Calling Street Fighter one of Capcom’s biggest franchises would be a massive understatement- hell, it’s one of gaming’s biggest properties. Since its inception three and a half decades ago, Street Fighter has been synonymous with one of gaming’s most popular and persevering genres. But even though so much of what we take for granted in fighting games now exists because of Capcom’s series, there’s no denying that there’s been a steep drop off in its stock in recent years.
It’s no secret that Street Fighter 5 didn’t have the best launch, and the game was considered a major disappointment by many for quite some time. Of course, Capcom did eventually manage to turn things around for the game – Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition in its current state that the vast majority of series fans are very happy with – but the hope is that lessons will have been learned from difficult first few years of its life.
Happily enough, it does seem like Street Fighter 6 isn’t going to make the same mistakes its predecessor did. Capcom has been on a bit of a roll these last few years, and a number of its franchises – including the likes of Resident Evil and Monster Hunter – have benefited from that massively- and it sure seems like Street Fighter might follow suit. Since its reveal earlier this year, we’ve seen quite a bit of Street Fighter 6, and some significant details on the game have emerged. And based on all that we know so far, it seems like Capcom is going all out in its efforts to bring the series back to its peak.
Street Fighter 5 suffered from a few key issues when it launched back in 2016, and so far, it seems like Capcom is taking the right steps to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself with the upcoming sequel. Street Fighter 5’s online play was a bit of a mess back when it launched, which is far from ideal for fighting games in particular- and that was in spite of having rollback netcode. Street Fighter 6 is also going to have rollback netcode, of course, but Capcom says that it’s been built entirely from scratch, and that extra effort is going into ensuring that players have a smooth experience at launch. Of course, that’s what you expect any developer to say about their game before it releases, but given how crucial it is for something like Street Fighter 6 to have good and stable online functionality, we’re hoping Capcom makes good on its promise.
Moving on, another major point that Street Fighter 5 received plenty of flak for at launch was its roster, and that’s something else that it seems Street Fighter 6 will attempt to directly address. Upon release, Street Fighter 5 featured 16 characters at launch (of course, now it features many, many more), and while only seven characters have been confirmed officially by Capcom for its upcoming sequel so far, leaks (which, incidentally, have been acknowledged by Capcom) have strongly suggested that there will be 22 characters in the game’s roster at launch- which is definitely an upgrade. Of course, it remains to be seen how that will expand over the years following the game’s release, but if Capcom’s support for Street Fighter 5 is anything to go by, there’s reason to be optimistic.
But probably one of the biggest attraction that Street Fighter 6 will boast – and one that Capcom has certainly played up in its marketing for the game so far – is the World Tour mode. Street Fighter 5 was roundly criticized back in 2016 for how blatantly lacking it was in terms of single player content, and it very much seems like Capcom has taken that criticism to heart- because Street Fighter 6’s story mode is looking highly promising, and very different from what you’d expect from the story mode in a Street Fighter game (or hell, any fighting game, for that matter).
Rather than a string of cutscenes and your regular 2D fights, World Tour will instead be a fully 3D experience. Players will travel to a number of freely explorable, almost open world-ish locations (one of which, Metro City, has been revealed in gameplay so far), and while fights will, of course, be a major part of the experience, there will be a lot more to it than that. On top of its emphasis on exploration and action-adventure gameplay experience, Capcom is looking to use the mode to dive into the story, world, and characters of Street Fighter, with the developers saying that they’re looking at World Tour as an entire game in and of itself, rather than simply a mode.
It’s very ambitious, by the looks of it, and it’s certainly very unique for its genre, and those two reasons in and of themselves are enough to get us more than a little excited about it. Ultimately, it will boil down to how well Capcom can implement its ideas – many of which seem entirely unique for the genre – but our early impressions have certainly been positive.
But of course, Street Fighter 6 isn’t looking as promising as it is simply because of all the ways it’s making some major improvements over its predecessor- some of the new mechanics it’s introducing, for instance, have also piqued our interest. The Drive system seems to be at the core of the experience this time around, allowing players to get creative and experiment with different styles, and we’re curious to see how significant its impact on the moment-to-moment gameplay is going to be. Then there are the Classic and Modern control schemes, which seems like a smart way to make the game more accessible to newcomers without having to streamline it to the point where genre veterans are left disappointed.
With Street Fighter 6, Capcom seems to be making the right decisions all around so far. Unlike its predecessor, it’s not a console exclusive, which means that as a multiplatform game, it’s bound to have a larger pool of players at launch (especially if it’s received well critically), while with cross-play supported the online side of things – which, in Street Fighter’s case, is a huge piece of the pie – benefits significantly.
By now, we’ve all learned time and again that one can never be too sure of any game’s success- you never know what might end up disappointing you. Whether or not Street Fighter 6 will live up to its promise is a question that will obviously only be answered once the game is actually out- but there’s no denying whatsoever that there is a lot of promise here. From its roster of characters to how much content it is launching with, from its new and ambitious story mode to the improvements Capcom is saying it’s making to the game’s online functionality, it really does seem like Street Fighter 6 is not only learning from its predecessor’s mistakes, but also looking to build on the series’ enduring success in some truly exciting ways. If it turns out to be as good as it seems like it might, Street Fighter 6 may very well end up being a landmark achievement for fighting games as a whole. That, of course, is a position that Street Fighter as a franchise has been in more than a few times over the years, and we sure would love to see that happen again.
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