Former Capcom employee who worked on Street Fighter 2 talks about creating WeaponLord, a very complex fighter for the SNES & Genesis

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • August 18, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. PDT
Former Capcom employee who worked on Street Fighter 2 talks about creating WeaponLord, a very complex fighter for the SNES & Genesis James Goddard is a game designer who earned his chops working on the Street Fighter 2 series, specifically Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting and Super Street Fighter 2, where he also created the character Dee Jay.

Back in 1995, Goddard and his team released a fairly obscure fighter for the SNES and Genesis, called WeaponLord.

Running one of the most complex fighting game systems at the time, with things that later became major features in other titles; like off the ground attacks, parries and counters — WeaponLord was considered a title too complicated for its own good.

GameSpot has written up an extensive piece examining the history of the game, which talks about some of the follies the development team experienced while crafting this fighting, which still has a small underground scene who plays it.

The article starts off with how Goddard got his start at Capcom. Hit the jump for more.

James "DJAMES" Goddard never cheated at Street Fighter, though plenty of people accused him of such. "There was no Internet back then," he said, "so if you knew these tricks, such as doing a walking pile drive with Zangief, people thought you were a voodoo priest or something!" Knowledge was power, and Goddard knew all the tricks. In 1991, he was hired by Capcom, creator of Street Fighter II, as a game tester, and quickly rallied that into an apprenticeship at the company's Japanese offices. He then took that knowledge and worked his way up to support designer and advisor on Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, followed by master game balancer on Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. Goddard was learning from the best, and those lessons would help him immensely when developing WeaponLord.

David "Dr. Dave" Winstead was in the right place at the right time. The time was 1989, and the place was Gary's Game Corner, a locally owned comic book and video game rental shop in Redwood City, California. Not far from Gary's, a little magazine called GamePro was just getting off the ground. The editors would sometimes stop by to peruse the games selection, and Winstead was always there to toss in his two cents. Eventually, this made an impression on Patrick Ferrell, one of the magazine's founders, who tasked Winstead with turning his stream of advice into a few demo articles for the magazine. Before long, the young writer found himself taking screen shots part-time, and eventually becoming a full-time editor.

And then Street Fighter II happened. In 1991, Capcom's breakout fighting game landed in American arcades, jump-started arcade culture, and created the template for a new genre of gaming. Unlike most arcade games, Street Fighter didn't have you compete over a high score. It was direct competition against the person standing next to you, and if you lost, it was because the other person was better, plain and simple. Winstead was enamored. "I told the editors this game was crazy! I'd never played anything like it. You really got this buzz off fighting another person." He knew Capcom had struck gaming gold, and he pushed for coverage in the magazine. After some convincing, his editors relented, and suggested he contact Capcom about purchasing a Street Fighter II arcade board. Given the game's popularity, they were sure to have plenty in stock.

You can read the entire 4-page piece over on GameSpot's website, which continues the story of Goddard's stint at Capcom, along with heavy details on the development process of WeaponLord.

If you want to see what the final product looked like, make sure you scope out the intro and fatalities for WeaponLord in the video collage below.
Clip from Dork Hall.

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