There has been some talk over the years from fans over the possibility of a shared Capcom universe, as in the games that Capcom produces are canon to one another. This most likely started with talk in the ’90s that characters like Ken and Akuma were in Resident Evil 2 as hidden characters, and speculation just grew from there. However, as more games were produced, Capcom themselves began to draw out of the well of crossovers. They started with Final Fight, bringing in beloved characters like Guy, Rolento, and Sodom into the Street Fighter world. This would eventually lead into games like Pocket Fighter and several Versus series, including Capcom vs SNK, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and the most popular of them all, Marvel vs Capcom.
Capcom stopped making Street Fighter games for a while after III, focusing instead on other IPs such as the aforementioned Resident Evil and Marvel vs Capcom. The series would return with Street Fighter IV, and introduce a new generation to their iconic characters, including the ones from the once unpopular III series. IV became a staple for any serious gamer’s collection, and is recognized for reviving not just the Street Fighter series, but the entire fighting game genre. Capcom, however, still couldn’t break out of the habit of crossovers. Aside from the Final Fight characters, they created an original character whose entire design hid a crossover that only the most knowledgeable of Capcom fans would know.
Crimson Viper hints at a crossover in a very subtle way. All of her moves are inspired by one of Capcom’s oldest characters: Captain Commando. This inspiration was pointed out in a YouTube video uploaded in 2009 by a user named striderzer0. Viper’s abilities are provided by the power suit she wears, just like Captain Commando’s, and it’s been postulated by fans that Viper’s suit is a prototype version of the Captain’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzsuSl6jcfQ
While there’s certainly a line that can be drawn from Crimson Viper to Captain Commando, the one thing we don’t have is a direct connection between the characters. If Capcom is indeed planning to confirm that the characters are linked, there are a lot of ways they can go about it. For example, we know that Viper’s real first name is Maya, but we don’t know her surname. There’s a chance it could be revealed as Carlisle, which would give the Captain, whose real name is Mars Carlisle, a direct familial link. https://capcom.fandom.com/wiki/Captain_Commando_(character)#Trivia
Since we don’t have this tie, we need to find another connection from Street Fighter to Captain Commando that could potentially link the two characters. As it turns out, we have two, and both come from Final Fight. The first is Metro City, as both Final Fight and Captain Commando take place in Metro City in different time periods. As Metro City is also a part of the Street Fighter continuity, we know then that the three games are linked through this one location. However, there’s one other thing linking the three games together, and allows Zeku, of all people, to fully serve his purpose in the Street Fighter series: the fighting style Bushinryu.
Guy, Maki, and Zeku all practice Bushinryu, which originated in Final Fight and then was brought into Street Fighter through the inclusion of Guy and Maki in the Alpha series of games and Zeku in Street Fighter V. Three characters appearing in Street Fighter games (two of which, Guy and Zeku, are officially canon) with the same fighting style is more than enough to show that Bushinryu is ubiquitous within the Street Fighter universe. So what’s the Bushinryu connection between Street Fighter and Captain Commando? Well, it’s not what, but who:
This is Ginzu Takegami, known as Sho Takegami in Japan, a practitioner of a branch of Bushinryu called Bushinryu Ninpo. Since Bushinryu exists in Captain Commando, we already have enough to prove the link between Street Fighter and Captain Commando. However, we can take this even further, thanks to a tweet from Street Fighter V director Takayuki Nakayama himself. https://twitter.com/takaNakayama/status/1041989133877403648
As Fandom translates, this is Gou, Ginzu’s father and the 40th Grandmaster of Bushinryu. Ginzu has directly inherited the Bushinryu style from his father. However, here’s what makes this more interesting: the 38th Grandmaster is Zeku. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Bushinryu#Known_Practitioners
The 39th? Guy.
This means that Guy loses his title of Grandmaster to Gou, but we still don’t know how this came to be. There’s a few routes that could have been taken. Guy could have simply passed down the title to an heir; perhaps Gou is his son. Gou could have fought him in battle and won; he could have killed Guy or even have shown mercy like Guy for Zeku – either could have happened. In any case, Guy ends up surrendering his title to his predecessor… and as I’ve stated in a previous theory, there’s a good chance that it changes Guy for the worse. https://manestreetblog.com/2019/03/29/zekus-purpose/
Guy possibly becomes Grandmaster Meio, Strider Hiryu’s primary enemy, based on evidence I was able to find. If we assume this is true, we now have a definitive link between three games. Since Zeku alludes to being the very first Strider, as a means to make Shin Bushinryu more widespread, this means that Bushinryu canonically appears in four separate game series: Final Fight, Street Fighter, Captain Commando, and Strider.
In other words, we now have a fully established timeline for some of Capcom’s most iconic games. The events of Final Fight and Street Fighter happen concurrently, the developments of Captain Commando are next, and the storyline of Strider concludes the tetralogy. Other games can certainly be added to the storyline, like Rival Schools and the pachinko game Chun-Li ni makase China/Leave it to Chun-Li! However, these are the four that have the most impact on the overall story and show that Capcom is trying to create an extended Capcom universe.
“This is stupid,” you say. “Capcom is not making an extended universe. The games you listed have nothing in common. The crossover stuff they have are Easter eggs and nothing more. You’re looking way too deep into this.” Sure, but I can prove it.
“No, you can’t.”
Yes, I can.
This little blurb, a small detail in a very detailed book, is pretty easy to miss if you’re skimming through How to Make Capcom Fighting Characters, but there it is on page 21. This tells you everything you need to know about what Capcom is planning for the future. The character profiles on the Shadaloo Combat Research Institute have always given clues to what characters are officially canon to the Street Fighter universe, and explicitly state when they’re not. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column/list/cat4763
Moreso, it’s who isn’t listed on there that could be an even bigger clue. Note that the item states that “a portion of that shared universe” is found in the character guides, meaning that Capcom isn’t restricted to using only the characters they put in the guides. Characters from Captain Commando and Strider aren’t represented there, but they’re exclusion in spite of in-game details should at least raise an eyebrow and perhaps even hint at future plans for integrating more story elements of those worlds into Street Fighter.
So, let’s say that Capcom is indeed creating an expanded universe. What does this mean for the games? Well, nothing for Captain Commando and Strider. Nothing really changes considering those games are set in the future. For Final Fight and Street Fighter, however, it means terrible things.
Quite simply, the end is nigh. Street Fighter’s conclusion will not be a happy one.
This isn’t to say that the Street Fighter series as a whole is ending. It’s a golden goose and is a flagship franchise for Capcom. Street Fighter will hopefully be around a long time. However, there will be a point when Capcom is going to have to address the elephant in the room: where does the timeline end with Street Fighter/Final Fight and where does Captain Commando and Strider begin?
Since both games deal with apocalyptic scenarios, the truth becomes clear: Street Fighter will end tragically. Someone is going to institute some sort of action that will start the events in Captain Commando. Odds are it’s G, as his entire schtick involves being “President of the World, of the Earth, and of the entire Universe”. It doesn’t help that the names of the primary enemies in Captain Commando and Strider also begin with the letter G (Genocide for the Captain (Scumocide for the western market) and Grandmaster Meio for Strider Hiryu). Then again, depending on what Capcom ultimately decides to do with G, he could just remain a mystery and someone else could take over the world, like Bison or Gill (and yes, Gill also starts with G). We don’t know where Capcom will take the story regarding this crucial plot thread. What we do know, however, is that based on the evidence that’s there, we are in for some very interesting possibilities.
Capcom could do the improbable and add Darkstalkers characters to Street Fighter. This wouldn’t be completely out of left field, since the apocalyptic worlds of Captain Commando and Strider would likely have room for succubi, catgirls, and zombies. We could even end up with the impossible and have Resident Evil characters be represented within the game. This is extremely unlikely considering that the only appearances RE characters have had in Capcom fighting games were in the non-canon Marvel vs Capcom series, where their abilities were highly exaggerated for gameplay purposes. Even if they were permitted to bring their weapons, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield wouldn’t stand a chance against highly skilled martial artists with superpowers. However, even if they didn’t fight in a tournament, the mere idea that Raccoon City is part of the Street Fighter universe would make for some juicy crossover lore. The Dead Rising series could also be a contender for a merged universe, especially considering the many Capcom Easter eggs in those games. There are a lot of different options and routes that Capcom could end up taking to create their expanded universe.
The sad truth, however, is that no matter what Capcom does for their expanded universe, it’s all going to end the same way: the world of Street Fighter will be irreparably damaged by some dystopian force. No matter what Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, or Karin try to do, all of their efforts will be in vain. Out of all of them, only Karin has the foresight and financial capability to realize that space will be the only option left, which is why she is building a space colony. Everyone else is doomed by canon, whether Capcom intended this to happen or not.
Street Fighter will continue. There are still many stories that need to be told and characters that need to be written. Capcom isn’t going to abruptly end a highly marketable franchise with iconic characters for the sake of their extended universe. However, no matter what tales Capcom is able to spin out, the characters we know and love face a very dark future. In the end, the good guys won’t win, and the bad guys will just keep coming. That is the fate of every character in Street Fighter.
The best thing we can do then? Enjoy them while we still have them.