You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

We're already seeing a new approach to Street Fighter's development

Communication has been clear and an outline has been given for Street Fighter 5's future

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • September 11, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. PDT • Comments: 19

Street Fighter's development through the years has been marked by a number of ups and downs. Rarely has it been the case where this franchise has walked through the fires of the fighting game community unscathed, but it is a series that tends to land it's "comeback mechanic" usually pulling through towards the end of its development cycles.

We were extremely disappointed by the awful lack of communication for Season 4 of Street Fighter 5, but we've seen a tremendous turnaround here in Season 5, with a clear outline of future plans and characters coming to the game, yet with plenty of mystery still intact to add intrigue and keep the game relevant.

We have a roadmap for Street Fighter 5 now, which details plans starting from Winter 2020 onto Fall 2021, where it looks like development on the game will cease. Capcom was able to outline their plans, but still keep fan's interest on what might be coming next. We don't know what the new battle mechanic will be, nor the 5th and final character's identity, but some mystery should help hold the community's attention until these things are revealed.

Roughly a week before we got the summer update for Street Fighter 5, Takayuki Nakayama, Street Fighter 5's Chief Director, and Shuhei Matsumoto, a producer for the game, participated in an FGC round table discussion which illuminated a number of details about the mindsets of the developers that work on these games that we're so incredibly passionate about.

This is a level of communication and transparency Capcom fighting game fans are not used to — not even close — and it's a wonderful thing to see.

On a smaller, but still appreciated scale, we've been given sketches of the new characters, and more insights into why they were chosen, along with background details. These are things clearly intended to ignite more passion and energy into the hardcore fan base, and based on what we're seeing as of late — it's working.

The elephant in the room here, and where many people's minds will go to immediately is Yoshinori Ono's departure from Capcom being the main reason why all of these changes took place — but as is said in some circles, failure is an orphan and success has many fathers. When things go well, people will line up to take the credit, and just as quickly disappear when they go poorly.

Ono's history at Capcom has had many highs and many lows. Some people at the company loved him and swore by him, while a number of others he had rubbed the wrong way, and are happy to see him gone. This is life, you'll never be universally loved or hated, you're always going to fall some where in the middle. Ono is no exception.

It would be completely unfair to attribute every success Capcom's Street Fighter developers had to Yoshinori Ono, and on the same token, it would be unfair to attribute all of their failures to him as well.

Yet, we are seeing change, and big changes at that.

Ono's time at Capcom is over, and now a new era has begun with some very talented, bright and capable people at the helm. While I think we're off to a very strong start, how well things are handled when problems arise will be very telling for this era of Capcom's fighting game division.

In the realm of video game development, things never go perfectly. Going over budget, over schedule, and having egos and agendas interfere with progress are the norm. Being able to navigate these hazards is extremely difficult, and that's one thing Yoshinori Ono delivered on more often than not. While I've yet to hear anyone say Ono's time at Capcom was perfect, Ono helped Capcom sell millions upon millions of fighting games, and was a big spark in reigniting the entire genre.

Development teams this large, talented — and expensive — require a deft hand. No matter how persuasive you are, or how much clout you wield, no one ever gets their way 100% of the time at Capcom. There are many mouths to feed, and many different agendas to be accounted for. Navigating these treacherous waters is not easy or simple.

If there was ever a fighting game hall of fame, Yoshinori Ono would be a shoo-in, and one of the most notable people in there. He's accomplished a tremendous amount in his time at Capcom — but it's important to note that — he hasn't done it alone.

While this new era of Street Fighter is off to a good start, and Capcom has many tremendously intelligent, passionate and dedicated people, a number of those people have had their ideas squashed into oblivion, or have been ran out the door due to various issues.

Taking up the mantle as the faces of Street Fighter 5 is not an easy or simple job, but I will say from speaking to numerous sources that both Takayuki Nakayama and Shuhei Matsumoto are very well thought of and highly respected by a number of Capcom staff. They're both smart, capable and have done a lot of work behind the scenes people aren't familiar with, yet.

I can also say from history, this is a very difficult and sometimes thankless job, where the highs are muted and the lows are on full display for the entire community to see.

As I've said before, I'm very impressed with how things are looking for Street Fighter 5's remaining time as Capcom's flagship FGC title, and the future of the fighting game department. I love how clearly things are being communicated and how often that is taking place.

Ultimately, we all want the same things for these games, for them to be successful and showcased in the ways they deserve to be. The big question will remain though for the people taking over for Yoshinori Ono — how do we get there?

Load comments (19)