Street Fighter: Blow By Blow
Capcom’s prize fighters reveal why this fighter is still at the top of its game after more than three decades of hadokens
For over 30 years, Street Fighter has been at the pinnacle of the fighting game genre. Like a crafty veteran prize fighter, Capcom has managed to not only keep up with its competition, but outfox it along the way. Rivalries with the likes of Mortal Kombat and The King Of Fighters couldn’t halt the rise of Street Fighter, and nor could the rise of the threedimensional fighting game. Even the changing fortunes of the fighting game genre as a whole haven’t been able to floor this series.
The first game was a critical success that did good business in the arcades, but it’s seen as little more than a historical curio today. That’s because Street Fighter II redefined the genre in 1991, setting the standard for 2D fighting games for decades to come and kicking off a craze that revitalised the arcade market. Via Street Fighter, Capcom stood atop the 2D fighting pile for the remainder of the Nineties with the popular Street Fighter Alpha series and hardcore-friendly Street Fighter III series. Then in 2008, Street Fighter IV revived the series and ushered in a fighting game renaissance, drawing mainstream attention back to the genre. Street Fighter V attracted recordbreaking numbers of competitors to the prestigious Evolution Championship Series fighting game tournament in 2016.
Over the years, Street Fighter has busted out of the arcades and into the modern esports scene, and has transcended videogames to become a part of broader pop culture. There aren’t many games that would be instantly recognisable when referenced in a Jackie Chan film or an episode of Family Guy, but Street Fighter shout-outs made it into those and more besides. The series has inspired comics, animated movies, card games and even a major Hollywood film starring Jean Claude Van Damme, Ming-na Wen and Raul Julia.
Of course, what goes into the creation of a good Street Fighter game hasn’t changed much over the years. All of the games share a common framework of important aspects, counting everything from the fighting itself to flavour additions such as stage design and music, and the competitive scene which has a symbiotic relationship with the games. We’ve spoken to Capcom’s developers to break down exactly what makes a great Street Fighter game, and what goes into those distinctive areas to create a cohesive whole.