Street Fighter IV Capcom Interview

We turn to the man behind Street Fighter IV, Capcom's Yoshinori Ono, to articulate why the series packs a punch after 20 years - and why its latest episode will own you.

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Kikizo: One of the first things I noticed about Street Fighter IV is that, when characters execute their Ultra attacks well, games like Street Fighter Alpha, there was just a very brief pause before the super moves would execute, but now there's a pretty detailed and lengthy animation before the move executes.

Ono: Ah, yes. It's there for two big reasons: first, to give the player who pulls it off a sense of accomplishment, and secondly, to inflame a sense of utter tragedy in the poor guy on the receiving end as he's getting hit. I think it's a natural evolution of what started in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Remember when you would knock someone out with a Super Combo, you'd get a special display? That was really the first time we did that with SF, and we found people reacted the same way: It makes the person who pulled it off feel really good, and it makes the guy who's getting hit realize that he fails at life. [laughs] SFIV just takes that one step further. The mini-cinematic just kind of amps up the adrenaline of the scene, and preserves some of the "craziness" of Street Fighter than fans have come to appreciate.

Kikizo: I really enjoy the new characters. How did you go about creating their designs?

Ono: Well, I think of the lineup of any SF game as sort of a big jigsaw puzzle. We start with a blank slate, but with every new installment, new characters come in to fill in a space that was previously left open, occupying their own little niche. For SFIV, we have the original twelve from SF2CE, but from that puzzle there's a few pieces missing. We looked to see what we could add to fill in those gaps.

The first one we designed as kind of an experiment was Crimson Viper. The sort of idea and theme behind her is that we wanted to appeal to a Western audience. We thought the SF characters might tend to lean a bit more towards the Japanese character design sensibility, so we wanted to create a character a bit more catered to Western tastes. That's how Crimson Viper came about. Then we turned our attention back to Japanese-styled characters - wacky, unusual designs like Rufus and El Fuerte. From there, since we already had our "comical" character niche filled, we opted to create another "serious" character in the same vein as Crimson Viper, and who gameplay-wise, was open to anybody to have fun playing as him. That's how Abel came about.

Kikizo: Speaking of the character selection, you've got the original twelve in there, but the cast from Super Street Fighter is conspicuously missing. Is there a reason behind this?

Ono: The thing is, a lot of people who enjoyed playing Street Fighter from way back are only really familiar with the characters from SF2 and SF2CE. If we look at the general SF2 timeline, people spent the most time in arcades and with their home consoles playing those two versions. But with Super and Super Turbo... the characters we added in those games really have only existed for a short span of time. We decided that we can leave those characters out for the time being, and instead, work and creating four new characters.

Kikizo: I think a lot of people are going to miss Cammy. She's got some rather... extreme, even scary fans.

Ono: People really do seem to like Cammy! It's a bit too late to get her in the arcade version, though. But if there's a chance of a newer version being made, like... oh, I don't know, a home version... [laughs] we would like to explore the possibility of doing something with Cammy. [Since this interview, Cammy has been announced for inclusion in the console versions].

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