Super Street Fighter 4 Producer Yoshinori Ono Interview on Hakan, Arcades, and More

By Brian Leahy, Mar 16, 2010 5:30pm PDT Yesterday, I posted an interview with Capcom's Seth Killian for Super Street Fighter IV. At that same event, I spoke with producer Yoshinori Ono, splitting my interview time with Kotaku's Brian Crecente.

We spoke about the newly-revealed Turkish oil wrestler Hakan, the chances for an arcade version, and what Ono would like to work on next (spoiler: Darkstalkers).

Shack: What was the inspriration for Hakan?

Yoshinori Ono: So basically with the original game, Street Fighter IV, we wanted to get a very, Street Fighter-ish, off-the-beaten-path, wacky character. We came close with Rufus, but wanted something a little crazier and wackier [in Super Street Fighter IV].

We started looking into different unusual fighting styles and we settled upon Turkish oil wrestling, which has never been done before. It's unfamiliar to people so we could add a taste of humor.

Kotaku's Brian Crecente: Do you think the next Street Fighter game will be a Street Fighter IV game or do you want to go down a different avenue?

Yoshinori Ono: First of all, I would like to take a break for a little while. After that, I think the atmosphere around Capcom is such that it might time to take a chill pill on the upgrades for a little bit and try something else. We'll see what else we can do with the series. If we just start doing tons of upgrades I'm going to die from lack of vacation so I hope Capcom doesn't go that direction.

Shack: Are there any characters, new or from franchise history, that you wanted to add to Super or the original that just didn't fit?

Yoshinori Ono: Even back in the original Street Fighter IV, I really wanted Rainbow Mika. I tried to start a whisper campaign. Talk to some journalists about her to show the development team, 'Hey look, people are talking about Rainbow Mika'. It didn't work.

Shack: Since there's no planned arcade version for Super Street Fighter IV, do you think the future of SFIV is geared toward American and European audiences beacuse they are more console-based players? Do you hope to convert Japanese players into console players?

Yoshinori Ono: To address your first part, like you say, the market has shifted. Obviously the West has been the center to a lot of activity. Certainly there are more people so there are more players. The world champion of Street Fighter is still [Japanese player] Daigo Umehara. Right under him you have [American] Justin Wong and other really powerful players.

For me personally, Street Fighter is an arcade game. It always has been. I'd love to do an arcade version, but the company is focusing more on console games right now, so [an arcade version of Super] didn't really pan out. That said, if there are people out there that want to see an arcade version, by all means, be vocal about it and let us know.

Shack: So it's still a possibility?

Yoshinori Ono: It's not impossible. If you know any arcade collectors or operators in the US, please tell them to write us letters saying they will buy 100 machines.

Kotaku's Brian Crecente: Would it have to be driven by the US market?

Yoshinori Ono: American interest would be awesome to push us in that direction. In the best-case scenario, you have got maybe a couple hundred arcades that are really serious and would probably buy machines from Capcom, but if we don't get orders in the thousands and thousands we can't get factories mobilized. It would have to go beyond North America and be a worldwide interest.

Shack: Do you know your next project? If not, do you have a dream project you'd like to do?

Yoshinori Ono: The project I really want to work on right now is to take my wife to Disneyland again. We've been married for 10 years and haven't been back since. That's my big project at the moment.

As far as a dream project is concerned, there is another fighting game series established shortly after I started at Capcom. A little something called Darkstalkers. If I was given the resources and permission to do so, I'd love to make a new Darkstalkers.

Shack: Would it use the Street Fighter IV engine?

Yoshinori Ono: It would probably mimic the visual style, but because the animation in Darkstalkers involves a lot of exaggeration and deformation, it might require an actual Darkstalkers engine, so to speak. We'd probably have to work on it a lot.

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