Capcom's Sugiyama: 'A photorealistic version of Street Fighter 5 existed at one point'

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • February 29, 2016 at 11:48 a.m. PST | Comments: 71

Did you know: That Capcom had been kicking around the idea of making Street Fighter 5 as far back as in 2011?

Or that at one point during Street Fighter 5's development, the game actually featured photorealistic visuals instead of the giant-Zangief-hands iteration that we have today?

Those were some of the interesting bits of trivia that popped up during an interview the Japanese online site Game Spark did with SF5 Producer Koichi Sugiyama right before the game was released.

Here at EventHubs we've translated into English an excerpt of the interview that deals with the aforementioned topics, and more -- how did the V-Trigger "fluid trail" visual effects came about? What was the inspiration behind "Hot Ryu"?

Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #1 Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #2 Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #3

Game Spark: To kick things off, please briefly introduce yourself.

Koichi Sugiyama: Hi, my name is Koichi Sugiyama, and I'm the Producer for Street Fighter 5 at Capcom. What that actually means is that, for the most part I'm in charge of promotions and operations for the title, and that includes taking care of the project's financials.

Although the actual Street Fighter 5 creative work is overseen mostly by the game's director, as I do need to know everything about the game for promotional and operational purposes, I'm nonetheless quite well-versed on the subject.

Game Spark: When were you first involved with the Street Fighter series?

Koichi Sugiyama: Previously I was also Producer on Ultra Street Fighter 4 [and that's about it]. This is fairly rare, I think, but prior to being involved with Ultra Street Fighter 4's production, I was actually someone on the management side of the company, handling administrative and enterprise projects.

Game Spark: When did Street Fighter 5's development first begin?

Koichi Sugiyama: The actual development work first began in the summer of 2013. But the idea for Street Fighter 5 itself, however, was something we've been kicking around since 2011. At the time we thought that we should work on an Ultra Street Fighter 4 first, as it would allow us to foster a much stronger Street Fighter community that would lead into SF5.

Game Spark: Since there was an 8-year gap between the development of Street Fighter 4 and 5, were there any difficulties you faced in making the sequel?

Koichi Sugiyama: Well, we really had to work very hard on the game's visuals.

Up until SF3, the series had been rendered in dot-matrix pixel sprites. But for SF4, the grahics were all done with 3D models, and so we had to go through many phases of trial and error in order to nail the same sort of visual impact that the series is known for.

For SF5, as this time around we were working with Unreal Engine 4, which is known for being particularly good at rendering photorealistic visuals, we had to work really hard to try and recreate that same anime-esque look for the game -- so once again we did a lot of experiments, before finally settling on adding "oil painting-esque touches".

In fact, in the very early stages of development, we actually put together a build of SF5 that was rendered in photorealistic graphics. But when we did, we realized that it just wouldn't be Street Fighter without the bold, anime-esque look and feel to the game, so we decided to shelve the whole photorealism idea altogether.

Game Spark: Street Fighter 5 with photorealistic visuals? I'd love to see that.

Koichi Sugiyama: Actually, you can. In the booklet that comes with Street Fighter 5 if you ordered from the e-Capcom store, you can see a single screenshot of that photorealistic build we were running at the time. At this point in time, Ryu had just gotten back from training in seclusion in the mountains, so he's grown a beard and is covered with all these cuts and bruises. The idea to make a "Hot Ryu" battle costume came from this photorealistic build of SF5.
I believe Sugiyama is referring to the Street Fighter 5: Visionary Book e-Capcom, which is an exclusive item that only comes with certain e-Capcom editions of the game in Japan.

If somebody reading this has a copy of the artbook in question, and is able to find the screenshot Sugiyama referred to, please send it in to EventHubs via our "Submit News" form.

Game Spark: Another unique visual aspect in SF5 is the "fluid trails" visual effects (that appears during the V-Trigger activation animation). What was the process that led to the visual effect's inclusion?

Koichi Sugiyama: In Street Fighter X Tekken, we had this "water" effects motif. In Street Fighter 4, it was "ink". So when we began making Street Fighter 5, we thought about what sort of motif we could replace this with.

We tried various different effects, such as "powder" or "light". But everything we tried either made things too difficult to see, or too plain, so we couldn't really find something apt. At this point, we began examining why we even wanted to implement these visual effects in the first place.

And the result was that, we realized that we wanted to, for instance, have these rainbow effects appear in Rainbow Mika's case.

Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #4 Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #5 Koichi Sugiyama Street Fighter 5 story gallery image #6

We realized that we wanted to bring out the characters' individual image colors and use it as a representation of each fighter's unique aura. That led us to settle on the "fluid trails" visual effect. By the way, since the effects are a representation of the characters' aura, even if you pick a different costume color, the fluid trails do not change colors.

Game Spark: Was it decided from the very beginning that Street Fighter 5 would be developed using the Unreal Engine 4?

Koichi Sugiyama: No, we were considering a number of different engines at the time. As the Unreal Engine 4 was also still under development at the time, and their team was looking for help on extending the engine's possibilities, we ended up forming a tag-team with Epic Games to help one another out.

Source: Game Spark.
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