Street Fighter 6 seems to be doing all the right things with Capcom’s recent slate of announcements.
A stark contrast to the dispirited reveal of Street Fighter V, the game oozes personality and style in a way I haven’t seen since Street Fighter III over twenty years ago. In recent weeks, following its big gameplay reveal during the Summer Game Festival, I was given the opportunity to get a behind closed doors extended look at the game to get a feel for the game and understand the flow of the new battle system.
I adore fighting games and play them almost every week (in fact, for the last few weeks I’ve been playing every day) so I was very keen to see just how Street Fighter 6 differs from the rest, and what it’s doing to try and close the much-maligned skill gap that seems to grow between newcomers and veterans as the genre matures.
The game wants to teach you and does it stylishly too
The first thing I was shown was the game menus and the way it presents the move lists to the player. Not only are they super sleek and stylish (the whole game is, after all) but they are also very newcomer friendly. As you can see below, each move has a short video attached to it to actually show you how each move looks.
While it’s missing the elements that more dedicated experts often obsess over like frame data, it’s simple and accessible. Even better, on the menus, I spotted that there are character-specific trials too – so the game should give you a few good tools to get better no matter who you play.
Modern control mode is a way in for newcomers
Like I said before, so many fighting games overwhelm players with lists of combos and abilities that their character can do. It’s to the point where so many of my friends who play casually don’t even bother picking up the game to try and learn it.
So many people need instant gratification these days, and I totally get it, but the way Street Fighter 6 gives you options with controls might be able to give that gratification without ruining the balance of the game. Modern control mode could be a real game-changer for players who want to get into fighting games but are too overwhelmed.
Essentially, it means that you can perform certain moves and combo strings without complicated inputs. On one hand, this means that those who are less dextrous can easily keep up with those who are. On the other, it’s not an “easy” mode of any sort – using Modern mode ultimately limits what you can do compared to standard mode as many of your normal attacks will be replaced with the simpler special inputs.
So why bother? Honestly, it feels like a really good attempt to bring new people into the game – a hurdle so many fighting games struggle to overcome often. It feels like the perfect gateway to get people to pick up a fighter, eventually giving people the confidence to transition to standard controls and open up the potential for themselves and their character. And that’s hardly a bad thing.
Think Smash Bros controls but in Street Fighter. Truly a game changer for newcomers.
The commentary system is ingenious and elevates your matches
When I first heard of the commentary system, I honestly thought it was a bit of a gimmick and I couldn’t see the value in it. But watching so many matches with it turned on, I must admit it’s wildly impressive. Essentially each of the commentators can be selected for a match – so far there’s one English and one Japanese – and through the use of dynamic AI they’ll commentate your match on the fly.
This is a great addition. Not only does it bring hype to each of your matches, especially the close calls, but the way it’s stitched together makes it feel as if the commentator is actually there. There are references to other games and characters in the commentary too.
Further nailing the feel, the commentators themselves are real people. Both Jeremy Lopez (English) and Ryutaro Noda (Japanese) have commentated on actual Street Fighter tournaments professionally – and I’ve got a feeling there may be more included with the final game when it launches next year.
It’s artistically the most striking Street Fighter game in a while
I’m surprised I’ve gotten this far without talking this. Once again, a far cry from Street Fighter V’s relatively basic presentation, Street Fighter 6 is oozing style and flair. Powered by RE Engine, the same engine that’s powered the recent Resident Evil games and Devil May Cry 5, the characters all take a more photorealistic approach as a base while still remaining heavily stylised. It’s truly exciting to see how the rest of the cast will look in this new visual style.
But what’s even more exciting about Street Fighter 6 is how it moves. Barring the sprite-based games of yesteryear, Street Fighter 6 looks to be the most fluidly animated in the franchise. The way everything moves and the way special attacks land with huge splashes of colour that stain the floor sounds a bit goofy at first. But such a bold stylistic choice has paid off in motion – it’s without a doubt one of the most striking and visually fantastic fighting games I’ve ever seen.
There’s more modes coming beyond what we’ve already seen
With the reveal trailer, we were introduced to the new World Tour mode which takes Street Fighter to the open world for the first time. Battle Hub looks to be a massive lobby that’ll have announcements playing while allowing you to meet up with friends to match up in games. But other modes look to be included too – and our first peek at the menu seems to indicate that there’s more than meets the eye for Street Fighter 6.
Arcade mode will include options to play against enemies as usual – like Story and ladder-type battles. The practice suite of options will include the aforementioned character trials but also specific combo trials to help players to fine-tune their game. Versus modes will return too, but we spied a team battle mode that made its debut in updates for Street Fighter V but seems to be here from the get-go.
Finally, the “Extreme Battle” mode looks to be a party-style mode that adds special rules and kooky mechanics to battles. There could even be more to come, but for now, there seems to be a nice wealth of options in Street Fighter 6.
Both the netcode and online modes will be robust and inclusive
I’ve been ragging on Street Fighter V for a bit but, if anything, for its time, it was ahead of its time. Full cross-play between the platforms wasn’t a standard in the industry six years ago (and still isn’t for some modern fighting games) so it’s great to see Capcom continuing this trend with Street Fighter 6.
Releasing with full cross-play between all platforms at launch, there’s bound to be a way to play with either random people or your mates no matter where or how they play. Even better, Street Fighter 6 will feature rollback netcode, which is less susceptible to lag, and presumably will be developed by more than one person.
All in all, Street Fighter 6 is truly poised to not only be the best Street Fighter in the series but one of the strongest fighters on the market. Its willingness to adapt accessibility strategies to invite new players into the fold without compromising what looks to be a deep and robust fighting system is to be commended. Hopefully, as the roster fills out, that trend will only continue.
Street Fighter 6 launches in 2023 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.