When Street Fighter 6’s newest challenger Kimberly was revealed, fans across the world celebrated with enthusiasm and joy that is characteristic of Kimberly herself. The ninja character seemed by all accounts to be a win for representation, as a positive and undeniably cool portrayal of a subset of black culture, which come rarely in fighting games. The reason for this successful depiction? Bringing in people that knew what they were talking about.
In Fanbyte’s interview with Street Fighter 6 Director Takayuki Nakayama and Producer Shuhei Matsumoto, the pair mentioned that they enjoy the process of creating new characters and Kimberly is the foremost example of what a difference that makes.
“A lot of people on the team are fans of Black culture,” Nakayama said. “In order to make her as authentic as possible, we spoke with many Black employees within the company. We also hired consultants to help us design the character and her mannerisms.”
Nakayama mentioned that one of the things that defines Street Fighter to him is a diverse set of characters from all over the world and ensuring that they are real and authentic is an important part of development. Both Nakayama and Matsumoto repeatedly emphasized that “open communication” is a priority for them in Street Fighter 6 —a lesson they learned while working on Street Fighter V — and believe that designing characters authentically is part of that ethos.
While much of the roster of Street Fighter 6 has leaked at this point, the actual reveals of the characters have thus far lead to huge reactions. Even stalwarts like Ryu and Chun-Li have people excited. There’s still a fair few characters left to show, including both newcomers and veterans, before the game’s marketing wraps up. Hopefully they’re all received as well as the roster so far.
Street Fighter 6 releases in 2023 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC.