Street Fighter 6 is launching Akuma by having thousands of Twitch viewers control him simultaneously, which I'm sure will go well

 Akuma's key art for Street Fighter 6 in which he looks very cross.
Akuma's key art for Street Fighter 6 in which he looks very cross.

Capcom's Street Fighter 6 is coming to the end of its first year, and the publisher's planning a big blowout to go alongside the addition of fan-favourite Akuma and a host of balance changes. The showpiece is going to be chaos. Taking inspiration from the phenomenon that began in 2014 with Twitch Plays Pokémon, the CapcomUSA channel will from today at 4pm PT begin broadcasting Twitch Plays Akuma.

Those who followed Twitch Plays Pokémon will remember that part of the fun was watching a disparate group of thousands try to do something as simple as walk around a corner, nevermind choose the right options in battle. And Pokémon Red, the game used in this case, is turn-based.

So Capcom's doing this with a live action fighting game, giving viewers a bunch of commands that can be used in Twitch chat to control Akuma, and then letting the chips fall where they may. I'm going to guess that we will see Akuma take an awful lot of beatings here, unless there's some miraculous act of coordination among the Twitch community and they start pulling off the raging demon at will.

In the case of Twitch Plays Pokémon, it took 1.16 million viewers over 16 days to finish the game: and even that was only after they'd slightly tweaked the rules towards what was called "democracy mode", favouring majority votes, to push back against the sheer anarchy when dealing with particularly complex sections of the game.

Twitch plays Akuma will understandably use Street Fighter 6's dynamic control scheme, a mix of the classic and modern control styles, but there won't be any room for democratic decision making in a split-second fighter. It's hard to see how this will result in anything but a good laugh, even if the internet always has the capacity to surprise you. Capcom claims every command in chat will be registered and executed in realtime: what that's actually going to look like is anyone's guess.

Akuma will launch in the game proper alongside this livestream, and Capcom's been playing it coy about what distinguishes this iteration of the character. Akuma is something of a final boss for the Street Fighter series and the most straightforwardly powerful of the Shoto-type characters: all aggression, all the time, and insane damage potential. We'll find out soon enough whether this remains the case.