Street Fighter V: Charlie and the ‘blocked late’ factory

He’s a wily one, that Yoshinori Ono. Oh, of course the Street Fighter exec producer will have fun whipping the fans up into a frenzy on Twitter. He’ll give coy half-answers to questions about his next game’s identity. He’ll giddily praise favourite, semi-obscure combatants, neither confirming nor denying their likelihood to ever return. And he’ll never, at all, give you a straight answer on just whether or not he’s ever bloody going to get around to making Darkstalkers 4. But when he finally drops the goods? Totally worth it, each and every time. And so is the case with the latest info-slap from Street Fighter V.

Three words: Charlie goddamn Nash. Guile’s long-lost war buddy and the source of the flat-topped flipper’s endless angst is back, and good Lord is he looking great. Well, not ‘great’ great. He’s missing half his face, and whatever’s replacing it seems to have been attached with a stapler. But that’s the price you pay for coming back from an M Bison-related death.

He’s faster and (whisper it) cooler than Guile, packing swifter, more dynamic iterations of a similar moveset. He whips out his Sonic Booms with a single arm, as ever, but he now has a whole new roster of teleport-focused moves to go along with them, delivering all manner of stealthy, evasive, and trickily aggressive guessing-game action. Able to drop in cross-ups and mix-ups without technically travelling the required distance, and making a mockery of Ryu’s Hadokens by simply flipping sides for an instant, SFV’s Charlie looks like he’s going to be just plain dominant in the right hands. If you thought Guile’s pressure game of dash-following a slow Boom was nasty, wait until you see his best friend warp around in front of one.

Question Time
How and why is he back? We’re not sure right now, but questions need to be answered. Who or what resurrected him? How does that tie into his patchwork visage and the green light glowing in his forehead? Does the extra malice apparent in his moves indicate that he’s switched from hunting Bison to working for him?

Whatever the truth, it’s going to look stunning as it plays out if SFV’s new footage is anything to go by. Instantly making the still-gorgeous Street Fighter IV look stiff and washed out, the new, richer visual style subtly swaps out pencils and ink for thick, globby, tactile jets of paint. The even smoother animation positively pours across the screen, while retaining Street Fighter’s trademark and mandatory animation-jumps where appropriate. 1080p. 60 frames per second. 100% gorgeous.

The Fight-Tastic Four
Who’s signed the tourney sheet this time?

Like you ever expected Ryu not to be here. The poster boy is looking as stoic as ever in V, though the swirling neon of his new Metsu Hadoken is flamboyant.

Ditto the ‘surprise’ return of the first lady of fighters. Chun-Li is graceful like a wild flower in a spring breeze, but hits as hard as a concrete shotgun blast.

Lost and presumed dead since Street Fighter Alpha’s prequel period, Charlie is finally back. His return places SFV after IV, but (probably) still before III. Maybe.

Only seen in abstract, swooshing forms in a piece of teaser footage, Bison’s SFV form still ticks all the boxes. Big, brawny and oh-so-brutal.

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