Street Fighter 6 and Honkai Star Rail Started 2023’s Best Gaming Trend

Message received.

Juri Han Street Fighter 6 on phone

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Juri Han in Street Fighter 6. Not playing as her and trying to learn combos. Not even fighting against her. Rather, I can’t stop texting her.

This goes for the entire cast of Street Fighter 6, thanks to the game’s RPG-lite World Tour mode. In addition to letting you build your own fighter the new mode gives you a chance to exchange messages (not just blows) with the iconic cast of combatants and it makes the world that much more enjoyable to be in.

Honkai Star Rail, the latest game from Genshin Impact developer miHoYo, also charmed me upon release at the end of April this year in no small part because of a similar messaging mechanic to Street Fighter 6. It just goes to show that the hottest trend in gaming of 2023 isn’t engineering in Tears of the Kingdom, but texting your buds.

One of these days I will impress Juri.


I love texting my friends. Maybe too much if you ask them. I do it constantly. I send emojis, gifs, and TikToks, as well as being a repeat offender of double (or triple and even quadruple) texting. I just have a lot to say and I think my friends' lives will be better if they hear me out. They should feel lucky. So, I am always a fan of games that give me the chance to do the same.

In 2022, one of my favorite aspects of the narrative rhythm game We Are OFK was the constant messages I could send with the game’s cast. But it is often a mechanic relegated to visual novels or dating-sim-related games. Because messaging is about having a relationship with the person on the other end of the phone.

For Street Fighter 6 the inclusion of the messaging system adds a level of humor to the game, but that humor disguises real character work going on. Each fighter in Street Fighter 6 that you text with has their own unique style of texting. Cammy is to the point and desperately needs you to respond promptly, Juri likes to play with you and expects you to be her source of entertainment, and Ryu cannot for the life of him figure out how to not text like a boomer. He tends to sign his texts.

The style of texting that each fighter uses is just as distinct as their character design or their unique movements in combat. There is a cohesive vision of the character that the texting adheres to, even if it seems like a silly addition just for laughs. It is also that though, the texting is genuinely hilarious and a joy to read. I never want E. Honda to stop sending me stickers of himself.

Wow, the Astral Express crew is so... helpful.


Honkai Star Rail similarly uses a messaging system to the benefit of its large roster of characters. The main narrative introduces all of them, but only a handful get their moment in the spotlight alongside the Trailblazer. So messaging becomes a way to give them all a more defined personality in a simple menu that also occasionally unlocks side quests.

An additional element of messaging in Honkai Star Rail is group messages between the entire Astral Express crew. These are some of the best pieces of dialogue in the game because they make good on the promise of the game that these characters are not only coworkers but friends and spend all of their time together. It is great to see them all interact, especially with the newcomer Trailblazer. Everyone responding to my question about what an item is with a string of messages just saying “relics” standouts out as one of these wonderful moments.

Both Street Fighter 6 and Honkai Star Rail’s implementation of messaging system show that these smaller moments of humor have the potential to make a game’s cast feel that much more reel and encourage players to spend more time in them, because it’s just so nice to keep texting with the likes of March 7th or Juri Han. Also, it keeps me from bothering my actual friends too much. So, bring on more in-game texting!

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