It’s hard to ignore the big Street Fighter 6 leak which surfaced earlier this month seemingly revealing the game’s launch roster shortly after the first gameplay trailer was released. While everyone isn’t sure if what we saw is the real deal, the artwork that resembles the full cast on day one certainly looks convincing.
Now we don’t want to go into the details of the leak so much, but instead talk about a possible ripple effect that we could see after launch. Street Fighter 6’s potential leaked roster is a heavy hand for newcomers, and this – along with a few other possible signs – could indicate that post-launch expansions will be released as exclusive themed packs like Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 3, and so on. a means of bringing back ancient warriors.
This is pure speculation, of course, as we don’t currently know how Capcom plans to handle DLC for Street Fighter 6. It also goes without saying that the leaked selection could still be fake, although it definitely looks like it’s real, not only based on the quality of the content itself, but also because of Capcom seems to be tackling them†
Just a quick recap: Street Fighter 6’s rumored offering features 14 returning characters and a whopping 8 newcomers (including Luke). This is double the number of brand new fighters we saw in the initial cast of Street Fighter 5, and double the number of newcomers in Street Fighter 4, although you can unlock the newly added bosses Seth and Gouken by playing the game.
We haven’t seen that many original fighters in the Street Fighters base roster since Street Fighter 3: New Generation, with just two old contenders (Ryu and Ken) and 9 newcomers. So, why is all this important?
Well, if we look to Capcom’s most recently released Street Fighter venture for possible clues, we see that Street Fighter 5 had few newcomers up front and then added more in their post-launch seasons. Plus, some seasons were tough on the original fighters — like season 2 where just one legacy character, Akuma, made the lineup between 5 brand new warriors — and it felt like just a handful of them became big hits with the fighting game community.
Newcomers Luke and Jamie in Street Fighter 5.
Capcom is clearly making an effort to rectify Street Fighter 5’s flaws here with Street Fighter 6, as the company has come straight out of the gate focusing on netcode, the amount of content we’ll see in the game, and the opportunity for players to express themselves – all the major complaints fans had about SF5. In a similar vein, we could see Street Fighter 6 change the way expansions are released, mainly focusing on having fan-favorite returning fighters as the ones we pay for rather than lots of newcomers that end up being more of a gamble.
One thing that the community quickly noticed about Street Fighter 6 is the push to not only revamp some of the tried-and-true gameplay mechanics of past games, but also pay tribute to the previous games in the franchise. We see this not only in attacks, but even in several character poses that have been confirmed to come straight from games like Street Fighter 2.
Drive Impact seems heavily inspired by Street Fighter 4’s Focus Attack, while parries are clearly borrowed from the Street Fighter 3 series (and Street Fighter 5). There are also flavors of Street Fighter Alpha 3 in the game, and even a bit of Capcom vs. SNK 2. It really feels like Capcom is taking fan-favorite pieces of classic titles, enhancing them and using them as tools to build a brand new identity with Street Fighter 6 while celebrating the franchise as a whole.
And yet the game’s potential launch roster doesn’t seem to follow suit. The returning fighters are mostly made up of representatives from Street Fighter 2, of which there are only four outliers.
Dee Jay is reportedly returning and hasn’t been in a game since Super Street Fighter 4 – though technically he’s also a Street Fighter 2 rep, albeit from one of the later expansions. The other three are Juri (Street Fighter 4) and Ed and Rashid, both original Street Fighter 5 fighters.
This cast seems suspiciously chosen, especially given the absence of very popular characters such as Ibuki (Street Fighter 3) and Sakura (Street Fighter Alpha). No contenders for Street Fighter 3 and Street Fighter Alpha seem very odd, and even then we only have two characters from Street Fighter 5 and one from Street Fighter 4.
The old character Chun-Li returns with a new look.
It feels like this leaves quite a bit of room to dive into these iconic games for future content, and based on some of the things we’re already seeing with Street Fighter 6, it’s possible we’ll get expansions that blatantly revisit the games that be part of the franchise’s legacy.
2022 also happens to be the 35th anniversary of the Street Fighter series, and this could also be a potential hint at thematic character expansions as the company no doubt wants to honor their legacy. It would be pretty slick to see an announcement by the end of this year with a roadmap showing character passes for Street Fighter 3, Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter 5, a Street Fighter Alpha and maybe some fighter silhouettes for the first pack that will be available are after launch.
Street Fighter 6 is slated for release sometime in 2023. Capcom is quiet on the new information front for now, but we suspect we’ll see more around Evo time or later this year.