Yoshinori Ono: Capcom “Locked The Doors” To Street Fighter With Street Fighter III

By Ishaan . February 24, 2011 . 12:30pm

While he holds many responsibilities at Capcom, most of our readers probably know Yoshinori Ono as the current producer for Street Fighter, with Ono having spearheaded the series’ revival with Street Fighter IV.


Speaking with Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, about Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Ono has some interesting thoughts to reveal on what led to the revival of the series, following a nine year gap after Street Fighter III. Essentially, Ono feels that with Street Fighter III, Capcom made the game too inaccessible to the vast majority of players.


“We had locked the doors of the "entrance" without even knowing it,” Ono told Iwata. “By designating the "entrance," it ended up becoming a game that only a select few could enter.”


He continued: “It was a kind of pleasure you feel by being a part of an exclusive group. We game creators also became drunk with that feeling. Thankfully, even 14 years after its release, there still are world tournaments held for Street Fighter III!”


When development of Street Fighter IV first began, Ono reveals, some within Capcom suggested that they make the game even more “over the top” than Street Fighter III because that was what it seemed like the most vocal fans wanted. From his own experiences, though, Ono knew that the loudest voices weren’t necessarily indicative of the broader opinion. He says it took him two years to convince Capcom to let him create Street Fighter IV with the vision he had for it, since others at the company felt his vision for a game that would feel familiar to players was outdated.


Ono compares Street Fighter IV to a class reunion. “The class reunion means to think how we could let the former players who played the original to feel like joining it again,” he says. “For example, when you are going to a middle school reunion, men usually think about the girl they liked right away.”


He continues: “They’d have these thoughts about how she’s doing as they head on over to the reunion. But when they get there, everyone has changed and he doesn’t know which one she is. Something like that. (laughs) If it were me, I’d try to imagine lots of things about that girl on the way to the reunion.”


Ono also reveals interesting information about his development history and how Dead Rising was the result of a failure on the part of Shadow of Rome, which he was personally involved with. It’s an interesting read as you’d expect, so I’d recommend giving it a look if you like learning about game development history.

  • Code

    It’s kind of funny, I feel just the opposite, 3rd Strike felt much more accessible for me, but SSF4 has constantly continued to be beyond me. I think SF4’s biggest asset was drawing back in SFII players by restoring many of the original play styles to the game.

    • BadenBadenPrinny

      I honestly felt that 3s was more fun as well

      • it’s odd that 3rd strike is the only SF game i am even remotely good at, would have prefered it to SFIV

    • Advent_Andaryu

      Agreed. Third Strike is way better than SFIV imo, and it’s funny cause not even Capcom or the creator realizes this yet.

      • But 3s didn’t manage what SFIV did. Made the fighting genre popular again

    • really? I disagree with you because 3rd strike made some casual players look like noobs! 4 is much more classic. I mean i love 3rd strike but 4 just had that old school feeling to it that i love.

      • People will always have differing opinions on 3rd Strike and SFIV, depending on their background. Third strike is less accessible to newcomers, but if they decide to stick around with it, the reward is marvelous. I still think that Ultras are a bit too cheap

      • Code

        “…some casual players looked like noobs!”

        I think that could apply to every fighter ever, including SF4 >w<'

    • Kris

      I miss Third Strike Makoto :(
      (That said, I might like SSFIV more than 3S)

  • neon6

    They became drunk because they knew that was the last time they were able to create a fighter that rivaled Super Turbo. The real reason 3 didn’t go mainstream is due to it’s lack of SF2/Alpha characters. What reason do people have to play a fighting game if you can’t play as your favorite characters?

    • d19xx

      I kinda agree on this. Even though 3 had some great new characters, they were mostly new and alienated some fans. Capcom realized this way too late and decided to add Chun Li and Gouki/Akuma on later versions of the game.

      Despite what Ono says, I still think 3rd Strike and Garou Mark of the Wolves are better than SF4 will ever be. :p

      • I thought the characters from 3rd Strike were awesome. I don’t see anything wrong with them. After learning all the game mechanics, 3rd Strike was actually a really easy game for me to pick up and play, but hard to master.

        Going from 3rd Strike to SSFIV, SSFIV was actually hard for me to play. I don’t really understand why.I haven’t won a single match since I’ve started playing online. I feel that 3rd Strike felt much smoother in terms of gameplay, how the characters move and how moves execute. SSFIV feels stiff in comparison. I’ve said this before to people, but no one seems to agree with me.

      • Hell yes! Props and a like for Garou: MotW love. :D

  • I’m with Ono. SFIII is the least accessible of the games due to it’s intricate systems. That’s why it’s popular with purists and hardcore fighters as it does away with all the fluff (the lack of modes is evident) and instead provides a game that – along with Garou: Mark of the Wolves – is one of the more balanced fighting games.

    • Intricate systems? Really? Parrying is so easy to understand, but I still can’t figure out FADCs.

  • There’s so much wrong with Street Fighter III, I was completely turned off by the game. The new characters had awful designs, the parrying system basically just made the game into volleyball, I had gotten used to air-blocking from how much I played Alpha 3 and MVC2, at the time, and the music was awful. Even today, I hate fighting against SF3 characters in SF4, because it means I’m going to have to hear those awful Ibuki, Dudley, or Makoto themes.

    I was so happy that SF4 went back to what I liked about the series, especially the inclusion of as many Alpha characters as it has, even if it still doesn’t have air-blocking. I wish there had been a couple more new characters (especially in the vein of Crimson Viper and Juri, who I think are some of the best Capcom fighting game character designs ever made…probably because I used to be a huge SNK fan and both of those characters would’ve fit perfectly in KOF), but otherwise, I like it worlds more than SFIII.

    • FireCouch

      Completely disagree with you in every way possible.

  • Fonic

    Much as I like 3rd Strike and SSF4 my favorite in the series is still Alpha 3. Aside from having a great roster the home version had really good single player and I remember being impressed at how well done the PS1 port was.

  • It’s about making money. There are more who just want to learn how to play. Then people who will actually try to master it. Street Fighter 3 is a master’s game. If you weren’t going to do that you have no reason to play it. That cause Capcom not to make any cash, and thats why they make the games.

    After saying that Alpha 2 is my favorite one of the most noob friendly fighting games ever.

  • daizyujin

    Actually the most inaccessible is Street Fighter itself. Now that would have been hilarious to see them try to replicate. Imagine if playing it, you pull the move off perfectly but it still only works 1/4 of the time if you are lucky.

    • Kris

      Well, the moves ARE supposed to be secret!

  • Third strike was better than SFIV in almost every way to be honest. What made third strike inaccessible was the parry mechanic; it’s very counter intuitive to hit FOWARD when you want to defend yourself, and when you miss it, you leave yourself in the open way too much. Had it been an “instant block” sort of mechanic, that if you block just at the right time you get the parry benefits, it would’ve been perfect.

    SFIV removed moves on some characters and failed to improve on others; Guile could use more than 2 moves. The supers and ultras are also very limiting, 1 super for most characters and only two ultras? Not to mention that most characters’ super is a weaker version of their ultra.

    Another thing that SSFIV failed at is making ultras 3 button press; now this is more of a personal thing, and I’m sure that most will say that its not a problem in a fighting stick. But there was simply no reason to make it 3 buttons, 2 buttons worked just fine and is a lot easier to perform on the controller, that way one can leave the left hand solely for the dpad, or maybe use only bumpers/R1L1 since triggers in fighting games fail. Two buttons worked gread for ex-moves, why make it 3 with ultras?

    They also missed the chance on adding a roll mechanic, which would help a lot in a game with so many projectiles. The forward dash is a bit of a joke too imo, as it leaves you way too vulnerable, a simple run would’ve sufficed. But oh well, if they let me make all the decisions it would just be kof98 with street fighter characters. :P

  • PrinceHeir

    well they made it accessible i give you that but after playing the old games. i feel they’re 10 times better than the new ones.

    if only 3rd strike had the same cast as SFIV. that would have been sooo awesome.

    one thing’s for sure. SSFIV has the best cast in any SF game ever :P

    would love to see juri or viper in 3rd strike playstyle :)

  • Zefiro Torna

    It’s quite inane to SOLELY blame Street Fighter III’s inaccessibility due to the advanced gameplay. Capcom once again overlooks the fact that it was on the ill supported CPS-3 arcade board, which further seemed like less of a worthy investment to arcade operators when you add in the highly inconvenient security protection system. Compare it to Street Fighter 2.5’s (I’m not calling it IV) release, which was on the reliable and well regarded Taito Type X2. In retrospect, Capcom should have moved 3rd Strike to the beloved Naomi as soon as they could have, a huge lost opportunity lost there.

    Then Capcom themselves screwed up things on the home console front, when Street Fighter II was released on every platform capable running video games (even the 3DO) the only platform III was holding its own on for awhile was the Dreamcast. Ports to other platforms (PS2 and Xbox) took years too long, most certainly in non Japanese regions where III was tucked away into the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, and by then potential players were already wowed by other things. When 2.5 hit home consoles, it hit two of ’em simultaneously (then PC later that year) and did so in a timely manner with strong hype and exposure behind it.

    It’s not uncommon to hear about people finding out about III even existing until years after its release, I for one did back in 2005 in all honesty, and it certainly didn’t surprise me to hear people I’ve met exclaim “there was a Street Fighter III?” when 2.5 was announced. One can only wonder how many people who have played 2.5 have even tried out III…

    Of course, there’s other things making up other slices on the whole pie of misfortune to also bring up, but if only Capcom did more to increase III’s presence I’m sure it would have done significantly better.

    • Apache_Chief

      Your vastly informative and insightful post was invalidated by “Street Fighter 2.5”. Either be helpful or be a troll, don’t do both.

      • Zefiro Torna

        Calling it 2.5 isn’t devaluing it in the sense that it can’t be a strong and important part of the franchise, like the Alpha/Zero* series is. You may read over my original post and see that I thought Capcom treated the game appropriately (aside from the improper name), and I clearly never mentioned that it shouldn’t exist or anything else like that.

        Nothing wrong with calling it 2.5 from a factual point of view, the game is a midquel and was purposely designed with II as its basis.

        Easy to get caught up in these internet witch, er… troll hunts isn’t it?

        *Speaking of which, the fact that they named those games “Zero” and later changed them to “Alpha” for international release is proof enough that Capcom isn’t perfect in naming/numbering their games. Unless I’m a troll for thinking so.

        • Apache_Chief

          Fair enough, chronologically it IS 2.5. I’ve just seen too many people discount a sequel because it didn’t change enough for their tastes, so it leaves a bad impression on me when I see it. (“Halo 2.5” comes to mind as the most obnoxious example I’ve seen of this)

          • Zefiro Torna

            Understand where you’re coming from, a variety of corners of the internet are crazy like that and it’s such that I keep away from. Not here at Siliconera where, despite the sometimes disagreeable statements that might get posted, most people aren’t venomous or dismissive like people elsewhere.No hard feelings, you get a “like” from me.

            (Edit: spelling related)

  • mikanko

    Ono is a bit of a troll, and mainly gives out info in interviews to illicit reactions rather than ever being truthful with his audience. The way he carries around the blanka figure or dresses in drag as Chun Li kinda makes it hard to hate on the guy though. Just recently he said Arcade Edition SSF4 is intentionally unbalanced and not intended to to be played on consoles in an interview. He has also recently tweeted hints that AE DLC will be announced for consoles right after the 3ds game launches. Guy just can’t stop contradicting himself.

    I just hope if Capcom produces a new Darkstalkers game his SF4 team is far far far away from it, and the MvC3/TvC guy is behind it. If I recall correctly Neo_G, the guy behind the fighting engine for Alpha and the old Darkstalkers games works on the MvC3 staff, so it’d make more sense.

  • By the time Street Fighter 3 came to the market in the 90s, Virtua Fighter was tearing up the arcades in Japan, Tekken was causing a stir in the west and The King of Fighters was “THE” 2D francise KING! (Special mention to MK for bringing the cheese), SF3 had spectacular 2D graphics, fantastic gamplay, awesome music and I still play this game today, I think the roster of characters didn’t help it sell and mastering the parrying system put a lot of people off. SF3 was one the first games I got for my beloved Dreamcast.

  • It might have locked the door, for whatever reasons, but at least it went out with a bang.

    3s was THE game for me to play for years. The SFIII series left many good memories, and not just gameplay related ones. I still look for fanart these days and I still admire the artwork and perhaps best animated 2D sprites ever.

    All this would not have been possible if they made the game more accessible to not “lock the door”, as it would have excluded all the great gameplay elements and character designs that made me like this game so much. Here’s to all fellow fans of Q, 12, Oro, Elena, Ibuki, Alex, Makoto… nah forget it, all those SFIII characters are great.

  • xxx128

    SfII and sfIII 3rd strike own SFIV so hard. Also i feel that yoshiki okamoto was a much better producer than ono by far.

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