The tale of video game development is typically one of compromise. Whether that be due to technical limitations, a lack of time, budget or a mixture of the three.
Sometimes, however, special games come out of an environment where those limitations are removed, and it sounds like that’s what the Street Fighter 6 development team had to fight for behind the scenes.
Game Informer recently released their Street Fighter 6 cover story online, which details a bit of how Capcom’s management had to be pushed back against and convinced that their vision for the game is worth it.
This basically boiled down to the core idea behind SF6 to create something that captures the essence of what drew people into the genre in the first place.
“The concept I received from Nakayama-san was that we wanted to take it back to almost what it was during the Street Fighter II era,” said Producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya via Game Informer. “We wanted to make another Street Fighter game that’s not just for existing fans of the series, but for everyone and get that same feeling where all types of gamers are falling in love with fighting games… with Street Fighter. When that concept was brought up by Nakayama-san, it resonated very strongly with me. It is a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking.”
Although they came in after Street Fighter 5 to take over the lead developer roles, Director Takayuki Nakayama and Producer Shuhei Matsumoto along with their relatively less experienced team do not yet have the seniority or authority to make the big executive decisions on their own.
Yoshinori Ono is no longer there to captain the ship, but that’s apparently where Tsuchiya stepped in, who’s also been at Capcom for over 30 years, to be the voice in their corner when facing those in charge of the company.
“It took time for us to convince certain people – decision-makers – outside of the team to explain why these new features are so necessary,” said Nakayama. “We are trying to accomplish a lot in comparison to other fighting games, but we want Street Fighter 6 to be important and maybe a gateway for a lot of people to get themselves involved and excited about a fighting game.”
Those with their boots on the ground assuredly want to do all they can to avoid the debacle that was Street Fighter 5’s launch, but it’s also easy to see why Capcom would hesitate to give them everything they ask for.
Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter 5 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite all majorly underperformed as the company’s last 3 major fighting game releases for the company.
Hell, they recently revealed that SF5 was originally planned for 6 seasons of DLC content before it got cut back to 4 — and then received the greenlight for a 5th season after Champion Edition’s success.
Meanwhile, their other big properties like Resident Evil and Monster Hunter are making Capcom more money than ever with Street Fighter being the one to play catch up.
Luckily for everyone, however, it sounds like we won’t really be hearing about management interference with this particular project.
“It’s very rare to see games come to fruition where they were able to deliver everything the team was aiming for,” said Tsuchiya. “There’s always some sort of compromise that had to be made or ideas that had to be scrapped due to budget, schedule, resource issues. But for this time around, regarding the fundamental things that Nakayama-san wanted to accomplish with his dream project, it seems like we haven’t really had to make any sorts of omissions or compromises for this title.”
We’ve seen the team take new steps with the franchise like giving players the ability to create custom avatars to walk around and interact with the all new Battle Hub as well as the largest piece of single-player content Street Fighter has ever really seen with SF6’s World Tour.
Game Informer makes it sound like Capcom’s leadership is fully behind their fighting game team now, and all of the positive attention SF6 has received thus far is probably helping to smooth out any remaining doubts.
Whether or not Street Fighter 6 ends up achieving its goal of revitalizing the series and potentially bringing it to new heights remains to be seen.
But it is nice to know that there’s a bunch of people building SF6 who truly care about what Street Fighter means and why it’s important to get it done right.