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Is it finally time for Street Fighter to add a guest character from outside of the franchise to one of its main series games?

All of the other kids are doing it!

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • November 14, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. PST • Comments: 145

A common trend we've been seeing in the world of fighting games lately is the addition of guest characters. In recent years, major competitive fighting titles have gone about bringing in contenders from outside of their own series as playable characters (often as DLC), and doing so tends to generate excitement from fans, as well as bring something unique to the table.

Despite several triple-A fighting games taking the plunge and bringing in guests, one popular franchise has yet to follow in the footsteps of its competitors. Street Fighter has not yet had a guest character — excluding Final Fight as they share the same universe — join the playable cast of one of its main numbered titles, but is it about time for that to change?

Guest characters in fighting games are not a new concept. Series such as Soul Calibur not only have these types of characters today but started bringing them in as far back as 2002.

As the landscape evolves and technology allows for video games to become more advanced and impressive than they've ever been, it feels as though fighting game developers are continually trying to add the best features and content that they can drum up in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Though the intricacies of features like in-game frame data or in-depth tutorials will surely appeal to hardcore players, it might be harder to grab the attention of more casual fans with these kinds of bells and whistles. This is one of the reasons why guest characters in fighting games can be a powerful tool to get eyes on the product.

Tekken 7 crossing over with The Walking Dead to bring popular villain Negan into the fold single-handedly exposed an enormous fan-base to a fighting game many of them might not have been that familiar with. Shockwaves were sent across the internet when NetherRealm Studios introduced the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles squad into Injustice 2.

While some might not necessarily agree with guest characters being in fighting games, the benefits they can bring to the table are undeniable. And yet, the Street Fighter series has remained free of third-party cameos over the course of its 30-year legacy.

Sure, the Street Fighter cast is no stranger to crossovers as they've locked horns with all manner of characters in games from the Versus series, card games, Monster Hunter, and even Nintendo's ultimate video game melting pot, Super Smash Bros. But when it comes to main Street Fighter titles, we just have not seen any characters join the fight that weren't from the same universe.

One could argue that Street Fighter is a franchise that doesn't really need a guest character or two to drive hype and interest as it is the most popular fighting game series in the world and looked at as the godfather of the genre. However, in today's market where there is a major installment in every triple-A fighting game series on store shelves right now, as well as a modern release of numerous other fighting franchises, that status might not hold as strong as competitors continue to find success.

Looking to the latest game in Capcom's mainstay fighting series, Street Fighter 5, we can see how a guest character could make an impact. As the game seems to be nearing the end of its fourth season and fans are anxious to see what's next for the now four-year-old game, a shakeup like an unexpected guest could inject another jolt of life into it.

I can't help but think about producer Yoshinori Ono's comment from a recent interview with Eurogamer where he noted that the Intel World Open tournament that is taking place for a healthy portion of next year will have a lot of eyes on the competition. A popular guest character being added to the roster could potentially tap into another fan-base, add more flare to the game, and make big waves to a larger audience.

We do have more Street Fighter 5 announcements coming this weekend and again in December at Capcom Cup 2019, though I don't think any of the reveals there would be the first-ever guest character.

Beyond Street Fighter 5, if Capcom used a guest character as a selling point for the next major Street Fighter title, it could help generate a ton of interest leading up to its launch.

At the end of the day, though, the Street Fighter franchise has been fine without guests, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't ever get them. The prospect of seeing outsiders added to fighting game rosters is not one that appears to be going away any time soon, so there may come a point where the Street Fighter series feels a bit of that pressure and actually takes the leap.

Would you ever want to see guest characters in Street Fighter? If so, who do you think would be a good fit? Let us know in the comments below.

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