There were once allegations that Street Fighter 2 console copies contained subtle nudity, and Capcom USA wasn't all that sure they weren't true

Street Fighter 2 had its fair share of controversies

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • December 3, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. PST

As a Street Fighter fan, I every so often like to go back and check out Polygon's amazing Street Fighter 2: An Oral History article that Matt Leon wrote back in 2014.

The stories and controversies that ran rampant throughout the development and early life of the fighting game community's cornerstone game are incredibly interesting.

This was all nearly 30 years ago, so technology and communication was not as efficient as it is today. As a result, when Laurie Thorton, Public Relations Manager at Capcom USA, got a call from a small town television station inquiring about a frame or two of nudity in SF2, the anxious check up process was a bit longer than it would be today.

"The reporter wanted to know if I could confirm or deny the following: A Street Fighter fan had claimed that in a nanosecond frame of gameplay, popular sumo wrestler E. Honda's mawashi (loincloth) flew open, thus "exposing him," if only briefly," recalls Laurie Thorton, Public Relations Manager at Capcom USA.

"As proof, she also mentioned that the consumer had a video tape of the footage in question. I'd have dismissed this immediately except, like a bad urban myth, I'd heard that for their own amusement, developers in Japan had actually done similar things in other games — snuck in "questionable content" as their own inside joke."

Today, this whole thing could probably be settled over a matter of minutes with a quick link to a video or a fast YouTube search, but the 90's called for the physical video tape to be mailed and reviewed, all the while with the knowledge that there might be E. Honda nudity in the homes of millions of people.

"Could my developers have done such a thing and gotten away with it? Could I confirm or deny this? At first, I wasn't so sure. I asked the reporter to get the video tape to me for our own review, which ended up never materializing, and immediately asked my testing team and some of my marketing pals to help me investigate further over that weekend," continues Thorton.

"We never found any evidence of an E. Honda flashing, but those who helped me "research" it were never 100 percent positive either. It's something my old colleagues and I laugh about to this day."

This story is just one of a few controversial episodes that the early SF2 team had to endure and navigate. Allegations of the initial intro sequence being racist as well T. Hawk needing to have some of his Native American stereotypes toned down are also recounted in Polygon's article.

If you have a few extra minutes, we highly recommend you read through its five chapters, as it seems something new jumps out at us every time we do.

Load comments (20)