Ono Discusses the Utopian Future of Street Fighter

In an interview with The Guardian, Yoshinori Ono, deputy head of Capcom’s consumer games R&D division, spoke about the 3DS version of Super Street Fighter IV and the role it plays in what he calls a “utopian point” for the series. “I realized that 3DS coincided with where I wanted to take the entire fighting game genre,” he said. “I knew that Nintendo’s console was definitely going to be a stepping stone toward that.”

The original plan was to bring the series to a wider audience, and it certainly succeeded–single-handedly reviving the fighting genre. Even though it got people excited and sold a ton of copies, the actual game doesn’t do much to attract new players. Capcom may not have been willing to admit it until now, but SFIV was essentially Step One in a process that may take several iterations to complete.

“Until very recently fighting games have been a niche,” said Ono. “In order to play you needed to understand all the rules, you had to know exactly what to do in every situation. The genre has been isolating itself from non-hardcore gamers. But I want Street Fighter to be a tool, like playing cards or a chess board–you just need the pieces and everyone can play, not just the elite. It will take a few more generations to get to that utopian point, but what the 3DS has done is enable me to take the first step toward my grand scheme.”

“We only ever aimed Street Fighter at the high end, we’ve been neglecting people who want to play at their own level,” he said. “So what we’ve done with Super Street Fighter IV 3D is, we’ve retained the hardcore elements, but we’ve lowered the entry barrier, so people can play in the way they want to play, rather than having to aspire to be hardcore. We’ve established a very important milestone here.”

Where will Street Fighter go from here? Hopefully, it’ll introduce some better ways of teaching players both the basics and the fancy stuff. Working the learning aspect into something more interesting than their current challenge mode sounds like a good first step.

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Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I’d rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.