It’s been a couple of weeks now since Capcom unleashed the latest DLC character to grace the Street Fighter V roster. That character is, of course, the mystical fortune teller who wields Soul Power, Rose. While I was indifferent to her making it to the game, I did find Rose is a worthy addition to the roster as a whole and I’m looking forward to pros actually utilizing her abilities to their upmost potential.
I did manage to complete all her trials (which were difficult, frustrating and really fun to complete) as well as her Story mode and it’s the latter I would like to talk about. Street Fighter V’s stories have been, well, let’s just say they’ve really been lackluster. Even the grand full-length A Shadow Falls story mode felt rather empty! Rose’s story did feel like that at the start. However, the ending did catch my attention as well as the attention of others who finished her story mode.
It may just be a blurb and Capcom just wanted to acknowledge the fact Rose initially appeared in the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero series. A lot of gamers, however, look at the ending and see a potential to rewrite the entire canon of Street Fighter as Rose hints she’s send a message to her past self and reset everything back “to zero.”
There is a lot of potential to essentially reboot the Street Fighter franchises story. The overall plot is rather confusing at this point and even Capcom themselves couldn’t get the sequence of events for each game in a consecutive order! It still boggles my mind how Street Fighter III is actually the last entry in the timeline while both Street Fighter IV and V are supposed to have happened in between Street Fighter II and III! There’s also the matter of the Alpha/Zero series, which happens in between the first 2 Street Fighter games. Basically, all of the Alpha/Zero games are prequels to Street Fighter II.
The timeline is already messy as it is but, somehow, Capcom managed to make things even more confusing with all the retcons. The original story of Street Fighter I had Ryu defeat Sagat to win the first tournament cleanly. This was changed to make things much more dramatic. The retcon now has Sagat utterly destroy Ryu and, in an arrogant show of showmanship, tries to help a fallen Ryu. Ryu, with the Murderous Intent bubbling over, does a massive Metsu Shoryuken to Sagat, giving the Muay Thai fighter his legendary scar and also giving Ryu the win. There are other things, like Gouken actually surviving his encounter with Akuma as he appears in Street Fighter IV and V. It’s also unclear regarding who wins the World Warrior tournament in Street Fighter II. You would think Capcom would give us a definitive canon winner for the game that popularized fighting games, but they didn’t!
There are a lot more issues with the entire Street Fighter timeline so it does seem to be a good idea for Capcom to simply reboot the entire franchise and rewrite it all from the beginning to give fans the definitive and, more importantly, an actual cohesive story. While I would be all for that, I don’t really think it would be necessary. I ultimately believe Capcom doesn’t actually need to touch Street Fighter’s canon, despite it being a bunch of loose story threads all tangled together.
First off, I do have to ask this: does the Street Fighter series, or any fighting game for that matter, really need a cohesive timeline for fans to follow? I will admit, there is some merit to doing so as there’s always a strange thrill to see “canon” matchups like Dan facing off against Sagat or Sakura going against her idol, Ryu. At one point, Capcom themselves even realized this as they put in special intros in Street Fighter Alpha/Zero 3 to acknowledge these pairings were part of the characters’ histories. It adds a lot of personality to the entire roster and might make the difference as to why you would rather play as Ryu or Ken.
I’m all for these tiny character moments. However, no one really plays a fighting game for the story. We play them for the actual fighting! Yes, it can definitely be a plus for a fighting game to have a really good canon story to follow but even the best stories in fighting games take a back seat to the fisticuffs. The best fighting game story right now, in my opinion, has to be the Mortal Kombat and Injustice franchises because they did put a lot of effect to make a cohesive tale to tell in each game. Still, I don’t really know anyone who wanted to get Mortal Kombat just to experience the story. The story modes Netherrealm Studios put other fighting games to shame but, ultimately, it’s just gravy and not the meat.
I’m also apprehensive with the idea of erasing and rewriting all of the backstory the Street Fighter saga has amassed for more than 30 years. Some of the retcons have been confusing and Capcom could be much more forward with informing fans about the changes they’ve made. Maybe they can put together a very comprehensive package revealing the current canon storyline or something to that degree. Even so, dedicated fans have still managed to follow the core story throughout all the game with very little trouble. Making a totally different timeline might just make things even more confusing. I get the reboot worked for Mortal Kombat but, just because it worked for them, it doesn’t mean it’ll work well with every fighting game.
That being said, I would not be against Capcom going back to the drawing board with the story. It would mostly be out of curiosity, though. I would love to see how they would try to rewrite the decades of storylines and character backstories while keeping the essential story and all the personalities we’ve grown to love and hate intact or, at the very least, do them in such a way they’d become more interesting. It would be rather fascinating if they could do that and not anger longtime fans as well with any outrageous alterations.
However, in the long run, I do feel it would be totally unnecessary to go scrap Street Fighter’s lore and revamp it from zero as Rose said in her story mode. Sure, it’s a broken heap of story threads and loosely connected retcons but, hey. Who gets a fighting game for the story anyway?
What do you think of the potential for Capcom to do a story reboot for Street Fighter? Let me know in the comments section below!