Q is a character from the Street Fighter series of fighting games. He first appeared in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future.
Not much is known about Q, except that he appears at different places around the world, and may be linked to various disasters. As seen in his ending, Juliana and David, members from the CIA, are searching for Q, believing him to be behind these disasters.
Q sports a hat and trench coat, along with black pants and dress shoes, stereotypical of spies and detectives. His head is engulfed in a metallic shell-like mask which surrounds his entire head. The mask has yellow eyes of varying brightness. Q's neck is the only portion of his body that is visibly made of flesh and skin, as well as his legs during certain animations.
The design for Q draws a clear influence from characters such as Shotaro Ishinomori's Robotto Keiji K (Robot Detective K) and Iron Mask from Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Babel II manga, although it is unclear if Q himself is a robot. The trench-coat, fedora and gloves are similar articles that H.G. Wells' "Invisible Man" wears.
No one knows his real name, if he's human or not, or even if he's male. A notable characteristic in regards to this is that when Q is shocked in-game, instead of showing the skull and skeleton of the character, he shows his muscular system and an indistinct head.
A fact that may support his being a mechanical being is his loss animation for when he is beaten by chip damage (shown below); he begins to twitch, and slowly struggle to grab the opponent, but ultimately "shuts down," with his arms still stretched out, face looking down, but still standing. Also, when performing the grab version of his Total Destruction Super Art, a female computerized voice, completely distinct from his own, can be heard saying "danger". In addition, his being sighted around the world by the CIA possibly implicates that Q is just one of many.
However, there is some evidence that he may simply be a man in a mask. One official artwork depicts Q having a small visible tuft of blond hair at the bottom of the of the back of his "mask", at the nape of his neck. Despite many of his simple, robotic movements, he still shows some signs of being human. After parrying a move, he will brush off his trench-coat. Unless "programmed" to do so for whatever reason, he has some sort of human thought, and has some sort of care for his appearance, tidying up his suit after it is dirtied.
Q only grunts when being hit in combat and only speaks one line after defeating his opponent, and it is completely unintelligible mumbling. His victory phrases are ellipses ("......"), "No," "Why?", and "I am ... abomination." All of his victory phrases that are actual words are in parenthesis, which may mean that he is not actually saying, but thinking them. He is also one of only two characters in 3rd Strike lacking any mid-boss or final boss conversation dialogue (the other being Akuma).
Q's identity is often debated by Street Fighter fans, with people speculating him to be anything from a computer controlled cyborg to a 'fallen' Street Fighter II character like M. Bison or, taking his height into account, Sagat, although he doesn't fit the physical frame of either.
One of the more recent theories regarding Q's background revolves around him being what's left of Chun-Li's father. His detective garment supports this theory to a certain extent - like Chun-Li, her father was an Interpol investigator as well. Coincidentally, he makes his debut at the same time that Chun Li returns to the series (Third Strike). There is also another theory that he is a man controlled by Shadaloo or the Illuminati using the iron mask he wears.
Of note is that in 3rd Strike, Q is the only character that does not have his own stage. However, starting a two-player game with both players selecting Q will take you directly to Dudley's stage (London), while his own theme plays in the background.
Q's alignment is also unknown. Q has been sighted in crime scene photographs of unsolved murders all over the world. His appearance in them may make him the murderer, or perhaps he could be investigating it, as hinted by his stereotypical detective attire. It is unknown who any of the murder victims are, or whether any of them were good or bad people, further adding mystery to Q's purpose. Outside of battle, Q's actions also vary, from an official image of Q, showing Q's hat and trenchcoat being taken by a man, while a woman at least attempts to interview him, hinting that Q may not kill in cold blood, if he kills at all, to him chasing a family of four and their cat in his intro animation.
Q also shows both acts of self-restraint and cruelty in-game. When he defeats his opponent, he will either simply look over them (and, if you look closely, shed a tear) and walk away, or he will start crushing their face underneath his shoe. He can choose to spare or further hurt any of the other characters, whether they be good or evil. Q only shows up in Arcade Mode after the player has won the first eight matches without losing a round, hinting that Q may be after the world's most dangerous or powerful fighters, also similar to Akuma.
Q's techniques are those of a brute force brawler, though one appearing physically contained, as opposed to a refined martial artist. Most of his move names are descriptions of his actions rather than proper nouns referring to a move name. Q's most signature special moves include his Dashing Head Attack, a fast and useful attack that can easily be cancelled into Super Arts, his Dashing Leg Attack, and and the Capture & Deadly Blow, a command grab which sends the opponent into the air for a juggle.
His Super Arts include the Critical Combo Attack series of quick punches while he moves forward, as well as a move that punches the enemy in the stomach, then an overhead blow with both arms at once upon their head. He also has a move referred to as Total Destruction. When activated, Q can choose to either punch or grab his opponent, depending on the situation, which emits a small explosion.
Q is noted as a defensive character due to his large stamina and low speed. His stamina (health) can be "increased" by taunting, up to a maximum of over twice the stamina of Akuma. With three taunts, Q has by far the highest stamina of any character in 3rd Strike. However, because of his slow speed and the lack of high priority moves, he is considered to be a low-tier character in competitive play.
While Q can be chosen as a playable character, he is also a "hidden" computer-controlled sub-boss in Arcade Mode that can only be battled after meeting specific requirements.
- Design-wise, Q may be an homage to the superheroes The Question, and Mr. A, due to Q's extremely similar appearance, and the name 'Q' (question, 'A' for answer). He can also be compared to V, the main character of V for Vendetta, who is also a mysterious masked man with a one-letter alias. He also resembles Rorschach (who was inspired by The Question and Mr. A) from Watchmen.
- It is rumored that Q can be seen in Ken's stage background in the original Street Fighter II series. However, "he" was removed from the redrawn and redesigned stage in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
- The names of the two CIA agents, Juliana and David (who are searching for Q) are most likely references to David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, the main characters of the X Files series.
- Interestingly enough, Q's remixed theme in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition sounds very similiar to the theme of the X-Files series.
- One of the people who flee from Q in one of his introductions bares a resemblance to Yun (see below).