Street Fighter 6 Works to Embrace Wrestling Culture

Working up to the June 2nd release date, fans of fighting games are amped for the new entry in the genre’s biggest series. Seven years after the release of SF5, the new entry features a great new look, big changes to gameplay, the return of famous faces, and some new ones who are looking to shake things up.

Now in the mainstream consciousness like never before, fighting games have turned to wrestling to raise their profile. SF6 is taking this idea a step further.

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The Love and Hate of Grapplers

In fighting games, there are several different archetypes that characters tend to fall into. Some can get in from a distance and attack quickly, called rush-down characters. Others, who shoot fireballs from a distance, are called zoners. Perhaps the most divisive, however, are the lumbering beefcakes who take a while to get in, but once they do, cause enormous damage. These characters, most often based on professional wrestlers, are called grapplers. In Street Fighter, the mainstay Zangief has long played this part. Thankfully, news about Street Fighter has revealed him as a returning character in the new entry, though longtime haters are left concerned about what he could mean for the game. Zangief is a notoriously challenging character to play, where the feeling of finally getting in and crushing your opponent is one of the best gaming can provide.

Interestingly, Zangief has usually not been considered a top-tier fighter in most Street Fighter games. In fact, he was weakened in the early days of Street Fighter 2 development because an early combatant wiped the floor with dozens of opponents in a row, even beating the development team so badly they thought he needed to be brought under control.

Going Full Tilt

Outside of the game’s most famous wrestler, other contributions to the fighting game community have come from famed names like Xavier Woods and Kenny Omega. These guys have actively fostered a rivalry in the eSports community, setting up cross-promotional battles in Street Fighter 5 to bring wrestling and gaming to new audiences.

Within SF6, the relationship between wrestling and WWE has been taken a step further with the introduction of Zelina Vega as one of the in-game commentators. While far from expected, Thea Trinidad’s inclusion has been another in a long line of steps in building a relationship that has fans curious about what could come next.

Though SF5 launched in a notoriously poor state, the sixth entry appears to be sparing no expense in doing things right. At launch, the love given to the wrestling community looks to be greater than ever, and there's no telling how much further this relationship will evolve with the coming years of content patches and updates. Who knows, we might even see the return of El Fuerte, a Mexican Luchador who struck dread into the hearts of many. Even if you’re more of a WWE game enthusiast, this new entry could be worth a look, especially if want to pick up a grappler and play as a heel.

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