Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono Talks Fighting Game Profits And Darkstalkers

By Sato . July 26, 2013 . 1:00pm

Yoshinori Ono, known for being Capcom’s Street Fighter IV series producer (and also for his outrageous Chun-Li cosplay,) has been busy as usual, with his latest appearance at EVO 2013 and more recently at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where 4Gamer caught up with him and talked about his thoughts on the future of fighting games.


The first question asked by 4Gamer, is one that’s been on the mind of many fighter enthusiasts. What about fighting games for next-gen consoles?


“Personally, I don’t want to stop Street Fighter’s main numbered series at IV,” says Ono. “Realistically speaking, developing a title for next-gen consoles requires a huge amount of staff members, and a large sum of money. The issue of money also applies to everyone else, as it’ll be required to invest in a new console, game, and arcade stick.”


Lately, we’ve seen a trend of free-to-play fighters; with titles such as Tekken Revolution, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, and Killer Instinct hitting the market. Ono shares his thoughts on that, too.


“If you look at fighting games as a competitive sport, one might say the more players, the better. Going F2P lowers the hurdle of needing money to start, which I believe is one the ideal parts about it,” Ono expresses.


“On the other hand, knowing whether a company can guarantee [recovering] the development cost is something to which I don’t currently see an answer. So, I’d like to think about it a little more after seeing how well Harada (Tekken series producer) and Hayashi (Dead or Alive series producer) handle it.”


He continues, “When thinking about games as a product, it boils down to how much the company intends to spend in order to make it, and how much the players will likely spend on it, and the balance between the two is very important. For example, back in Street Fighter II, one play was 100, 200 yen, which was enough to cover the development cost; however, those costs are now much higher than what players would imagine. At the moment, I don’t have a clear vision of how we can balance the two.”


4Gamer mentions that Tekken Revolution and Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate aren’t completely new games, but rather updated versions, which they believe it has allowed them to challenge the F2P model.


“There’s a lot of things to think about when it comes to the billing model,” Ono replies. “For example, in trading card games, you can become stronger by paying money and acquiring new cards. For arcade fighter games, you don’t get anything from your money. The motivation of ‘wanting to become stronger’ is what they pay for.”


“For Fighting games, we’re always thinking about finding ‘something’ which can be acquired by paying money,” he continues. “If can find that, I believe things would go smoothly. One of our trials was the ‘Gems’ of Street Fighter X Tekken.”


Meanwhile, Siliconera recently caught up with Capcom’s fighting game manager, Matt Dahlgren, who mentioned that Darkstalkers Resurrection didn’t perform as they had hoped. While he didn’t reveal anything regarding a possible development of a new Darkstalkers game, Ono had a few thoughts to share after 4Gamer asked about a possible new game in the series as well.


“Asking you guys to just wait a little longer is where we truly stand right now,” Ono admitted. “Darkstalkers Resurrection was just updated other day, too, and we’re really feeling your passion. Our activities to finally show the world a new Darkstalkers are still going on, so It’d bring me great joy to have your continued support.”


Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

    We better know something about darkstalkers by 2015 or Im gonna be mad

    • AzureRyuujin

      I’m just glad Ono’s still trying.

      As (humorously) trollish as the guy can be, he’s probably one of the most in touch devs in the industry.

    • Your getting mad won’t make it release quicker

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Sure it wont, but it highlights exactly how ridiculous this situation is.

  • Josephl64

    Everything he has been saying so far has been pretty fair, I don’t know why fans feel so differently… (DLC is a totally different issue)

    • Brion Valkerion

      Its usually not the fans, its usually the people who sold their copy of SF4 a week after it came out to gamestop, who still complain about everything Capcom or Ono does lol.

      But I agree, he has a very level headed view of current fighting games. Why people freaked out and assumed a totally new SF would never come when he said he did not have a team or budget for one at the moment, I’ll never know, but I really like his way of thinking about a new fighter on next gen consoles.

      • AkuLord3

        Its not like fans complaining is a bad thing. Complaining about bad business practices is fair though even then its not really Ono’s fault and he’s still trying to make a fun series for people to enjoy. I might not care about SF for now (maybe never, it depends) but i can still see here Ono cares well about his projects and i respect that

    • TrevHead

      With Skullgirl’s Kickstarter and the move into FTP, it’s evident that it costs sacks of cash to make a good FTG. I wonder if gamers attitude to Capcom’s yearly updates / DLC has improved somewhat.

      Not that I particularity care about Capcom FTGs anymore now they’ve moved from 2D to 3D, but I’d prefer anything to a F2P model.

      • raymk

        Capcom fighters are still 2d, do you just mean the graphic style art?

        • TrevHead

          Yes I like my 2D art and animation especially when it comes to traditional 2D games that require pixel perfect play like FTG, beat em ups, shmups & precision platformers

          3D or 2.5D to be exact tend to be lacking in that dept and generally come off as cheap and dare I say without sounding like a snob “casual”

          Capcom have done a great job with their 2.5D FTGs though, but at the end of the day it can’t replace good old practical 2D where it’s easier to read hit boxes and time moves.

  • MasterScrub

    Ono is a really great guy.

    • Altin

      10/10 would play Street Fighter EX with him.

  • AuraGuyChris

    That guy is so keet.

  • Vesperion

    He loves Darkstalkers as much as the next person. Ono is great guy and he is doing what he can. Instead of complaining we can’t get a DS4 let’s try to lend our support to change the outcome for the future.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Capcom shouldnt have people begging for games yo.

      • Vesperion

        As long as there are humans, then there will be begging for anything yo

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Shit is seriously wrong when they start expecting you to beg

          • Kaitsu

            Except they didn’t expect anyone to do anything except buy their games. We begged because we begged, not because people expected us to.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Oh for the love of god. They literally asked the fans to show them the money

            This is not up for debate

          • Vesperion

            What other better way for Ono to show his boss people want DS?

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            But it wasnt darkstalkers they were talking about. They havent taken the nessescary steps to back darkstalkers either.

          • Elvick

            Well it’s certainly not with a game many people have played in some form before.

            Would be like putting Mega Man (the original) up on PSN and XBLA and saying, “If this does “well”, more Mega Man!”

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Yeah there is this thing called proper planning, promotion and budgeting and observing when its time to put things out on the market. However you need to have a good product before, you go through with such a venture. Bad products only sell with good timing.

  • Leonard Norwood Jr.

    Ono is making sure he’s trying more than hard on the Darkstalkers. And I hope and pray that he won’t give up on that and other games he may have in mind. There’s so much that could be done with a video game series regardless of where they stood. I get why some people would discontinue a video game as a series. When it comes to sales and popularity, stuff like that keep games going for a long time, and developers have to come up with something new for every new game.
    I’m definitely not down with Capcom’s business practices and decisions. Unless for some reason they really on on the ropes ready to fall, Capcom still has it in them to give things a shot and make it more than just a video game and such just for fans. Whatever’s going on with them. I just don’t have that much faith with how they take care of some of their games. Heck even new IPs and franchises will one day fall into the category like with “few video game franchises having problems” with time and bad and very questionable decisions. I don’t know how a video game business goes, but I’m sure as heck with decisions, there may be more than one way to make sure a game will sell. They have to keep an open and positive mind and not freak out when something happens.

    Back on to the topic. It would be great if Darkstalkers returns and in a way that will bring in more gamers other than the fans. Ono seems like a cool guy and hope he continues to back up the words he says.

  • Leon_Tekashi

    I respect Ono for doing what he can to make the fans happy. =)

  • AverageGamers

    Just make a street fighter game that gathers ALL characters from original SF to SSFIV (bringing back fans beloved like Alex, Twelve, Q, Skullomania, Pullum Pruna, and others), add several new original characters and there you have your SFV. I think it’s already possible with this current gen, so why won’t it be executable for the next game with higher machine capabilities?
    The fact that they’re stuck in SSFIV only shows that Capcom is losing creativity with their franchise, plus they definitely need better management… more people like Ono would be better.

    • 60hz

      Put “Just” in quotes. The more characters you add the harder it is to balance, meaning more time, and more money…
      Overly simplified example: 10 characters = 90 tuning targets! THat is each character has to be tuned against 9 other characters – and when you tweak a move on a character it has to still keep the planned balance against the other 8 characters! So it’s even more work than just 90 tuning targets.
      That tuning target is PER MOVE. Each move has to be tuned per each rival character. There are short cuts such as categorizing moves but still the number gets astronomical pretty quick…

      That’s why games like VF are incredible, they are considered balanced and have about 10x more moves that SF… and it’s also why games like MvC are basically impossible to tune…

      anyway “Just” in quotes is more accurate.

      • Kaitsu

        Games like MvC are impossible to tune because of how it is played. Pretty sure the first MvC was just as broken as any other MvC and Xmen VS SF/etc.

        While quantity of characters does affect balance, that’s not necessarily the case.

        • MoriyaMug

          I don’t think any Versus game was as broken as MvC2…

          • Patrick Lucas Honeyman

            UMVC3 and Hokuto no Ken both say Hi!

          • ArmoredBoar

            Uh, MVC2 is still more broken.
            X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, on the other hand…

    • ZenTzen

      no, at this point i want them to lay off street fighter for a couple of years and focus on their other Fighting game franchises, SFIV still has a few years left in it as well

      • TheHolypopeofgaming


    • MoriyaMug

      Don’t the SFEX characters belong to Arika? And seriously, SF has never been a series known for its creativity. Most of its more creative aspects are cribbed from the proving ground of the Vampire series… and occasionally from SNK games.

  • Neophoton

    I at least give him credit for trying, even if I’m not really expecting a new Darkstalkers at this point.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Ono is awesome.

  • Keepin’em Honest

    Don’t wait on DaT Darkstalkers, folks.

  • anthony apduhan

    “Realistically speaking, developing a title for next-gen consoles requires a huge amount of staff members, and a large sum of money. The issue of money also applies to everyone else, as it’ll be required to invest in a new console, game, and arcade stick.”

    Awww so MVC4 will likely not happen til 2021… T^T

    • TheHolypopeofgaming

      Dumptruck of money…it gets done

  • SgtKonus

    To be honest, I can see why Capcom wouldn’t want to invest in a new DS.

    DS has never been a household name and the game wasn’t too popular in the 1990’s while SF was a juggernaut. DSR didn’t do too well and fighters are very expensive games to make. (I think on SF character was equivalent to $1 Million dollars). I mean, I know people like DS but on the flip side, Capcom has legitimate fears. If you guys remember, Ono even said that at first, Capcom didn’t even want to make SF4 after 3S, while an excellent game, didn’t sell too well. Ono had to beg them and this is SF, one of the largest fighting game genres on the planet, Ono has probably 10x more work ahead of him lobbying for DS.

    • ZenTzen

      a little bit of balls is what the higherups at capcom needs, and DS was popular enough, it did have 2 sequels, an anime and a godawful american cartoon, and think about it, a fast paced capcom fighting game pitting old hollywood monster movies inspired characters against each other and proper marketing could make DS a pretty popular series

      • BlueTree

        That popularity was mostly driven by Japan, though. In Japan, Vampire/Darkstalkers is very well known. Solely on the basis of it being a video game, Darkstalkers hasn’t really done well in North America, folks are aware of the characters, but it really doesn’t push the kind of numbers nor demand the same kind of respect or understanding that Street Fighter does. I think it would take a lot of guts on the part of Capcom to push a new installment through, but the question is whether or not that would be worth it if their goal was simply to make the game sell in America and turn a profit. They already outsource their fighting games, so these are investments that have to pay off, and there’s very little assurance that a new Darkstalkers title would command the same type of recognition and sales as Street Fighter 4 managed.

  • Patrick Lucas Honeyman

    Need to edit this post later S’s my phone’s being too mental when writing this…

    Props to Ono for being the man in the middle and doing what he can to get the go ahead.

    See it this way. We’re approaching the lull period at the end of one generation and the start of another. No new fighting game releases for current gen.

    The SFIV update (Ultra SFIV) is released early next year to help with Capcom’s ’13/’14 end of year financials and keep fans happy with one of the company’s most popular fighters.

    This will grant them the required time to continue development with the PS4/Xbox One dev. kits with the hopes (fingers crossed) for at least a hype trailer for either a new franchise or a returning one (Darkstalkers would be the obvious one).

    In any case, be optimistic that one of the biggest public faces of Capcom Ono, is a huge fan Darkstalkers and we’ll continue to campaign for the series as long ass under Capcom’s

  • xxx128

    Soooo… if vanillaware can make gorgeous state of the art 2D games for one million dollars production budget…. why can’t capcom anymore. 3rd strike or even sf2 > sf4 and that by a huge margin.

    • TrevHead

      I haven’t looked too closely at Dragon’s Crown but Vanillaware generally have rather simple stick figure animations to them, rather than redraw frames sprites are simply moved at the joints.

      However I still think Capcom should go back to 2D artwork, as besides imo looking great is more practical in a pixel perfect precision game than 2.5D.

      I don’t blame them for going for 3D though as so many modern gamers look down on 2D and percieve them as cheap and only worth $20. Capcom were rather smart for making SFIV 3D, I doubt we would have seen as big a renascence of the genre or they’d be able to sell an arcade game for $60.

      Just look at the problems CAVE faced with their 2D shmups or even Ubis Rayman Origins , gamers moaned like hell over their pricepoint’s saying they should be on XBLA for $15 and only became a big hit for Ubi when they slashed the price by half. It’s probably why Ninty has gone 2.5d too and Megaman 8 and 9 were on XBLA before the series faced the axe. And just look at Skullgirls where ppl had the gall to say they were been ripped off at $15.

      It’s just another reason why I don’t have much faith in modern gamers tastes and preferences sigh.

  • Swaggermuffin

    Yoshinoro is adorable.

  • Raiden

    Please Mr Ono, pleeeease give us another Darkstalkers game! I’d even buy a PS4 if it meant getting a Darkstslkers 4.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos