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Street Fighter Producer Doesn't Want Series to End With IV

Yoshinori Ono talks about big budgets and free-to-play fighting games.

By Mike Williams. Published 8 months ago

Capcom announced Ultra Street Fighter IV at EVO 2013 a few weeks ago, but with the Xbox One and PlayStation nearing release fighting game fans are wondering when a next-gen Street Fighter V is coming. In an interview with 4Gamer (translated by Siliconera), Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono said he'd love to do another game, but the money's not there yet.

"Personally, I don't want to stop Street Fighter's main numbered series at IV," said 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."

4Gamer also asked Ono about rise of free-to-play fighting games, with Tekken Revolution, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, and Killer Instinct all coming soon to various platforms. He admitted that Capcom toyed with the concept in Street Fighter x Tekken's Gems system.

"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 said.

"There's a lot of things to think about when it comes to the billing model. 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 added. "If can find that, I believe things would go smoothly."

Part of the issue of trying a free-to-play Street Fighter is knowing if the game would actually recoup its development costs.

"Knowing whether a company can guarantee [recovering] the development cost is something to which I don't currently see an answer," Ono said. "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."

"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."

The best community comments so far 6 comments

  • Terpiscorei 8 months ago

    I guess I shouldn't be too surprised to see Street Fighter is also falling into the triple-A/Indie gap, but I still find it depressing. Unfortunately, I'm not sure F2P is the way out; I would guess that the mechanical complexity of a fighting game is a substantially larger barrier to entry than the price tag. I remember playing SSF2T with friends, either at home or in arcades, and it was a ton of fun, even as the characters suffered my inept instruction. This isn't an experience most people generally have anymore, and for casual players, less technical games like Mario Kart are simply a better choice for entertaining a group of friends. Furthermore, the vast majority of blockbuster games seem to be in genres with much lower minimum mechanical demands.

    I don't think Street Fighter is ever going to have sales commensurate with things like The Last of Us or Bioshock Infinite. I'm not sure it's possible to scale back the production to make the investment easier to recoup, either. What about the unthinkable: raising the price? If it's simply a reality that a niche title like Street Fighter can't exist at its current price point, I'd rather pay a premium than see it die.

  • BigDannyH 8 months ago

    I think F2P and competitive gaming may actually be very suited. I don't know if League of Legends or World of Tanks would be particularly popular if it wasn't for the fact that it's possible to sink a lot of time in to them, learning the mechanics, without even spending a penny.

    I think if they offered one character for free and switched that character every few weeks it'd mean that everyone got a try at the roster. Then you just charge per character to unlock them permanently with an option to buy them all for £40.

  • Terpiscorei 8 months ago

    I hope you are right!

    I think the rotating free roster could work, but I think the one-on-one format introduces problems there that games like League of Legends avoid by virtue of having teams. I'm not sure what you do when you want to put a character with a lot of very poor matchups out for free. (Think of free Tager week in BlazBlue CT!)

    I think Tekken Revolution makes the whole roster free and limits the number of matches you can play in a day; I think Killer Instinct is offering to sell characters individually. It'll be interesting to see which of these approaches work.

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