It’s been a while since the last character reveal for Street Fighter V, since Kolin was shown and released in February. The character being released for this season are more intriguing, as outside Akuma, each one is a new playable character in the franchise. It’s also why the entire lineup wasn’t announced in advance unlike the last season, though Capcom’s hand was previously forced when the names leaked after someone did some snooping through the PC beta version’s files. They made sure not to make their post-patch product so easily vulnerable to hackers this time around.
Of course, it’s not as if these characters can’t leak in another way. And this time, it’s partially of Capcom’s doing.
The next character coming to SFV is Ed, a young boy who was kidnapped and trained to become an eventual replacement body for M. Bison. He first appeared in Rose’s ending in Street Fighter IV and reappeared in Balrog’s ending in Super Street Fighter IV, but he also makes appearances in several story modes in this particular game. Evidence that he was the next character first leaked when Sony accidently updated the description for the Season Pass on the PlayStation Store by adding his name on April 25th, which indicates how he was originally planned for release on that day. Note that other content released on that day, including the Street Fighter II M. Bison Thailand stage whose music had to be altered later, and a small series of new outfits. Following this, someone discovered promotional artwork of Ed while scavenging through the URLs of the official English website. Surely they realized someone would eventually do this, right?
From the trailer and screenshots, you’ll notice that he’s received a significant makeover compared to his previous appearances. His outfit looks like a cross between Bison’s and Balrog’s, as he’s wearing a soldier suit reminiscent of the former with boxing gloves like the latter. That also applies to his move set, which combines Psycho Power with boxing techniques There wasn’t a long time period between SFIV and V’s stories, but Ed looks considerably older because his body ages faster than the average human’s. Ed’s body has to become desirable for Bison in a quick fashion if his current body is destroyed, after all. This presumably also explains why he’s seriously buffed up in the time between those story modes and his gameplay debut.
In execution, some of Ed’s moves make him look eerily reminiscent of SNK characters Terry Bogard and especially Rock Howard, but you’ll have to look deeper to realize how different he is compared to the rest of SFV’s cast. His uniqueness extends to his technique inputs, as unlike any other SFV character, his moves only require simultaneous button presses, repeated presses, or holding down certain buttons. His only technique with a “traditional” fighting game input is his Critical Art.
This makes it sound like he’ll be easy to play, but he could require serious adjustment for anyone accustomed to playing command or charge-based characters. In this way, he sounds reminiscent of Angel and Nelson from the King of Fighters series, two more SNK characters. Between these descriptions, you can see where Capcom’s developers have been taking their inspiration from. Note that neither of those KoF characters are easy to play.
Ed’s V-Skill is the Psycho Snatcher, where he can either reel opponents towards him while tossing them into the air, or vice versa, depending on how long the activation buttons are held down. His V-Trigger is the Psycho Ball Psycho Cannon, a sizable ball of psycho energy that moves slowly across the screen, similar to one of Dhalsim and Decapre’s Super Combos in SFIV, though it’s nowhere near as large or powerful. Ed’s Critical Art is the Psycho Barrage, where he’ll lunge forward with a punch flurry. If the first series connects, it will continue into a lengthy psycho-powered combo that ends with an uppercut.
The fanbase is divided about Ed’s default outfit (I’m not a fan), but since this is a fighting game with a heavy DLC scheme, of course Capcom will have a bunch of alternates available right when he releases. His Story outfit is the hoodie he was seen in before, though he’s considerably less scrawny. His Premium outfit is an alternative fusion of Balrog and Bison’s outfits, where he’s wearing a jacket with no shirt. Fans of guys with bare, muscular chests will love it.
Capcom didn’t detail when Ed will be available, but he’ll be playable in the upcoming Capcom Fighters Network beta that will be available on PS4 and PC from May 11th to the 14th. Note that you don’t need to own SFV to participate in this. Meanwhile, there are still three more characters coming for the remainder of the game’s second season, and given the pace at which they’re releasing them, expect them to stretch this out until the end of the year.