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Street Fighter 6: The Definitive Timeline of the Iconic Fighter

Femi Famutimi
49 min

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Street Fighter 6: The Definitive Timeline of the Iconic Fighter
This deep dive looks at the Street Fighter timeline and lore and we explain everything you need to know

How do you even start something like this? Street Fighter was released in 1987 and has a little over 35 years of history behind it. It has raised a generation and has cemented its place in gaming history as one of the most important franchises ever created. 

So, how do you tell its history? That’s what we are going to do here. Street Fighter would go on to revolutionalize the gaming industry with its sequel, Street Fighter II. The story it also developed, while convoluted is still followed by thousands of fans. So, this is the full, detailed retrospective of Street Fighter.


Fighting games are a well known genre today, but they only came about in the 70s when the iconic Heavyweight Champ was released in 1976. It is credited by many as being the first fighting game in existence. It was a successful game and it spawned several other games that took inspiration from it. By the middle to late 80s, there were fighting games everywhere, but most of them featured the same patterns: two players facing one another with basic moves with the first to hit the opponent declared the winner.

However, some games were making innovations, including Yie Ar Kung-Fu, otherwise known as One-Two. What made the game stand out from the crowd was its introduction of bosses with unique and sometimes impossible moves. This has become a staple of Street Fighter with characters that can do stuff that no ordinary human could pull off. In 1987, Takashi Nishiyama, who before this had honed his skills making a game called Kung Fu Master, helped create Street Fighter.

Now we can talk about all the great things Street Fighter did, but one of the most amazing things was how detailed the story for each character was. Before this, fighting game characters had no backstory and were simply vehicles for entertainment. With Nishiyama, who went on to implement his story ideals in King of Fighters, he wanted his characters to have a life of their own, and so, we got one of the first games to give their characters a backstory. Ryu was an orphan whose past is shrouded in mystery. He has no recollection of his parents, and nothing about his past life. Ken is his close friend who trained alongside him and was his companion in all things while Sagat was a great martial artist full of pride and who considered himself the strongest in the world. So, what happened with Street Fighter 1?

Chapter 1: Street Fighter

Street Fighter was the start of a revolution in the fighting game genre. It brought a few innovations that made it such a beloved game including the idea of characters from various parts of the world and new ideas like punch and kick strength. Capcom decided to deal with this by introducing pressure sensitive controllers. Therefore, if you wanted to perform a light kick, you pressed lightly, conversely, if you wanted a heavy attack, you had to really mash the controller to get the desired result. Needless to say, this caused a fair few people to hurt themselves, nothing serious, but enough to annoy anyone. Capcom would eventually introduce the 6-button layout we all know and love which helped people vary their attacks. 

Also introduced was the concept of special moves. Before now, you simply had punch and kick as options in fighting games. But, with Street Fighter, different characters could now do special moves and we were met for the first time with Ken and Ryu’s iconic Hadoken. Interestingly, very few players knew these options existed since there was no manual explaining how to do moves. But, once people discovered what was possible, people spent hours trying to figure out how to throw Hadokens and Shoryukens. The moves that were given to Ken and Ryu from day 1 have remained a part of their toolkit till this day. 

In the story, Ryu, who had no recollection of his parents or past, had been trained as a fighter. He considered himself an enigma with no real connection to a world around him that seems to understand so much that he doesn’t. What is life? What does it mean to love? 

Ryu’s saving grace is his master, Gouken who took him as a son and has trained him since. Ryu has grown into a great fighter who has trained in the art of Ansatsuken. But, how does he know he is actually strong enough? Thankfully, Ryu finds out about a tournament that has all the powerful fighters from around the world convening in one place to fight. This includes his friend and sparring partner, Ken. Also invited to the tournament were Mike and Joe from the United States, Gen and Lee from China, Birdie and Eagle from England and Adon and Sagat from Thailand. From the selected fighters, Sagat was the most powerful and was even known as the Muay Thai king. Ryu fighting his hardest was able to beat everyone standing in his way till he made it to the finals against Sagat. Sagat was a powerful warrior that standing at over 7 feet, towered over all challengers including Ryu. Ryu, however, was hungry for victory.

Unfortunately, hunger isn’t necessarily the only ingredient for success and Sagat’s superior skill was more than Ryu, in his current state, could manage. Sagat was victorious, but the proud Muay Thai king took things a bit too far, taunting the hero and even granting him some perverse sort of clemency. As Ryu watched his victory slip away, something took over, something that would be his struggle for the forseeable future. In an act of pure rage, Ryu unleashed a rising uppercut called the Shoryuken against Sagat. The shocked fighting champion was hit by a punch so powerful, it seared his chest and knocked him out. Therefore, Ryu was the winner of the first ever World Warrior Tournament. 

But, this did not feel like victory. He had not won fair and square and now Ryu was aware that there was something evil residing in him, ready to take him over if he was not careful. 

As for Sagat, his defeat left him disgraced, so much so that his former student, Adon, abandons him. Also, Sagat is offered a place at the side of the most dangerous man in the world— M. Bison

Sagat joins the criminal organization, Shadaloo, losing his former glory as a proud warrior, now made to serve as an underling. 

Street Fighter’s original end saw Ryu win outright against Sagat, but that did not lend itself well to the dramatic tone of such a monumental fight, so we got the whole Sagat scar thing added to proceedings for a bit of spice.

The next game to come out was the monumental Street Fighter II, but before then, we must examine the next chapter from a story perspective since that is our purpose here; to fully delve into the timeline of Street Fighter leading to Street Fighter 6. The next chapter takes us into the murky world of the Street Fighter Alpha series with all that happened there (a lot of which has a bearing on the main story)

Chapter 2: The Alpha Series

Street Fighter II was behind Capcom and they had more or less reached the end of their tether as to how many times they could release Street Fighter II with just a few additions here and there. It was time for a new game. However, moving on to Street Fighter III was going to be a bit of a problem as they still had a boatload of their CPS-1 and CPS-2 arcade systems on hand, and simply throwing them away was not a good idea. So, the proposal for a game that would work on this older system and still play well was put forward. 

Relative newbie, Hideaki Itsuno, was drafted as the head honcho to plan the game and he needed to oversee a Street Fighter that still retained its identity while also appealing to a new audience. Itsuno has since mentioned how helpful his relative inexperience was in making the game as it enabled him to bring forward fresh ideas that were a little different from what Capcom was used to. As a man who still had a ‘consumer brain’ he was more relatable to the audience and could pinpoint what they would like to see in a Street Fighter game. Nowadays Itsuno is a household name having headed games like Devil May Cry and Dogma, but Street Fighter Alpha was his start and in a lot of ways, was the springboard he needed both in terms of experience and confidence to get him going.

Street Fighter Alpha was put on a very strict timeline— three months, which was an insane schedule for making a video game. Obviously, it took longer, but not much longer as the game was ready in about six months. The name, Street Fighter Alpha, was not the first choice as Capcom initially tried out Street Fighter Legends, and Street Fighter Zero which was the name that the game went by in Japan. For an American audience, it was felt that the name Street Fighter Zero could have negative connotations, so they went with Alpha which was a nice name, but also referenced the fact that this was a game that was going back to the beginning. 

From a story perspective, it was a way to bridge the gap between Street Fighter and Street Fighter II, both of which had distinctive characters, but very little story behind it. Alpha acted as a way to expand on the Street Fighter lore and even retcon a couple of actions. For instance, the scar on Sagat’s chest was explained as an injury from Ryu who was now dealing with the Satsui no Hado

From a gameplay perspective, Street Fighter Alpha was a very fascinating game. See, Capcom has always been a ‘serious’ company. This means that the company prided themselves on making games for ‘true gamers’ who liked their games punishingly difficult. However, with Alpha, there was a compromise as the game was made with the mindset of making it more accessible to lesser-skilled players. On top of that, a few more things were added over the course of the Alpha series including turning the super bar into three separate blocks of meter and introducing the ‘ism’ system which gave players a lot of variety in terms of their style of play. The game also added some elements that are common in anime fighters like air blocks and chain combos. We also got a fair few new characters including some from the Final Fight series like Rolento and Sodom

Storywise, as mentioned earlier, Street Fighter Alpha was the genesis of the Street Fighter lore and there were two major themes that were evident: (1) The origin of Ryu and the main conflict he was to face and (2) The rise of M. Bison and the establishment of his motives. There were other plot points in the story which involved all the other characters, but this was the major purport of the narrative. It was also one of the only Street Fighter games that was not centered around a tournament.

For Ryu, after winning the first Street Fighter tournament, he is now a wanted man. For Bison, Ryu was the perfect vessel to host his consciousness. This is because Bison’s psycho power, while supremely potent, was also destroying his body. This was what led Bison to create Cammy and the Dolls as he wanted different alternatives to host his consciousness. It is also worth noting that one major price Bison had to pay for his power was the loss of everything good and humane inside himself and for some reason, Rose, the mysterious magic wielder, is the physical manifestation of all the good in Bison. It has been floated that Rose was a student of Bison from a time we cannot ascertain and while growing into his evil self, she was the recipient of all Bison’s ‘good energy’. Bison was not the only one interested in Ryu as Sagat, who had lost to the protagonist in the first iteration of the game, was back for revenge and was obsessed with getting one over Ryu. This led Sagat down a dark path including a stint as a Shadaloo operative. He even lost his title as the king of Muay Thai, losing to his former student Adon. Even more worrying, was the fact that the raging demon known as Akuma, who was responsible for the death of Ryu and Ken’s master, Gouken, was also looking to lay his hands on Ryu. This is because, in defeating Sagat, Ryu had unleashed a power known as the Satsui no Hado, which Akuma was the main practitioner of. Seeking for a worth opponent, Akuma wanted to see for himself if Ryu could be that person and strove to test him. Akuma also defeated Gen, who was from the first game and was an accomplished fighter who was unfortunately, dying of Leukemia and wanted to die at the hands of a true fighter. Akuma won, but refused to finish Gen off. 

Ryu eventually faced Akuma and Akuma was satisfied with Ryu’s compatibility with the Satsui no Hado, but was unimpressed with his current level, telling him to come back when he was stronger and showing him a glimpse of what the Satsui no Hado could do in the hands of a competent practitioner. He leveled an entire island and encouraged Ryu to continue down the dark path. 

Meanwhile, Bison’s hunt for Ryu was impeded by characters who wanted Bison dead for one reason or the other. Chief amongst them was Chun li who’s father was killed by Bison. Chun li attempted to take down the mad dictator, but failed. Another Bison hunter, Charlie Nash, came up against the villain because he was responsible for the corruption in the United States army. Charlie is victorious against Bison, but is in for a rude shock as his team who were supposed to come and pick him up and apprehend Bison, turned out to be on the villain’s side and shot Charlie in the back.

Bison continues to hunt down Ryu and is eventually victorious after abducting and torturing our hero. He also pumps him full of Psycho energy and unleashes him against his enemies. What Bison did not realize was that one of his dolls, Cammy, who was another prime candidate to receive Bison’s soul, had been broken free from his control and his plan to have her murdered had failed. Cammy was broken free by Dhalsim whom she had been ordered to kill. Free from her brainwashing, Cammy was now determined to destroy Bison and knew just the way to do it. She pulled it off by destroying the Psycho Drive, a giant machine that was capable of revitalizing Bison and causing untold damage to entire cities. 

Bison unleashes Ryu on the protagonists who have been joined by Sagat. Sagat had experienced great character development after his loss to Ryu and Adon and had even let Dan Hibiki, a character whose father he had killed (Dan’s father is why Sagat wears an eyepatch, badass right?) win against him. Sagat sought to break Ryu free from Bison’s brainwashing and was joined by Ken, and Sakura, a young girl who idolized Ryu. Sagat broke Ryu free, and they all ganged up to defeat Bison. Bison survived though and was hoping that his Psycho Drive could revive him, but thanks to Cammy, his great machine was destroyed. Though he warned that if he died, she and the dolls might die with him, but Cammy, used the Psycho Drive to set the other Dolls free. In the ensuing drama, the facility where all this was happening exploded. However, Cammy and the Dolls were saved by none other than Vega, one of Bison’s lieutenants and one of the assassins who had gone after Cammy and failed. 

Unfortunately, all this was not enough to end Bison, who had somehow managed to attach his essence to Rose, and the gypsy woman was tasked with the thankless task of housing Bison

The story might seem grim, but it had a lot of bright spots including Ryu and Sagat’s newfound ‘friendship’ (more like a rivalry) and Cammy’s salvation. She would end up with the British intelligence agency known as Delta Red where she found a home and friends. 

Bison was not dead, and Ryu still had this dark energy that he had to deal with. This was a perfect springboard to launch us into the next game in the series— Street Fighter II

Chapter 3: The Street Fighter II Craze

Street Fighter II is easily the most popular game of the series and is considered the Magnum Opum of the Street Fighter series. To tell the story of Street Fighter II, we need to go back a bit. The making of Street Fighter Alpha was exciting, but, it was on the backdrop of an incredibly successful game in Street Fighter II. This means that with Street Fighter II, there wasn’t the same level of confidence in Capcom’s ability to churn out an incredible fighting game. 

Part of Street Fighter II’s legacy is how different it is from its predecessor. While the original game was a great effort and did a lot for fighting games in general, it could not hold a candle to what Street Fighter II did. 

Many credit Akira Nishitani and Akira Yasuda, fondly known as ‘Akiman’, as the lynchpins behind the game. In a bid to separate Street Fighter II from the original, a lot of new concepts were incorporated. One of the biggest ones was the care and focus on the various characters that would appear. There were eight characters (later twelve) and four bosses and their uniqueness was a great reason for SFII’s popularity. The fighters came from around the world and each designer had their own character to focus on. This made for quite a bit of diversity in terms of playstyle, visuals, and moveset. 

Street Fighter II is pretty crazy for its time, but if Nishitani’s original ideas had been taken on board, it might have been even crazier. The man had ideas to do stuff like design underwater stages where there was limited air supply and stages situated up high where the loser falls to their death (we saw this concept play out in Killer Instinct). But, even without Nishitani’s wilder ideas, Street Fighter II is still pretty out there. This was in part due to the fact that the developers decided to only approve ideas that made them laugh. This caused characters to develop weirder and weirder moves. For instance, Dhalsim’s long limbs should never have been a thing, but it was just so funny, that they kept elongating, and we have the fighter we know and love today. 

Another innovative thing that Street Fighter II introduced into the world was the idea of balance. Before SFII, balance in a fighting game was not such a big deal as most of the characters played the same and there weren’t so many things to incorporate. But, with all the whimsical and insane moves that characters in SFII were privy to, balancing the game to ensure that a character wasn’t too broken was of utmost importance. So, it meant that some characters like Chun li and Zangief needed to be nerfed to ensure that they weren’t ridiculous. That said, they were unable to balance perfectly meaning that Ken ended up stronger than Ryu and Guile was a problem with his strong special moves. 

Computer AI in SFII was also a big deal as Nishitani made a crucial decision by allowing the game’s AI to make use of the same moves that players had available to them. This made it so that the computer seemed more natural and fun to engage without the broken moves that littered the fighting game scene at the time. Other innovations included adding a feature were there was a one in 256 chance of pulling off a special move from a normal. This was considered a bug by players, but was put there on purpose to let people know that special moves were possible. Also, later iterations of Street Fighter added the mirror match which was impossible beforehand. 

Street Fighter II was a worldwide sensation, but what happened in the story? 

Where we left off, Bison had been defeated and his Psycho Drive destroyed. Ryu had seen firsthand the power of the Satsui no Hado, and Cammy had been dropped off unconscious at the base of a British Intelligence team known as Delta Red

The story of Street Fighter II starts with the return of Bison. See, Bison had borrowed the body of Rose after the events of the Alpha series and would eventually return to another body made for him by his mad scientists. This body, however, was slimmer and less bulky than his Alpha iteration. It was explained that this was the case because his Alpha form was the dictator at the height of his power while his new body in Street Fighter II was not as powerful. This caused Bison to resume his hunt for Ryu in the hopes of using his body to become the ruler of the world. To that end, he organized the World Warrior tournament and invited all the top fighters around the world to join. There would be several entrants with many of them there to take down Bison. Chun li came to avenge her father’s death, Guile was there to avenge Charlie, E. Honda was there because a lot of his sumo students were caught taking a dangerous drug that Shadaloo had produced. Ken joined because Ryu invited him while Ryu himself was there as always to test his strength. Cammy returned to investigate her past ties to Shadaloo and find out as much as she could. The tournament was in Thailand, and Bison had Sagat, Vega and Balrog as his allies in his quest for world domination.

Street Fighter II’s end is a little ambiguous, but it is accepted in most quarters that Bison failed to get Ryu’s body and was beaten by the mysterious Akuma who was simply looking for someone worthy to defeat. Other things that occurred included Cammy’s ‘reunion’ with Bison where we got that unfortunate mistranslation which suggested that Cammy and Bison were lovers of some sort. We now know this isn’t true, but Bison did reveal that she was discarded and was useless to him now. Thankfully, the Delta Red team were there to cheer Cammy up and remind her that she had a home with them. Who won the tournament? We don’t know. In Ryu’s ending, he simply walks away in search of the next challenge. There is some comfort in knowing that Bison got his butt handed to him by Akuma which makes Akuma an even more terrifying prospect. Akuma is an interesting character as aspects of him make it clear that he is no goody-two-shoes, but he is no Bison either in terms of maliciousness either. 

The end of Street Fighter II might have been less than satisfying, however, the cultural impact the game had on the world at the time cannot be overstated. It ushered in an era of competitive fighting with its focus on multiplayer content. There was even a story of how the game took off in the United States and was a lot slower in Japan because culturally, Japanese gamers were not as open to the idea of playing video games against strangers. With Street Fighter II, the competitive fighting scene in Japan was born and you could even say it introduced a concept of community in Japan as strangers were now more likely to fight one another in combat at the arcades unlike before. 

The next game in the timeline storywise, is Street Fighter IV which brought its own fair share of wild characters and plot development. 

Chapter 4: An Unlikely Revival

So, Street Fighter IV. The game has been hailed as the Lazarus game. The story of Lazarus can be found in the Holy Bible and he was a friend of Jesus who died and was raised from the dead in what is considered Jesus’ greatest miracle. In the same vein, the Street Fighter franchise and fighting games in general, were considered to have run their course in the mid-2000s. Capcom had been hard hit as their titles; Street Fighter EX 3 and Capcom Fighting Evolution did not do well in the market. This caused Capcom to consider pulling out of the fighting game market. One of Capcom’s legends, Yoshinori Ono had already floated the idea of Street Fighter IV, but no one was listening.

Thankfully, around that time, video games were losing their appeal in general with developers and publishers more focused on creating graphical spectacles rather than games that people want to play again and again. So, people did what came naturally— they retreated to the games that had comforted them when they were younger. One of such games was Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting which was released in 2005 for PlayStation 2. It was a success and this caused Capcom to realize that fans still loved their fighting games, just not the direction it was going at the time. This led to plans for Street Fighter IV being green-lit and the game went into production. In 2008, Street Fighter IV was released and it was a major success.

It used more realistic designs, but also kept things whimsical enough to retain its charm. The backgrounds in Street Fighter IV were done in 3D and the art was beautiful. One of the factors people point to as the reason for SFIV’s success was the cooperation between Capcom and a company called DIMPS, to develop the game. DIMPS was a company made of former Capcom and SNK employees and a lot of them had some experience with Street Fighter including the man who was responsible for the very first Street Fighter game, Takashi Nishiyama. It also had a great cast of characters including all the 12 original characters from Street Fighter II. They were joined by newbies Abel, El Fuerte, Hakan and C. Viper. While we saw the return of some other characters from other iterations of Street Fighter, like Gen from Street Fighter I and Alpha, Sakura and Dan from the Alpha series, Cammy, T. Hawk, Fei Long, and Deejay from Super Street Fighter. In terms of gameplay, the game featured a lot of the classic maneuvers and mechanics we were used to, but it also introduced focus attack, and a revenge gauge. All these culminated in a great game that was universally praised by fans and critics alike, and it brought a new wave of interest into the competitive scene. This was also partly because for the first time, players could now face one another via LAN. This was pretty popular in Japanese arcades where Street Fighter IV was housed in TAITO arcade cabinets which came with network capabilities. 

The lore of Street Fighter IV put it between Street Fighter II and III. In this one, for the first time since Street Fighter I, we had a new villian in Seth. Seth is technically a clone of Bison (specifically the 15th) but he developed self awareness and broke free, deciding to create his own network and rule the world. His plan was to use the Shadaloo Intimidation Network (SIN) to create a machine which was called the BLECE project. This would make it possible to download all a fighters' capabilities and replicate them in Seth. His preferred vehicle to get this was another Street Fighter tournament which was to have all the greatest fighters and then take their abilities. As it turned out, Bison, who had somehow survived his encounter with Akuma, was running the show from the sidelines. He wanted what Seth was after, but without having to do the dirty work himself. So, with Seth having done most of the work, Bison came simply to collect. He fought Seth and won. 

But, it turns out that there was another player in the shadows— Juri Han. She is a South Korean fighter whose father was murdered by Bison and she swore revenge. Make no mistake, Juri is no angel. She joined S.I.N. to get close to Seth and Bison and was more than happy to collect all the female dolls that Bison had in earlier games procured. She was unable to get one though, Juni, who was saved by Cammy. On seeing that Seth had lost to Bison, she kills the clone. But not before Bison had activated the other Seths which is what other fighters got to face when up against the final boss.

Another story element was the continued progress of Ryu who was still battling with the Satsui no Hado. He entered into the tournament and eventually faced Seth. He won, and destroyed the BLECE project and then escaped the facility with Sakura who had entered the tournament to meet him. On getting out, he would discover that his master, Gouken, was alive and well. Apparently, the master had survived Akuma’s attack by ‘emptying his soul’ via the power of nothingness. This means that both Bison and Gouken survived Akuma attacks which does not look good for the raging demon’s impeccable track record of destruction. Gouken explained that the power of nothingness was the only thing that could counteract the Satsui no Hado. He was able to seal the darkness in Ryu only for Akuma to come back on the scene and challenge him to a duel. We do not see the winner, but we can say with some certainty that Akuma did not win as Ryu is not a madman in Street Fighter V or III

Also of note was the story of Balrog who found a little boy called Ed in the ruins of the S.I.N complex and took him believing he would be a valuable asset somehow. This brings up and interesting prospect. If Ed was that young in Street Fighter IV, how much time passed before Street Fighter V? We also met Abel, another failed Bison clone who also appeared in Street Fighter V to take the dictator down. We can say safely that by Street Fighter IV, Bison had amassed a fair few powerful enemies and it will eventually lead to his downfall. 

A fun thing to note was the decision to name Seth. He was named partly as homage to Seth Killian, a former community manager at Capcom who is regarded highly by most people. Seth was initially going to be called ‘Cain’ making him a rival to Abel. However, the name Seth was a better fit and still carried the necessary connotations as Seth was the child born to Adam and Eve after the death of Abel. In other words, he was ‘Abel’s replacement’ which is also true of Seth who was to be the perfect creation by Shadaloo

So, by the end of the story, Ryu had a bit of closure with the Satsui no Hado, and Ken, jeez! We forgot all about Ken. Well, he had become a responsible adult with a wife and son named Mel. He took part in the tournament because of his old friend Ryu, while the character, Rufus was also added as a rival to Ken (one-sided rival however). And so, we move on to the next chapter— Street Fighter V.

Chapter 5: Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V is an AMAZING game. The balance is great, the cast of characters is memorable, and the gameplay is fun to watch. Unfortunately, it did not start that way. If anything, Street Fighter V will always be divisive and it all stemmed from how it started. On the back of the success that was Street Fighter IV, Capcom could be forgiven for believing that Street Fighter V was going to be a slam dunk. This had a lot to do with how popular fighting games had become again and Street Fighter IV had been really instrumental in the burgeoning world of fighting game esports. So, it was understandable that Capcom wanted a game that would appeal to an esports audience. They also tried out a new formula, announcing that Street Fighter V would be a live service game. This meant that every character and costume could be grinded and obtained free of charge. Of course, there was still room to buy stuff, but this was a bold move from Capcom. Unfortunately, the rest of the game wasn’t so well thought out. There were also whispers that the developers were given an impossible timeline so as to make it in time for the Capcom Pro Tour season. This led to a release that can only be kindly called a disaster. Street Fighter V released with no arcade mode, a small roster of characters (by modern standards anyways), and rubbish netcode (this took a while to get over and was never truly great). But as time went on, Capcom learned from their mistakes and developed Street Fighter V into a great game. But how did it hold up as a story?

Well, the story mode of the game which was called 'A Shadow Falls’ gave us a lot of insight as to what has happened within the story.

As always, the main antagonist of the game was Bison and this time, he had a new ‘vice’ in the person of F.A.N.G, a psychotic killer who is hellbent on elevating Bison as the leader of the world. To do this, he initiates a new project called C.H.A.I.N.S (Shadaloo sure love their acronyms) which was to launch a tonne of satellites (called Black Moons) into the sky and cause a worldwide EMP explosion and have the ensuing chaos feed Bison with unrivalled power. Fortunately for the protagonists, one of the hackers messed with the plan and sent the keys to the satellites to fighters all over the world. One of the people who got a key was his close friend and series debutant, Rashid. Rashid tried to stop CHAINS by himself, but he was defeated and had his key stolen from him. However, there were two major teams after Bison. One is led by a mysterious woman named Helen who by some enigmatic power was able to resurrect Charlie from the dead with the aim of defeating Bison. The other team was led by Karin Kanzuki who used her vast resources to recruit several Street Fighter characters including Guile, Chun li, Birdie, and even Ken. Ryu was supposed to be in the party, but he is dealing with the Satsui no Hado again which has come back to haunt him. So, Ken goes in his stead, and Ryu travels to find a way to deal with the darkness taking over him. It is while he is searching for answers with Dhalsim that he encounters the ancient Aztec warrior called ‘Necalli’. This shadowy figure is a wraith-like character who roams about seeking the hearts of powerful warriors to devour. He defeats Ryu, but is stopped by Dhalsim who fights him off. 

The Helen team recruits Rashid, Juri, and eventually Cammy while the Karin team is joined by Zangief and R. Mika.

The teams are eventually able to break into Shadaloo’s hideout seeking to destroy the CHAINS project and they get into a flurry of fights. The Helen team fight F.A.N.G and a bunch of brain-controlled dolls and are able to defeat them. Meanwhile, Rashid is able to destroy the Black Moons. But F.A.N.G ensured that all the satellites would explode within 24 hours which would bring untold chaos and tragedy and also boost Bison’s power. 

Ryu finally joins the fray and with the help of Charlie’s sacrifice, he is able to defeat Bison for the last time. With Bison defeated, and the CHAINS project destroyed, it spelt the end of the evil tyranny of Shadaloo

Helen would later be revealed to be a minor character from Street Fighter III called Kolin who is the assistant to that game’s villain, Gill. It was revealed that Gill’s organization, the Illuminati, are the main shadow organization of the whole story. With Bison supposedly out of the way, Gill and co can now go ahead to build what they say will be their utopia. 

Ryu has mastered the use of the power of nothingness, so the Satsui no Hado is no longer a problem. Charlie dies, while Cammy is on the run with her sister Decapre

The death of Bison is interesting as the mad dictator will not appear in Street Fighter III and has also been missing so far in Street Fighter 6. There was also the story of Ed, who first appeared in Street Fighter IV and was taken in by Balrog. He is warned by Rose’s assistant, Menat, that he has trouble ahead. So, he along with sister figure, Falke, form ‘Neo-Shadaloo’ which is committed to finding victims of Shadaloo and helping them. They also have a huge Gorilla on their side. 

That was the story of Street Fighter V, and whether it was smooth or not, it did line up pretty well with the next game on the timeline.

Chapter 6: The Unpopular Street Fighter

That’s an exaggeration. But also, not really, because going by the sales numbers at the time, not many people played Street Fighter III

This was for a number of reasons. One aspect was the team. Street Fighter III was to be the follow up to the wildly successful Street Fighter II. But, as it turns out, the small team put together to create the game were not very experienced. In fact, it has been said that about 80% of the team didn’t know much about fighting games. The driver for the game was Tomoshi Sadamoto who had worked on The King of Dragon game, and while he had some fresh ideas for Street Fighter III, it was a very uncomfortable time for him. It didn’t help that the experienced heads within the company had either left, or were working on Street Fighter Alpha and for some weird reason, both teams did not share intel. This lack of experience and information meant that Street Fighter III was already in a bad place. However, this wasn’t the only reason as with Street Fighter Alpha there was also some inexperience, but that turned out great. But with SFIII, the timing also coincided with a real drop in arcade culture all around the world. More and more people were playing on the home consoles and Street Fighter III was a game MADE for the arcades. It was running on Capcom’s CP3 arcade system which no home console at the time could handle. There was a philosophical divide here in that a lot of the developers were people who had a fondness for arcade culture and were aspiring to make a game that elevated that way of life. However, consumers had moved on and competitors were more willing to adapt. Worse still, it came out just as Virtua Fighter 3 and Tekken 3 also made their debuts and the emphasis on 3D animation at the time meant that Street Fighter’s gorgeous 2D animations just weren’t alluring to the public who deemed them archaic. Furthermore, Street Fighter III was a game for hardcore fans and many of the systems weren’t understood by casual players meaning that even those interested soon grew frustrated at their lack of expertise at the game.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Street Fighter III was the roster. The full name of the game was Street Fighter III: New Generation and as the name implies, it really was a new generation of fighters. In the initial stages of the game, even Ken and Ryu had been thrown out and we were instead presented with a weird array of characters who had no priors in the Street Fighter universe. Interestingly, the game wasn’t even supposed to be a Street Fighter game, but when industry legend, Akira Yasuda saw the problems the development team was encountering, he suggested that Ryu be added and the game be made a Street Fighter game. 

Street Fighter III sold poorly, but it would get a redemption arc as time went on. Street Fighter III: Second Impact, and 3rd Strike were released with updated balancing, new characters (Chun li and Akuma were particularly welcome) and just the passage of time meant that people were a bit more receptive. The last point on time was perhaps the most important factor. As people fell out of love with the frankly ugly early 3D era, the beauty of SFIII became more evident. 

With Street Fighter III, the story of the development process is particularly pivotal as it really shaped the lore and is the reason it is the last game in the timeline. A new cast of characters meant that there was a new protagonist, Alex. As a protagonist, Alex wasn’t great and the absence of most of the legacy characters we were used to meant that the story had to take place in the future. 

So, what was this story? Remember that lorewise, Bison is supposedly gone for good. Ryu has mastered the power of Nothingness and Shadaloo’s power has been shattered. Therefore, a new evil entity needed to replace the old guard. This was the Illuminati headed by Gill

Most of the story for Street Fighter III came from 2nd Impact which retconned a lot of what happened in ‘New Generation’ while 3rd Strike just sought to put a bow on things. As mentioned earlier, the big new bad was Gill whose sole aim was to create a utopia made up of the ‘worthy.’ According to the Illuminati's beliefs, there was to be an apocalypse and the ones who remained had to be warriors. To ensure this, the Illuminati set about achieving what they called the ‘G’ project. Also, Gill set up a tournament to figure out those who would inhabit his new utopia. One of those who came for the fight was Alex whose mentor, Tom, had been beaten to the point of death by Gill. Alex got his revenge which caused Gill to develop an interest in him. Within the Illuminati, there was some politicking going on as Gill’s brother, Urien, was plotting to be the divine leader in place of Gill. This would not work and in a cruel turn of events, Urien would confront Gill, win (but only because Gill wanted him to) become the President of the Illuminati, only to be informed that Gill was now the Emperor which was again a step ahead of Urien

Gill’s intentions are a lot less malicious compared to Bison, but he was a dangerous proponent nonetheless. Meanwhile, Ryu is once again on his travels where he meets an old hermit named Oro who is extremely powerful and comments that with more training (decades worth) he might be able to stand against him at full strength. Ken returned to meet with Ryu again and he even takes a new student under his wing, Sean. But, it must be said, Sean is not a very strong character. 

The only other character of note lorewise is Q. This is a mysterious character who is under investigation for some murders. But, at the end of the day, nothing is known about Q. Of course there have been parallels and comparisons to G from Street Fighter V, but nothing concrete. It is unlikely that they are the same people, but it is highly likely that they are related somehow. 

By the end of 3rd Strike, Akuma is still looking for a worthy opponent, Ryu is seeking strength, and Ken has found fulfillment as a martial arts master and Father, husband, and entrepreneur. 

For all intents and purposes, 3rd Strike is not a bad end to the Street Fighter series. But, there is so much more to uncover. 

 Chapter 7: A Bright Future

Street Fighter 6 will for the first time in 25 years continue the Street Fighter story. There is so much that we do not know. But we have seen bits of Street Fighter 6 along with two closed betas and one open one, so we can say a few things about the game. From a lore standpoint, we see that Street Fighter V introduced Luke towards the end of its cycle and he was touted as the new protagonist. Interestingly, Luke is more Alex than Ryu, but also kind of feels like a combination of both. On one hand, Alex is the beefy wrestling man from the United States while Ryu is the typical idea of a stoic Japanese martial artist. So, in Luke, we have a character who throws down like a wrestler, but also possesses a lot of ‘Shoto’ moves. In terms of character, he is a lot more goofy and playful than his predecessors, but it seems that is more down to the times we live in. Luke fits more of the demographic of those who will want to get into Street Fighter today. 

Street Fighter 6 is ensuring it doesn’t make the same mistakes as Street Fighter III in that a lot of the iconic cast returns with a large helping of new characters. So, people are excited for the new names while also keeping in mind that the characters that made them fall in love with the game in the first place are still around. 

From the comics that have been released we have a little glimpse into where the story is. Chun li still works with Interpol, but she is a more mature, measured character. Ken is a crypto bro currently on the run from the law after being framed. Ryu seems at peace with himself and devoid of any Satsui no Hado. But, most interestingly, is the supposed villain of the game, Johann Petrovich, otherwise known simply as JP. He is the head of an NGO who purports to support the nation of Nayshall. But, he also is the man behind Ken’s framing and in his gameplay we see more than enough hints to see that he makes use of psycho power. As to his true identity, we are still in the dark. Could he be a contemporary of Bison? Perhaps one of the mysterious three students that Bison’s shady master passed the teachings of the psycho power to? We don’t know, but we will find out. 

We have also been informed that Luke will play a prominent role in the story so we can expect that he will feature a whole lot more. All we know about Luke is that he was in the military and isn’t anymore and now works as a ‘security consultant.’ and is certainly acquainted with the Masters’ family. He is responsible to look after Mel, Ken’s son. From what we have seen so far, we might be seeing a lot more on Ken considering most of the Street Fighter narrative has been around Ryu. So, seeing the blond-haired champion get his time in the sun, albeit as a fugitive is still pretty nice. 

Of all the things we have talked about, the most important is that we have more Street Fighter. It is quite evident that the team has learned from the mistakes of Street Fighter III and Street Fighter V and we are all the better for it. As we await eagerly for the game to drop in less than a week, we can reflect at a near impeccable legacy of the game, and as one generation hands over to another, we can be assured that the magic that makes Street Fighter such a paragon in the gaming scene will remain. 

I can say that as a fan, that’s enough for me. 

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