Remaking Ed: How Street Fighter 6’s New Character Represents Its Future


It’s been a while since Street Fighter V made Ed a playable character, and he’s changed a bit since then. Still wreathed in Psycho power like Bison, he has slimmed down a bit aesthetically but his gameplay in Street Fighter 6 feels simultaneously more robust and more focused than his previous incarnation. What results is an incredibly fun, fluid, powerful character that is easy enough to pick up, but with plenty of depth for those who truly want to explore his potential.

During Capcom Cup X, I sat down for a play session with Ed and later spoke to SF6 Director Takayuki Nakayama and SF6 Producer Shuhei Matsumoto to learn more about bringing him back, and the team’s inspirations and goals with him.

“For [me] personally, he’s a very important character,” Nakayama-san said, “He’s kind of the reason why we have Modern controls… [and] World Tour… He has a very interesting story, and one of the main things [we] wanted to accomplish with SF6 is to bring in the new generation of Street Fighter characters; Luke, Jamie, Kimberly, and Ed.”

Ed may have influenced what SF6 became, but he’s also a part of its future. “Ed, who appeared in Street Fighter V, has elements of Boxer (Balrog) and Dictator (Bison) incorporated in him,” Nakayama-san continued, “and so he’s another new character whose story is going to become more and more tied to the overarching story of Street Fighter 6.”

So how has he developed and what is Ed made of? Psycho power and punches. Lots of punches. In fact, it’s a ‘Captain Crunch: Oops, All Punches’ situation with Ed in SF6. While in SFV, he used both punches and kicks (putting him in ‘kickboxer’ territory, one of my favorite fighting styles), he is now a pure boxer, without a single kick in sight.

‘But Brian…’ you may be asking, ‘What about the three Kick buttons every character has?’ I’m happy to report that pressing each Kick button gives you a different, Thomas Hearns-style ‘Flicker’ punch, which are quite fast, have tons of range, and cover upward, downward, and horizontal angles, respectively. This makes even his standard gameplay feel more dynamic, and allows you to cover a variety of approaches quickly and easily.

Nakayama-san said he is very excited to be able to bring Ed to life the way he originally intended to, and that he likes Ed’s anti-hero personality, but one of the things he’s incredibly proud of are the animations and movements in general. In my opinion, he and the team at Capcom should be proud, as Ed’s movement and feel is incredibly smooth, stylish, and looks great.

“When we did the motion capture for Ed, [we] worked with a professional boxer to accomplish that,” Nakayama-san said. “[We] were able to discuss… the specific traits of a boxer that Ed needs to have. Actually, over time, his neutral standing pose changed just through these discussions. [We] were happy to be able to work with another professional to really nail down his movements.”

That attention to detail carries over into Ed’s feel in SF6, which is, in a word; ‘fantastic.’ He is right at home with the new game’s systems, and even if his Drive Rush is a bit on the slower side, the extra range he gets from using Drive Rush into any of his Flicker punches more than makes up for it. Another result of the simplification Ed got is that now his moves use standard ‘quarter circle’ inputs (236 or 214 if you are an ‘anime fighting game’ sicko, like me).

Even with some simplification, Ed’s ‘character select’ description has him listed as a ‘Tricky’ type that’s ‘hard to use,’ but while that’s certainly true when you really dive in, his tools are simple enough to use on the surface. His skill ceiling seems relatively high, considering there are several ways to use (or cancel) each of his specials, and using the charged versions of them means a longer, riskier startup (unless you have a specific setup that lets you charge up risk-free). Players who want to use Ed to his fullest will have plenty to dig into.

Street Fighter 6 has had very striking concept art from the very beginning, showing off a wide variety of looks for characters. When I asked Nakayama-san and Matsumoto-san about their process for guiding the style of characters, particularly when they are returning from a previous game like Ed, they said “For characters who are coming back from past titles, [we] have to make sure that players of those characters… would feel like they’re being respected, and that [we] keep the things that they enjoy about that particular character.”

“In terms of storyline, Street Fighter 6 is the newest in terms of the chronological storyline of the series. So if a legacy character is returning, like Ryu, you’ve got to make sure you feel the gravity… the history of that character. [We] want to make sure that characters we reintroduce feel like they’re continuing to develop, and there’s growth, and they’re exciting,” they said, “[Ed] had a certain look in V, but [we] wanted to design him how he is in 6. If you look at the roster, in general, you may notice the fists of all characters are relatively large, which was something that was influenced by SF4. [We] wanted him to look a little more slim, but we didn’t feel like we were able to quite accomplish it. We were finally able to do that in Street Fighter 6, so we’re very happy about that.”

Speaking of keeping things players like (and continuing to develop them), one of my favorite abilities (and one of Ed’s most powerful) is his Psycho Flicker. Similar to his SFV V-Skill ‘Psycho Snatcher,’ Psycho Flicker zaps the enemy with a medium-range web of Psycho power, and like his Flicker punches, Psycho Flicker covers those same upward, downward, and horizontal angles.

Charging Psycho Flicker actually grabs the enemy and pulls them towards Ed whether the attack hits or is blocked, making Heavy Punch into charged Psycho Flicker a great multi-use combo to have. If the enemy gets hit, it leads to a full combo, but even if they block it, Ed is still at advantage, giving you the opportunity to go for a strike / throw mixup. It’s also not the only way Ed can make himself plus after having an attack blocked, as his standing Heavy punch is plus. His charged Psycho Knuckle is a nearly full-screen neutral-skip special, that is also plus on block, and leads to a combo on hit.

His level 2 super (reminiscent of V-Trigger Psycho Cannon from SFV) gives him an absurd amount of advantage and goes fullscreen slowly, meaning you can do a lot with it, whether your opponent blocks or gets hit. Are you noticing a trend? Well, I certainly am, and it’s consistent with the vibe I got from Ed during my play session; power and flexibility. All these tools, combined with his two-part projectile, makes him feel more well-rounded and gives him something many boxer-type enemies in fighting games lack; mid and long-range presence.

Because so many of Ed’s attacks have clear, strong areas they cover, I found it very fun to jump in and play matches right away (something I find true of SF6, too). Not only that, but combined with his great animation work, dark new laboratory stage, cocky flair, cool costumes, and fun voice acting, Ed has a lot of flavor. I think he’s a blast to play, and I’m looking forward to playing him lots more.

More importantly, Capcom has taken a very deliberate approach to redesigning Ed. He feels familiar but plays like very few other characters on the Street Fighter 6 roster. It’s clear that Nakayama wants to make good on the statement that Ed represents the future of the franchise, and his arrival in Street Fighter 6 is an exciting step in that evolution.