Easter eggs in video games, once a rare occurrence, have become ubiquitous in modern gaming, so much so that some have even become paid DLC. Something like the Ryu and Chun-Li skins in Fortnite could be considered an Easter egg. A truer example would be the many Street Fighter and Darkstalkers references in Dead Rising. Capcom has placed Easter eggs in many of their titles. These are usually non-canon fanservice that has no direct influence on the setting or story in the games they’re in. The problem with Easter eggs, though, is that they can warp the reality of the game, and suddenly these fun additions end up having a bigger impact than they were originally intended to have. Street Fighter has so many references to other Capcom games that it can be hard to keep track of what appears where. Fortunately, we only have to focus on a few to make this theory work, as it’s Darkstalkers that holds the keys to determining whether or not that game’s setting is in the same universe as Street Fighter’s.
Let’s first take a look at some of the cameos we see in the Street Fighter series. In Street Fighter Alpha 2, we see a bunch of people in Ken’s stage dressed up as various Capcom characters, including Lord Raptor, Hsien-Ko and her sister, Morrigan, Felicia, Strider Hiryu, Linn Kurosawa from Alien vs Predator, and Sho/Ginzu the Ninja and Captain Commando from Captain Commando. This stage has one of the highest counts of cameos in the entire series. There’s just one problem: these aren’t technically cameos.
As the website Fighting Street states, this was a costume dinner party organized by Ken for Eliza’s birthday. It’s actually a really well-designed stage. http://fightingstreet.com/folders/variousinfofolder/eastereggs/kensfz2stage.html
Of course, even though this is supposed to be a costume party, with recent events in both Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V, three of the costumes are now problematic: Strider’s, Sho/Ginzu’s, and Captain Commando’s. Why? Because they’re anachronistic – technically speaking, Easter eggs or not, these costumes shouldn’t exist in the timeline yet. Crimson Viper’s suit is the prototype to Captain Commando’s. Zeku’s inclusion in V solidifies the idea that both Strider Hiryu and Sho/Ginzu are predecessors of Zeku, neither of which are of age/even born yet. While it’s obvious the stage was done at a time when all of the games were in separate canons, with the way Street Fighter is now, these smaller details need to be scrutinized. One solution that could be taken is that the costumes here were actually the inspirations for the later heroes’ costumes. It’s a clean and easy way to fix the problem. However, this doesn’t fix the second problem: that the guests themselves are really weird.
Dressing up as Capcom characters is one thing, especially if the people at the party had just played the video games and wanted to emulate their favorite characters. It’s another thing to dress up as someone who actually exists in-universe. Sakura dresses like Ryu, but at least there’s a reason for it. In Ken’s stage, someone is dressing up like Linn Kurosawa, who has been shown to actually exist in the Street Fighter universe.
Linn made a cameo appearance in one of Ryu’s stages in the Street Fighter III series. You clearly see her bathing next to Chun-Li at the top of the screen. This means that the person in Alpha based their costume on a real person, which isn’t that unusual considering that people dress up as celebrities all the time in the real world. What this does do, however, is open a very distinct possibility: that she wasn’t in costume and showed up at Eliza’s party as herself. No one would have been the wiser. If this is the case, then there’s a possibility that some of the other guests showed up as themselves with the most likely person doing so being Felicia. This is for two reasons:
1) There is absolutely no reason to get a fur costume wet. No one in their right mind would jump into a pool intentionally if they were wearing a furry cat costume.
2) Felicia is a notorious fourth-wall breaker in her home game series.
Of course, this leads to the question, “Would Felicia even know Ken?” As it turns out, the answer is maybe.
In Marvel vs Capcom 3, Felicia addresses Mike Haggar in her win quote to him: “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I hope you and Jessica can make my next show in Metro City!” This implies that Felicia has known Haggar on a first name basis for years. The only issue is that the Versus series is non-canon. That being said, Felicia is kind of an odd cat, because she has the ability to make things canon to her home game. In one of her generic win quotes in Darkstalkers 3, she says, “Puzzle Fighter, Nightwarriors, Darkstalkers, I do it all!”
Yes, she mentioned the non-canon Puzzle Fighter. So, maybe Felicia isn’t the most reliable source of information. Is there someone else we can turn to who is a bit more consistent? The answer is yes, and we don’t have to look further than Ken’s Alpha 2 stage to find them – it’s Hsien-Ko.
Once again, we look to the non-canon MvC3, only this time we get a win quote that’s more substantial: “This isn’t magic, it’s Senjutsu…. What’s the difference? Man, there is no way I could help to explain that here and now.” The game may not be canon, but Hsien-Ko’s fighting style is. She indeed practices Senjutsu. https://darkstalkers.fandom.com/wiki/Hsien-Ko
More so, Hsien-Ko’s martial art is the exact same one practiced by Oro; whereas Hsien-Ko is an apprentice senjutsushi, Oro has mastered his art and became a sennen. Both have different ways of using their arts, as Hsien-Ko’s version is more weapon-based, but both nonetheless use their respective powers in bizarre and esoteric ways.
Senjutsu existing in both the Street Fighter and Darkstalkers universes doesn’t necessarily mean the two universes are the same. However, there is another win quote that shows that Hsien-Ko is aware of at least one character in the Street Fighter universe. In Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge, she says, “What… did you expect me to giggle and squeal “Yatta!” while jumping up and down?” This means that Hsien-Ko is aware of the existence of Chun-Li, this win quote being a reference to one of Chun-Li’s win poses as well as indirectly referencing that both women are from China.
“These are all interesting Easter eggs,” you say. “But none of them prove that Darkstalkers and Street Fighter are part of the same universe.” I know. For that, we have to bring Felicia in one more time, as even though she can prove to be unreliable for research, she still provides the most solid piece of evidence that the two universes are the same: her ending in the first Darkstalkers game.
It’s canon that Felicia became a famous idol, and this last scene shows that Felicia knows of Blanka’s existence. How she would know is still a matter of speculation. Blanka wasn’t really that famous in-universe at the conclusion of Street Fighter II, although the way he and his mother were reunited was because she recognized him on television. There’s a better answer, though, that also sets up something of a timeline: Blanka got popular for a time because of his Blanka-chan dolls. They were only popular in Japan, but they were popular among young women, and Felicia, despite being an American, would have fit the demographic as a world-traveling idol. Though Blanka-chan does not make an appearance in any Darkstalkers game (considering it wasn’t thought up until Street Fighter V), she would have likely bought one.
“You’re gonna have to do better than that,” you say. Ok, then I’ll leave you with one final possibility: that the Darkstalkers are already world-famous in the Street Fighter universe. This again goes back to Ken’s Alpha 2 stage. Since we’ve already established that Linn Kurosawa, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko exist in the Street Fighter universe, we can look one more time at the attendees of the costume party. If the attendees are the actual characters they represent, then that’s the end of this theory: the Darkstalkers and Street Fighter universes are the same (and Captain Commando, Sho/Ginzu, and Strider Hiryu somehow came back in time just to attend Eliza’s birthday party; Ingrid probably was probably the one behind it).
If this is just a costume party, though, then the Darkstalkers, who are trying to stay hidden, aren’t doing a very good job of staying hidden, as they now have people who are interested in what they do and are willing to dress up like them, especially the ones who dress like Hsien-Ko and her sister, Lord Raptor, and Morrigan.
Darkstalkers are not dead. They can’t be if they have fans.