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Visual timeline charts history of Street Fighter 5's DLC character release patterns

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 22, 2021 at 12:06 p.m. PDT • Comments: 16

Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition's roster has more than doubled since launch day in February of 2016 as the original 16 characters have been joined by an additional 26 combatants over the last five and a half years.

Those who have been in the Street Fighter community for all of this game's life surely recall the roller coaster rides of emotion that have characterized the DLC highs and lows of exciting releases, unexpected delays, and periods of radio silence. We've put together a timeline chart depicting when each of the 26 additions dropped to help put the big picture visual in perspective.

Downloadable content has become an expected component in most modern fighting games, and as such the way developers handle post release content can be as important as any other aspect of development.

Not only do DLC characters add to the overall experience, they are opportunities to send hype surges into a game and further extend its lifespan. Capcom has surely been learning over the last couple of seasons as they've very much leveled up their presentations in this avenue, but as we see from the chart, consistency hasn't really been a particular strength.

Season 1 was actually the most condensed thus far as all six DLC characters made their way into Street Fighter 5 over a six month period. There was a delay that caused Ibuki to drop late, but she wound up in a joint release with Balrog that audiences were ultimately content with. The main issue during this time was general communication as fans really didn't know what to expect in terms of schedule, and this carried on in Season 2 where we also did not know the identities of the 6 incoming fighters.

Season 2 took about eight months in total with about 2.5 months spacing the first three characters from one another while the latter three were slightly more clustered together.

It was in Season 3 that Capcom found something of a better stride with back to back releases to kick off the year, (Sakura and Blanka in January and February, respectively) and ended with a powerful double release at Evo in early August. We even got Kage, the first of Season 4, in December of that same year... and then the dreaded "doing things differently" period hit.

For the first seven months of Season 4, the community heard almost nothing in the way of who and when for DLC. The triple release of Poison, Honda, and Lucia at Evo 2019 was great, but the whole "doing things differently" chapter of radio silence set the fan/developer relationship back a good bit, and surely took a substantial bit of wind out of the game's sails (and probably sales as well, for that matter).

You'll notice that 2020 is almost entirely empty, though this is somewhat forgivable considering COVID-19 and that Capcom had allegedly planned to end support and move more fully onto Street Fighter 6 originally. We, of course, wound up with the Season 5 roadmap with five additional characters much more clearly scheduled and communicated about than ever before.

We now have two of these Season 5 characters in game, but are awaiting Oro, Akira, and the mysterious final DLC addition for later here in 2021. Our suspicions are now that the former two will both drop at Evo in August, and the jury is still out as to exactly when the final fighter will be revealed and released.

Check out the full chart by clicking the thumbnail right here and let us know your takeaways in the comments below.

SF5 DLC Visual Timeline w Logo image #1
Click images for larger versions

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