One of the key voices behind Street Fighter's modern-day revival is departing the company. Yoshinori Ono announced yesterday that he will be leaving Capcom, after almost three decades with the company.
In a statement posted on Twitter yesterday, Ono confirmed he would be resigning his position as brand manager for Capcom's titles including Street Fighter. He thanked the fighting game community for supporting the Capcom Pro Tour this year as it dealt with complications surrounding COVID-19, as well as players of Street Fighter over the years.
"Capcom staff in the new generation will continue taking care of the Street Fighter brand and leading the World Warriors," said Ono. "And I do believe that they will continue making Street Fighter extraordinary. I will look forward to seeing the new Street Fighter brand and how it's going to be expanded, as just one of [the] regular gamers next time around."
Ono was a major factor in the development of Street Fighter over the last couple generations, notably convicing then-head of R&D Keiji Inafune to let him work on a Street Fighter 4. Though the design went through various iterations, Street Fighter 4 ended up being a game that not only jump-started the series back to life, but sparked a new fervor in gaming culture for fighting games. It's hard to imagine what fighting games would look like today without it.
Street Fighter 5, however, had some trouble getting a solid footing this console generation. A rough start begat years of trying to course-correct and refine the new entry. Ono told USgamer in an interview earlier this year that Street Fighter 5, especially after the launch of Arcade Edition, re-taught the team the "importance of listening to our players." Regardless of thoughts on where Street Fighter 5 is now, it's certainly the healthiest it's ever been, with stellar matches still happening despite them being forced online and a year's worth of characters to roll out going into 2021.
Ono leaves Capcom with an indelible mark on the Street Fighter franchise. As the series heads into a new generation, with a swan's song of DLC plans and the rumored possibility of a new game on the horizon, the series is moving ahead strong, even as one of its most notable producers leaves with one last "Shoryuken."