The Next Generation… Again!
Since last week’s gameplay reveal for Street Fighter 6, spotlit as a part of Sony’s State of Play showcase, publisher Capcom has been drip-feeding new clips and info regarding the flashy-looking fighting sequel.
We’ve already seen — and I should add officially seen — footage on several new and familiar faces in action, and even gotten a sneak peek at the new fight intros and interactive Vs screens. In regards to lore, Capcom has also confirmed that Street Fighter 6 is set after Street Fighter III, and thus represents the most recent chronological entry in the lore of the World Warriors.
But what of the two officially announced newcomers, Luke Sullivan and Jamie… Something? What part will they have to play in the new game? Well, according to Capcom Luke and Jamie are long-time fighting rivals — sometimes buddies who frequently find themselves pushing each other to become ever better in their respective mastery of the martial arts. With Ryu, (and we assume, Ken), transitioning to the “old guard,” Luke and Jamie will be aiming to step into the spotlight as SF 6‘s lead characters.
This is not the first time a famous fight franchise has shook up its protag priorities. Mortal Kombat 3 made the bold step of unmasking Sub-Zero and removing Scorpion entirely. The King of Fighters ’99 introduced bold new stars K’, Maxima, Vanessa, Kula, and many others in lieu of long-time heroes Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami. And, lest we forget, Street Fighter itself almost took the shocking step of removing Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter III, replacing them with a new hero, ghetto grappler Alex.
However, in all of the above examples, the fanbase got a little antsy and, ultimately all of the original characters were eventually restored in updates, test sessions, semi-sequels, or home releases. Fighting game heroes simply become too synonymous with their brands, and it is a rare situation indeed to see these poster boys and girls permanently removed, even through death.
Hell, just ask Mileena or Johnny Cage.
Capcom is clearly aware of this, and as such we also saw Ryu and Chun Li appear in SF 6‘s first gameplay trailer. If spoilers are to be believed, then the hot-headed Ken Masters will also be making his grand return, (if looking a little worse for wear in his new “Berry Togard” getup). While having Ryu and Ken in Street Fighter 6 does take a little shine off of Luke and Jamie’s spotlight, history dictates that it is the best decision, and will likely see the fanbase welcome the newcomers with more open arms.
Additionally, bringing in younger heroes only emboldens the first duo of the Street Fighter franchise, both of whom genuinely look to have aged. Ryu is carrying himself as a man — a martial artist — who may finally, finally be approaching his destiny as a Perfect Fighter.
Of course, we have already had our (somewhat painful) introduction to Luke in Street Fighter V, with the army brat leaving his Tour of Duty to showcase his fiery MMA abilities and fierier attitude in the global fighting circuit. Naturally cocky, rebellious, and extremely tough, young Sullivan has already left a trail of broken bodies and hurt egos in his wake… Except for that one that rage quit on me.
Jamie is a young kung-fu master fighting out of Hong Kong, where he fills his days with acts of peacekeeping and soft vigilante justice, inspired by former Street Fighter stars Yun and Yang. From the videos, we can ascertain that he is an expert in the “drunken” kung-fu style, Zui Quan, which he has melded with his own love of dancing to create an attractive and distinct methodology of his own.
Much like other fighting game Zui Quan practitioners, (such as Virtua Fighter‘s Shun Di), Jamie can drink mid-battle, offering him new abilities and moves in battle. While we do not yet know exactly what Jamie is drinking, it’s unlikely to be alcohol. It’s the FGC, so you just know it’s gonna be Monster or some taurine-based engine oil. Jamie is also something of a fashionista and, much like his fighting style, blends traditional culture with a slick modern style.
Whether Luke, Jamie, or any of the Street Fighter 6 newcomers successfully steal the community’s heart remains to be seen. But while we can readily guarantee that the returning World Warriors will bring their respective fanbases with them, the mysterious next generation of fighters certainly looks both intriguing, stylish, and exciting. I can’t wait to check out each and every one of them. I might have been throwing fists since 1991, but I’ll always be up for one more round.
Street Fighter 6 launches in 2023 on PlayStation, PC, and Xbox platforms.