It’s a rare occurrence that only happens once in a blue moon – it’s time for another numbered Street Fighter game. Which means it’s also time for us to define the characters we all want to see back in. Street Fighter 6.
I think a lot about SF6, really – from where it will go with esports to what it needs to go well and beyond. But the list of characters occupies a rather important place.
If Street Fighter 5 set any precedent, it’s that in the modern era, the starting character roster won’t be the end of it, of course. SF6 is likely to be continuously updated with DLCs and seasonal patches which will inevitably add new characters to the game. It is likely to have a long tail – SF5 started life with 16 characters and ended its cycle with over 40. So we can dream big.
To structure this article a little, I decided to limit my choices to six characters. It is six for six – one from each of the six major Street Fighter series in existence – it’s SF, SF2, SF3, SF4, SF5 and Street Fighter Alpha. I’ve also decided not to include the obvious picks – while classics like Guile, Chun-Li, Cammy and others should be in Street Fighter 6, I’m not going to include them in this list. I thought I would generally choose less famous and less praised characters. On the other hand, Capcom, listen: if Cammy (my principal since SSF2) is not in SF6, we will have a problem.
So here are some lesser-known choices. I have only one rule – they cannot have been playable in Street Fighter 5. They must have been MIA for at least one full generation. For SF5 characters, I have to choose from newcomers. After much agony, here are my picks…
Eagle [Street Fighter]
The original Street Fighter featured two Brits, both named after golf terms. Birdie got a revival in Street Fighter 5, revealed to have let loose with a new beer belly but no less passionate about the fight – and in SF6 I think it’s time to give Eagle a spin in the spotlight .
Eagle is cool for several reasons. He fights with a stick, making him one of the few Street Fighter characters to master a martial art that involves a weapon beyond the body. Eagle is said to have been partially inspired by Freddie Mercury, and all of his signature moves are named after English towns.
Eagle has already returned – appearing in later versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3 – but it’s a character with enough looks for the designers to have fun switching things up while keeping what makes it unique. Plus, imagine a showdown between Eagle and Dudley, the British gentlemen…
T. Falcon [Street Fighter 2]
Pretty much the entire cast of Street Fighter 2 is massively iconic – which theoretically makes a choice for this list, meant to be for lesser-known characters, difficult. But in truth, it wasn’t difficult at all, because I immediately knew it had to be this guy. T. Falcon.
To be honest, T. Hawk was a character I always cared about in SF5, and I remain disappointed that he didn’t reappear in this game. A friend of mine is a T. Hawk principal, and our Cammy vs Hawk showdowns I sincerely miss. I also think that with Condor Dive to close the gap, he has the potential to be one of the most interesting and menacing grapplers around.
With Capcom always looking for ways to make Street Fighter more accessible, grapplers are one of the character types I wonder about the most, with their 360-degree button inputs that are hard for beginners to understand. T. Hawk could be repurposed as a “rookie grappler”, allowing Capcom to keep the most iconic Zangief as it is.
Sodom [Street Fighter Alpha]
One thing I didn’t really time until I sat down and thought about it was how well Street Fighter Alpha has made its way into SF5 – most of its newcomers the more interesting appear in the cast of SF5. Of those that remain, three are probably of particular interest – Sodom, Maki, and Juni and Juli as a team – and I’ll give the crown to Sodom.
Sodom’s journey to the Street Fighter canon has been the same as Poison and Abigail – a Final Fight boss who later carved out a role as a World Warrior, but so far only in the Alpha Series.
Sodom wears a bunch of samurai-style paraphernalia, which hides its terrible secret – it’s a weeb. A Japan-obsessed American, he speaks broken Japanese and is, honestly, a bit of comic relief. Sodom’s fighting style is also meant to reflect this – a mix of American and Japanese styles.
Dudley [Street Fighter 3]
I don’t want to make this a UK love-in or anything… but we’re a UK site, so fuck it. Partly based on Chris Eubank, one of the most eccentric sportsmen of all time, even by British standards, SF3’s gentleman boxer is the inverse of SF’s most famous boxer, who is of course a dirty brawler based on Tyson.
Dudley is one of those characters that I don’t think even really needs a redesign. It is some of the best Street Fighter design – simple, understandable, and with a fighting style that perfectly matches the style and personality of the fighter.
Plus, like I said, he and Eagle would make a really good team.
C. Viper [Street Fighter 4]
At some point, it definitely emerged that Capcom was considering Crimson Viper as the next big Street Fighter character. SF4’s Collector’s Edition comes with a figurine of his battle Ryu, he’s featured in all the promotions for the game, and he’s even been put in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 as one of the Street Series reps Fighter. But then, something happened. Jury has arrived.
Juri, an addition in Super Street Fighter 4, was undoubtedly a better character than Viper. She had a more striking design and personality, a cool move set, a memorable voice in both English and Japanese, and she fit a new mold – where Viper was another international agent, just like Chun-Li, Juri was a messed up anti-hero, a Street Fighter archetype has surprisingly few. So when SF5 rolled around, Juri made the jump. Viper no.
That said, I really have a lot of time for Viper. His gadget-powered moveset of electric attacks and fire elements has great potential for shenanigans throughout SF6’s combat system. It’s clear that Capcom hasn’t completely forgotten about her either – she makes a brief appearance in one of SF5’s story modes, complete with a new outfit.
Sorry, Abel fans. He is bad.
Ed [Street Fighter 5]
I am going to commit a sin here. I’m going to talk about Street Fighter narrative. In Street Fighter 5, M. Bison is finally eliminated – and Shadaloo, his criminal organization, is finished. As for the timeline, SF3 takes place later – that’s why this game doesn’t have Bison. But another thing the fifth game does is introduce Neo Shadaloo – of which Ed is the leader.
Ed is actually a child who was meant to be a replacement body for Bison, but Balrog took him under his wing and raised him. As such, Ed has the boxing prowess of Balrog and the psycho power of Bison. The potential for this fighting style is enormous, although it must be said that there is not much to tell in SF5.
Similarly, Neo Shadaloo’s attempts to introduce Lt. Falke and story clues also fall pretty flat in SF5 – and yet I’m still intrigued by this narrative thread and where it might lead. Basically, I’m saying that while SF5 certainly has better newcomers – Rashid and Menat for sure – Ed feels like the one who deserves another shot at glory. It is therefore my choice.