What Happened to Luke?: Analyzing the Street Fighter 6 Trailer

Street Fighter 6 has been officially announced by Capcom, and there’s some excitement regarding the brief trailer that was presented shortly after the season finale of the 2021 Capcom Pro tour. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: https://youtu.be/SwPzuBj01AM

The entire trailer takes about 40 seconds, and in that time, we’re introduced to redesigned characters and a redesigned logo. However, we also have enough information to make an educated guess as to where the story is going to go.

And it looks like it’s going to get dark.

The trailer opens up with Ryu, who looks older and retains his beard from his Hot Ryu costume. However, there’s something noticably different about him – his uniform has changed. He retains his classic red headband, but he is now topless with a white binder around his stomach, is wearing brown pants and, most shockingly, has footwear.

Interestingly, Akuma wore a similar type of sandals in his appearances, which could symbolize that Ryu, like Akuma, has mastered the Satsui no Hado in his own way. On its own, this honestly doesn’t mean very much outside of the idea that Ryu and Akuma have both decided that walking in bare feet isn’t an ideal situation for them, but Ryu’s overall look could also determine something very important – the story could be taking place after Street Fighter III.

In fact, this seems to be exactly what’s happening, because Ryu isn’t the only person we see in the trailer.

Like Ryu, Luke has aged up from his Street Fighter V iteration. His hair has grown out and he now wears a blue vest and white T-shirt with the pattern of his chest and shoulder tattoos emblazoned on it. His presence in Street Fighter 6 confirms what we already knew – he will take a big role in the story of 6. However, there’s something else to Luke’s redesign that makes things far more interesting: his scars.

While at first, they’re a bit hard to see, they’re there (and while a few people pointed this out to me, the first person to bring this to my attention was @ChiefMegatron on Twitter). There’s a large gash over his right eye that cuts down to his cheek and hooks upward, and the left side of his face looks like a big chunk of it got torn off or burned off. More so, there appear to be more scars on Luke’s right arm.

In an even more surprise twist, you’ll notice there’s something missing from Luke’s arms: his miniature star tattoos.

So the big question is what happened to Luke between SF5 and SF6? If we look at the way he’s presented and the way shade covers his face, he looks rather sinister. Although we don’t know at this point what Capcom has planned for him, we can still surmise that, with his redesign, he could end up being a villain protagonist.

Did something change Luke from a well-intentioned young man who wanted to make his father proud to becoming a possible threat to Ryu and the world? It’s admittedly a bit of a leap to say this going off just the trailer, but I have theorized in the past that Luke has the potential to turn evil.

Before Luke was revealed, I had speculated that Dorai would be the last character to be revealed for SFV. While I was wrong about Dorai, my mistake was assuming that a completely new character wasn’t feasible at this stage in the game. As it turns out, the other parts of my methodology to figure out the last character may have been dead on. https://manestreetblog.com/2021/07/12/solve-for-q-predicting-the-final-character-of-street-fighter-v/

In that theory, there were two primary ideas based on the research I’d done. First, the final character would be connected to G and Q. Second, the final character would either be a villain or have the ability to become an antagonist, based on the roster of characters that were already there. I figured out that by dividing each of the character’s by season, they could be placed into two groups: Protagonists and Antagonists. The pattern ended up like this:

As you can see, the pattern placed the final character squarely in the Antagonists group. After Luke was revealed, I kept pushing the antagonist narrative, and things appeared to come to a head when Luke’s father, Robert, was shown. I’ve stated that Robert was a candidate to be Q. However, he wouldn’t be the only one. Since I’ve said many times that G has the power to turn anyone into a Q for his personal army, I theorized that Luke would end up as a Q as well, making the pattern accurate.

After seeing Luke’s redesign, I think this is exactly what happened to him. Luke did become a Q.
While his scars could be the result of him getting into a bunch of fights, most people in Street Fighter don’t normally carry the kinds of scars Luke does unless something very traumatic happened, like Sagat getting struck with the Shoryuken or Zangief getting clawed up by bears. In other words, Luke is carrying the kind of injuries that result from him being not just careless, but getting in serious trouble.

My guess is that Luke wore the Q mask, and it disfigured him pretty badly.

Moreso, while his tattoos could have simply been removed through surgical means, they were an established part of his character in V. He wouldn’t have simply removed them because they meant something to him. Since it also looks like his chest and shoulders were removed as well, which is why he’s wearing the shirt in the first place, all of this tells me they were removed by unnatural means. Guess who also has tattoos on their body?

Since I’ve previously stated that G is an energy vampire, there’s a chance he was able to absorb the tattoos into his own being while transforming Luke into Q. In other words, he took everything that made Luke, well, Luke.

However, if Luke was indeed transformed into a Q, then how was he able to get out of the mask and escape G’s clutches? Also, if Luke did regain his freedom, why would he still become a villain protagonist? This leaves us with something to ponder on as more information is released, but based on Luke’s mannerisms in the trailer, he actually reminds me of someone else who I’ve been talking about recently. Someone who enjoys the thrill of battle for their own reasons. Someone who could have corrupted Luke after freeing him from the Q mask. Someone whose smile Luke seems to share.

Luke reminds me of Juri.

This connection is, of course, speculation based on very little information to go on, and could prove to not be the case at all. However, if my previous theory of Juri starting her own faction holds true, it could be why Luke seems to be more demented than he is in 5. He could have joined Juri’s group, and she could have taught him her way of doing things. Why would Juri want him in her group in the first place, especially when she says to him in her SF5 win quote, “Another military dropout? Hah! You’re too soft!”

Believe it or not, this would revolve completely around Juri’s personal lusts. If Luke is allied with Juri, this would likely be a developer’s decision to reestablish Juri as bisexual. Considering that Juri has been hanging around women in the last few games she’s been in, and considering she makes lewd comments in her win quotes to both male and female characters, seeing Juri with a guy who isn’t Bison or pre-conversion Seth would be an interesting piece of character development for her. Juri would free Luke from his plight, and, in sheer gratitude, he would become Juri’s toy for as long as she wanted.

Of course, Luke is already seen as a nice-looking dude in the Street Fighter universe, if Poison’s win quote to him in 5 is any indication: “Such a cutie. How about we test your manliness back at my place?”

Juri would be putting Luke to the test.

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