Q: Super Street Fighter IV introduces ten new characters - two brand new, the rest returning from previous Street Fighter games. What is it about the returning characters that led you to decide they were right to feature in Super?
YO: Back in February when we launched Street Fighter IV, we heard many voices from loads of different fans saying, 'why isn't she in this?', or, 'why isn't he in this?'. There was such a massive outcry for some particular characters. Then I realised there was so much demand for these characters. But unfortunately then Capcom hadn't approved for a sequel to Street Fighter IV, so it only had to be taken in as comments from the community. But because Street Fighter IV was such a success, the company approved for just one more sequence after Street Fighter IV. Rather than overdoing it like in the past with Turbos and Supers, just one Super is acceptable.
Then the team obviously wanted to pick the most popular ones, but some of the popular characters didn't actually fit Street Fighter IV in terms of philosophy and the actual rulebook of the game. We wanted to make sure that we picked the popular characters but at the same time fit the Street Fighter IV directive. Those eight characters that were picked were the ones that matched both popularity and propriety.
Q: Some fans have questioned why the gameplay rebalancing hasn't been made available for free in a downloadable update, and why the new characters haven't been made available as downloadable content. What do you say to that criticism?
YO: My team and I are well aware of the networked, download era we're in, but when we first decided to make Super Street Fighter IV, we weren't going to put so much in this game. But now that we have ten extra characters, and when we thought about what the users really wanted, we just had to add so many more different modes, and in the end the addition became so big it just had to be a disc update. I understand some fans don't like us making this decision. As a token of goodwill I'd like to say this is why we're not releasing the game as a full price disc. I fully think it's worth full price, but as a token of goodwill to the fans, and to say this is an upgrade of what they already have, we've gone for a slightly reduced price range. I hope that will satisfy the fans.
Q: You mentioned Capcom has given approval for just one Street Fighter IV spin-off. Does that mean Super is the last Street Fighter IV game we'll see? If that's the case, what's the future of the franchise? Have you begun to think about where you'll take it in the next year to two years?
YO: I'm well aware of the mistakes the company made in the past, so I don't intend to accept, even if Capcom orders me to make Hyper Street Fighter IV or Ultra Street Fighter IV. But what I can do is if there is a need to update the game in the form of a patch for rebalancing, then that can definitely be done through DLC, or just a download patch. Perhaps we could release a patch that's called Super Street Fighter IV 2011. That would just have the latest updates, but not a new package. Just to set a new regulation for the game.
Does that mean we're going to Street Fighter V straight away? Now I'm not sure about that just yet, because with Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV I don't think we've managed to pick up all those people who've never played fighting games. We've managed to pick up some of the people who used to play Street Fighter II, but not all of them, and I don't think we've managed to pick up those who've never played fighting games. So what we would like to do is lower the entry barrier for those who have never played the fighting genre before so we can convey that fighting games are a good tool, a good fun thing to have per family. That's what I'll be thinking about in the next few months.
Q: You say you'd like to broaden the appeal of Street Fighter. Microsoft will release Natal very soon, and Sony will release the PlayStation Move very soon. Can both of those motion-sensing technologies be used with Street Fighter to broaden its appeal? Have you begun to think about how motion-sensing can be incorporated into the fighting game genre? Will we see a download patch that will allow us to play Super Street Fighter IV with Natal and PS Move?
YO: I've been interested in motion-sensing for a while, ever since Wii was launched. But I don't think it fits the way Street Fighter is played at the moment. It does broaden the appeal to casual users simply because of the instinctive controls, but it just doesn't quite fit an intricately balanced game such as Street Fighter. Now, there is a possibility of doing something called Street Fighter Fit, or Street Fighter Exercise, that is more suited for motion-sensing games, but that would obviously be a slightly different-themed game.
What I mean by broadening the appeal is that where hardcore players are at the moment, with all their hyper super techniques, that seems to isolate themselves from the rest of the players. What I want to do is connect those people and casual players together so that the progression is a bit more continuous than it is at the moment, where a few of the elitists deem their skills amazing and don't want to play with other people.
Q: Finally, would it be possible for new characters to be made available as DLC, and if so, would Haggar be one you would consider?
YO: Technically, it's completely possible. If I hear many voices of people saying, 'come on, update the game in 2011, add a character or two', I could. But in that case I wouldn't put Haggar in, it would be Hugo!
Super Street Fighter IV is due out on Xbox 360 and PS3 on April 30.