting, but they never succeed in their goal. Simply put, they’re so powerful that they must be made too weak. In other words, they take away options like canceling normals, movement speed, reversals, escape tools, projectiles, anti projectile moves, safe specials, anti airs and more in exchange for a piledriver. But is that really the way? What I propose is being very slow and powerful in a different way; a way that places less importance on landing a single throw that wins the match for you and more importance on landing a big throw that gives you the opportunity to win the match. So instead of being afraid of getting grabbed and dying, the opponent now would be afraid of being grabbed and put in a very bad situation. Until now, command grabs have a set of common traits:

  •     Fast
  •     High damage (between 10%-35% damage and up to 60% for supers)
  •     Allow for Okizeme after
  •     Normally, cannot combo into them
  •     Special property (Invulnerable to throw or hit/Air or ground)
  •     Very long frame of recovery
  •     Unblockable

Can you spot the problem?
When you mix High damage and unblockable, you have a recipe for bad things. Things that cannot be blocked should never lead to half a bar gone for free, even if they can be avoided. The proof of this is the fact that grapplers are always balanced to be as terrible as possible in every aspect that is not grabs. Think about it, *the reason grapplers are so weak, is because they’re too strong! *Just imagine for a second, if suddenly Super Street Fighter 4’s T.Hawk condor spire was +1 on block. That tiny change would shoot him up in the tiers above the rest just because almost every time he spires it’s either a quarter of your bar or risk an Option Select.

So, how can we make this type of powerful character more viable, while still retaining the style that players are familiar with? The answer is staring at us:

  •     **We make the grappler stronger, by making him weaker!**

In the formula High Damage + Unblockable, we replace High Damage with High Opportunity! Suddenly, there are many new exiting possibilities.

For example, a command grab could do very little damage but give a hard knockdown with a second part of the move becoming available that allows for a 50/50 mixup situation. The strong damage of a grapplers normals and special moves could allow for truly devastating combinations, but not for free. The player would have to correctly predict his opponent to achieve victory, or use the hard knockdown to create an Okizeme of his own.

On the other hand, a command grab could push your opponent to the corner from anywhere on the screen, or it could “grab” projectiles and turn them into meter in exchange for all that damage. They could give you frame advantage depending on certain specifications (as my example character will), or even give you frame disadvantage in exchange for lots of stun.

To illustrate this idea I’ve designed a dummy character, codename: Frosty salt

Frosty salt is an igloo dwelling hermit from Antarctica, and he’s always been surrounded by salt and ice. He was brought up by telepathic penguins who could not fly, so instead they dreamt of “running it back”. Running where or what, no one knows. The penguins taught Frosty the art of Artic Kung-fu, with which he could influence the particles of salt in the atmosphere to make crystals and effectively “freeze” his enemies using the sodium in their bodies. So he means it when he says to his opponents “I will body you”. However, Frosty always dreamed of fighting stronger opponents, as killer whales and sea lions proved too weak for him. One day, he found a mysterious old man encased in a block of ice. The old man beat him easily, but offered to help him train if he would follow him. “I had to use both arms on you, this should be fun!” said the old man as they set sail for Japan!


-Frosty is slow, huge and his attacks pack a punch (and a hit box)
-He has two types of command grabs: Freezing ones and Shattering ones.
-His freezing grabs do 0 damage, position Frosty into normal throw range and leave the opponent in hitstun with +5 advantage, much like a fei long command grab. Ex is throw invincible.
-His freezing grabs leave you in a “chilled” state. Any damage will break the state. It lasts 5 seconds. Ex 7 seconds.
-A chilled opponent cannot be grabbed for the first 10 frames, so it’s possible to escape with light attacks.
-Shattering grabs deal moderate amount of damage (5%) and give a standard knock down but leave you in a bad position for okizeme. Ex are hit invulnerable and more range.
-If Shattering grab is used on a “chilled” opponent, the damage is multiplied x5 (25%). Ex will leave you standing right next to your opponent for okizeme.
-Frosty has a half screen projectile “Sodium cannon”. It deals extremely low damage and applies chilled for 3 second. Start-up and recovery allows to engage in fireball wars to an extent. Ex travels full screen, less recovery, 5 second chill.
-Frosty has a reversal. He freezes himself and turns into a hitbox (like blanka electric). It has some invulnerability but easy to safe jump. Fast recovery but still unsafe due to low blockstun, basically an anti-air/combo option. Ex pushes away, safe on block, but only hit invulnerable. This special juggles into itself (EX) in corner, or into command normal for reset.

-Blizzalt: Opponent chilled until bar runs out. Shattering grab becomes EX version. This has some invul on it so you can wake up super to avoid some mix-ups.
-Cold Heart: Dash/slide grab into cinematic. At point blank (Read: a bit more than throw range) it is an instant grab. Projectile invul until dash ends. If opponent airborne, his “aura” juggles for less damage, like a psycho crusher that can grab you. He has a very big hurtbox in front and avobe him to allow punish. If chilled, deals 20% more damage.

With this tool-kit, you can choose to play a more aggressive type of game by using his freezing to extend your combos, but sacrificing the raw damage. You could also play a more traditional grappler style by choosing to let your opponent “escape”, but in a very dangerous situation that could easily end the game in seconds, if you can read your opponent well. You could also be a mix of both, and adapt to the needs of the fight to become the ultimate grappler! This is just a vague idea of what is possible with this system!

So c’mon Capcom, let’s turn our WWE “superstars” into incredible Olympic wrestlers!

That’s it, tut-tut.


Frosty Salt? Arctic kung fu? I’m lost.