The roster for Street Fighter 6 has more or less leaked, and there’s one major omission: series antagonist M. Bison. And while we don’t know a lot about the story of the upcoming fighting game, we may have gotten some insight as to why Bison doesn’t seem to be part of the starting roster: my guy is dead, because Street Fighter 6 takes place after Street Fighter III in the timeline.
Whether you care about the story of Street Fighter or not, the plot is what often determines the roster of a lot of fighting games. Street Fighter has been doing some jumping around with each numbered entry, which has allowed it to revisit different characters or slot in new ones without much disruption. Bison has died multiple times in the Street Fighter continuity, and seemed most definitively to eat it in Street Fighter V’s “A Shadows Fall” story mode. But moving forward in the canon does give the game room to explore new concepts. And since Street Fighter 6 follows Street Fighter III, the most recent game in the timeline, this means M. Bison may just not show up this time. At least not at launch. He may still arrive as DLC. The timeline was confirmed on Street Fighter’s social channels by Game Director Takayuki Nakayama in a quote about Ryu’s story in Street Fighter 6.
"Although Street Fighter 6 occurs after the Street Fighter III series, Ryu still feels that he's "not there yet" – though he seems to have gained some dignity. The way he wears the kasaya (Buddhist robe) is reminiscent of his master, Goken."
— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) June 6, 2022
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While M. Bison may not be returning for the sixth mainline Street Fighter, plenty of series staples appear to be on the roster thanks to leaked concept art of new character designs. Confirmed veterans include Ryu and Chun-Li, the latter of which has a new voice actor as Jennie Kwan replaces Laura Bailey. Whether Fei Long ends up in the game is yet to be seen, but fans have taken to modding the character into Street Fighter V in the meantime.