Interview: Yoshinori Ono on Street Fighter X Tekken, fighting games

Legendary Street Fighter producer talks to Gematsu.

At the New York Comic-Con last month, we sat down with legendary Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono to talk Street Fighter X Tekken and the fighting game genre.

Or, at least, we were supposed to.

There was a bit of confusion surrounding the room we were supposed to meet Ono-san for the interview. By the time we were able to make it, our interview time was up, and Ono-san had left. As you can imagine, I was upset by this. Luckily, Capcom was able set us up with an e-mail interview, albeit it one shorter than it would have been. And while it’s not the length I was hoping our discussion would be, I’m glad we were still able to sit down with the Street Fighter boss.

This was a fan-powered interview, with questions taken from you and our good friends at NeoGAF. If your question wasn’t asked, I can only apologize. We had much more we planned to ask, but were limited by Ono-san’s busy schedule.

Gema: What are the struggles of making two completely different fighting franchises mesh together?

Ono-san: Honestly, we were preparing ourselves for the worst when we first started this project, but after the Street Fighter and Tekken teams talked to each other, we completely cleared this problem. We decided to create a completely new “festival” game that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the existing game systems of Street Fighter or Tekken. We set our goals on getting as many players as possible to enjoy and play the game, so the creation process was actually extremely smooth.

As well, we mutually agreed out of respect to the other side, that we would have completely creative freedom when it came to utilizing the characters in the game. Having that agreement from the outset helped tremendously in the creation of this dream matchup game.

Is Street Fighter X Tekken running on new or updated netcode? And is it being shared with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3?

Street Fighter X Tekken is using a new, different netcode than the Street Fighter IV series. I hope to demonstrate the specifics of it to everyone at a later date. This new netcode is not being used in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

What do you have to say to consumers who aren’t purchasing Street Fighter X Tekken in March because they’re waiting for a ‘Super Street Fighter X Tekken‘?

If we decide to create a new version of the game, we will go with the Street Fighter IV series route, by providing online update patches for the game. So I would say that you don’t really need to worry about a new version of the game coming out. If we choose to update the game, it will be done in the same fashion as Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition [laugh].

What are your goals in designing a fighting game now, after Street Fighter IV blew up? Do you design a fighter now looking at it from a competitive/tournament perspective, or for a more casual at-home type of game? (And do you aim to make them ‘e-sports friendly’?)

I always want everything, so I try to design for both competitive and casual players [laugh]. I compare tournaments to piano recitals in a way; they are places where you are judged on the skills you have learned up until that time. I’d like to keep creating these kinds of tools for competition through my game design.

But on the other hand, I’d like to get as many players as possible to try out my games. Even in my own house, the only time a fighting game disc is read by the console is when I’m sitting in front of it. No one else in my family will even touch those discs. I bet there are a lot of families out there like this [laugh]. So I’d like to create fighting games that can be enjoyed by a lot of people through my game design as well.

Fighters are generally known for being incredibly difficult. How, if at all, would you design a fighter to accommodate brand new players, both to the series and the genre?

Hmmm, this is a really tough question. It might be interesting to use a new gameplay device, such as the Vita, Kinect or Move, in order to create a more accommodating experience for brand new players.

Can we expect non-Street Fighter/Final Fight characters in Street Fighter X Tekken—on Capcom’s side?

We’ll just have to wait and see about that [laugh].

Where do you see the genre heading, both mechanically and functionally?

The genre will be more and more influenced by community changes and online functionality more than gameplay systems in the coming years. The genre has become pretty well established ever since the 90’s, so the next phase is how we expand and maintain its user base.

Realistically, is there any chance of a new Darkstalkers or Rival Schools game? If not, why?

I’ll keep trying my best to get these made, until the day I retire from Capcom [laugh].

Are there any elements typically found in other genres—experience points in role-playing games, for example—that could greatly benefit fighting games?

There are lots of genres, such as action games, that try to incorporate various elements into them. However I feel that many of those concepts don’t really resonate with fighting game players. Of course there are players who like them, and they create their own communities, which I’m not denying. Just in the case of making fighting games, I’m not sure they would benefit much from those elements.

Are Xbox 360-exclusive Street Fighter X Tekken fighters being considered? The PS3 version currently has three (Cole, Toro, Kuro).

Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about this at this time.

You’re bringing Street Fighter X Tekken to PS3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, and now PC. Super Street Fighter IV came out on 3DS, so clearly Capcom knows how to create a fighting game on the Nintendo handheld. Is there a reason you’ve not announced a 3DS version? Or a Wii U version, for that matter?

There isn’t any reason in particular actually.

How often do Capcom’s fighting teams collaborate with other teams, such as Niitsuma-san’s? Seth Killian mentioned you’re all very competitive. What’s your perspective on that?

I think that constant competition is a good way to increase the level of our production teams. It’s the same environment as in the 90’s, when Capcom was making a lot of different fighting games. Through this kind of rivalry, we are able to improve our production techniques, ideas, as well as team structures, as demonstrated in the past.

Thank you for your time, Ono-san!

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