What was supposed to be Street Fighter 2 became Final Fight, and was influenced by... Breakfast at Tiffany's and Les Misérables?

Before Jean Claude Van Damme it was all about Jean Valjean

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • February 11, 2019 at 7:49 p.m. PST

Many in the fighting game community are aware that the Street Fighter phenomenon didn't really start with the franchise's first entry as much as it did with the second, but getting from Street Fighter 1 to Street Fighter 2 was no easy adventure, and Capcom actually wound up with another little title known as Final Fight as a result of the process.

There's an all new developer interview on the Shadaloo CFN site wherein we get some insight from Final Fight developers such as Akira "Akiman" Yasuda about how the design and execution process all went down.

It all started when Capcom decided they wanted a sequel to SF1, but just so happened to do so during a worldwide shortage of memory chips. This wound up ushering the team in a different direction that would be more realistic given the resources at hand.

"We originally had a plan to make a sequel to Street Fighter (SF1). However, at the time due to an increase in the production of the NES, there was a global shortage of 1 MB ROM chips," articulated Akiman.

"For SF1, we used 48 MB just for the graphics, so if we wanted to make a sequel we only had 32 MB to play with. So, we needed to buy time until the 1 MB ROMS became available again."

Now en route to making a side scrolling beat em' up, the Japanese team was looking to give their latest endeavor a more American feel than the first Street Fighter. Their method of choice for cultural lessons on the fly? Movies, and lots of them.

"Final Fight was originally made to be a completely different game from SF1. The company president at the time (current Capcom president Kenzo Tsujimoto) often told us to use movies for inspiration," explained Akiman.

"We didn't have a whole lot of time, so we had a 3-monitor set-up where we could watch other movies at the same time," tacked on Akira Nishitani.

(Images of John "Sleepy" Estes from "Mad Bull 34," on either side of Mike Haggar)

When discussing Final Fight's famous lit dynamite continue screen, Akiman admits that the influence was directly from Ninja Gaiden's continue screen, which featured either a slowly moving saw blade or a sumo wrestler threatening the protagonist if the player did not insert more money.

The team wanted a sumo wrestler in Final Fight, but couldn't really see such a character amidst the New York City-style atmosphere. They couldn't see this until, that is, they saw the 1961 American romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's.

"There are no sumo wrestlers in Final Fight, but we do have Wong Who, who is kind of like a sumo wrestler. It would have been weird to have a sumo wrestler in that NY city-like atmosphere, but in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) there was the overly-eccentric Japanese landlord guy who lived upstairs, so we wanted a character something like that."

Wong Who only shows up a select few times during the game's campaign, but Mike Haggar has become such an iconic staple that he's been featured in other Capcom titles, most notably the Versus series. He too was inspired by the fine arts.

"Haggar is influenced by the lead of Les Misérables, Jean Valjean. In the latter half of the story, Jean Valjean becomes the major of the city," revealed Akiman. He goes on to clarify that Haggar also got a good bit of inspiration from the Japanese anime Mad Bull 34.

There's actually a lot more to the interview including level designs, new ventures in the way of graphics and more. Be sure to check out the full article and share your reactions with us all in the comments.

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