Though it has hit arcades in Asia
and elsewhere to plenty of acclaim, there was a time when the idea of Street Fighter IV seemed an incredibly
Capcom had long neglected the series, which had its last
arcade installment (Street Fighter III:
Third Strike) in 1999. In characteristic Capcom fashion, spinoffs and
remakes followed, but the true and pure Street
Fighter series was all but dormant.
Fighter III, in all of its forms, is an excellent
game. It is also an incredibly difficult game to truly understand and play
well, and in this sense it presaged the dormancy of the fighting game genre.
Capcom's last original, internally-developed game in the fighting genre, 2004's
Capcom Fighting Evolution, was weak
Ironically, the man responsible for that
game -- general manager of the online game development department and R&D management group of Capcom -- is also one who was deeply involved with Street Fighter III.
But he is also the producer of Street Fighter IV, a game which will likely bring the series as
close to its early-'90s heyday as it can realistically get, and is due to hit Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC following its arcade run.
Here, Ono discusses the mental shift
required to go from one of the most complicated and difficult games in the
series to one which is welcoming and appealing to the legions of fans who
potentially have not touched a Street
Fighter game in 15 years.
In addition, he examines how bringing complicated play mechanics into an
accessible game makes it a more compelling experience for all audiences, and
how revamping the game based on user feedback is essential to developing its
look and feel.
do you think that Street Fighter III
was so ahead of its time? It feels like it's starting to really get appreciated
in the last two or three years.
YO: Definitely at the time we didn't think it was ahead of its time. I think at the time, it
was the right game to come out, from our perspective. The way that fighting games were at the time,
their popularity, and the need for something more technical and complex... we felt
that it suited the air at the time.
The reason it seems to be ahead of its time
and the reason why it's gaining more popularity now is probably because it's
taken people that long to get really good at it, and they appreciate the depth
that the game has to offer.
think that the reason I would consider it ahead of its time is that it seems when it was released, there was only a very small group of people that could actually play
it effectively, because it was more technical and hardcore, so it appeals to
the top of the proverbial pyramid.
Capcom's Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
played a little Street Fighter IV, and
it's hard for me to compare it to another game, actually. I would almost say
that the closest might be Real Bout Fatal
Fury 2, because you can do the fake out moves, and it goes a bit 2.5D at
times. Is there a game that you would compare it to? It doesn't play like Street Fighter II or III. It plays like its own kind of
YO: I think the closest game I can compare
it to, would be Super
Street Fighter II Turbo. That being said, it is a slower game. It's been tuned
to play more slowly. But it's probably the closest to that...I think the essence is closest to that.
I think there is definitely an influence
from pretty much every fighting game that came out in the '90s, and all of the
SNK games, the Virtua Fighter series,
and all that. There was a time when everyone was making fighting games, Capcom, SNK, Sega...
Basically what you're seeing is a result of the influence of the best parts of those games from back then, so it's not your imagination if it feels a bit like
Fatal Fury here and there, or even some other game. We were very strongly influenced by the history of the fighting game heyday.