It wasn’t all that long ago that we were counting down the days until the release of Street Fighter V. While the game would grow into a fantastic chapter of Capcom’s groundbreaking fighting franchise, SFV’s launch was somewhat disappointing for many fans, as it lacked in single-player modes and many of those other elements that usually make the series so special.
That certainly won’t be the case for Street Fighter 6. With fresh blood at the helm and a renewed sense of energy, the seventh official chapter of the Street Fighter saga—don’t forget about Alpha before you say we’ve counted wrong—already feels like it could outshine its predecessor in every way right from the start.
Part of that, of course, comes from the immense amount of work the team at Capcom is putting into Street Fighter 6’s solo content. The biggest of those elements is World Tour, a sprawling adventure where your custom-crafted fighter travels the globe to learn the ways of the warrior from familiar Street Fighter faces. You’ll train with the best, square off against other upcoming fighters on their own journeys, and even partake in some exploration and a variety of mini games. Oh, and don’t think that what you play at launch is all there will ever be, as Capcom has said that World Tour will expand with the arrival of future roster additions.
Don’t take all of that to mean that Capcom is forgetting about the classic player-versus-player fights that have made the Street Fighter series what it is. You can always jump directly into matches both online or locally against friends and strangers, but Street Fighter 6 now also features the Battle Hub, a new social space where you can express your love for the fight with other fans from around the world. That might come in the form of sitting down at virtual arcade cabinets to challenge others (or play classic Capcom arcade hits), participating in tournaments, showing off the new gear your personalized character is sporting, or even just talking a bit of (hopefully friendly) trash to rivals.
Beyond game modes or networking options or any of those other things, though, it’s the heart and soul of Street Fighter 6 that has us the most excited. We expect Capcom to get the basics of fighting games right, but what we weren’t expecting was how much style and personality the development team has put into everything that’s built around those core elements. The game’s infusion of street and hip-hop culture feels fresh yet somewhat familiar (at least for those fans of Street Fighter III), and the roster of newbies that help fill out the launch roster of 16 characters may be the most exciting freshman class we’ve ever seen. (And if you aren’t familiar with them yet, you can meet them across the pages of this preview.) While Capcom has worked hard to craft a fighting engine that’ll provide plenty of depth for longtime players, it’s also put an equal amount of effort into making a game that can be far more welcoming and accessible for less skilled players.
Seven years after its release, Street Fighter V stands as a testament to Capcom’s continued ability to dominate the fighting game genre. And yet, while we can’t yet say where it will be after an equal amount of time, Street Fighter 6 already looks to potentially overshadow its predecessor from the moment it arrives on the mean streets of Metro City.