While Street Fighter 6 was officially announced a few months ago, we did not really get any details or footage beyond an initial teaser of a very wide Ryu. Yesterday’s State of Play — which you can find a summary for here — was the first time the game was extensively shown with hints at a single-player mode, an online lobby, and new and returning characters. Because of those brief shots of the online lobby, people were able to see what they assumed were unannounced playable characters already.
But before even the end of the night, the floodgates had opened to Street Fighter 6 leaks. We updated a story last night to post what appeared to be art of the entire roster of characters, something that easily could be faked but seems very unlikely to be so in the timeframe since the game’s reveal yesterday. After that were offscreen gifs, first of Cammy and then of Ken, with designs that outright confirmed the leaked art.
None of this is, in a vacuum, altogether shocking. Capcom is known for leaks. If they were a ship, they would have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, because nothing stays afloat with that many holes in it. The day they revealed Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, fans found most of the roster uploaded to the game’s website already. The Osaka night scene has a reputation for bartenders knowing more about Capcom projects than its marketing employees do, since all the developers leave the offices and talk about what they’re working on to anyone who will listen. Our reporting has benefited from talkative people surrounding Capcom projects in the past, too.
But the immediacy and breadth of this Street Fighter 6 leak makes it notable. Not only is what is presumably the entire launch roster known, but it’s accompanied by pictures showing off all their new designs. Story details have appeared to leak out onto social media sites and, while there’s no way to verify their accuracy, at this point there is also no real reason to doubt them either.
And my immediate reaction to a lot of this is, how the hell can this happen? How could all of these things just ruin their marketing plan immediately after the game’s big debut? While I still think that’s a genuine question, I have come around to another internal framing of it: why not?
Video games are very secretive. I think there’s definitely some logic and sympathy in the idea that developers do not necessarily like it when a game isn’t revealed on their terms, but also we as an industry just take it way too far. Journalists get yelled at for spoiling games by reporting on leaks — someone is undoubtedly upset about the Cammy video up there and is about to be upset about the Ken image below. Sometimes fake trailers are created to hide things, sometimes we get embargoes that tell us not to talk about things that have already been seen in the trailers the company released.
I am sure Capcom had a lot of marketing beats planned around revealing that Ken looks like he had one too many and bought the deepest possible V-Neck at the store, but also, does it really matter? Am I going to enjoy the game less now that I know Cammy’s default costume (finally) has pants? Probably not! I know some people enjoy those marketing beats just like they enjoyed speculating over Super Smash Bros. characters and popping off for every reveal trailer. But the world has not ended now that I know who is in Street Fighter 6. Maybe some of the fun along the way has been eroded slightly, but I will wake up tomorrow just as excited for the game as I am today.
I think other publishers could take a lesson from that.