Zeku could have been a demon slayer, a comic book artist, and more in Street Fighter 5

Capcom shares early development ideas for the ever-changing ninja

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • December 4, 2017 at 11:25 a.m. PST

Easily one of the most interesting characters on the Street Fighter 5 roster, Zeku is a ninja that has the ability to switch between a young and old version of himself at will. Each version has a unique playstyle and attacks, so learning how and when to use both in battle is the key to mastering this fighter.

Zeku was always going to be the successor of the Bushinryu fighting style, but before the development team decided on the design we see in-game today, they kicked around several other interesting concepts.

The Shadaloo C.R.I. has put together a brand new blog post that walks us through some of the early development ideas for Zeku in Street Fighter 5 Season 2.

Capcom notes that having Zeku switch between his younger and older self was something that was decided upon right away when designing the character. After that, he went through some interesting changes.

From a Kempo master to a comic book artist, there were some truly fascinating ideas in the works. Let's dive right into them.

Demon Slayer Ver.

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This design was for Old Zeku. In it, he was a savage demon slayer -- as slaying demons comes with being the successor of Bushinryu. His pelt was worn as a trophy and was made of a giant-sized weasel that he defeated.

Kempo Master Ver.

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This idea had Zeku fighting using a broken stick he had found during his travels. He would be very skilled at picking up random items and turning them into make-shift weapons.

In combat, he would use the stick to juggle and toss around giant enemies with ease.

Kunai Sash Ver.

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Just as the design title reads, Zeku's sash in this concept art is made up of kunai. The description reads:

"Around this time, we had this nutty idea that he was a comic book artist who was also the Bushinryu successor. (It's probably because the tip of each kunai looks like a fountain pen, but let's keep that bit of info between us here.) Luckily, this idea didn't last."

Demon Slayer - Young Zeku Ver.

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Young Zeku was also run through the "demon slayer" idea. Capcom wanted this version to stand out a bit more, and we see that he doesn't wear a mask in this design.

Briefly Finalized Ver.

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At this point, the development team had decided to make Old Zeku mirthful and Young Zeku more on the serious side. This design kept the giant weasel pelt for the former and added a flashy scarf for the latter.

This was decided upon as the final design for a bit, but the team felt that it lacked a sense of surprise. From here, we got the true final version of Zeku.

Rough Sketch of Young Zeku

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Lastly, we have a rough sketch of Young Zeku. There were many ideas when it came to designing the character, but the main themes the developers aimed for were "sort of silly, but a professional when it comes to work" and "a nice old man."

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