were talking about the era when you could actually draw from SNK and Sega, and
all these companies were still actually making fighting games. Now that there
are very few companies making fighting games, has it been more difficult to
compare yourselves,? Do you feel like there's not quite the competitive development
community there that used to be there?
YO: It's definitely a different landscape
now than it was in the '90s and '80s. It's kind of a bit lonely making a
fighting game now, because not a lot of people are doing it.
But I think the
responsibility for that rests with us and all the people who were making
fighting games back then, because what happened was that gradually, the games became
more and more focused on the hardcore audience, and we really shut the casual
If you think about chess for instance, a kid and a grandfather can play the same game, with the same ruleset, and understand what's going on. I think through our competitive spirit back then we were always out to out-complicate each other, and make our systems deeper and deeper. It was ok then because there was a wide player base who understood how to play these games, but that's not true anymore.
What we're trying to do with Street Fighter IV is bring them back in.
There's not a whole lot of other fighting games out there to compare it to, but
hopefully, if we play our cards right and get people back in to the genre, we
can blossom the genre itself again and spread things out and get it back to the
way it was.
think that chess is a really good analogy for the fighting game genre, because
all sorts of moves balance other moves, and it can be very methodical. How much
tuning do you do with the new characters, and balancing the new moves against
the old moves and that sort of thing?
YO: We spent a lot of time on this. The balancing process for the new
characters really was something that went over the course of an entire year,
adding special moves, taking special moves away, adjusting strengths and
The chess analogy is very good, because if
you look at Resident Evil and the
other games we put out, they have a lot more in common with movies. They're big
entertainment spectacles, whereas a fighting game is more like a chess game, or
We're giving users the tool they need to have fun together, but it's
less of the entertainment spectacle thing. Balance is absolutely very
important, so we took a whole year to get the characters where they are now.
of tuning, the graphics were altered slightly from location test to location
test. What did you base the changes on -- fan reactions?
YO: Absolutely. The visual changes you see
throughout the location test versions to the final version, a lot of that is
basically based on user opinions and feedback from them. Not just in the
gameplay balance itself, but also visually.
Once again, we're not giving them the
entertainment spectacle of an ordinary game, but more of a toolset. If you give
someone a board game or something and one of the pieces is ugly, they're not going to want to
move that piece.
So it's really important to listen to the users' opinions,
because it's going to be a tool that they're going to use freely to play the
way that they want. We have to make sure that the visuals we give them are
in line with their expectations, so we did listen to what they had to say about
Rufus in Capcom's Street Fighter IV
[New fighter] Rufus
is a very odd character, because he plays completely counter to his visual.
He's very fast, but he's got a big rippling stomach and stuff. What was the
sensibility behind the visual design of that character?
YO: That disconnect you feel between those
visuals and the way he moves was a very deliberate part of his design. It was
the basis of his design. There's been a lot of fat characters in fighting
games, but until now, they always move slowly, have individual punches and
kicks that are very powerful, and they don't move quickly.
So basically, the idea behind Rufus was to
take a character that looks visually familiar, but plays in a very different
way than you would expect. It has a bit of a Street Fighter essence in it, too.
If you look at all of the
characters until now, they all do crazy, unexpected things. They stretch their
limbs or they use electricity, and that sort of thing. So we think that Rufus
really fits in to the Street Fighter
aesthetic pretty well, in that sense.
reminds me of the days when fighting games would base characters on popular
martial artists or things like that. So the inspiration might be Sammo Hung or someone