Is this an easy way to say that everything is canon?
Capcom turned everyone’s heads when Rose released in Street Fighter 5 by seemingly setting up some sort of time travel plot for the future of the series, but then they went and did something that spun them around again.
Over the past week, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what the hell Capcom meant when they said Rose is already part of a time loop.
In Rose’s character introduction video for SF5, the developers revealed a detail that only they knew in regards to the fighter, which came as quite the surprise to anyone who’s been following the lore of the series for any amount of time.
“Rose’s character design is actually related to the Alpha series story. She is part of a time loop where she has gone back in time to thwart the ambitions of M. Bison.”
That statement implies that time travel already existed in the Street Fighter universe prior to whatever they’re gearing up for now, but the revelation raises way more questions than it answers.
None of the lore that I’ve been able to find thus far suggests any time travel shenanigans are going on in Alpha’s story aside from maybe one which we’ll cover in a bit.
The phrase ‘time loop’ also suggests Rose has attempted to go back and stop Bison multiple times and failed before his eventual destruction in Street Fighter 5.
One potential explanation is that reveal is just further setup for what’s coming in the next game, but it seems like such an odd bomb to drop on fans that likely won’t have any real pay off for months if not years.
Prior to SF5, Capcom played fast and loose with the plot and events of the previous games, which made it difficult to determine what actually took place without the need for extra supplemental material or waiting until the next release to see what was carried over.
Now, however, the team has shifted to a more singular, linear-style approach to the story between the cinematic adventure and individual character tales linking together in one way or another.
If Capcom really wants to tie everything back together, they could reveal that all of the arcade endings from the past games actually did occur in different timelines, but they failed to lead to Bison’s permanent defeat — so Rose would restart the events again and try for a better outcome.
Since there’s pretty much zero chance the developers thought this far ahead, a change like that would be a retcon to the cherished older games, but some other series including Drakengard / NieR have played around with the whole everything is technically canon idea to great effect.
Rose’s time travel would be a clever way to explain why Alpha’s original story was completely replaced by that of Alpha 2 in the official timeline of events.
She thought Bison to be dead after their first encounter, but then we get left with a cliffhanger ending of Psycho Power emerging from the villain’s body once again.
In Alpha 2 Rose defeats Bison before her tarot card reading reveals he will return once again. So, of course they continue their fight in Alpha 3 and Street Fighter 4.
This would also apply to the contradictory events that happen throughout the games, especially someone like Charlie Nash who gets killed in three different ways in each of the Alpha titles while also somehow rescuing Abel from Shadaloo and getting him to safety.
Time travel in general introduces so many potential problems in fictional writing, so either way Rose going through time loops could create more headaches than it fixes. This also includes questions like how many loops have happened already and when did Rose originally go back the first time.
Making everything canon may not even be important in the end anyhow, considering the doomsday plot from Rose’s SF5 story has a strong chance of just resetting the entire universe as a whole to start fresh, similarly to Mortal Kombat 9.
No matter what Capcom decides to go with here, we’ll likely be waiting quite a while to see their plans for time travel unless it’s included in Oro, Akira or the mystery fifth DLC character’s stories, who may be kept a secret because of their potential ties to the plot going forward.
My fear is, however, that this juicy bit of information will simply be relegated to like one scene in the next game where Rose gets a flashback of various battles and endings to show just how many times she failed in her prior attempts at saving the future from fate.