There are some issues that, sadly, are so prevalent in the mind of either Capcom workers or a subset of players that it’s probably easier to pick another game than have them dealt with in the SF franchise. Which are to you those stupid sacred cows? Here are some:
Shoryuken with all upsides. The most obvious one and brought first so we can then focus on others, because it’s such a lost cause. Invulnerability frames, guaranteed knockdown, armor breaker, focus cancellable, autocorrecting, input lenient… etc. In a rare event something actually fares well against shoryukens like Sakura jumping fierce, the shoto hordes just start whining and lo and behold, Capcom reestablishes the “natural order” (I play mostly online, and this is probably more relevant there).
**Different health across the cast. **As a balancing tool, it feels lame even when it works: It’s bad to see Seth turned into a glass cannon and not even Akuma deserves that. Doing health ajustments for realism pretensions is even worse and any developer suggesting health differences based on physical appearance should be shown the door immediately. Much health has never saved a character like Q and Zangief from being overall bad and making pixie characters like Juri or El Fuerte low health has little sense since they don’t even have the damage output to make up for it. Give them 1000 life, any problem? Give T.Hawk some good moves and make him 900 life, no one that is actually playing the game will complain.
Pauses for ultra or super moves. All they do is to put a “please hold back now” warning sign for the defensive character and ultra counter moves like Fei and Cammy’s U2 become jokes. Admitedly, this is now a industry standard, but it should have a deactivate options for the players that truly want to win instead of merely looking good.
Complete lack of chip damage for normals and very little for specials. Holding back should always be a temporary and situational answer instead of being such a burden that “unsafe on block” is a death sentence for a lot of moves that aren’t shoryuken. This is a place where SF could learn a little from Mortal Kombat: keep blocking if you like, that health bar isn’t not lasting that long. I guess a guard bar does the same work and has been proven before; all I would ask for is for it to be quite short (and all adjustments regarding health would be better implemented here) to the point that three HK / HP were enough so the fourth one breaks it.