It’s a rare event that only happens once in a blue moon - it’s time for another numbered Street Fighter game. Which means that it's also time for us to theorycraft which characters we all want to see make a return in Street Fighter 6.
If Street Fighter 5 set any precedent, it’s that in the modern age the starting character roster won’t be the end, of course. SF6 is likely to be continually updated with DLC and seasonal patches that will inevitably add new characters to the game. It’s likely to have a long tail - SF5 started life with 16 characters, and ended its cycle with over 40. So one can dream big.
To give this article a little bit of structure, I decided to limit my picks to six characters. That’s six for six - one from each of the six existing main Street Fighter series - that’s SF, SF2, SF3, SF4, SF5, and Street Fighter Alpha. I also decided to not include the obvious picks - so while classics like Guile, Chun-Li, Cammy and the like should be in Street Fighter 6, I’m not going to include them in this list. I thought I’d generally pick less famed and lauded characters. Though, Capcom, listen: if Cammy (my main since SSF2) isn’t in SF6, we’re going to have a problem.
So, here’s some lesser-known picks. I only have one rule - they can’t have been playable in Street Fighter 5. They must have been MIA for at least a full generation. For the SF5 characters, I have to choose from the newcomers. After much agonizing, here’s my picks…
Eagle [Street Fighter]
The original Street Fighter featured two Brits, both named after golfing terms. Birdie got a revival in Street Fighter 5, revealed to have let himself go with a newfound beer belly but no less of a passion for fighting - and in SF6, I reckon it’s time to give Eagle a turn in the spotlight.
Eagle is cool for a few reasons. He fights with a stick, making him one of the few Street Fighter characters to be a master of a martial art that involves a weapon beyond the body. Eagle is said to have been partially inspired by Freddie Mercury, and all his signature moves are named after English cities.
Eagle has returned before - appearing in later versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3 - but he’s a character with few enough appearances that designers could have fun changing things up while retaining what makes him unique. Plus, imagine a showdown between Eagle and Dudley, the British gentlemen…
T. Hawk [Street Fighter 2]
Pretty much the entire cast of Street Fighter 2 is massively iconic - which theoretically makes a choice for this list, meant to be about lesser-known characters, difficult. But in truth it wasn’t difficult at all, because I instantly knew it had to be this guy. T. Hawk.
To be honest, T. Hawk was a character I was always holding out for in SF5, and I remain disappointed he didn’t reappear in that game. A friend of mine is a T. Hawk main, and I sincerely miss our Cammy vs Hawk showdowns. I also think with Condor Dive to close space, he has potential to be one of the most interesting and threatening grapplers around.
With Capcom always searching for ways to make Street Fighter more accessible, grapplers are one of the character types I wonder about most, with their 360-degree button inputs that are difficult for beginners to understand. T. Hawk could be repurposed as the ‘beginner grappler’, which would let Capcom keep the more truly iconic Zangief as he is.
Sodom [Street Fighter Alpha]
One thing I didn’t really clock until I sat down and thought about it was how much of Street Fighter Alpha made its way into SF5 - most of its most interesting newcomers crop up in SF5’s cast. Of those that remain, three are probably particularly interesting - Sodom, Maki, and Juni and Juli as a tag-team - and I’m going to give the crown to Sodom.
Sodom’s journey to the Street Fighter canon was the same as Poison and Abigail - a Final Fight boss who later carved out a role as a World Warrior, though so far only in the Alpha series.
Sodom wears a bunch of Samurai-style paraphernalia, which hides his terrible secret - he’s a weeb. An American obsessed with Japan, he speaks broken Japanese and is, honestly, a bit of a comic relief. Sodom’s fighting style is meant to reflect this, too - a mix of American and Japanese styles.
Dudley [Street Fighter 3]
I don’t want to make this a British love-in or whatever… but we are a British site, so screw it. Based in part off Chris Eubank, one of the most eccentric sportsmen of all time even by British standards, SF3’s gentleman boxer is the reverse of SF’s most famous Boxer, who is of course a dirty-fighting brawler based on Tyson.
Dudley is one of those characters who I don’t even really think needs that much rethinking. He’s some of Street Fighter's design at its best - simple, understandable, and with a fighting style that is a perfect match for the style and personality of the fighter.
Plus, like I said, he and Eagle would make a pretty good team.
C. Viper [Street Fighter 4]
At one point, it definitely appeared that Capcom saw Crimson Viper as the next great Street Fighter character. The collector’s edition of SF4 shipped with a figurine of her fighting Ryu, she headlined all the game’s promotion, and she was even put into Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 as one of the Street Fighter series representatives. But then, something happened. Juri happened.
Juri, an addition in Super Street Fighter 4, was undoubtedly a better character than Viper. She had a more striking design and personality, a cool move-set, a memorable voice in both English and Japanese, and she fit a new mold - where Viper was another international agent, just like Chun-Li, Juri was a messed-up anti-hero, an archetype Street Fighter has surprisingly few of. So, when SF5 rolled around, Juri made the jump. Viper didn’t.
With that said, I really do have a lot of time for Viper. Her gadget-powered move set of electrical and fire-element attacks has great potential for shenanigans in whatever SF6’s battle system is. It’s clear Capcom hasn’t entirely forgotten about her either - she makes a brief appearance in one of the SF5 story modes, complete with a new outfit.
Sorry, Abel fans. He sucks.
Ed [Street Fighter 5]
I’m going to commit a sin here. I’m going to talk about Street Fighter’s story. In Street Fighter 5, M. Bison is finally done away with - and Shadaloo, his criminal organization, is done. Timeline-wise, SF3 takes place later - which is why that game has no Bison. But one other thing the fifth game does is introduce Neo Shadaloo - of which Ed is the head.
Ed is actually a child who was set to be a replacement body for Bison, but Balrog took him under his wing and raised him. As such, Ed has the boxing prowess of Balrog and the psycho power of Bison. The potential for this fight style is enormous, though it has to be said it isn’t much to write home about in SF5.
Similarly, attempts to introduce Neo Shadaloo with lieutenant Falke and story hints also fall fairly flat in SF5 - and yet, I’m still intrigued by this narrative thread and where it could lead. Basically, I’m saying that while SF5 certainly has better newcomers - Rashid and Menat for sure - Ed feels like the one who deserves another chance at glory. So he’s my pick.