A new era of Street Fighter: A one-stop guide to the what’s new in upcoming Street Fighter 6 cover image

A new era of Street Fighter: A one-stop guide to the what’s new in upcoming Street Fighter 6

SF caster Logan Sama breaks down the upcoming Street Fighter 6 – from the leaked concept arts, a new Drive System, Drive Gauge and more.

Two weeks ago we found out Street Fighter 6 will be coming to Playstation, Xbox and Steam in 2023.

The announcement of a new iteration of your favorite fighting game feels like a year-long night before Christmas. Anticipation and speculation immediately grip the community and seeing some of your favorite player/influencer reactions and hot takes can often be as entertaining as the gameplay trailer and character announcements themselves.

Street Fighter 6 has managed to capture the technical feel of Street Fighter 4 and the hype of Street Fighter V and build on it in ways never before seen in a fighting game!

Capcom has been doing a great job of showcasing the new game to the public in a well-metered fashion. Initial gameplay trailers showed off a huge array of new system mechanics alongside some beautiful stylistic visual touches. Summer Game Fest gave a hands-on opportunity to the public.

This led to a huge amount of high-quality captured gameplay as well as plenty of ‘over-the-shoulder’ video footage. Amazing content to be dissected by the voracious faithful fanbase looking to analyze frame by frame.

Concept art leak added fuel to the fire

The small matter of a huge concept art leak did nothing but fuel that excitement to a frenzy. The inclusion of all 8 original World Warriors and many other returning favorites were re-imagined with awesome new looks.

A varied assortment of brand new characters also stood out for their diversity and unique looks. The Street Fighter community is currently loving what it is seeing; be it through official channels which Capcom’s Street Fighter development team has worked hard over the past few years to build on, or unofficial ‘leaks’ of what could be still to come.

So far we are only in June. Over half-year away from a projected release date of the first quarter of 2023, and we have seen so much already. A fully fleshed-out game mechanics system that nods a head at all of the Street Fighter games in the series which came before it.

 An ambitious open-world Battleground mode that seems to address the critique leveled at Street Fighter V’s lack of single-player content. As well as one of the most innovative approaches to a stripped-down control system we have ever seen.

That should hopefully welcome many thousands of new players into the fighting game experience without jumping them in at the deep end with complicated inputs and limited play mode options outside of getting beaten down online by experienced players leveling up their ‘Smurf’ accounts.

A new Fighter that feels familiar to all

So what does Street Fighter 6 promise us? Well, as with every iteration of Street Fighter, we find game mechanics tweaked with new systems in place. Things like Super meter, EX moves, Focus attack, and V Triggers have all made their way into previous games.

 SF6 uses the ‘Drive system’ which takes cues from Street Fighter games of the past and repackages them under one resource. Parry incoming attacks and power up your special moves like SF3, dash cancel your attacks to continue a combo and armored strike attacks which can crush guard from SF IV and finally reversing block stun into an attack like Street Fighter V.

These concepts are all represented within the Drive system which Capcom has painstakingly explained right here. And whilst it might seem a lot to take in for someone who is not a 20-year veteran of the series, the simplicity of the inputs means you will quickly pick it up.

Street Fighter 6's new mechanic: the Drive Gauge

If you pick up any fighting you will find a dizzying number of gauges and counters. Street Fighter 6 attempts to simplify some of this by rolling many of its mechanics under one resource: The Drive Gauge.

The Drive Gauge meter
The Drive Gauge meter

The Drive Gauge consists of 6 bars (of course) which you can build and deplete in a number of different ways. Different from recent titles, the round starts with a full gauge. Reminiscent of the Alpha series of Street Fighter games from the mid-1990s.

This means both players have access to all of the new mechanics right away without having to build the meter to unlock them later. This means fights will start out frantic and exciting rather than cagey affairs hoarding resources for a late-game push.

Much like the Alpha Series, the Drive Gauge means players will start with a full gauge
Much like the Alpha Series, the Drive Gauge means players will start with a full gauge

You can spend your Drive Guage utilizing any of the mechanics which make up the Drive System. However, it is notable that Super Arts and Critical Arts use different meter gauges.

Drive Impact is based loosely on the Focus Attack of Street Fighter IV and costs 1 bar from the Drive Gauge. Press the two heavy buttons together to perform an armored strike. This will absorb an opponent’s attack and can even break guard if the opponent is in the corner.

Ryu performing a Drive Impact against a cornered Chun Li
Ryu performing a Drive Impact against a cornered Chun Li

A heavily scaled combo will be your reward for scoring a wall splat against a blocking opponent. If you manage to catch your opponent during the recovery of one of their moves (a Counter Punish) you will activate a special state which will allow you to follow up your Drive Impact with a combo.

The Drive Parry mechanic in Street Fighter 6

Drive Parries make your character glow blue
Drive Parries make your character glow blue

Drive Parry is Street Fighter 6’s version of the Parry mechanic. Unlike the directional inputs of 3rd Strike which Daigo Umehara made famous in Evo Moment #38, this is just the two medium buttons together. Your character will parry a physical attack or projectile.

Drive Parry is similar to the V Skill parries of Street Fighter V which used button inputs and would cover both high and low attacks simultaneously, in fact, you can hold down the buttons and you will continue to parry successive follow-ups from multi-hitting attacks.

This may sound like it is parrying on easy mode, and it is, but the trade-off is far more recovery time that will stop you from being able to counterattack with a big punishment. On a successful Drive Parry you will earn back Drive Gauge.

Overdrive explained

Overdrive is a very straightforward way of including more powerful EX versions of special moves into the game but without sharing the Super Art meter, traditionally used in SF3, IV and V. Press 2 attack buttons instead of 1 when performing your special move as you would have done previously in other Street Fighter games and this uses up 2 stocks of Drive Gauge.

Overdrive attacks have that familiar yellow flash
Overdrive attacks have that familiar yellow flash

What's a Drive Rush?

Drive Rush is your dash cancel, but unlike Street Fighter IV’s Focus Attack Dash Cancel, Drive Rush can only be performed during a cancellable normal attack or a Drive Parry not during a special move.

Drive Rushes make your character flash green
Drive Rushes make your character flash green

You will be able to use this to extend combos or to close the distance and get punishes from Drive Parries at further ranges. Canceling a normal by double-tapping the forward direction will cost you a hefty 3 bars of Drive Gauge whereas canceling a Drive Parry will cost only 1.

Drive Reversals - Throwback to V-Reversal of SF5

And finally, Drive Reversal which operates exactly like the V-Reversal of Street Fighter V. Press forwards and two heavy attacks during the block stun of any attack and you will perform a counter.

Drive Reversals will darken the screen when being used
Drive Reversals will darken the screen when being used

This is designed to get you out of incessant pressure without having to commit to a risky invincible special move or interrupting with a normal attack and risk getting counter hit.

Starting with a full Drive Gauge every round might really encourage you to spend it all quickly. However, once your Drive Gauge is fully depleted you will enter a state called ‘Burnout’. This state leaves you moving slow and sluggish. It’s a semi-permanent debuff.

Both Luke and Chun Li in Burnout states
Both Luke and Chun Li in Burnout states

Although one of the biggest drawbacks is that whilst in this state you can die to chip kills from special moves once again. Whereas in normal play chip kills are only possible when using a Super or Critical Art just like Street Fighter V.

Standard mechanics like Counter Hits still exist in the game. Crush Counters are gone along with Street Fighter V’s much-debated priority system which saw certain strength attacks always beat out others.

However, a new mechanic called ‘Punish Counter’ seems to retain the risk associated with invincible moves in SF V as blocked moves like Dragon Punches can be punished incredibly heavily still.

If you catch an opponent in the recovery animation of any of their moves, the Punish Counter alert flashes on the screen indicating it was a guaranteed hit. This will be a great help for those who don’t study frame data like an end of term finals exam.

Chun Li landing a Punish Counter Drive Impact
Chun Li landing a Punish Counter Drive Impact

A Fighting game for a modern era

Speaking of simplified inputs, another huge innovation has been Capcom’s inclusion of ‘Modern’ and ‘Classic’ control types. Classic will feel familiar to anyone who has played Street Fighter before. 6 attack buttons. Complex motion and charge inputs for special moves. It’s the Street Fighter you grew up on. But for those new to the series or just passing through for some quick bouts with friends, the Modern system is for you. Stripping it back to 3 attack buttons and 3 special input buttons, players no longer need to painstakingly practice their special move inputs and combos. They can mostly execute them using a single direction and one button.

A comparison for Modern vs Classic Controls
A comparison for Modern vs Classic Controls

The price for this is giving up some of the moves a character can perform in Classic mode, but for a player new to fighting games and eager to get scrapping this is perfect. And Capcom has even expertly balanced out the reward for the skill required to learn the precise Classic control system by gate fencing off certain attacks in Modern mode.

So no walking forwards and pressing one button to do Guile’s Flash Kick! You will still need to hold the direction for a few seconds to execute charge special moves, and you won’t have the option to choose which strength version you use. Players using the more complicated Classic control system will see the benefits of their hard work.

In fact, we have already seen a number of other mechanics which seem to reward the type of frame-perfect controls we can usually expect to see from the pro players.

Most notably the trailer revealed the ‘Perfect Parry’ which allows players who time their Drive Parry input within a tight window of opportunity to retaliate with an attack of their own and score damage in situations otherwise not possible. And even more recently Capcom TV in Japan showed off the newly revealed Guile who has returned with not only his two signature special moves but for the first time two eyebrows!

Guile's Sonic Boom has a ‘just frame’ input that powers up the strength of the projectile if you manage to input within a tight window. You are seeing a theme here? Easy to pick up, familiar to play for existing fans, rewarding depth for the masters.

A new face on the roster

While we have seen 5 characters in action so far, stalwarts Ryu, Chun Li and Guile alongside Luke (the ‘poster boy’ for Street Fighter 6 who has terrorized the last year of Street Fighter V. Its new face Jamie that has got us excited the most.

A character that is from the same school as the previous faces Gen, Yun and Yang, his version of ‘Drunken Master’ kung fu not only shows off the new Drive system but brings its own additional take on leveling up through his drink mechanic. Every ‘special drink’ he takes unlocks new special moves, combos and cancels. He’s definitely the most complex and interesting of the characters shown thus far.

What does the community think?

We have yet to see the more skilled pro players get their hands on the game as most of the footage has come from media events or content creators having limited access, but this has not stopped the community from analyzing every clip they can find frame by frame to decipher any new secrets. One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Street Fighter V was the lack of options open to players in the face of offensive pressure which forced them to guess.

The extensive Drive System opens up a ton of opportunities for inventive problem solving and expression. This room for expression is what gives us the truly unforgettable moments and Street Fighter 6 is due to deliver that with hype Drive Parries, Drive Impact reads and Drive Rush combos.

There is so much that feels familiar to the player base of Street Fighter games throughout the series. But all of it feels new and really well thought out by the development team in terms of risk and reward.

Almost the entire fanbase welcomed it. An incredible turnaround from the sentiment associated with the limp launch of Street Fighter V. Fans can’t wait to get their hands on the game either at the next live experience or hopefully in an online beta test to showcase a robust online infrastructure and net code.

Personally, I am very excited to see the cast expanded. With the new character Jamie showcasing a unique new mechanic, it makes me eager to find out what other character archetypes reveals will happen as the rollout towards a 2023 release continues.

And overall the game feels like it will offer the pros enough options through the mechanics that their world-class skills will shine through in their gameplay. With big bright visual cues as well, hopefully, the esports viewing fanbase will be enraptured by many more moments in the future from the likes of Daigo, Tokido, Punk and many more for years to come.