Born to a privileged Catalonian family in Spain, unknown reasons caused them the loss of their wealth and his mother to remarry to secure their financial status. As part of a cultural tradition, Vega studied bullfighting, which he later combined with Ninjutsu (a fighting style he learned in japan- believing it to be well suited for him, given his natural grace and agility). Using this combination to form his own arranged form of Ninjutsu, Vega participated in an underground cage fighting circuit, quickly becoming one of the best. Later on, his mother was killed by his stepfather, him believing she was being disrespectful to him, he was killed by Vega in return. Driven into insanity by this incident, he developed a dual personality: honorable nobleman by day, sadistic murderer by night.
Impressed by his fighting abilities and remorseless nature, criminal leader M.Bison instated Vega as one of his three personal bodyguards in the Shadaloo organization. Vega oversaw different assassination related operations for Shadaloo and was also associated with Shadaloo's assassins - The Dolls. Despite his brutal fighting ability, Vega failed in protecting Bison's secret Psycho Drive project.
Vega's fate, since the fall of Shadaloo, is currently unknown. However, he does appear in Street Fighter IV.
Once to be modeled after a medieval knight, Capcom later decided to redesign him to fit the "World Fighters" theme.
Vega was the only Street Fighter II character to constantly carry a weapon, as compared to normal hand to hand fighting of other characters.
Unlike popular theory, Vega does not wear his mask to hide his identity (as shown by him removing it on several occasions). It is only used to protect his face from any kind of damage during a fight, as he believes himself to be incredibly beautiful. Him crushing it to dust during a loss through timeout in Street Fighter Alpha 3 and the fact it gets smashed in if he loses in Street Fighter II prove it to be not very sturdy.
Although his Street Fighter II sprite depicted him as having brown hair, his ending in Champions Edition described his hair as blonde, and some official art produced at the time likewise portrayed him as blonde. Later appearances also show him with blond hair, which was confirmed as his official color since Street Fighter Alpha 3. Recent gameplay footage of Street Fighter IV (which plays after the events of Street Fighter II) depict him as now having black hair.
In all of his appearances, Vega wears purple-yellow ceremonial trousers, a red sash, loafers, and white leggings to further suggest his involvement with bullfighting.
Vega has a purple snake tattoo on his chest, which also circles his arm. This was used to further show him as a villain to the Japanese audience, where body tattoos are usually worn by Yakuza members.
Being one of the fastest characters in the series, he's also one of the most delicate, with unusually low defense ratings compared to other characters. His speed and special techniques make him perfect for multi-hit attack combination, confusing mind games, or he can perform long range low damage attacks using his claw. Up to this point, he will lose his claw in every game (except for SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom) after blocking or taking too many hits, decreasing his range and power significantly and preventing him from performing several special moves. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo, every game gives him a way to regain his claw, be it through special moves or through picking it up.
Back Slash: Vega can perform both a long and a short back flip. Whilst performing these he is completely invulnerable to any kind of attack, until he is back on his feet.
Rolling Crystal Flash: Vega, after charging his energy in a tucked position, launches himself forward in a series of tumbles, damaging his opponent with his claw, ending with a crouching punch.
Flying Barcelona Attack: Vega leaps toward the wall and springs off it to attack his opponent. If the players presses punch alone whilst in midair, he will spread his arms out, to strike the opponent with his claw on the way down.
Izuna Drop: Vega leaps toward the wall and springs off it to attack his opponent. If the player presses forward in combination with a punch whilst near his opponent, Vega will lift him up and drop him on his back.
Sky High Claw: Vega leaps off the wall, and springs toward his opponent-claw first.
Scarlet Terror: A forward flip with offensive abilities, best used for anti-air. This move has armor-breaking ability in Street Fighter 4 and Super Street Fighter 4.
FLYING BARCELONA SPECIAL (Super): Vega leaps onto a Wall and springs toward his opponent, if the player manages to successfully execute an Izuna Drop, Vega will grab his opponent and smash him into the ground several times.
Bloody High Claw (Ultra 1): This Ultra can be used to punish projectiles and other whiffed attacks, but experienced players will see it coming. However, this Ultra has been improved in Super Street Fighter 4 in that it now hits the opponent as Vega flies up to the wall, just like the EX Flying Barcelona Attack. This puts the opponent in a juggle state that guarantees the Ultra's success.
Splendid Claw (Ultra 2): Vega's second Ultra will be the preferred Ultra in most match ups. Not only can it punish in a similar manner as Ultra 1, it also hits low. This Ultra can be used to as an anti-air or to punish an opponent's mistake from across the screen. This Ultra can be used after the Cosmic Heel if it is used on an opponent in the air.
Vega's alternate costume from Street Fighter 4
Vega's alternate costumes from Super Street Fighter 4
In Vega's original Japanese debut, he was named Balrog. The character known to American audiences today as Balrog (Boxer) was named M. Bison. To avoid legal confrontations with Mike Tyson (of whom Boxer was designed after), Capcom rotated the names of the Shadaloo bosses. To avoid confusion, professional players often refer to Vega as "Claw", Balrog as "Boxer" and M. Bison as "Dictator".