Super Street Fighter IV 3DS - interview with Yoshi Ono

GamesRadar: The 3DS version isn’t just the disc version of Super SFIV – it’s also the costumes and tweaks that have come via DLC since the console release. If these changes were included, why weren’t theArcade Edition additions(like Yun, Yang and Evil Ryu) implemented into this version?

Ono: It was largely down to timing. The development of Arcade Edition and SSFIV3D were simultaneous for large portions, and on top of that we didn’t have a lot of time to mess around with a lot of debugging, so we wanted to find a stable, already proven game to start with for our port. We knew Super was out there performing well, the balance isn’t broken and so on, so we knew that would be safe.

That doesn’t necessarily mean this is the end-all version for the 3DS – if it looks like people are interested, we could look into augmenting the game with Arcade Edition features. But once again, the timing did not allow for us to have AE on the platform at this time.

Above: Shin Akuma and Evil Ryu, currently only available in Arcade Edition

GamesRadar: If the 3DS infrastructure is set up for such a thing, could the Arcade Edition changes come to 3DS as DLC?

Ono: Right now, since it’s still so early in the 3DS’ cycle, there’s a lot that’s unclear. It’s certainly something we’d be interested in if it looks like that sort of infrastructure is there and people are interested in an upgrade. To be really clear, this kind of decision would be based not only on what Nintendo has in mind for distribution methods, but also what the audience is going to pan out to be.

The good thing about Super is that it’s very well balanced. If you look at the tournaments, you see a lot of different characters participating, which you don’t see in a lot of other fighting games. Arcade Edition is kind of a special case in that it’s kind of deliberately not so well rounded. There are some extreme personalities, some “ultimate evil” style characters – we wanted them to be tuned up a bit and the player to think about “how am I supposed to beat this ultimate character?” It’s a little more geared towards the hardcore, so even if we have the ability to distribute something like AE, we wouldn’t necessarily do it. It would depend on the audience – if it’s all casual players [on 3DS] who aren’t interested in hardcore features, I don’t want to force them into some new version.

GamesRadar: Speaking of the hardcore fans… there’s a history with handheld fighting games, that they’re not very good or can be dismissed by serious or tournament players. We think the 3DS version is pretty amazing, but is there anything you’d want to say to those who might turn their nose up at this version?

Ono: Let’s be clear: this isn’t a game intended for proper tournaments. I don’t expect anyone at EVO to want this to be the main hardware for Super SFIV. Obviously there’s no joystick port so that automatically puts it out of the running with most hardcore players (laughs). At the same time, I would like to see people between matches, maybe they’re killing time waiting to play, whip out a 3DS and play for a little bit. We definitely haven’t forgotten about those guys; there’s a mode in the game called “Pro Mode” that allows you to turn off entirely the shortcut buttons and be matched online with other Pro Mode players.

The whole point to this version is to allow you to… let’s say you’re about to go to bed and want to get a couple of matches in, it’s perfect for that. Will it replace the other versions? Probably not, but it can be a nice companion, like the way we use PCs compared to iPhones. If you want to sit down and write some big long document, you’re probably going to sit at a PC. But if you’re somewhere else and you have your phone, you’re capable of doing the exact same thing, just on a smaller scale.

GamesRadar: I’ve been practicing moves on the 3DS version and am actually able to pull off combos and juggles that I can on the console version – impressive! The only concern is the L and R buttons, my hands are maybe too big to comfortably use them in an intense fight. Now, this is crazy pie in the sky talk, but how impossible would it be to have a weird Saturn-style 6-button attachment for 3DS?

Ono: You can almost kind of simulate that, as you can customize the touch screen to include whichever buttons or moves you want. You could theoretically make Weak Punch and Weak Kick buttons on the screen, and then use the face buttons. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it might simulate the effect. That’s what a lot of the younger guys at the office use, actually.We thought about maybe in Pro Mode having all six buttons on the touch screen, but when we tried, it wasn’t comfortable. Again it’s not perfect – it doesn’t feel that natural (laughs)!

GamesRadar: Obvious question – now that Sony has revealed the NGP, do you see a future for Super SFIV on that platform?

Ono: By the time NGP comes out, will people still want a version of Super Street Fighter IV? That’s kind of an open question. We do plan on doing some cool things, we’re thinking of ways to link the NGP and PS3, but it’s still way too early to announce anything. We’re definitely working on things, whether it’ll be a version of IV or not remains to be seen.

GamesRadar: OK, personal question to send of us off. I’m a big Blanka fan, and I thought maybe you’d have some insight on this, but why hasn’t Blanka been a part of any of the Marvel/Capcom Vs games? He’s always left out and I’m like “are you kidding?”

Ono: Oh you’re right… he hasn’t been in any of them! And he’s not in Marvel vs Capcom 3 either. It’s just his destiny to be left out I guess. He’s actually such a weird character he’d be a perfect fit.

GamesRadar: It hurts because he’s been my main character since 1991… though in Super, I gravitated towards Juri, based on her design and moves.

Ono: (Chuckling) Sadly, Juri hasn’t proven that popular in Korea. I’ve actually received angry mail saying “Koreans don’t have hair like that!” but I’ve never seen a Brazilian guy with green skin, or an Indian who can breathe fire. C’mon, it’s a game!

We went to Russia earlier this year, and learned “Zangief” isn’t even possible in their language. It just doesn’t fit, there’s certain sounds that don’t work in Russian. We didn’t know that. 20 years later we found out!

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Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.