So today, on the occasion of Cammy’s birthday, I’d like to talk about Cammy’s character arcs in Street Fighter, and why she’s probably the most well-written character in the series.
First, a quick overview of exactly what’s a character arc, for those unfamiliar with the term.
It is generally agreed that, in order to write a story properly, your main character should have an arc, which is a transformation or inner journey over the course of a story. Broadly speaking, there are three types of character arcs.
Positive arc: the main character has a central problem. This is usually a lie or damaging belief that she has about herself or the world. By overcoming this lie, the character grows, and changes for the better.
Negative arc: the main character has a central problem or false belief. However, instead of overcoming this problem, she will make bad decisions because of it, and end up destroying herself and others around her.
Flat arc: the main character does not have a central problem or false belief. Instead, she will, through her actions and convictions, help others around her overcome their own central problems and change for the better.
Let’s see how this applies to Cammy’s storyline in SF.
SF Alpha 3: In this story, Cammy has a positive arc. Cammy’s central problem is that she’s not free. She’s essentially a slave to M. Bison. Bison sends her to kill Dhalsim, but when the opportunity to do so presents itself, she refuses, struggling against Bison’s mind control. Dhalsim uses his mystical Yoga powers to help remove her mind control completely. She is now free to make her own decisions. At this point, she could simply choose to run away. Instead, she chooses to help her sisters, who are slaves as she once was, break free. Cammy, now able to freely make her own choices, decides to help others instead of acting in a selfish fashion. She has overcome her central problem and become a better person. In a very heroic act, she decides to help her sisters escape Bison’s base before it explodes by staying behind and operating the teleporting device herself, at the cost of her own life (although she is ultimately saved from this fate by Vega). This is the moment that cemented her as my favorite character, and in my opinion the most heroic out of all the SF cast.
SSF 2: Here Cammy again has a positive arc. Her central problem in this story is that she has lost her memory, and she believes that by finding out about her past, she can find meaning in her life. She seeks out M. Bison, thinking that he may reveal her past to her. However, this belief turns out to be false as Bison reveals that she, in fact, has no past. She is a clone, created as part of a Shadaloo experiment. However, instead of falling to despair, Cammy realizes that her life does have meaning, as she has a family in her delta red team. She belongs somewhere, and can live for the future instead of looking to the past for meaning. Once again, she changes for the better.
SF IV and V: Cammy has a flat character arc that extends through these two games. She no longer has a central problem or false belief about herself. Instead, she seeks to help her sisters become free persons as she is now. In SF IV, she rescues Juni, and through Cammy’s actions she goes from being a brainwashed assassin to a sweet girl who loves cats, changing her life for the better. In SF V, she confronts Decapre, who is Bison’s slave and also believes Cammy to be her enemy. Cammy confronts Decapre and helps her overcome both of these central problems, and when she is in danger (ironically being attacked by Vega, who saved her life in her Alpha 3 ending), Decapre comes to help her. Decapre now has also changed and become a better person, due to Cammy’s actions.
So as we can see, Cammy has grown as a character herself, and also helped other characters become better persons through the SF series. Other characters from the series, including main characters like Ryu, don’t seem to actually have character arcs, and have remained more or less the same throughout the games. This is the reason why I believe she is written much better.
Well, this is just my opinion, and I wanted to share it, as I have been reading about creative writing and character arcs, and wondered how this would apply to Cammy’s story. I hope you have found this interesting.
Thank you for your attention, and I hope you all had a happy holiday season.