It’s been a long time coming but Street Fighter 5 is going to be very much worth the wait according to an interview with long time franchise producer Yoshinori Ono in the new issue of Edge Magazine. The support given to the previous game has meant that the team has been able to evolve the series further than anyone would expect. For him, this is no incremental improvement.
“We’ve been working on Street Fighter 4 for the past seven years now. There’s been a lot of rebalancing and so on, but the game is still going strong, even today.” says Ono. “All this means that, with Street Fighter 5, we have a fantastic opportunity to create something with a larger scope, a game that encompasses all that Street Fighter has become in the last few years, but which also expands on that to become something it has never been before as well. So now we want to create something that nobody is expecting. It’s going to be a title that caters to fans, of course, but one that also invites completely new players onto the scene. Street Fighter 4 was about reviving a passion. Street Fighter 5 is about growing that passion.”
Enthusiasm for the new game is high within the team, making things significantly easier for Ono but also a good sign in terms of the new game being something unique and different. “I’ve worked on many different projects within Capcom, but in my career here, the greenlight process for Street Fighter 5 was comfortably the most straightforward. This game was probably a hundred times easier to get off the ground than the previous one,” he explains. “The passion around Street Fighter is currently such that the internal team within Capcom has been incredibly eager. There have been far fewer obstacles and far less stress. In personal terms, Street Fighter 5 represents something new for me too.”
Ono feels like he is now teaching the next generation of developers within Capcom and passing on his know how from years with the series. “I guess you could say this is the point in my career at which I’ve switched from student to mentor,” he says. “In the same way that Inafune taught me so much about making games, I’m trying to impart my knowledge to the different key people on the title in order to teach them everything I know about how to make fighting games and how to grow and nurture a community around the game. It’s bringing up the next generation of creators.”
However it’s not all peace, tranquility and the calm passing on of wise Street Fighter knowledge. Ono is more than aware of the expectations worldwide for Street Fighter 5. “We have so much feedback being blared at us all the time. But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not always the loudest voices that you need to listen to,” he says. “Often these people don’t represent the masses. So it’s a case of finding key people in communities around the world, those who aren’t as visible perhaps, in order to hear their take. Obviously, you can never make everyone happy, but if we can make the majority happy, then I'm confident in Street Fighter's future."