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Who is stronger Ryu or Ken? Street Fighter 2 producer puts the age-old debate to rest

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • July 13, 2020 at 11:22 a.m. PDT • Comments: 80

Yoshiki Okamoto is a game designer with 38 years of industry experience. Though his body of work extends quite far, we know him best as a producer on classic Capcom titles such as Final Fight and Street Fighter 2.

Okamoto recently released a video in which he puts an age-old debate to rest: who is strong, Ryu or Ken? This video is one of numerous videos he plans to release that shares behind-the-scenes knowledge and secrets to his success.

"This one publisher put 1P and 2P into auto-mode and made Ryu and Ken fight," Okamoto began. "Ken came out proportionally on top."

According to Okamoto, when he was a part of Capcom's Osaka division and interviewers would ask him if Ken was the stronger of the two, he would say that they are the same — which is untrue. Apparently, Ken is stronger, or more accurately, Ryu is weaker.

As Okamoto explains it, back during Street Fighter 2's development the team was working on a mechanic that made a character performing a special move more vulnerable for a quick moment. This mechanic was called "Core," and it would see the fighter who got hit during a special move animation take a large amount of damage.

The mechanic kept getting put in and then taken out again because it too heavily messed with game balance. However, the development team forgot to remove the Core mechanic from one of Ryu's special moves, making him still susceptible to it and ultimately weaker than Ken.

At the end of the day, Ryu is indeed weaker than Ken. However, you could still technically slip by in saying that neither is stronger.

Be sure to watch the full explanation from Okamoto below. He also goes into details about why Zangief was so weak back in the day and some interesting balance details about Chun-Li.

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