Just a few months shy of its 35th anniversary, the Street Fighter series is back with its latest installment — and a theme song to accompany it. Rocco808 and Randy Marx’s “Not on the Sidelines” was produced by GRP to evoke the themes and retro vibe of the 1987 fighting game franchise. Directed by Ross Harris, the video features both rappers as well as two special guests: quadriplegic graffiti artist Benny Diar and dancer Sumi Oshima.
Developed by Capcom, the Street Fighter series is considered a seminal franchise not just in the fighting game genre, but gaming history itself. Although the first entry of the series launched in the late Eighties, it was the second installment — Street Fighter II — that most casual gamers remember. Hitting arcades in February of 1991, it kickstarted a fighting game revolution with multiple revisions and countless ports over the next three decades. It inspired a generation of both gamers and developers, becoming a touchstone almost instantly.
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Part of the game’s appeal has always been its diverse roster of fighters, which featured brawlers from across the globe, each representing their nation with unique fighting styles and designs evocative of their culture — even if some of the oldest designs haven’t exactly aged well. Alongside an ever-evolving cultural sensitivity toward racial stereotypes, the Street Fighter series has remained dedicated to inclusivity. That theme is reflected in the new music video, which centers around the theme of how individuals all “fight their own battles.”
As for why Capcom selected hip-hop for their new game’s theme song, Street Fighter 6 producer Shuhei Matsumoto said, “Whether it’s the intro of Street Fighter, the characters quoted by famous rappers, or the art you see on the streets, we’re aware that Street Fighter is a perfect match for street and hip-hop culture. And with Street Fighter 6, we pushed it to the forefront, and you can feel that flavor throughout the in-game sounds as well.”
Since 2016’s barebones release of Street Fighter V, the series has fallen somewhat out of favor with many gamers. But with new eSports-centric features, an overwhelmingly positive social media response to the recent leak of the game’s alleged character roster, and even a “Fighting Ground” mode that brings commentary from the fighting game community’s Jeremy “Vicious Lopez” and Aru, things are looking up for the iconic franchise.
Street Fighter 6 is slated for release in 2023 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Matsumoto also confirmed to Rolling Stone that “Not on the Sidelines” will be heard in-game.
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