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Street Fighter (universe)

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Street Fighter (universe)
Taken from Ultimate's official website.
Developer(s) Capcom
Tiger Electronics
Rozner Labs
Publisher(s) Capcom
Tiger Electronics
U.S. Gold
Designer(s) Takashi Nishiyama (Piston Takahashi)
Hiroshi Matsumoto (Finish Hiroshi)
Akira Yasuda (Akiman)
Akira Nishitani (Nin Nin)
Yoshinori Ono
Genre(s) Fighting
Console/platform of origin Arcade
First installment Street Fighter (1987)
Latest installment Street Fighter 6 (2023)
Article on Wikipedia 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 in 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, Strider, and Red Earth 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.

Franchise description[edit]

In 1984 while working on Irem beat-em-up Kung-Fu Master (titled Spartan X in Japan), programmer Takashi Nishiyama was inspired by the many boss fights in the game and wanted to make a game exclusively about fighting bosses.[1] Other inspirations include video game Karate Champ and feature film Game of Death. Nishiyama was then hired by Capcom, where he made a spiritual successor to his previous game titled Trojan in 1986. Home console ports of this game had a one on one fighting mode, which would also inspire his future titles.

Capcom then promoted Nishiyama to producer and director, where he would develop his next game. He would be accompanied by planner Hiroshi Matsumoto, and character designer Keiji Inafune would join as his first project with the company before moving on to the Mega Man franchise. His major inspiration for the characters would be the film Enter the Dragon. This game would release as Street Fighter in 1987 for the Motorola 68000 arcade board. During development, Nishiyama decided to include a six button control scheme, each attributing to different types of punches and kicks, which was unheard of at the time. He also wanted to include command inputs for special moves, which very few games attempted to do before hand. He was initially met with skepticism over whether the public was ready for such complicated controls, but he insisted that this was required to achieve a level of realism not seen in games prior. He also focused on in-game graphics, with large, expressive sprites and detailed backgrouds that give the sense of traveling the world. Two different arcade variants were made. The first was a standard machine with six individual buttons. The other used two pressure sensitive buttons that give different attacks depending on how hard the button is pressed. This variant was not popular due to being easily broken and very few are still functional today.

The game itself is a primarily single-player affair in which the only character that can be played 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 praise for its presentation and inventive game design, but also receive heavy criticism for its poor-feeling gameplay, unfair difficulty spikes, and underbaked multiplayer mode. The game only sold modestly and primarily derives its public appeal from being a historical curiosity in the wake of far more successful endeavors by the series. That being said, the game was subsequently ported it to the TurboGrafx-CD console under the title "Fighting Street" in 1988. An NES version was also prototyped, but was canceled for unknown reasons.

Capcom had intended to lift Street Fighter's concept and improve on it with a sequel, but some hurdles got in the way at first. Firstly, Nishiyama and Matsumodo left Capcom and joined SNK, where they went on to develop the Fatal Fury series. A new team was then formed from the remnants of the old one. Their first attempt at a follow-up was a side-scrolling beat-em-up, but Capcom got cold feet about making such a different title the direct sequel, so it was repurposed and released as Final Fight in 1989. In response to the high praise of that game, it became a series unto itself with many sequels. Meanwhile, Capcom tasked the team to make a straightforward sequel focused on fighting, which released as Street Fighter II in 1991 for the CP System arcade board.[2] While functionally identical to its predecessor, gameplay feel was generally improved and its roster was expanded to include eight unique fighters with different fighting styles. To stick to the concept of story and world-bulding, every character received a unique ending for beating arcade mode to flesh out their characters. The game 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 and influencing many future games, including the Super Smash Bros. series itself to an extent. The game also recieved many ports to home and handheld consoles, with the Super NES port of Street Fighter II - the first 16-Megabit cartridge for the console - becoming Capcom's best-selling single-consumer game software until 2013, when it was surpassed by Resident Evil 5.

Capcom was quick to capitalize on the success of this game by quickly creating updated versions of the game. The first was Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, which introduce previous unplayable boss characters and was arguably the first game in history to receive a character balance update. Initially satisfied to stop at this version, the rise of bootleg machines that began to outsell official hardware inspired the team to make Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting only months later, which introduced a faster game speed and new content. The great success of this version inspired Capcom to make a proper follow-up, which released as Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers on the new CPS-II arcade board. While the game was praised for improved performance and new characters, there was criticism towards its intentionally slower gameplay from previous versions, which was not the direction fans wanted. To mitigate these concerns, Capcom then released Super Street Fighter II Turbo in 1994. This game reintroduced faster game speed, new gameplay elements like the Super Combo, and added secret character Akuma. This version of the game in particular is considered the pinnacle of the series, and to this day is considered the tournament standard version of Street Fighter II. All of these versions recieved ports to home and handheld consoles, totaling sales of 15.5 million copies, technically being the best-selling fighting game of all time until 2019 when it was surpassed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.[3] Other versions include Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival in 2001, a unique verison of the game for Game Boy Advance, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition in 2003, which combined all previous versions together and was the last game to release on CPS-II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix in 2008, which introduced balance changes and a total graphical overhaul done by Udon Entertainment, and Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, which released exclusively on Nintendo Switch in 2017 introduced a host of new content not seen elsewere.

After work on Super Street Fighter II Turbo wrapped, that team then decided to work on a different Street Fighter game not tied up in its own legacy. This lead to the creation of Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dream, which released in 1995 for the CPS-II board and several home consoles.[4] This game introduced a bold new anime-inspired artstyle, aging down many of the established fighters while introducing reinvented characters from other series as well as entirely original characters. The game was well received as a breath of fresh air for the series and received many sequels. Street Fighter Alpha 2 released in 1996 and is essentially a remake of the first game with more content added like custom combo. A special version exclusive to home consoles titled Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold later released with more new content. Street Fighter Alpha 3 released in 1998 as a proper sequel with new characters and new gameplay elements like the various "isms" that change how characters play. This game would get an updated version called Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper for arcades and later Game Boy Advance, which was then iterated on for Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX for PlayStation Portable.

During this time, merchandise for the Street Fighter brand is incredibly popular and many companies want a piece of it. Toys, tv shows, animated films and manga all released in this time period. Many hollywood studios wanted to make a feature film of the franchise, but Edward R. Pressman productions would eventually take the coveted role of producer. After many hurdles including conflicting schedules, actors being difficult to work with, incredibly tight deadlines primarily due to Raul Julia being diagnosed with cancer soon before shooting began, and genrally poor working conditions, Street Fighter: The Movie released in theatres to mostly negative reception. However, Capcom has claimed this film is one of their most profitable ventures ever due to receiving rebroadcast royalties to this day. Incredible Technologies would develop a game based on the film with the original actors, which faced many of the same issues the film faced. This game released as Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game in 1995 for arcades. Capcom was so displeased with this game that they handled home console ports in-house, essentially remaking the game from scratch.[5]

Also around this time, Capcom contracts game developer Arika to make a Street Fighter game with 3D polygonal graphics. This manifested in Street Fighter EX, which released in 1996 for the Sony ZN arcade board. This game included many Street fighter characters as well as original characters. Arika retained the rights to these original characters and still use them to this day, particularly with the Fighting Layer series. The game received an upgraded version titled Street Fighter EX Plus in 1997 and a PlayStation port titled Street Fighter EX Plus α later that year. A sequel was released in 1998 titled Street Fighter EX 2 for the Sony ZN-2 arcade board, which introduced new characters and new gameplay mechanics. The game received an upgraded version titled Street Fighter EX 2 Plus in 1999 for arcades and PlayStation. Another sequel titled Street Fighter EX 3 was released in 2000 exclusively for PlayStation 2 and introduced more new characters and new mechanics.

While all of this is happening, Capcom was considering a new mainline entry in the series, but talent was spread so thin that doing so was simply not feasible. Also, many teams were vying for this coveted position. Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game was pitched as the third in the series initially. In 1994, a small team led by Tomoshi Sadamoto was tasked to make a fantasy themed fighting game that utilized the new CPS-III arcade board, tentatively titled New Generation. However, the team had trouble finding a vision and was understaffed in general. He was then promoted to producer per advice from Capcom, which only exasperated their issues. As a hail mary attempt to stay afloat, the team decided to shift into being a Street Fighter game, and eventually became the third mainline entry. An an effort to stand out, the initial roster was made entirely of new characters based off their fantasy based origins, a decision the team backtracked on due to fears of alienating fans and added Ryu, and later Ken. The game eventually released as Street Fighter III: New Generation in 1997.[6] While praise was given to its presentation, criticism was given towards its haphazard feeling gameplay design and feeling dated compared to its 3D based competition, a contentious talking point to this day. The game was a disastrous financial failure for Capcom and greatly damaged its reputation in the arcade space for years to come. Less than a year later, the team made an updated version titled Street Figher III Second Impact: Giant Attack. This version introduced new characters, revamped many gameplay systms and attempted to address as many criticisms as possible. While generally seen as an improvement, this version was also met with apathy by critics and fans. In 1999, both versions were bundled together for Sega Dreamcast as Street Fighter III Double Impact. A third version was then made in 1999 titled Street Fighter III Third Strike: Fight For the Future. This version introduced more new characters, further tweeked its presentation and gameplay systems, and further addressed criticisms. This version was much better received and sold better than its predecessors, but the series in general was still seen as a failure. However, Third Strike would steadily grow a following over the years with its technical gameplay and tendency to create exciting moments, with the rise of the internet allowing players to show what is possible in the game. The game was ported to many home consoles like Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. A special version released in 2011 titled Street Fighter III Third Strike: Online Edition, which included remastered game elements and a host of new content.

Street Fighter and Capcom fighting games in general slowed to a crawl around this time, mostly due to oversaturation and cannibalization of sales leading to the fall of the arcade industry in the 2000s. Characters would appear in other games, but a proper Street Fighter game would not be made for many years. There were many attempts to make one, but they all fell through, though the unprecedented success of Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting on Xbox Live Arcade renewed interest in the franchise. Yoshinori Ono pitched a new entry that was approved. Development studio Dimps was contracted as primary developer, and studio founder Takashi Nishiyama returned as a major designer for the series for the first time since 1987. This game released as Street Fighter IV for the Taito Type X2 arcade board in 2008, as well as Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in 2009. The game now used 3D models while sticking to a 2D plane, which was dubbed a 2.5D fighting game. To not appear jarring, the artstyle was meant to look like a painting with bright colors and brush strokes. The game was praised as a return to form for not just the series, but Capcom in general, and this game invigorated the fighting genre once again with other compaines coming back after their own hiatuses.

Just like previous entries, Street Fighter IV received several major updates sold as separate games, a decision that backfired in the age of downloadable content that led to diminishing returns with each new entry. The first iteration was Super Street Fighter IV in 2010, which added new content and balance changes. The arcade version of this update received updates of its own, which was than released on consoles as Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition in 2012. A separate build of the game was released for Nintendo 3DS titled Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition in 2011, which introduced Sterescopic 3D visuals and special moves being accessible with a button press on the bottom screen. A final update was titled Ultra Street Fighter IV in 2013, which introduced more content, many of which was recycled from other games. Most of these entries also had downgraded versions released for IOS and Android devices.

During these updates, Capcom also worked alongside Bandai Namco to create the title Street Fighter X Tekken in 2012. Capcom was the primary developer, with the Tekken development team only overseeing production. This entry was mired in controversy, such as unrealistic sales expectations, spending a great deal of development on purchasable gems that alter how a character plays that very few players invested in, intentionally delaying the release date of downloadable contnet that was already on game discs at launch, and other confusing and offputting decisions that caused the game to fail on the market. The Tekken team were supposed to make a companion release titled Tekken X Street Fighter but that project was shelved indefinitely after the negative reception of the previous game. Not wanting assets to go to waste, characters and stages made specifically for this game were repurposed into Ultra Street Fighter IV when it released a year later.

Ultra Street Fighter IV was not initially planned to be made, as the next entry in the franchise was expected to release at that point. However, many hurdles and poor decisions during development, such as a studio that does not primarily create make video games being contracted as head developer to various foundational decisions that did not work out, development then shifted back to Dimps, who were already wrapping up the Street Fighter IV series and was trying to salvage Street Fighter X Tekken. Their new version of this project was revealed in 2014 as Street Fighter V. The game released in 2016 on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. Sony helped fund the game in exchange for console exclusivity. The game was met with controversy even prior to release, primarily with its somewhat sloppy presentation and disastrous public beta tests that had to end early due to the sheer amount of problems. Upon release, the game was a bare-bones experience with not much to do other than play games locally or online and next to no replayable single-player content. What was there seemed to be geared towards an Esports experience first and foremost, including features like high input lag and intentionally easier execution to be more beginner friendly at the expense of experienced players. Updates gradually introduced content like a proper story mode, which itself was negatively received for being too easy and poorly written, as well as items that could be bought with in-game currency that evolved into wearable sponsored content that put many players off. The game received a major update titled Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition in 2017, which introduced new content and addressed many issues with the base game. Said base game also became a free to play option around this time. A proper arcade version of the game released exclusively in Japan in 2019, titled Street Fighter V: Type Arcade and running on the Taito Type X4 arcade board. Another update released in 2020 titled Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, which again added content and addressed issues. By this point, the game was generally considered in a much better state than at launch. One more season of downloadable content was introduced in 2020 and into 2021. The developers claimed this season was done to bide time while working on the next game.

In November of 2021, the existence of the game Street Fighter 6 was leaked by Nvidia through a data breach. On February 20, 2022, the game was officially announced during a livestream to coincide with the franchise's 35th anniversary. More news would gradually release about the game, including a new World Tour mode that acts as an explorable story mode. Several betas and demos also occured before the game finally released on June 2, 2023. In contrast to the previous entry, Street Fighter 6 was highly rated at launch, praised for its fresh presentation, wealth of content, and solid gameplay.

Outside of the mainline entries, Street Fighter has crossed over with many other franchises. The game X-Men Vs. Street Fighter was a 1996 crossover with the Marvel franchise that blossomed into the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise. A fan made an unofficial crossover titled Mega Man X Street Fighter in 2011 before being officially licensed by Capcom. Street Fighter have also appeared in many crossover titles like the Capcom vs. SNK and Project X Zone series, as well as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and the Super Smash Bros. series. The franchise has also been referenced in other franchises like Final Fight, Slam Masters, Rival Schools, and countless nods from other companies. Franchise mascot Ryu in particular has frequently attributed to having the most crossovers of any video game character.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

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.


  • RyuIcon(SSB4-U).png
    Ryu (DLC): The iconic wandering world warrior from Capcom makes his Super Smash Bros. debut as a downloadable fighter. He is armed with his trademark Hadoken & Shoryuken attacks, his traditional Street Fighter button commands, and two Final Smashes: Shinku Hadoken and Shin Shoryuken.


  • SuzakuCastleIconSSB4-U.png
    Suzaku Castle (DLC): This stage, available for both versions, is a reimagining of Ryu's original stage from Street Fighter II.


Original Tracks[edit]

Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.

  • Ryu Stage (DLC): A string-heavy remix of Ryu's stage theme from Street Fighter II, arranged by the song's original composer, Yoko Shimomura.
  • Ken Stage (DLC): A more rock remix of Ken's stage theme from Street Fighter II, arranged by Rio Hamamoto.

Source Tracks[edit]

Victory Theme[edit]


In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

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 fighter.


  • 60.
    Ryu (Unlockable): The wandering World Warrior returns as an unlockable fighter after being DLC in Smash 4, with a largely similar moveset and combo-focused playstyle to his previous iteration. Ryu has a new mechanic (shared with Ken, Terry, and Kazuya) that in 1-on-1 matches, he will face his opponent at all times. This is designed to decrease the amount of failed inputs when executing special command inputs. Otherwise, his combo game has been buffed to be made more flexible, including being able to cancel aerial attacks into specials.
  • 60ε.
    Ken (Unlockable): Ryu's boisterous best friend, rival and the original fighting game clone character makes his debut as Ryu's Echo Fighter. He was the final Echo Fighter revealed for the game and is arguably the most distinct of the Echo Fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, having not only his own sets of taunts and victory screens, but also a faster dash speed on the ground, his Hell Wheel backwards throw, and multi-hitting up and side specials, among many other aesthetic changes and moveset differences. Unlike Ryu, who mainly relies on punches, Ken instead relies on kicks, which translates to moves such as tapped forward tilt, up aerial, and Focus Attack. He also has two distinct Final Smashes depending on proximity to an opponent, being Shinryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku.


World of Light Sub-World[edit]

  • WorldTour.png
    World Tour: Based on the world map seen throughout the Street Fighter series, World Tour appears as a sub-world in The Light Realm. The player progresses through the world by plane, fighting spirit battles based on each region's world warrior. At the end of the path, the player can unlock Ryu.

Assist Trophy[edit]

  • Guile: Guile, the original charged character, debuts in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as an Assist Trophy in his classic Street Fighter II attire. He blocks certain projectiles and strikes from afar with Sonic Boom and up close with Flash Kick. His voice clips reuse lines from Street Fighter IV. He can be attacked and KO’d.


Original Tracks[edit]

Arrangements and remixes unique to Ultimate.

  • Guile Stage: A remix of Guile's stage music from Street Fighter II, composed by Yuzo Koshiro.
  • Vega Stage: A remix of Vega's (Balrog in Japan) stage theme from Street Fighter II, composed by Yoko Shimomura.

Returning Tracks[edit]

Arrangements and remixes returning from Smash 4.

  • Super Smash Bros. 4Ryu Stage: A Japanese-styled arrangement of Ryu's theme from Street Fighter II, which also includes the "crisis" version of the theme. Returns from Smash 4. Heard in Ryu's character trailer.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii UKen Stage: A rock arrangement of Ken's theme from Street Fighter II, which also includes the "crisis" version of the theme. Returns from Smash 4. Heard in Ken's reveal and character trailers.

Source Tracks[edit]

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.

Victory Theme[edit]


Media with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

The Street Fighter universe has media represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 25 games and medias. The latest game represented in this universe is Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, released on May 26, 2017.


  • Street Fighter is the first fighting game universe to be represented with a fighter in the Smash series, and one of four along with Fatal Fury, ARMS, and Tekken.
  • Several Street Fighter characters made an appearance in the German Club Nintendo magazine, where Mario enters a fighting tournament and faces off against them, although Ryu was not present. Although Ken did appear in the story, Mario did not get to fight him.[7]
  • Street Fighter is the first character-based universe introduced as downloadable content.
  • Street Fighter is the second third-party franchise to have more than one playable fighter, following Castlevania and preceding Final Fantasy.
    • It and Final Fantasy are the only universes introduced as DLC to have more than one playable character.
    • It is also the second third party franchise to have a clone character, the first being Castlevania.
  • Street Fighter is one of two universes introduced as DLC to have an Assist Trophy, the other being Bayonetta.
  • Coincidentally, both Ryu and Ken were leaked prior to their official reveals; Ryu was datamined alongside Roy on April 15th, 2015, while a screenshot of Ken was posted onto 4Chan on September 21st, 2018.
  • Street Fighter is one of only two universes with multiple playable characters to have each character first appear in the same game, as both Ryu and Ken made their debut in the original Street Fighter game. The other being Cloud and Sephiroth who both made their debut in Final Fantasy VII.
  • Due to Street Fighter, Capcom is listed twice in the character copyright section under "Capcom Co., Ltd." and "Capcom U.S.A. INC.". The former is for Mega Man, while the latter is for Street Fighter. This is because at the time the rights to Street Fighter as an IP were held by Capcom U.S.A. Inc., unlike the rest of Capcom's franchises. Starting April 2021, Street Fighter's copyright has been credited to "Capcom Co., Ltd.", although Smash still retains "Capcom U.S.A. INC." in the DLC trailers released in 2021.


External links[edit]