Street Fighter Wiki

Ken's stage in Super Street Fighter II.

A Stage is the main fighting area where battles are fought in the Street Fighter series. Every character in their respective stage has their own unique stage as well as a theme to accommodate it. The character's stage is based on their country; for example, Chun-Li's stage in Street Fighter II is on a Chinese street, with cyclists and markets, and her Street Fighter Alpha stage is on the Wall of China. Stages typically have two invisible walls at the left and right side to keep fighting centered in the area.

Stages do not affect gameplay at all; they are merely for show. However, near the end of a fight, stages tend to become more active to cheer on the fight. Some stages have the background features come alive in a cartoonish and humorous way; for example, E. Honda's Street Fighter II stage has the painting of the man in the background move, showing a ticket, and the sun painting flashing. Most others have the background crowd's animation sped up repeatedly. Some games feature other elements such as extra humiliation for the loser, a transition of scenery, and can also feature unique aesthetics for the character the stage was based on, an example would be the Glade of Ninjas in New Generation where if Ibuki (who the stage is designed for) herself is a combatant and loses a round the background ninjas come out of the background to check on her.

The Street Fighter Alpha series had unique innovations in stage design. In Charlie's Street Fighter Alpha stage, the crowd throws money onto the stage itself when a fight ends. In Dhalsim's Street Fighter Alpha 2 stage, his wife can be seen in the background when he is fighting, either cheering him on or turning her face away when he is injured, and cries when he is defeated.

Most stages in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, such as Kousyu Street, were shared between two characters but were depicted at different times of day depending on the opponent. In Street Fighter III: New Generation, stage transitions were available that would vary from stage to stage from the time of day on some to even changing the entire scenery. These would usually occur when an actual KO is achieved as opposed to a time out win. Street Fighter × Tekken uses a similar stage transition system used in New Generation for some of it's stages.

Since Street Fighter IV, stages are no longer associated to particular characters (with the exception of Crumbling Laboratory for Seth at the final battle); while some do have thematic elements linking them to certain characters (such as Small Airfield, a secret airstrip owned by Shadaloo), characters can be fought randomly in any stage. The only exceptions, aside from the final stage, are Rival Battles, which always take place at a determined stage, but even then the opposing character can appear in different stages when playing with another fighter. Some fighters such as M. Bison and Hugo can be background characters in some stages if they are not in battle.

In Street Fighter V, stages are usually combined with their association to characters. Forgotten Waterfall for example is associated with Necalli and Nash. Many of the original stages for the game were updated to feature stage ko's where if the defeated character (Abigail being the only exception) is near the corner they will be subject to a cutscene. This doesn't affect the next round though some funny aesthetics are sometimes added such as the left stage KO in City in Chaos for example leaves the losing fighter with a giant hot dog in their head, they will have it next round but if they get hit once they lose it. If the fighter wins the next round and it is the game winning round they would do their win pose while wearing said hot dog on their hat.

For a list of stages, see here.