Street Fighter VI announced the roster of new characters coming to the fighting game’s second season during Summer Game Fest, and it got a lot of fans (myself included) excited.

The season will kick off with series villain M. Bison making his debut later this summer. Then we’ll get Terry (Autumn) and Mai (Spring) from Fatal Fury, the first guest characters in Street Fighter history. Then Elena from fan-favorite Street Fighter III makes her winter debut.

While at SGF, I had the opportunity to chat with Street Fighter VI director Takayuki Nakayama about these new characters and the partnership with SNK. Below is the transcript of our conversation via translator.

Bison appeared

GamesBeat: Now that two characters have been announced for the season and you’ve seen the reaction, how do you feel about the excitement for this round of characters?

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Takayuki Nakayama: We’re so excited to see all the great feedback from everyone. Fortunately, this was the first time everyone had seen it, without any major leaks. It’s great to see an organic impression, an organic reaction from everyone.

GamesBeat: Has there been any hesitation about bringing back Bison since he was killed? Or was it only a matter of time, because he was a prominent and important figure?

Nakayama: Bison is obviously a very special character, a fan favorite, and one of my favorites as well. There was little resistance to his return. If you pay attention to some of the storylines within Year 1’s characters, you’ll find that some of them are tied to Bison himself. We created a path that led to Bison himself being exposed and finally released. We had it in mind in the early stages. We wanted to see how it played and how it would feel with the Street Fighter VI system. It’s something we’ve been planning for a long time.

Bison is back.
Bison is back.

GamesBeat: I wanted to ask about the horse. This is an amazing horse, an amazing entrance with him. Where did the idea for this show come from?

Nakayama: In terms of the context and reasoning behind the horse itself, this is something you can learn more about when you play a World Tour. This will give you more knowledge about that. In terms of how he gets on the horse and how he gets off the horse, that’s something we had to think about. How can a character like Bison ride a horse? A man with this power, what would that look like? By understanding his background, we came to the conclusion that he should fold his arms when getting on top of the horse.

GamesBeat: This is a character that’s been around for a while. What will older fans notice that’s new about Bison’s gameplay in Street Fighter VI?

Nakayama: In terms of new moves, he has a new move called Backhand Combo, where he can drop a psychic mine against the opponent. When this mine is placed on an opponent, they must hit Bison to deactivate it. This creates a mind game. It forces the opponent to play a certain way. We wanted to emphasize that in this new version of Bison. However, it also retains some old moves like the Psych Crusher and Double Knee Press. In the past, these moves were only executable through freight traffic inputs. The double knee press is now performed in a fireball style command motion. We decided to make him a sort of hybrid character to differentiate him from previous iterations. Overall, we wanted to keep and improve some of the old moves while making them more relevant to the context of Street Fighter 6.

First Smash, now Street Fighter.
First Smash, now Street Fighter.

GamesBeat: Having Terry and Mai in the game is really exciting. It’s the first time we’ll have guest characters in a main Street Fighter game outside of Capcom’s extended universe. How did that partnership come about? Was it always your hope to get these characters specifically?

Nakayama: How we came to the conclusion of introducing Terry and May in Street Fighter VI To give you some background, two years ago, when EVO held its first post-pandemic event, we decided to celebrate that moment by working with SNK to do some collaborative posters. We each drew our own characters and personalities from the other IP. This led to more conversations about including these characters.

But not only that, if you look at it in the context of the story, the original creators of Fatal Fury and Street Fighter – some of the same people were involved with both IPs. They both share a connected history. Even though they belong to two different game series, it still makes sense that they share the same universe indirectly, in some way. We felt it was appropriate. They mesh well within Street Fighter.

GamesBeat: There’s a new Fatal Fury game coming, too. Will the favor be returned with their game?

Nakayama: We’re very much looking forward to the new Fatal Fury game, and it would be amazing if something like this could happen. But we’ll see.

GamesBeat: In the past we’ve had Capcom vs. SNK as an entire series. Is there room for something like this, or do you think this is a better approach, rather than having to make something separate?

Nakayama: We see it as two different things, including guest characters in Street Fighter 6 versus creating a completely new Capcom vs. SNK game. The goal of including these SNK characters is to energize fighting game fans in general, and get them excited about it, so more people will be interested in trying out a fighting game. If we wanted to create a completely new CvS game, it would need a completely different approach and a completely different meaning. They are two different goals.

Street Fighter III represents!
Street Fighter III represents!

New and old generation

GamesBeat: I’m a huge fan of Street Fighter III, so seeing Elena there is very exciting. Was there a conscious decision to wait this long for Street Fighter III to be introduced again?

Nakayama: We don’t really focus on exactly which title the characters come from when it comes to deciding who to introduce and who to add to the game. We look at the characters individually, and see what kind of fighting style they use, and their countries of origin. Elena is an African character who uses capoeira, and she is very unique and different from the rest of the group. It’s not really the intention to create balance and make sure there are characters from each individual title, but more individuality for the characters. This helps us determine who is a good fit.

GamesBeat: Is it difficult to make those decisions under external pressures? You’ll always have people like me who want Final Fight characters and Street Fighter III characters, even though you may have your own idea of ​​what’s best for the game. Do you have to adjust that or do you have to stay in touch with the loudest voices from your fans?

Nakayama: We don’t ignore the comments we hear on social media. We encourage people to be vocal about their expectations and what they want to see in the future. This is a good reference for the team. But ultimately our goal is to get as many people interested in fighting games in general as possible. This is our north star. Who are the right characters to incorporate into this game to reach an audience that may never touch a Street Fighter game? In year one and year two we had four letters each.

Obviously we want to make as many characters as possible. We are creatives at heart and love doing it. But if we want to achieve the quality standard we set for ourselves, this is the limit. Obviously some characters will not appear in the list due to these restrictions. This type of conversation isn’t just limited to outside the company. These are the conversations we’ve had within Capcom and within the team itself. Arguments about who belongs and who doesn’t. This is very familiar to us. We fully understand our players’ comments, comments and dreams.

GamesBeat: Since you encourage people to let their voices be heard, I’d say Mike Hager would be very nice.

Nakayama: male! Everyone has the right to express their desires.

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