After its successful launch in June 2023, Street Fighter 6 continues to forge a new future for Capcom’s iconic fighting game franchise as it prepares its second wave of downloadable characters and content. Announced at Summer Game Fest 2024, Street Fighter 6‘s Year 2 update will feature four new fighters added to the playable roster. Those roster additions include the first-ever third-party crossover in a mainline Street Fighter game (Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui). Not to be outdone by guest fighters, M. Bison will be leading Year 2’s DLC, returning after his presumed death at the hands of Ryu in the story mode for Street Fighter V.

In an interview with Den of Geek at SGF, Street Fighter 6 producer Shuhei Matsumoto and director Takayuki Nakayama reflect on the first year since their game was embraced by millions and worldwide and tease what fans can expect from Year 2.

Building a Fresh Street Fighter Experience

One of the most ambitious additions to the Street Fighter franchise in Street Fighter 6 was its World Tour mode. This new mode had players create their own in-universe character to drive the game’s story forward, meeting the roster of Street Fighter characters and learning each of their unique fighting styles. For Nakayama, World Tour was both a means to help guide new players into the gameplay of the game and the wider fighting game community, as well as celebrate Street Fighter’s extensive history.

“The mode itself was a very fun experience for the team,” Nakayama observes. “One of the intentions of World Tour was to give another avenue to players who might not necessarily be super familiar with fighting games in general as a stepping stone to help guide them to become more familiar and comfortable playing an actual fighting game. Beyond that, because Street Fighter is a series that has gone on for many decades now, there are lots of references, story points, easter eggs, and memes. This was another platform to incorporate all that.”

Other game modes in Street Fighter 6 include Fighting Ground (which features arcade and training modes and online matchmaking) as well as Battle Hub (which brings players together to face each other and participate in community events). Fresh off the Giant Attack event in Battle Hub in which players banded together to fight off a large, digital iteration of Street Fighter’s perpetual secret boss Akuma, Nakayama teases the inclusion of more Battle Hub events in Year 2 without divulging specifics. Matsumoto has been impressed by the fan art surrounding Street Fighter 6 and encourages players to participate in the game’s fan art contest.

“Every time we draw up a new gameplay trailer or a character reveal trailer, the speed in which people produce fan art and the amount of it is very quick, and it’s very surprising to see that,” Matsumoto admits. “That shows a lot of love for the characters and we’re very happy and we encourage people to continue doing that. As a reminder, we’re also running a fan art contest where people can illustrate their favorite characters from Year 1. There may be a chance for that art to get incorporated into the game as new challenger art. Hopefully, people will continue producing that and showing their love for these characters.”

Planning Street Fighter 6: Year 2

The developers began planning content for Street Fighter 6 Year 2 long before the base game launched in 2023. It will bring additional content to the game’s three modes, largely centered around its four new characters. Though development began before fan feedback to the wide launch of the base game began to come in, player response has informed live operations development through community activities and content in Battle Hub.

“In terms of the planning for Year 2, this has been planned for quite a while now, for years now,” Matsumoto shares. “We do see the comments that we get from our fans and players and those are referenced for future live ops development. Not only that, it is a source of motivation for the team too. It gives us the energy to keep moving forward.”

The biggest buzz to come out of the Year 2 announcement trailer unveiled at SGF 2024 was the inclusion of Terry and Mai as playable characters. While Street Fighter had previously added guest fighters from other Capcom properties like Final Fight and Rival Schools, Street Fighter 6 Year 2 marks the first time guest characters from an outside company were added to a mainline Street Fighter title. Capcom worked closely with SNK to bring Terry and Mai into Street Fighter 6, hoping to help celebrate and expand the fighting game community together as well as promote SNK’s upcoming game Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.

“It was challenging, but it was also a very rewarding experience to do so,” Nakayama explains. “SNK was very much involved in the process of that. Hopefully, this gives people an opportunity to know and love fighting games more, both in helping us reach an audience who might be interested in Street Fighter 6 and vice versa. Hopefully, this gives people an opportunity to get really excited about the upcoming Fatal Fury title on the SNK side. Hopefully it reinvigorates and energizes the community and gets more people to love fighting games in general.”

The Return of M. Bison

Though players will have to wait until Fall 2024 and early 2025 for Terry and Mai, respectively, Year 2’s first character, M. Bison, will be available on June 26. Far from the dictatorial mastermind in past games, this version of Bison is scrappier and trying to rediscover his identity after his resurrection while still hunting for greater power. In adding Bison to Street Fighter 6, the longtime villain’s usual moves were largely retained and revised to work for the newer gameplay system even as his physical appearance was overhauled.

“He is a very classic character that people have been playing with and loved for many decades now,” Nakayama notes. “The intention was to maintain some of those classic movesets that people grew up utilizing. However, regarding his background and design, we wanted to give him more of a fighter vibe, which you’ll get to know more about as you start to play some of the single-player content in the game.”

The nature of Bison’s return is still shrouded in mystery, especially as he was seemingly vaporized from a Hadouken by Ryu at the end of Street Fighter V. Despite this, Bison’s influence hangs heavily over the world of Street Fighter 6, particularly over characters like JP, Juri, and Ed. Nakayama hints that more about Bison’s Street Fighter 6 backstory and how other characters will react to his return will be included in his arcade mode story and World Tour appearance.

“Once he does arrive into the game, you will learn a bit more about Bison’s backstory when you play arcade mode” Nakayama adds. “You will get the chance to meet him in World Tour mode and he can become your master and communicate with him. There is a lot to learn when you experience that, so I hope you get to try him out!”

The Street Fighter 6 Year 2 Character Pass is available to purchase now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, with M. Bison leading the new wave of playable characters on June 26.

The post How Street Fighter 6’s Year 2 Update Celebrates the History of the Fighting Game Genre appeared first on Den of Geek.

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