At Comic-Con I was fortunate enough to speak with Yoshinori Ono, the Producer of Street Fighter IV, about the game. One of the first things I wanted to ask him is where Dimps fits in the picture, but I also wanted to squeeze in reader questions some of you submitted in the comments last week. Thanks everyone that asked a question! I’m glad I had enough time for them to address issues about cross region play and the possibility of a Wii version. Signs look promising for a Wii version, but I’ll let Ono-san explain that.
Did Dimps help develop Street Fighter IV?
Yoshinori Ono, Producer of Street Fighter IV: Dimps is indeed helping with development, but it’s not just Dimps. We have plenty of people at Capcom involved as well. A lot of people from the old Street Fighter teams are involved on the Capcom side and on the Dimps side. The president of Dimps was actually involved with the original Street Fighter. It’s less about which companies are helping and more about getting staff that were involved with Street Fighter up until now.
Did Capcom choose to work with Dimps or did Dimps approach Capcom? How did the relationship come about?
It was an organic process. A couple of years back, two or three years ago when we were first thinking about this project, we were approaching the 20 year anniversary of Street Fighter. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do a new game for the 15th Anniversary of Street Fighter, so we thought it would be great to do something for the 20th .
Around that time Nishiyama-san, who is over at Dimps now and involved with the original Street Fighter, was having dinner with Inafune-san and other Capcom staff. The conversation flowed naturally about making another Street Fighter. It became an idea where we can get as many people who had been involved with Street Fighter. Capcom staff and ex-Capcom staff, get everyone together, bring them all on the table and make the best possible Street Fighter we could. A couple years ago at dinner on that fateful day is how it all happened.
Some of the Street Fighter III: Third Strike fans are worried about Street Fighter IV dialing back the difficulty. What do you think about that?
I was involved with the creation of Street Fighter III as well so I’m very glad to hear fans are still into it ten years later. I still play it. I want to be very clear here, Street Fighter IV is less of a sequel to III and more of a way kicking the car into reverse and picking up the people we may have left behind from II to III. For the people who didn’t make the move to III, we want bring it back to the table and show them how fun Street Fighter is and get them to play IV.
For people that are still enjoying III, please continue to keep playing III. The game is still fun. You don’t have to stop playing III just because IV is out. If you want to play IV, awesome we’re happy to have you. But we’re perfectly happy if you want to continue getting better at III. There is room for both games to exist peacefully at the same time.
Who is your favorite new character in Street Fighter IV?
You asked specifically for a new character from IV, but I’m going to cheat. As a producer I should be promoting the new characters. I should be saying Crimson Viper. I should say El Fuerte, but to be completely honest with you I have to say Dhalsim. The reason is he was a difficult character to create. Getting the graphics to look right on him. Getting the shaders to look right. Getting his limbs to stretch properly. In the same way you raise a kid, it is a difficult process. The difficulty makes you love your kids that much more. I feel that way about Dhalsim now. He was difficult to create which makes me love the guy. So, I’m going to give you an answer of Dhalsim instead of a new character.
How has Dhalsim evolved?
An interesting question deserves an interesting answer. I think the way to explain it is we tried to evolve these characters behind the scenes and not necessarily an evolution in a PR sense. In other words, the game is sort of an experiment, a way to reproduce the look and feel of II in a 3D environment. If people come to me and say Dhalsim is exactly the way he was in II, what’s up with that? In all honesty, that is the best compliment they can give me.
Thinking of all the other characters in the Street Fighter series which characters would you most want to come on consoles?
Personally, I want to see Dan come back. We kind of hinted heavily Dan is making his way back in. There’s my answer from a personal point of view. I want to be clear too and not be selfish to put characters I want in there. We want to listen to voices of fans, especially Americans who were very vocal about IV getting made to begin with. As you might know, there was a survey on the Capcom USA website where users could let their voice be heard about what characters they want. They are going to be announcing the results to me today. So, I would like to make a decision on who else to bring in at that point. Please be sure to stop by for that.
[Editor’s note: Cammy was the winner of the survey Ono-san is referring to.]
Do you plan on selling additional characters as downloadable content?
We want to avoid doing that. The reason is pretty simple. It’s like someone playing chess, but selling them the bishop separately. So you would have one guy would be without a bishop and one guy would have one. For the sake of the balance of the game we would like everyone on the disc. That being said, we are thinking of doing something as downloadable content. Maybe some things distributed for free. Maybe some things for sale, but they won’t be characters.
What about selling future arcade revisions of Street Fighter IV or other upgrades as DLC?
I’ll answer this as a consumer and a player. I would love to do it that way. I would love to buy an upgrade for $5 or something. We’ll see what happens though because I’m not just a consumer. I’m a business man as well. We’ll have to see what the executives think of something like that. Time will tell.
For the PC version of Street Fighter IV will you be able to play against Xbox 360 owners? Or will Street Fighter IV only have PC vs. PC and Xbox 360 vs. Xbox 360 play?
We haven’t decided on that yet. It’s certainly something we’re thinking about. A lot of it is going to come down to how LIVE on PC works. They recently announced gold membership for LIVE on PC will be free whereas on Xbox it still costs money. We want to avoid any perception of being unfair and giving PC users preferential treatment or anything like that. This is something we’re thinking about, but not something I can answer right now. It really hasn’t been decided.
Will we be able to have online matches with Japan vs. the US and the US vs. Europe and so forth?
We are moving in that direction. A lot of it is going to come down to how we can best avoid latency issues. We’re doing a lot of research right now at Capcom Japan about the best way to handle it. If we can get it to work without a ridiculous amount of lag absolutely. That is the direction we are heading in.
Do you need an Xbox 360 controller to play the PC version or do you have a keyboard/mouse controls like Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation?
[Laughs] The way we are thinking of it now is it won’t be required to use a controller. You can use a keyboard, but I certainly recommend you to use a controller if you want to have fun with the game.
Right now we know Street Fighter IV will come out on three home platforms, but have you thought about the Wii at all?
The more people that ask about it, the more likely we are to move in that direction. The very existence of Street Fighter IV was based on people asking about it for so long. If we get a lot of requests it will be something we will think about. It might be difficult to reproduce the graphics exactly as they are, but the gameplay should be completely intact. It’s something we can think about.
Here’s a thought. You know how Capcom is reviving Mega Man 9? Maybe you can use sprites like in the old Street Fighter games and have a special Wii version.
Maybe we can do some kind of collaboration with the HD remix or something. We’ll have to think about that one.
You talked about how Street Fighter IV was a response to fans. Have you thought about reviving any other franchises like Rival Schools or Darkstalkers? Darkstalkers is getting some attention since some of the characters are going to be in Cross Edge.
We have been hearing a lot of people asking about Darkstalkers lately, which is a good thing. My advice to you would be to keep asking about it and it would make it easier for us to push it through on the Japan side. Now that we have Street Fighter IV up and running it seems to be going well it will be easier to convince higher ups to get other fighting games made. It’s in the realm of possibility. As for solid plans right now, no, but is it something that could happen? Yes indeed.
What do you think about Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe?
[laughs] In all honesty, it seems like Capcom would have been better off making that game, but hey what are you going to do?
Images courtesy of Capcom. Photo credit Spencer/Siiconera.