It’s hard to ignore the big Street Fighter 6 leak that surfaced earlier this month that seemingly unveiled the game’s launch roster shortly after the first gameplay trailer dropped. While everyone is unsure if what we saw is the real deal, the artwork depicting what looks like the full cast on day one certainly seems convincing.
Now, we don’t want to delve so much into the specifics of the leak, but instead want to talk about a possible ripple effect we might see post-launch. Street Fighter 6’s potential leaked roster goes heavy-handed on newcomers, and this — along with a few other potential signs — could point to post-launch expansions being released as packages themed exclusively as Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 3, and so on as a means of bringing back legacy fighters.
Naturally, this is pure speculation as we currently do not know how Capcom intends to handle DLC for Street Fighter 6. It also goes without saying that the leaked roster could still be a fake, though it definitely looks like it’s real not only based on the quality of the contents themselves, but also due to Capcom seemingly addressing them.
As a quick recap, Street Fighter 6’s rumored launch roster contains 14 returning characters and a whopping 8 newcomers (including Luke). This is double the amount of brand new fighters that we saw in Street Fighter 5’s initial cast, and double Street Fighter 4’s launch newcomers — though you could unlock the newly added bosses Seth and Gouken by playing the game.
We haven’t seen this many original fighters on a Street Fighter’s base roster since Street Fighter 3: New Generation, which only included two legacy contenders (Ryu and Ken) and 9 newcomers. So, why is this all important?
Well, looking at Capcom’s most recently released Street Fighter venture for potential clues, we find that Street Fighter 5 had minimal newcomers up front, then added more in their post-launch seasons. Moreover, some seasons went heavy on the original fighters — like Season 2 that only saw one legacy character, Akuma, make the line up among 5 brand new warriors — and it felt like only a small handful of them ended up being big hits with the fighting game community.
Newcomers Luke and Jamie in Street Fighter 5.
Capcom is clearly making efforts to right the wrongs of Street Fighter 5 here with Street Fighter 6, as the company has come right out of the gate putting an emphasis on netcode, the amount of content we’ll be seeing in-game, and the ability for players to express themselves — all major complaints fans had about SF5. In that same vein, we could be seeing Street Fighter 6 shift the way expansions are released, mainly focusing on having fan-favorite returning fighters as those we pay for instead of a lot of newcomers that end up being more of a gamble.
One thing the community quickly noticed about Street Fighter 6 is the push to not only revamp some of the tried and true game mechanics from past games, but to pay tribute to the previous games in the franchise. We see this in not only attacks, but even various character poses that have been confirmed to be pulled straight from games like Street Fighter 2.
Drive Impact looks like it was 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 flavors of Street Fighter Alpha 3 in the game too, and even a bit of Capcom vs. SNK 2. It really feels like Capcom is taking fan-favorite pieces of classic titles, improving on them, and using them as tools to build up a totally 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 consist mainly of Street Fighter 2 representatives, with only four of them being outliers.
Dee Jay is reportedly returning and hasn’t been in a game since Super Street Fighter 4 — though he too is technically 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 Street Fighter 5 original fighters.
This cast seems suspiciously dialed in, especially considering widely popular characters like Ibuki (Street Fighter 3) and Sakura (Street Fighter Alpha) are absent. No Street Fighter 3 and Street Fighter Alpha contenders seems very odd, and even then, we only have two characters included from Street Fighter 5 and one from Street Fighter 4.
Legacy character Chun-Li returns with a new look.
It feels like this leaves quite a bit of room to dip 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 get expansions that blatantly revisit the games that make up 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 themed character expansions as the company is undoubtedly wanting to honor their legacy. It would be pretty slick to see an announcement towards the end of this year revealing a roadmap that shows character passes for Street Fighter 3, Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter 5, an Street Fighter Alpha, and perhaps some fighter silhouettes for the first pack that will become available after launch.
Street Fighter 6 is slated for a release sometime in 2023. Capcom has gone quiet on the new information front for the time being, but we suspect we’ll see more around Evo time or later this year.