Street Fighter 6 – How Kimberly and Manon’s Designs were Inspired by their Cultures
The development team found inspiration from various countries and used their findings to fully realize the multicultural roster.
True to Street Fighter’s “World Warriors” idiom, the Street Fighter 6 roster is made up of characters from all corners of the earth. The development team found inspiration from various countries and used their findings to fully realize the multicultural roster. Game Director Takayuki Nakayama gave more details on Kimberly and Manon’s character designs to express his commitment to this goal.
Kimberly is the 39th successor to Bushinryu and protégé of Guy, another ninja from the Street Fighter series, who has become quite popular with fans. Her original design reflects the duality of her training and upbringing.
“Kimberly’s silhouette represents her training from Guy since she needs to be able to perform Bushinryu moves with a track and field flair. Hence why her clothing has more volume on the upper half of her body and she’s wearing tighter athletic pants on her legs. Kimberly is an exceptional student and lives with her uncle. She was able to skip grades and enter university at a young age. Besides studying, she takes part in cheerleading and track and field, both popular American sports.”
Speaking more about her background, Nakayama-san brings up one of Kimberly’s iconic possessions:
“Her cassette player belonged to her uncle and the music that plays on it is 80s pop, which was what her uncle listened to.”
Getting into the nitty-gritty of Kimberly’s design, Nakayama-san speaks on how the bubbly ninja embraces her cultures:
“Kimberly’s scarf’s pattern is inspired by traditional African prints. Because she’s also a ninja, she wraps the scarf around the lower part of her face when practicing Bushinryu, but also when she’s doing graffiti so she doesn’t inhale the fumes. Her scarf represents a fusion of her western upbringing and her eastern training as a ninja.”
Another character that is strongly tied to their cultural background is Manon, who strives to become the world’s strongest supermodel. Hailing from France, Manon combines her classical ballet training with judo, a Japanese martial art with an emphasis on throws and pins. Manon is another fusion of western and eastern cultures, signifying unity.
According to Nakayama-san, the biggest influence when it came to Manon’s design was the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Paris, France. The Summer Olympics is a time where the entire world can come together in an international ceremony celebrating what makes us unique, but also what makes us similar in so many ways.
“France is a strong country when it comes to judo and it’s a very popular sport there. We wanted to create Manon to prepare for such an important event like the Olympics. That’s why her move set involves earning medals upon successful throws.”
Fun fact: French judo athletes have earned a significant amount of gold medals in the Summer Olympics compared with other sports they participate in.
Going further in Manon’s lore, Nakayama-san says he wanted to highlight another important part of France’s culture: family.
“In France, they value family no matter if they are blood related. In Manon’s story, she has two stepbrothers who she is really close to and we wanted to convey this in her story. If you play Arcade Mode, you can learn more about Manon’s background and the love she has for all her relatives regardless of their connection to her.”
Since the French value sophistication, Manon comes from a high-class and elite background. Her rival Marisa has more of a blue-collar background who values hard work. They eventually fight each other and Manon wins. Nakayama-san comments on their rivalry and how they both evolve as characters in Street Fighter 6.
“After their fight, Marisa remains positive even though she lost and vows to work harder. Manon admires this aspect of Marisa because her entire life, she needed to be the best.”
Nakayama-san ends the discussion by reiterating how important “each character’s culture and origin stories are when deciding on the final roster.” He also calls out Jamie, who was designed to be an homage to action movie stars from Hong Kong.
With all this said, each character in the Street Fighter 6 roster oozes style and substance. Each part of their wardrobe has a rhyme and reason to it. See if you can spot the inspiration behind your favorite character in Street Fighter 6!