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All the returning characters in Street Fighter 6 explained

by | Jan 11, 2023

Reading Time: 10 min.
Reading Time: 10 min.

The cast of Street Fighter 6 has a ton of new characters, but these returning icons will be front and center on the box art.

Street Fighter 6 is just months away from its June 2, 2023 release date, and if early leaked rosters are correct, there are still plenty more to be announced. If you’re wondering if you’re favorite fighter is returning or need a refresher on the series’ staples, here are all the returning Street Fighter 6 characters and their lore and playstyle explained.

This list assumes that the leaked roster, which has been accurate up until now, is correct in revealing all the returning characters from previous Street Fighter games before 6. As is always the case with game development, that leak may be inaccurate at this stage of development.

Ryu is the main character of Street Fighter 6

Ryu is one of the most-recognized characters in gaming. Debuting in the original Street Fighter back in 1987, he’s the face of the franchise as its original protagonist. He’s a traveling hermit who searches out worthy opponents, and he serves as a rival, mentor, or training partner for much of the cast. 

Ryu’s play style is the original fighting game basics of fireball and uppercuts. He uses a well-rounded moveset to attack or defend while his crouching medium kick is a particularly powerful poke. He gets a new tool in Street Fighter 6 with Hashogeki, a short-range combo ender. 

Ken continues his rivalry with a new depressing look

Since the original game, Ken has always been Ryu’s eternal rival. He usually plays a more laidback role compared to most other characters, but he’s returning in Street Fighter 6 a little worse for wear. While fans suspected a divorce, it turns out he was accused of running a criminal organization and has taken to life on the run.

Ken and Ryu shared the same moves in Street Fighter 1 and 2, but he’s changed over the years into a more aggressive take on the same balanced playstyle. He now sports quite a few differences from Ryu in his basic moves, specials, and supers. SF6 introduces a new special called Dragonlash Kick that can combo into itself.

Akuma and his Raging Demon leaked to return in SF6

Akuma first appeared in the series as a secret boss in later editions of Street Fighter 2. He now serves as a dark rival to Ryu, but their relationship has changed quite a bit over the series. Akuma is a human who has tapped into Satsui no Hado, a mystical dark force that opposes the Satsui no Mu used by Ryu. He leads a similar life, searching for worthy opponents to test his skills.

Akuma puts a twist on the standard Street Fighter playstyle used by Ryu and Ken. He can launch fireballs while jumping and combo after his hurricane kick. He also uses a secret super called the Raging Demon, which is now synonymous with the character. He also tends to have the lowest health and stun of the Street Fighter roster, making him a tricky glass cannon.

Blanka is back, and he’s still a total weirdo

Blanka is one of the weirdest characters from the series returning in Street Fighter 6. Originally a normal human living in the Brazilian jungle, he was forcibly mutated by a plane crash that somehow turned his skin green and gave him electricity powers. Despite his animalistic appearance, he’s generally pretty laidback and works as a tour guide in the Amazon.

Blanka is a charge character, meaning he must hold certain directions for a while before using some of his special moves. His signature hop and long-range sweep allow him to play footsies while his electricity is a threat at close range. Blanka is mostly known as a series mascot these days, and his playable return at launch is a sure sign that he has some fans at Capcom.

Cammy comes back with a costume change

Cammy was originally a member of Team Shadaloo, an evil corporation controlled by M. Bison. However, she betrayed the villainous syndicate and defected to work for Great Britain. She now works as a secret agent for MI6, though her day-to-day activities are mostly unknown. First appearing in Street Fighter 6, Cammy is a frequent choice for the franchises’ many crossovers.

Cammy’s fighting style revolves around her quick movement. She has access to multiple advancing moves as well as a dive kick that can change her approach midair. She’s generally a solid rushdown character built around basic throw mixups, but she can also party hard with SFV’s V-Trigger system. Cammy has generally been a strong character in the series, and she may keep that reputation when Street Fighter 6 drops in June.

What’s a Street Fighter game without Chun-Li?

Chun-Li is another world warrior from the first versus fighting game. As the only woman in the Street Fighter 2 cast, Chun-Li stands out from the crowd with her elegant fighting style and cheerful disposition. Her lore used to revolve around her career as an Interpol agent, but she retired by the time of Street Fighter 6 and now runs a local dojo in her community.

Chun-Li’s fighting style in the games is generally centered around footsies, but she’s much more versatile that just that. She has access to a fireball and some advancing moves to stuff any hasty opponents. Her signature lighting kicks grant access to flashy combos and strong pressure, and she generally has some air combo options in recent titles. 

Dee Jay on list for returning Street Fighter 6 characters

Dee Jay was a surprising name to see on the leaked SF6 roster, but Capcom has now officially confirmed his inclusion. Dee Jay is from Super Street Fighter 2, where he was added to the roster along with Cammy, Fei Long, and T. Hawk. He returned in 4 but is generally overlooked among classic Street Fighter characters. His renewed biography calls him a globally-recognized dance superstar who loves music and fighting in equal measure.

Dee Jay is another charge character, but unlike Blanka, The Jamaican fighter is all about keeping enemies at bay. His Air Slasher fireball is a strong projectile similar to Guile’s Sonic Boom. Unlike the American zoner, Dee Jay has access to powerful close-range moves that lead to big damage, like Machine Gun Upper or Up Kicks. He’ll likely get a major gameplay overhaul in Street Fighter 6, but Dee Jay fans are definitely happy to see their favorite character returning to the fight.

Dhalsim’s noodle arms are here to stay

Dhalsim is another member of the original eight who has appeared in nearly every title since. While originally rather underdeveloped, Dhalsim’s lore paints him as one of the wisest and most experienced fighters in the story. He’s served as a mentor to several characters, including Ryu, and is implied to be on the same level as Akuma. This yoga master was designed in a time when people didn’t know what yoga was, so in the Street Fighter universe, it lets you breathe fire.

Dhalsim is a ranged fighter who uses his stretchy limbs to poke and frustrate opponents from afar. His forward heavy punch is one of the game’s most infamous normal attacks as it reaches nearly fullscreen. He’s potent at close ranges, too, with fast teleports and fire breath to mix his opponents up. It’ll be interesting to see how Dhalsim can use the new drive gauge mechanics like drive rush and drive impact.

Japan’s E. Honda is in the base roster for SF6

Ryu may also hail from Japan, but E. Honda is the country’s iconic national representative. A sumo fighter, Edmond Honda is renowned for his skills in the ring but is hampered by his globetrotting travel and boisterous personality. His goal is to showcase sumo to the world and get more people interested in the sport. E. Honda doesn’t usually serve a major role in the story, but he’s confirmed to be a lifelong training partner for Ryu.

E. Honda is a charge grappler, using Sumo Headbutt and Sumo Smash to crash through the opponent’s neutral game. His Oicho command grab allows him to keep the pressure up once his enemy gets scared. Lastly, Hundred-Hand Slap is a great combo tool that can also be used for pressure. Honda is the game’s original defensive tank that also packs powerful offensive tools.

Ed is returning, will he inspire new Street Fighter 6 characters?

Ed is Balrog’s boxing prodigy, but he originally started out as a scared little boy in Balrog’s arcade ending for Street Fighter 4. By the time of Street Fighter 5, he’s all grown up and ready to hunt down M. Bison. Originally a Shadaloo asset, Ed was freed from containment by Balrog, who then became his father figure. He’s now an enforcer for Neo Shadaloo, a gang of the organization’s victims assembled to fight the remains of the company.

Ed uses a different control scheme unique to only him among returning Street Fighter 6 characters. His special moves are activated by pressing multiple buttons at once along with a single direction instead of the standard motion inputs. Those button-based specials grant a strong whiff punish game along with advancing moves expected of a boxer. Considering Ed’s popularity with newer players, more new faces in Street Fighter 6 could use a similar input style.

Guile is back with all two of his special moves

Like how Ryu is Japanese, but E. Honda represents Japan, Guile is the true American counterpart of Street Fighter over Ken. A major in the United States Air Force, Guile is a storied member of the Steet Fighter cast. His personal goal was to find information on his friend Charlie Nash, but the former’s return in Street Fighter V effectively put an end to that story. His fan-favorite status still warranted a return in the newest installment.

Guile is another charge zoner with a focus on technical combos. His iconic Sonic Boom keeps enemies at bay, while its fast recovery allows for some very flashy loops in the corner. Flash Kick punishes anyone His tiny but effective special move list and wacky hair make Guile one of the most iconic characters returning in Street Fighter 6

Juri fans are getting exactly what they want in SF6

Street Fighter 4 didn’t add a ton of icons to the case, but Juri is a major exception to that rule. The taekwondo fighter is now of the most popular villains according to fan polls, so Capcom is putting her in the base roster for Street Fighter 6. Originally a partner with Shadaloo, Juri kickstarted several story events in V. Now that M. Bison is no longer a threat, her official bio mentions that she feels a sense of purposelessness.

Juri’s complicated debut moveset has been toned down since her Street Fighter 4 debut, and she now functions as a versatile footsies character with good zoning and a powerful combo game. She can feint her attacks to bait responses from opponents and keep them guessing in neutral. While not the most defined character, Juri’s sadistic attitude makes her a favorite for certain sections of the Street Fighter fan base.

Luke is finally home in Street Fighter 6

Luke’s debut in Street Fighter V was a direct hint at what 6 would have in store. A young martial arts instructor working as a mercenary, his biography states that he spends his days off munching on pizza, collecting funny t-shirts, and gaming. However, he still holds his fighting skills above all else. The main story for Street Fighter 6 will most likely revolve around him, so it’s no surprise to see him as a returning character.

As another protagonist, Luke’s moveset is based around fireballs and uppercuts but with special tools for midrange. His Sand Blaster projectile travels across the screen instantly while his medium punch target combo grants great wall carry and damage. His charged special moves are also making a return to show off SF6’s new systems.

Rashid was SFV’s most successful new character

Rashid is the son of a rich Middle Eastern family with a flair of technology. He’s brought into the story by searching for a missing friend who has yet to be fully identified in the lore. Originally slated as the new protagonist for SFV, he has since taken a back seat to Ryu and Luke. Still, his popularity in tournaments and casual play alike make him a natural inclusion for the new roster.

Rashid is all about enforcing mixups on his opponent. In Street Fighter V, he often used his windy projectile Whirlwind Shot to force opponents to block before introducing a mixup. His uppercut and rolls give him strong defense and mobility to pair with it. He’s probably returning with a few new tricks in Street Fighter 6, but anyone looking for tournament characters out to keep an eye on Rashid.

Zangief is back and beefier than ever in SF6

The Red Cyclone rounds out the list of classic Street Fighter characters returning to 6. Originally from Street Fighter 2, Zangief represented the Soviet Union in his debut. The now-Russian strongman seeks to pass down his wrestling knowledge to a new generation of close-range brawlers. He also seeks to maintain his status as the world champion of wrestling.

Zangief is the godfather of all fighting game grapplers. His signature command grab Spinning Piledriver has short range, but is completely unblockable. He’s all about getting close to the opponent before pressuring with high-damage mixups. While he can struggle to get in close against the likes of Guile and Dhalsim, SF6 may introduce a new way for the giant to advance towards his opponent.

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