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Capcom's Tomoaki Ayano explains why Ryu's motif is not dragon, Cammy's not killer bee in the Wild Costumes pack for Ultra Street Fighter 4

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • November 23, 2014 at 6:58 p.m. PST • Comments: 93

After GameStart Asia 2014 in Singapore wrapped up, we caught up briefly with Capcom's Tomoaki Ayano, one of the key people behind the development of the Street Fighter 4 series, for an exclusive interview. We spoke on a number of subjects.

For this first part of the interview, we asked Ayano-san about the most pertinent questions you had with regards to the Wild Costumes pack that was recently announced for Ultra Street Fighter 4.
KarbyP: When [Yoshinori] Ono told us that you were about to announce the new "Winter" costumes for Ultra Street Fighter 4 at GameStart Asia 2014, I had thought that the new costumes would be based on a Winter motif of some sort. But it turned out to be the Wild Costumes pack.

What was the inspiration behind the animal-themed pack?

Tomoaki Ayano: In Street Fighter X Tekken, there were characters like Chun-Li and Cammy who had received animal-themed alternate costumes, right?

Our decision to create the Wild Costumes this time around were partially influenced by those animal-themed costumes in SFxT.
You see, the panda costume that Chun-Li had was done very comically. And I'm sure there are fans who loved the way it was done, since it was pretty funny-looking.

But we felt that the animal theme could have been done in a way that incorporated a "wild" quality to them. And when we decided to do wild animals as a theme, we thought that it should be possible for us to create animal costumes that made a character look cool or cute (kawaii), rather than comical.

The only exception to that might be Hakan, I think, who's in an octopus costume. But personally I feel that it's a motif that suits him very well.

But generally the pack is more about costumes that make the characters look more dashing, like in Ryu's case, or even cuter, like with Cammy.

So this time around, we're not aiming for comical interpretations. Rather, we're pursuing designs that are cool or cute in nature.

In a way, we see it as a challenge for ourselves to create animal-themed costumes that achieve those ideals.

Click images for larger versions

KarbyP: I see. So there are no plans to make any comical-looking costumes at all?

Ayano: Not at the moment, we're not doing anything like that, no. This is partially because this time around we're focusing on animal motifs that bring out each fighter's characteristics. But that's not the only reason why [we're not doing comical costumes this time around].

In Japan there are these comical-looking mascot characters called Yuru-chara that are actually super popular back home [so there are definitely fans of comical costumes and characters]. But we feel that this isn't what most of the Street Fighter fans would want to see. We think they'd rather see costumes that bring out the unique qualities or quirks of a fighter.

And that was also the reason why instead of having the fighters put on animal mascot suits, we've made the costumes comprise masks, clothes and accessories instead. We've tried to do it in a manner that we think even people who dislike mascot suits won't mind it as much.

So rather than comical, the direction for these costumes are cute and cool.

With the exception of Hakan, of course. *Laughs* Hakan looks kind of cool too, but he's just a little more different from the rest.

KarbyP: *Laughs* He does look pretty cool in that octopus costume. But what about Chun-Li? Her costume hasn't been announced yet, right?

Ayano: Yep, we haven't shown off her costume yet.

KarbyP: After you announced the costumes, our readers went, "okay, so Chun's probably going to get a panda costume (which GamesRadar included in their of the most ridiculous alternate costumes ever in a fighting game) again, right?"

Ayano: *Laughs* About that... please look forward to when we finally reveal that information.

KarbyP: The other reader comments I kept seeing a lot of were "Why was Ryu given a wolf motif instead of dragon?" and "Why isn't Cammy's costume that of a killer bee" -- which, as you know, is her codename. Why is Cammy's motif a fox?

Ayano: Okay, let's talk about Ryu first. The thing is... wait... first of all, there is actually another character who is better suited for the dragon motif.

KarbyP: There is? Other than Ryu... oh. *Laughs* Okay, I think I know who that is.

Ayano: The other thing is, actually the meaning behind Ryu's name, when translated in English, is not "Dragon".

KarbyP: Eh? It's not Dragon?

Ayano: Yep. That's totally not the case. The Kanji used for Ryu's name...

MCZ|Zhi: Eh?!

(This bit of trivia was so shocking that Mad Catz's Zhi, who was in the interview room with me, dropped his jaw in disbelief)

Ayano: The "Ryu" Kanji (隆) used for his name means "to rise". To rise to the occasion. To rise from defeat.

KarbyP: Ah, now that you mention it, that makes sense.

Ayano: So his name doesn't mean "Dragon". Even though he does use the Shoryuken (or Dragon Punch).

And that's why *chuckles*, as opposed to Ryu, there's somebody else who's more suited for the dragon motif.

There will definitely be a character whose costume motif is that of the dragon. So it's probably "that character". Although I can't tell you whom just yet. *Laughs*

Rest assured, there will definitely be a dragon-themed costume.

KarbyP: Okay, that's good to know. So what about Cammy?

Ayano: In Cammy's case, well, she's a cat person, right? So initially we thought to assign her a cat motif.

But there is already such a costume in the game in Ultra Street Fighter 4. One of her alternate costumes.

So we were looking for another animal motif that would suit her, in the same way that the insect killer bee would be fitting... and we thought that the fox motif would suit her best.

KarbyP: Wait -- so why not killer bee?

Ayano: Ah. We wanted to go with only animals in the pack -- no insects.

KarbyP: *facepalms* I see. That's a real shame. Since there was a bee character (Q-Bee) in Darkstalkers, I thought maybe... well, that's a real shame.

Stay tuned to EventHubs for the rest of our exclusive interview with Capcom's Tomoaki Ayano. Our thanks also to Mad Catz's Zhi for his help on this story.
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