Capcom’s Street Fighter series is known for its high skill ceiling, precision controls, and a need for quick reflexes. According to a recent interview with producer Yoshinori Ono, however, he originally sought to flip this expectation on its head by making 2009’s Street Fighter IV a completely “turn-based” experience.
Believing the idea to be “revolutionary” at the time, Ono conceded that convincing higher-ups at Japanese video game developer and publisher Capcom of his vision was “really, really difficult.”
In Eurogamer’s EGX 2019 interview with Ono-san, which is viewable on Twitch, a translator conveyed that the idea was born of Capcom’s apparent reluctance with regards to “making fighting games in general for a while, let alone just Street Fighter.” Although his turn-based simulation pitch never really took off, eventually the Capcom producer was allowed to develop the authentic Street Fighter IV experience we all know today.
Apparently, the uniquely turn-based fighting game would’ve seen players “take the moves [they] want to do and put them together like blocks.” After doing so, the desired combo string would “run automatically” without further input. This would’ve been a drastic departure for the franchise, which is perhaps why, in Yoshinori Ono’s own words, the team “obviously didn’t make that in the end.”
It’s possible to see what might have prompted the train of thought behind this concept, which would almost certainly have lowered the somewhat high bar of entry for Street Fighter and the fighting genre in general. When asked about other outlandish ideas from Street Fighter IV’s conceptual phase, however, Ono was less forthcoming and didn’t clarify.
Sticking to the series’ roots worked out well for Ono and the team, with the success of Street Fighter IV allowing for the production of its sequel. Street Fighter V launched on PS4 and PC in February 2016 and is still being supported today.