Street Fighter (universe)
The Street Fighter universe (ストリートファイター, Street Fighter) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters and properties that hail from the famous fighting game franchise created by Capcom. Originating on the arcade in 1987, the series became world-renowned as one of Capcom's most lucrative franchises, alongside Mega Man. Street Fighter has three confirmed series sharing its universe, Final Fight, Rival School and Slam Masters, while Captain Commando and Strider are in question, due to their possible connection within this shared universe. It stars a multitude of characters whose sights are set on their life goals and to be crowned the greatest warrior on Earth - as is the case with its main stars Ryu and Ken Masters.
In 1987, Capcom developed and released its first competitive fighting game, Street Fighter, for arcade machines, and subsequently ported it to the TurboGrafx-CD console under the title "Fighting Street" in 1988. Though the one-on-one fighting game genre had already been first popularized years earlier by Karate Champ in 1984, Street Fighter is credited with introducing hidden, command-based special techniques to the budding genre's formula. The game itself is a primarily single-player affair in which the only character that can be played as is the martial artist Ryu, who must defeat a linear series of computer-controlled opponents at martial arts venues across the world. In the game's limited 2-player mode, the second player takes control of Ken Masters, Ryu's friendly rival who is otherwise a functionally identical clone of Ryu in-game, and whichever player wins a multiplayer match between the two will proceed with the rest of the single-player game as that character. The game received fair critical reception for relevantly innovating on its genre, but failed to garner lasting popularity, and would primarily derive its public appeal from being a historical curiosity in the wake of far more successful endeavors by the series.
Capcom had intended to lift Street Fighter's concept and improve on it with a sequel, but repurposed their follow-up project as a side-scrolling beat-em-up titled Final Fight in response to the popularity of Technōs Japan's Double Dragon. Despite this change in direction, Capcom decided to make fighting games a priority after Final Fight was commercially successful in the United States, and went ahead with Street Fighter II, which saw release in 1991. It was met with meteoric commercial and critical success and is credited with both setting off a renaissance for the arcade game industry in the early 1990s and giving rise to an influx of fighting game franchises by other developers, popularizing the genre. The Super NES port of Street Fighter II - the first 16-Megabit cartridge for the console - became Capcom's best-selling single-consumer game software until 2013, when it was surpassed by Resident Evil 5.
Street Fighter II added the concept of a roster of selectable playable characters, each with their own distinct fighting style and special moves, to the formula of the first game, as well competitive multiplayer combat between two players and a combo system - the first fighting game ever to use one, despite coming about as a bug initially. Many of the innovations brought about by Street Fighter II were incorporated into later fighting games - including the Super Smash Bros. series itself, to an extent. Following this, Capcom enacted a long series of updated re-releases of the game over the course of several years, adding various improvements and new features in response to a wave of bootleg ROM chip upgrades that emerged for its arcade cabinets. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition made four previously boss-exclusive characters playable and added "mirror matches" (the capacity for two players to fight as the same character with different color palettes); Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting featured faster-playing speeds; Super Street Fighter II reverted the speed change, added more characters, and featured a new scoring system which kept track of combos, as well as an eight-player single-elimination tournament mode; and Super Street Fighter II Turbo allowed the gameplay speed to be adjusted, featured combos that could be performed in the air, and introduced more powerful "Super Combos" that could only be performed under certain conditions.
Street Fighter had become Capcom's second best-selling franchise behind Mega Man, with Street Fighter II being among the most successful and highest-grossing video games of all time when considering both its arcade and home versions. Capcom proceeded to release appropriately-iterative sequels in the decades to follow, each of which made more significant changes and expansions to the prototypical formula and each of which spawned their own subseries. In addition to a variety of game spinoffs and television and film adaptations, the Street Fighter IP has also been involved in a fairly regular stream of crossover productions, such as Street Fighter X Tekken, which pits Street Fighter's iconic cast against that of Namco's Tekken series (one of the more prolific fighting game series that Street Fighter has been credited with spawning in the wake of its own success). Street Fighter characters have also been regulars in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, where a large roster of the most popular characters from Capcom's overall stable of franchises fight alongside an equally large selection of Marvel Comics superheroes and supervillains. In a nonetheless unexpected turn, Ryu was included as a post-launch downloadable content character in Nintendo and Namco's Super Smash Bros. 4, the second Capcom-originating character to be included in the game's roster. He has since become a mainstay of the series ever since.
The Street Fighter series prioritizes gameplay over plotting throughout its chronology, with a vague scenario serving as a backdrop for otherwise context-free competition between members of the series' long-established recurrent cast. Ryu and Ken are two among many recurring combatants that have since become some of the video game industry's most iconic character designs, each with an international backstory and a set of relationships with any number of the other fighters. Among the more significant series mainstays are Chun-Li, widely regarded as a trailblazer for heroines in gaming media; Blanka, a mutated former human with green skin and a bestial combat style; and Guile, an affectionate All-American stereotype. Earlier games set their proceedings within "World Warrior Tournaments", in which aspiring martial artists from all corners of the globe compete for glory and personal advancement, but later games take place at tournaments organized for reasons more closely tied into ongoing storylines, such as a tournament hosted by the criminal organization of Shadaloo, led by M. Bison - another icon of video game character personification, embodying an over-the-top stereotype of a would-be world dictator. A synopsis of the numbered installments and some prolific spin-off titles are given below.
Street Fighter: The first game of the series released in 1987. While it did not achieve the same popularity as its sequels when it was first released, the original Street Fighter introduced some of the conventions made standard in later games, such as attack buttons and special command-based techniques. In this game, the plot focuses on Ryu who competes in an international martial arts tournament to prove his strength.
Street Fighter II series: Released in 1991-1994. Street Fighter II's worldwide success propelled the fighting game genre into great popularity by introducing a number of tropes and mechanics that would become commonplace within it, such as the combo system and a diverse cast of characters. Successive updates would further polish the game, with 1993's Super Street Fighter II expanding the original cast of 12 fighters to 16. The latest iteration, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, was released in 2017 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. This game concerns a worldwide tournament organized by the mysterious syndicate, Shadaloo.
Street Fighter Alpha series: Released in 1995-1998. This series introduces several new features, expanding on the Super Combo system previously featured in Super Street Fighter II Turbo and added new features such as selectable fighting styles called "isms", with graphics drawn in a similar cartoonish style to the one Capcom employed in Darkstalkers and X-Men: Children of the Atom. The plot of Street Fighter Alpha is set after the original Street Fighter but before Street Fighter II and thus the game features younger versions of established characters, as well as characters from the original Street Fighter and Final Fight, and a few who are new to the series.
Street Fighter EX series: Released in 1996-2001. Developed by Arika (which also developed the recent Dr. Mario games and Tetris 99), the series was Street Fighter's first foray into 3D-based gaming, although gameplay remained largely constrained to 2D. Treated as a side story, the games' cast consists of famed Street Fighter characters and original characters designed by Arika, which would also appear in other fighting games developed by them, such as 2018's Fighting EX Layer.
Street Fighter III series: Released in 1997-1999. The first proper sequel to Street Fighter II after six years, Street Fighter III made use of Capcom's new arcade board CPS-3, which boasted fluid and detailed sprite-based animations, among other innovations. The game popularized techniques such as Super Arts (selectable super moves similar to the Super Combos introduced in Super Street Fighter II Turbo) and parrying, a defensive technique similar to perfect shielding in which the user not only blocks incoming attacks but also deflects them for a quick opening. Story-wise, Street Fighter III is currently the final chapter in the series, introducing a slew of new characters save for Ryu and Ken (as well as Akuma and Chun-Li) competing in a new World Warrior tournament.
Street Fighter IV series: Released in 2008-2014. After a period in which the fighting genre lay mostly dormant, with the Street Fighter series itself surviving through successive re-releases, Capcom revived the series with a new entry which blended 3D visuals with the series' classic 2D-based gameplay. The Focus Attack was one of the innovations of the game, along with the Revenge Meter (a secondary gauge which fills as the player takes damage) and Ultra Combos (more spectacular versions of the Super Combos, tied directly to the Revenge Meter to allow for comebacks). The story takes place a short time after Street Fighter II, but before Street Fighter III, where an offshoot of Shadaloo known as S.I.N. organizes a new tournament with the intent of drawing the strongest fighters to have their data collected.
Street Fighter V: Released in 2016. The latest chapter of the series, exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam, has a different update model from previous versions: rather than standalone releases, the game was treated as a live-service title, with a steady stream of updates added to the game via patches containing new content such as characters, stages, and game modes. The most recent update, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, released in January 2020, only adds all content released thus far to the base game. The biggest innovation is the V-System, with which each character has special skills that can grant them temporary advantages in battle. The plot of Street Fighter V, which takes place between IV and III, details Shadaloo's master plan and ultimate downfall, parallel with Ryu's quest to purge himself from the evil power known as Satsui no Hado. This is the first game where a character from the Rival Schools series is playable since Sakura’s playable appearance in Rival Schools: United by Fate.
Marvel vs. Capcom series: A series of crossovers where, as the name indicates, pits superheroes and villains from Marvel Comics against characters from Capcom's sizable library of games. Its roots can be traced back to the 1994 title X-Men: Children of the Atom, a Capcom-developed fighting game which also featured Akuma as a secret guest character, and its successor Marvel Super Heroes the following year, which reused some assets from the X-Men game. The first proper crossover was 1996's X-Men vs. Street Fighter, followed by Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter the following year, then in 1998 followed by Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. These crossover games revolve around tag battles, where each player chooses two characters to fight in tandem, the winner being the first to defeat both of the opponent's characters. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, in 2000, expanded the concept to teams of three characters, which was followed in 2011's Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, but scaled back to tag teams for 2017's Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite.
Other Versus games and crossovers: As one of Capcom's flagship franchises, the Street Fighter series has taken part in other crossovers, either by itself or as part of a whole shared universe with other Capcom franchises. These include the Capcom vs. SNK series, which has a variety of selectable playing systems as a nod to both publishers' history of fighting games; Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom but with characters from the Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko Production such as Casshern and Hurricane Polymar; Namco x Capcom, which would later originate the Project X Zone series, which also involves Sega and Nintendo characters; and Street Fighter x Tekken, a tag-team fighting game.
Shared Universe games: Various Capcom series that take place within the same collective continuity of the Street Fighter series, crossing over common plot elements, settings, and characters.
-Final Fight: A spin-off series originally intended as Street Fighter '89 (1989), this series is centered on the wild disparate American metropolis of Metro City. Featuring 2D beat 'em up gameplay, Final Fight focuses on the heroes of Metro City as they personally take it upon themselves to clean the streets of both its violent gangs and criminal activities.
-Slam Masters: A series similar to Street Fighter but with a wrestling twist, Slam Masters focuses on the explosively popular professional wrestling scene within the Street Fighter world and the inner federation wars between two of its greatest organizations: the Capcom Wrestling Association (CWA) and the Blood Wrestling Association (BWA).
-Rival Schools: Set in the Tokyo area municipality of Aoharu City, Rival Schools is a fighting game series evocative of school setting martial arts shounen manga and anime. A city renowned for its youth education and schooling, Aoharu soon becomes the center of a great battle between high schools regarding mysterious kidnappings and assaults on its students and the quest of its students, in turn, aiming to unravel a great mystery to bring the perpetrators responsible to justice.
However, there are two series that while may happen in said continuity, their connections are not confirmed:
-Captain Comando: The 1991 science-fiction beat 'em up game Captain Commando is generally assumed to take place in the future of the Street Fighter universe due to its numerous references to Final Fight, such as being set in Metro City and Ginzu being mentioned to have been trained in Bushinryu. However, in Yuta Homura's Shadaloo C.R.I. profile, it states that he can clear a game of Captain Commando with Mack the Knife in a single credit on the arcade, which draws this into question.
-Strider: Street Fighter character Zeku shares many similarities and thematic elements with Hiryu, the main protagonist of Capcom's Strider action game series, as noted in the former's character biography. Because of these connections, it is theorized that the Strider series exists within the same shared universe as the Street Fighter series. Additionally, Hiryu was originally intended to be featured in Capcom Fighting All-Stars, the only member of a series with no direct connections to the Street Fighter franchise to do so. Whether or not the connections between the series are intended to convey a shared universe or if they are simply referential in nature is unconfirmed, however.
The Street Fighter universe makes its Smash Bros. debut in downloadable content for this game, with a playable character, one stage in both versions, and a handful of trophies. All of the content from this version was released in the version 1.0.6 update.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Street Fighter series)
The Street Fighter series has seen a sizable boost in representation compared to the other third-party franchises, now being incorporated into the base game after being DLC in the previous installment. All of the content from the previous game was preserved in the transition and greatly expanded upon, including dozens of additional music tracks both sourced and rearranged, many more character references via Spirits, a new Assist Trophy, and even a new Echo Fighter.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Street Fighter series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to Ultimate.
Arrangements and remixes returning from Smash 4.
Tracks sourced directly from Street Fighter series games with no alterations. Most songs heard from this series are ripped out from Street Fighter II and its updated counterpart, Super Street Fighter II.
Main article: List of spirits (Street Fighter series)
Media with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Street Fighter III: New Generation
Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact - Giant Attack
Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future
Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition
Street Fighter IV
Super Street Fighter IV
Street Fighter V