Whether it was on the Genesis, in the arcade, on PlayStation One, Two, Three, or Four, I’ve always known a time when Street Fighter was in my life. And even though I would never claim to be great or even good at fighting games, that’s never stopped me from having a good time. For example, when I was a little kid, I had done just about everything there was to do with Street Fighter 2… until I learned how to change the colors of the costumes for the characters. Once that happened, I went from replaying the same game over and over again to creating my own storylines. Suddenly Ryu was in an all-black outfit, and my opponents needed to stop “evil” Ryu from… being evil. I don’t know; I was a little kid. Don’t judge!
My point is that you don’t need to be an expert in the competitive scene to enjoy a fighting game as long as the game has enough to offer its audience. In 1995, something like alternate costumes was good enough, but in 2016 the bare minimum wouldn’t cut it for casual fighting fans like myself to stay invested. Even for a series that I’ve loved for so many years, nostalgia can only get you so far. And it’s because of this, that I’ll always have such a negative opinion of Street Fighter 5. I wanted to love that game so much, but there wasn’t anything there for me, no matter how hard I tried. And because of that, for the first time, I didn’t have a Street Fighter in my life.
Now, there are a lot of people online way more knowledgeable than me who can explain the ins and outs of what was wrong with Street Fighter 5 at launch. From a casual’s point of view, though, there are two very simple things I can point at to explain why I soured on it so quickly. First up, when I play a fighting game, I’m looking for one simple thing. When I press the buttons, I want cool things to happen. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about button-mashing. I still think even base-level players need to learn how to play the game, but once I’ve done that, I want to be able to look cool. Just because I’ll never be even half as talented as the players at EVO doesn’t mean a game can’t trick me into thinking I am.
Two great examples are Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (or 3) and Dragon Ball FighterZ. These games accomplish this so well that matches between two casual players can be enjoyable to watch for people who aren’t even playing the game. No, my friends and I will never be able to do a touch of death combo in Dragon Ball FighterZ, but who cares? It still looks incredible when I land a decent combo that ends with hitting my opponent with a Kamehameha that fills up the entire screen.
The other thing that Street Fighter 5 made at least an attempt at but failed miserably was a story mode. By this point, games like Mortal Kombat, Injustice, and even older titles like Smash Brothers Brawl with Subspace Emissary, had entertaining story modes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every fighting game needs an intense NetherRealm-style story mode; I’m looking at you, Dragon Ball FighterZ. Still, if you’re not going to meet the first criteria of making me look cool while playing your game, this is a must. Street Fighter has this over-the-top lore with colorful characters and rich backstories. SHOW. THEM. OFF! There’s no reason why I can explain the history of Mortal Kombat to anyone willing to listen, but I still don’t know why Shadaloo is holding a street-fighting tournament.
So with all of this said, we’re on the verge of learning and seeing just what Street Fighter 6 will be. Currently, all we know is that SF6 will feature Ryu, SF5 newcomer Luke and for the first time since, I believe, Street Fighter 4, a new art style. So I’ve talked about hoping for a story mode and wanting the ability to “look cool when I press the buttons,” what else could I possibly need from this game? Let’s talk about the roster.
Like I said, I dropped out of Street Fighter 5 soon after release, and if it wasn’t for people like Maximilian Dood trying out the DLC characters on his Twitch/Youtube channel, I’d have no clue who’s even in this game. That being said, SF5 had some familiar faces missing. So, who should be in the Street Fighter 6 launch roster? Keeping in mind that I have no clue who the hardcore fans of the series, especially SF5, love and want to see return for the next installment, but I did some digging and found three classic characters that I’d love to see return to the franchise.
As I started looking up Sean’s story, I was surprised to learn that he’s often considered a cooler “Dan.” Ouch! Some sites claimed he was a Ken “fanboy,” while others at least give him the respect to call him a future student of Ken’s. Either way, if Street Fighter 6 finally moves the timeline forward, it’s time for Sean to become the character I thought he was when I was younger.
Speaking of characters who are actually cool. Ryu, if he was a sneakerhead, Guy just exudes a cool factor that a lot of SF characters don’t have. And while this is heavy speculation, the teaser trailer that we have to go off of does feature a rap song. So if you’re Capcom and trying to figure out what characters to feature at launch, Guy makes the most sense if that’s the aesthetic they’re going for.
Growing up, Mike Tyson, AKA Balrog, was one of my favorite Street Fighter characters. As I got older, though, and started learning about fine wines and non-ketchup-related sauces, I realized I needed a higher class of boxer from the franchise. So when I discovered a bow-tied boxer named Dudley, I realized I had finally found a new favorite character to add to the stable. On top of that, if Street Fighter 6 moves the story forward, I think it would be fun to see Dudley a little older. Who knows, maybe he’s got his own protege too.
And with the mention of a Dudley protege, I think that something I’m hoping for the most from Street Fighter 6: new original characters. I could easily keep naming characters from the past that I would love to see return but what I think Street Fighter 6 needs the most is a nice mix of new and old. Of course, using a 30-second trailer to speculate on anything is nearly impossible, but the biggest takeaway that I had from that trailer was Luke challenging Ryu. When we see the two characters powering up, the colors that surround Ryu are black and white, almost like something out of a classic samurai film. In contrast, Luke is surrounded by bright blue and orange. Does this imply that we will see a group of newcomers to the series challenging the veterans? Probably not. If anything, this is just a trailer telling fans that Luke is just as important as Ryu for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean I can’t stop dreaming… at least until Capcom fully reveals Street Fighter 6 sometime this Summer.