Could we be seeing more characters added to Street Fighter 5 this year? With all of Season 3's characters out as early as August, it just might happen

So far in Street Fighter 5, we've seen 6 characters per season for the first three years of the game's life — but could that change?

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • August 21, 2018 at 8 p.m. PDT

Since before the release of the game, Street Fighter 5 was described as an evolving platform that would continuously add content for years to come.

The tradeoff for this steady stream of additional characters, stages and other additions was that the game launched in a fairly bare-bones state, with a roster of only 16 characters at release, paling in comparison with the competition as well as previous Capcom fighting games in recent memory.

However, here we are, three years down the line, and in pure numbers, the roster is at a very respectable level now, with 34 playable characters, putting it on par with or above practically any other fighting game currently being played actively in tournament as far as roster size goes.

What's curious now, though, is the timing of character releases, and that's the basis for this small theory of whether we might see extra characters join the roster before the year is up.

We'll delve into greater detail further below, but the key difference here to previous seasons is the timing and pace with which the characters have been released. When you compare it to the previous seasons, it's actually quite irregular.

We know there are still a lot of popular characters missing, and while there's never been any statement from Capcom suggesting we'd get more than 6 characters in any year, there is some evidence that points towards the possibility, even if not the probability, of this coming true in 2018.

Let's take a look at what's different this year compared to 2016 and 2017.

Season 1

Back when Street Fighter 5 launched, there was a lot of turbulence regarding the game being barebones on launch, and although we received a roadmap promising one character per month starting in March, this wasn't actually kept in the end.

Nevertheless, characters were released at a steady pace, with Alex available at the end of March and Guile at the end of April leading the pack.

The troubles began in May, when Ibuki got her trailer very late in the month, and at the end it said she would be out in June, effectively breaking the earlier presented roadmap.

However, players were put at ease somewhat later on the 1st of July when Ibuki and Balrog were released as a double whammy, together with the cinematic story mode that had been promised.

Later that same month, Juri joined the fray, and Urien came along later in September.

In summary, the release schedule for Season 1 ended up like this:

March 30th, 2016: Alex released.

April 28th, 2016: Guile released.

July 1st, 2016: Ibuki, Balrog and Cinematic Story Mode released.

July 26th, 2016: Juri released.

September 22nd, 2016: Urien released.

Although the roadmap itself wasn't quite accurate, in the end, we did get the final Season 1 character in September, so Capcom delivered at least on the start and end of their stated schedule for the first season of the game. After Season 1, there were no promises or roadmaps presented, presumably to avoid unforeseen situations like this.

Season 2

Season 2 kicked off early not just with its reveal, but with its release schedule as well. It was present at Capcom Cup 2016 on December 3rd, 2016, and gave a proper release date for Akuma, who was set for release later that month, meaning he would release before year's end.

In a curious move from Capcom, they presented the rest of the characters coming as silhouettes, but later specified that all of the characters would be brand new to the Street Fighter universe (later clarified to mean that they would be characters that had not been playable before), effectively ruining the point of silhouettes since we wouldn't know who they were anyway.

This brand new character approach became quite controversial, with both proponents and detractors of it discussing back and forth endlessly, though most would agree that in retrospect it was a pretty good move considering all of the characters released last year were decently well-received after being released.

The first addition in 2017, but the second for Season 2 overall, was Kolin in February. The next patch, which included changes to the netcode of the game and the online matchmaking system, the CFN overall, had to be delayed due to problems, and with it, Ed was also delayed. It would eventually release to the public on at the end of May of that year.

Next on the docket was Abigail, who was released to a decidedly mixed crowd reaction at EVO 2017, although he was more positively received once he was actually added to the game and players could try him out for themselves.

At this point, most people assumed that we were working on a 2-3 month schedule between each character release, leading to quite the pleasant surprise in August when Menat was revealed at the Hong Kong eSports Festival, and released in the game just two days later.

Finally, South East Asia Major in October gave us our first look at Zeku, Guy's master in Bushinryu, who was eventually released later that month, concluding the year-long gamble of filling Season 2 with mainly brand new characters.

In summary, the release schedule for Season 2 ended up like this:

December 20th, 2016: Akuma released.

February 28th, 2017: Kolin released.

May 30th, 2017: Ed and CFN overhaul released.

July 25th, 2017: Abigail released.

August 29th, 2017: Menat released.

October 24th, 2017: Zeku released.

Compared to the first year, Season 2 was a bit more haphazard in when characters were released, but kept to a relatively steady schedule regardless, despite some hiccups here and there. About a month later, we got our first teaser for the upcoming Season 3...

Season 3

With the relaunch of Street Fighter 5 as Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, we got a huge cinematic trailer presented to us at Capcom Cup 2017, which featured cool battle scenes and beautiful renditions of many of the characters we've loved throughout series history, as well as brand new faces from this iteration, but most importantly — it showed us who to expect this coming year.

Returning favorites that had been clamored for, most notably Sakura and Sagat who kept topping the lists of characters people wanted, but also the highly-requested Cody and Blanka who both finished in the top 10 of Capcom's character poll, with Cody even outplacing Sagat.

Besides them, we got our first glimpse at two brand-new characters in Ed's mysterious partner Falke and the even more enigmatic Abraham Lincoln-lookalike with a taste for gold, G.

Although the characters were revealed upfront, their gameplay and release dates were a mystery, besides Sakura who was confirmed to be released in January alongside the new retail version, Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, which was also a free digital update for anyone who owned the original Street Fighter 5.

Catching people completely off-guard, just a month after Sakura's release, we received a trailer for Blanka out of the blue, without any event happening at that time, which confirmed his February release. This set a lot of people's expectations, including my own, at us getting one character per month for Seaosn 3, which ended up not being the case.

Finally, after a bit of a drought of information, new character Falke was unveiled in a trailer, set to be released in April. Following this, Cody was shown at Combo Breaker 2018 at the end of May, and slated for a June release.

Since early in the year, there'd been rumblings about additional characters coming this year, due in no small part to leaker Vergeben, who had gotten a lot of notable things right but also some things wrong about various games, had claimed more were on the way this year, as well as him starting to talk about the Season 4 roster.

Whether you believed Vergeben had inside information or not, a lot of people were open to the possibility of additional characters this year considering we were on a much better track than last year, with Season 3's third character Cody being out a whole month before Season 2's Abigail, though the fact that 2 characters till remained to be released gave many people pause.

This is where the huge double reveal at EVO 2018 comes in to play, where the World President G and the long-awaited return of the King himself, Sagat, were shown together, and confirmed for release on the very next day.

All of a sudden, the whole of Season 3 was out of the bag, and suddenly all this talk of additional characters didn't sound so crazy after all.

In summary, the release schedule for Season 3 ended up like this:

January 16th, 2018: Sakura released.

February 20th, 2018: Blanka released.

April 24th, 2018: Falke released.

June 26th, 2018: Cody released.

August 6th, 2018: G and Sagat released.

Comparing to previous years, you can see there's a pretty huge difference this year from what we've become accustomed to.

The Future

Of course everyone wants to see more characters added to the game, and hearing leaks claim this is going to happen outside of the regularly scheduled content is guaranteed to sound too good to be true.

However, looking over the data here, it seems highly unlikely that Capcom have absolutely nothing planned for release until next year, or the end of December, which really does make you think about the extremely speedy schedule we've been treated to this year.

Capcom aimed to rebrand the game with Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition and move away from the troublesome launch the game had, and they've already won many fans over in a big way with consistent releases of classic favorites this year, and G has already been embraced largely by the community as a brand new favorite.

With that in mind, pushing even more favorites in to the game before Season 4 hits us would be an amazing way to get even more hype going to bring people back in to Street Fighter 5 as a whole.

While there haven't been any statements or acknowledgements from Capcom's side to show us this is happening, the scheduling combined with the leaks is interesting, to say the least.

It's worth mentioning that if Vergeben's leaks are to be believed, we would receive two more characters this year, and six characters as usual for Season 4, with the identities of said characters being Oro, C. Viper, Necro, Q, Makoto, Sodom and two brand new characters, one presumed to be F.A.N.G's female disciple, Phantom.

Whatever the case may be, we've either got a really hype surprise or a very long drought coming our way from Capcom. It's good to not presume anything, but it might be worth getting your hopes up just a smidgeon. Good times might be ahead...

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