For every Ken, Ryu, or Skullomania that makes it into a Street Fighter roster, many more potential characters don't progress beyond their initial design stage. We sat down with game director Takayuki Nakayama to review some official concepts for Street Fighter 5 that didn’t make the cut...
If a prima ballerina and a medieval knight ran into each other at warp speed, the resulting mash-up would probably look a lot like Elizabeth. The ferocious-looking French Savate fighter’s armour protects her against other world warriors’ attacks. “We were thinking she’d be an old arts dealer with money to spend,” Nakayama reveals. “But you know what? In the Street Fighter world, there are way too many rich people!”￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Now that’s a winning smile. We should hope so, too: he was set to be a professional Brazilian footballer character... who puts the hurt on brawling opponents in his spare time. Is his flaming ball projectile even legal? Surprisingly, it wasn’t that particular niggle that prevented him making it into the game: he was far too similar to Roberto, a character from PS1 fighting game Rival Schools. That’s a fresh-to-death outfit – we’re all about that stylish but comfortable shorts action – but are those loafers? Worse still, loafers with socks? We could never have chosen him.
Fighting Literary Master
Ask any Street Fighter pro, and they’ll say mind games are a massive part of the game. Maybe it’s a good thing this elderly academic didn’t appear in the final roster – “The pen is not mightier than the sword in this game,” Nakayama explains – as he’d definitely have the IQ advantage. Check out that classic “The Thinker” pose on the left. That’s some powerful beard stroking.
Er, Capcom? Clothes are a thing, you know. This naked Canadian brawler’s grappling was almost set to be extremely meta. “We were thinking that he would grab the health gauges,” Nakayama muses.
Oh, for goodness’ sake. Guys, did you not read the thing about the clothes in the last entry? There’s an explanation for the patchy attire of this friendly mechanic (spot the tools in her holsters), apparently: the endearing Clumsy Cutie is so accident-prone, her costume rips off as she fights. Fine, we’ll bite. But there was only room for one bodacious backside in Street Fighter 5, and that was R. Mika’s. All worship the peach.
South American Assassin
Necalli’s design process included several iterations, including this deadly sneakster. The first fighter here doesn’t seem built for stealth, although we approve of the second design’s boxy hat. Fighting games are made for ridiculous, weaponised headwear. But the last sketch here gives us serious Ibuki vibes. “We wanted Necalli to be an attack-based, wild and mystical character,” Nakayama explains, hence this assassin getting benched in favour of something more animal-like.
Clearly missing the memo that bowl cuts are wack is The Teacher, a concept batted about by the design team while brainstorming ideas for F.A.N.G. Indeed, he shares the same powers: “We wanted a character that used dark weapons and poison hands,” Nakayama says.
That coiffure is reminiscent of Tekken’s Paul Phoenix – but our main takeaway is that this guy has a definite SoulCalibur’s Voldo-slash-Mortal Kombat’s Baraka hand situation going on. They became shell-like claws after some serious overtime at the gym, according to the design notes (we’ll never work out again). He ended up scrapped for being “too fantasy-like.” Thank goodness: he’s nightmare fuel.
The idea for this political scrapper was also toyed with for Street Fighter 4’s roster, but in the end, even Street Fighter 5 didn’t inaugurate this blond-cowlicked brute into the game. Black gloves? Red tie? Could there be a barcode under that wig, perhaps? Alas, we’ll never know. And to think, Capcom had the pun “Air Force Won” at its fingertips...
We’d like to award this fighter the hallowed honour of being the OPM favourite. Her design’s absolutely stellar – Asuka employs the modern Japanese martial art of aikido, using her opponent’s weight against them to fling them to the floor, dominating them while minimising actual harmful damage. What a lady. An extra sketch shows her in an Oni (demon) mask at one stage – perhaps a V-Trigger concept? – and the design notes quite literally say that she uses the “opponent’s power against them.” Perhaps she would have had a supernatural powered-up state to slip into à la Necalli’s beast mode, where she absorbs and uses enemy abilities... No wonder Nakayama says he’d “like to revisit this idea in the future.”
This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.