Sakura Ushers in Street Fighter V’s 3rd Strike

With the Capcom Cup finals for Street Fighter V happening at the close of PlayStation Experience, it seemed likely that Capcom would announce the third season, and tease the six characters who’d come with it. They’d be following a pattern set in 2015, shortly before the game released, and show those who plan on purchasing the upcoming Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition what lies next for them. In the last two years, the first character among them was introduced, while the others were previewed through silhouettes where fans could possibly identify them. Most of this came to pass, but they did make one slight adjustment.

Capcom introduced them all at once, sparing us the guessing game. The showcase mainly featured the first character that will release in the season, a familiar face for longtime Street Fighter fans: Sakura.

Sakura joining the roster in the next season isn’t surprising, considering her appearance in Karin’s Character Story, and her overall popularity. She’s constantly been near the top of popularity polls whenever they’re held, official and not, and has been heavily requested since fans discovered she wouldn’t be part of the starting roster. Now that the opportunity to pit Sakura and Karin against each other has returned, that fanbase should be satisfied.

Before the reveal, there was fear that she would be wearing a schoolgirl uniform as her default outfit again, and for good reason. She appeared in the outfit in Street Fighter IV, despite canonically being in her 20s. She also wore in the aforementioned Karin Character Story appearance, despite her rival long discarding her schoolgirl threads. A Sakura spinoff manga clarified that it was her fighting outfit, which is ridiculous That she was still wearing it was only part of the problem; the real issue was how there was no good explanation as to why.

As you can see from the screenshot above, Capcom finally addressed this by giving her an outfit that fits her age. They also satisfied those who thirst for fanservice, as she still wears a short dress. Sakura wears her job uniform, as she’s been working part-time at a pachinko parlor since graduating high school, and is pondering her future. She’s basically representative of the current era in being underemployed young person. That’s a little sad, sure, but at least she’s working and isn’t a street bum like Ryu.

Sakura retains many of her standard and special techniques from previous games, though she gains the diagonal fireball from her appearances in the Marvel vs. games, which can be used as an anti-air. Her V-Skill is the Haru Kaze, where she’ll leap airborne and can use three different attacks. She can use the “Sakura Otoshi” for three consecutive hits, similar to the SFIV titles. She can also perform a forward flip that works as a divekick when a kick button is pressed, or spring-board off the opponent for a throwing option.

SFVAE gives characters the option of two V-Triggers for all characters, selected before the beginning of the match. V-Trigger I for Sakura will power her fists, and give both of her fireball attacks extra hits. The fireball will also knock the opponent into the air, allowing for them to be juggled. V-Trigger II will power her fists and feet instead, which will power her uppercut and hurricane kick, where the final hits of each will send the opponent into the air for further combo possibilities. She’s a combo-heavy character, as you can tell. Her Critical Art is the Sakura Rain, which will start as a fireball that will lead into a larger combo if it connects. The properties for Sakura’s moves have changed quite a bit from previous SF installments, but she looks like fun to use.

Like any SFV character, she’ll come with a series of outfits. Of course she has her schoolgirl uniform, which she still wants to wear despite being an adult. Another outfit will give her a gi like Ryu’s, and her third alternate is another uniform. She’ll also come with a redone version of her old stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2, which should have its own remix of Sakura’s theme in addition to her own.

Sakura will be the first of six new characters for this season. The other returning characters are Blanka, Cody, and Sagat, the latter two of which will also have new default outfits. Two of the characters are new: Falke, a member of Neo Shadoloo introduced in Ed’s Character Story, and G, whose identity is anyone’s guess at the moment. If Capcom follows the schedule set during the last season, each character should arrive on a bi-monthly schedule. Sakura will arrive alongside SFVAE on January 16th, and the Season Pass will be available on the same day.

Meanwhile, Capcom also announced the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, mere weeks before the end of this anniversary year. It will include 12 games, including the original Street Fighter, all five Street Fighter II versions, all three Street Fighter Alpha games, and all three Street Fighter III games. Even better, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike will have online play for Ranked and Casual Matches. There’s some demand for Alpha 2 and Street Fighter III: Second Impact getting online play, but whether Capcom will answer that remains to be seen. There’s also no word on whether the Alpha 2 version included is the “Gold” iteration, or if Alpha 3 is the “Upper” version, both of which included more characters.

The package will also include extras like art galleries and a music player. It will retail for $40, a good price given the game and features, which makes last year’s release of Ultra Street Fighter II for Switch look like an even larger rip-off. The collection will release for PS4, XB1, Switch, and PC in May 2018.

Capcom made sure to get in a last-minute celebration of Street Fighter’s 30th anniversary, but despite the collection coming late, most fans seem thrilled with what they’ve done. They should provide more info about the next season soon, and answer remaining questions about the collection.

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