Yoshinori Ono is leaving Capcom this summer. He announced his departure from the company last Sunday alongside the format update for the Capcom Pro Tour. Ono worked as the main producer for Capcom’s fighting game development alongside other projects like Monster Hunter and Darkstalkers. Ono’s departure as a producer will be sorely missed but his presence as a face for the company is what mattered most. He was a figurehead that would listen to fan feedback and always stood as a mediator for players.
I can’t help but wonder what is going on with Capcom when it comes to their fighting game franchises. Take the current rumors that Street Fighter 6 was not looking good internally with a pinch of salt. The recent announcement to extend Street Fighter V‘s DLC plans seems to back this claim. Ono was taken off the project over concerns about Street Fighter 6 implementing a 3v3 format. Again, these are rumors but Ono did mention that Street Fighter will be lead by a new generation of development.
I want to take a moment and just give my thanks to Yoshinori Ono and everything he’s done with Capcom these past 25 years. Without him, we wouldn’t have the amazing fighting games we currently enjoy today. Street Fighter IV’s massive success opened the door for new games across the fighting game scene. Stellar titles like Marvel Vs Capcom 3, BlazBlue, new Guilty Gear, new King of Fighters, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Skullgirls, Grand Blue Fantasy Versus and more.
Capcom in many ways is making tons of money but has suffered when it comes to its fighting game products. Lets take a closer look at what has developed these past years and how Capcom’s direction may have saved Street Fighter 6.
Capcom’s Priorities Is Not Fighting Games
Capcom is clearly making tons of money from Monster Hunter: World, Devil May Cry 5, and Resident Evil. It’s no secret that they’ve had success, well deserved for each of their market franchises. Devil May Cry was the return to form that people wanted to see after the divisive entry of DMC: Devil May Cry. Monster Hunter finally hit mainstream success after years of amazing sales on a portable system. Their first game on a console knocked it out of the park. While the remakes and quick development time of Resident Evil 2 and 3, alongside a new entry of RE7, gave fans updated entries of classic games; it also delivered a new take on the series.
However, their fighting games have bombed one after the other and missed every sales goal. Frankly, their biggest success comes in the form of Street Fighter 4 and Marvel Vs Capcom 3. Street Fighter IV sold various updated versions in the form of Super Street Fighter IV, Ultra Street Fighter IV, Arcade Edition, and so forth. The same cannot be said for games that came after that success.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Street Fighter X Tekken came out during a time of heavy competition and various fighting games to choose from. It was not well accepted by fans because of the controversial gem system and the lack of powerful Tekken characters. They eventually turned the game around, but no one cared and the scene around the game died. Street Fighter X Tekken sold poorly and tarnished the cross over to the point that Bandai Namco might never release their Tekken X Street Fighter that was going to follow up after the game launch.
Street Fighter V had a similar situation with a bad launch and poor sales that followed afterwards. The game was half baked and lacked even the most basic of features. Street Fighter V sold well below expectations for being one of the premier series in the genre. Now don’t get me wrong, Street Fighter V eventually managed to back those sales up with constant support and updates. With the rise of eSports gaming and streaming, they manage to sell at least what the previous entry did but it took a long time and development to recover.
Lastly, we have Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite. A game that disappointed fans and sold horribly. The game looked like a budget title and cashing in only on its name recognition. Have you noticed the trend here? Capcom has had more failure and missed sales on fighting games with their last three projects. While Ono is a beloved figure, all these games under-performed on his watch. If the game was not performing or running in a state worthy of a Street Fighter 6, Capcom made the right call.
Wait, Did Capcom Save Street Fighter 6?
Look, Capcom is a big Japanese gaming company that sells millions of copies of each game they make. You can’t have your fighting game pillar under-performing over and over again. When was the last time you heard a Capcom fighting game selling well?
Nintendo’s Smash Bros. Ultimate is killing.
Arc System Work’s Dragon Ball FighterZ sold a ton.
Bandai Namco’s Soul Calibur 6 and Tekken 7 each managed to hit their sales targets and more.
It’s completely understandable that Capcom wants the return in sales. Each new entry, other than SF4 and MvC3, has been received poorly by both fans and critics, selling worse and worse each time.
Rumors and leaks from a Capcom insider, Dusk Golem on Twitter, who has been proven right, paints this picture at Capcom. Ono and the team were developing Street Fighter 6 with a team-based mechanic in mind. The game was not performing well internally and they had to delay Street Fighters 6‘s announcement by extending Street Fighter V with a new season of new characters. Capcom was not happy with what Ono and the team came up with, but a new director has taken over and brought new ideas that can salvage the situation. Which lead to Yoshinori Ono being demoted and ultimately, resigning.
(1/3) Despite what I tweeted about SF6 (which I stand by is true, and people will find out is more and more true as time goes on), knowing this was coming up soon and everything, I actually don't think Ono should be viewed that negatively. While I'm not super into Street Fighter,
— AestheticGamer aka Dusk Golem (@AestheticGamer1) August 9, 2020
(3/3) your neck. I hope he lands on his feet & does well wherever he goes. I think with time more people will be able to see the good & bad he did for that community at Capcom. Making games is hard, but he does seem truly passionate for it, that is something I can respect.
— AestheticGamer aka Dusk Golem (@AestheticGamer1) August 9, 2020
What Comes Next?
Again, take what Dusk Golem said with a grain of salt, but he does have a record of Capcom news that turned out to be right. Ono is a beloved community figure and I wish him only the best on whatever he wants to do next. However, I believe that Capcom made the right choice not only to protect its brand but to possibly save its fighting game development. How many more losses would it take for them to abandon fighting games altogether when you consider the amount of money they make on other games?
It can’t be good for their IPs image and brand to be considered subpar products when you compare them to the great sales of their competitor games available on the market. Hopefully, the team behind Street Fighter 6 and this new director can help bring the “godfather of fighting games” back in a big way. I would love for Ono to also continue developing his own games as well but I don’t think we’ll hear from him for a while. Whatever the future holds, it can only be good for the FGC. All eyes are on Capcom to see what they’ll do next.
Thanks for reading! What do you think Capcom should do? Did they make the right call? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out some of my reviews of MegaMan Zero/ZX Legacy Collection and One Step From Eden. Check out my article about how Xbox can still win by sticking with Game Pass. For more great interviews, reviews, editorials, and news stay tuned to CultureOfGaming.com or check us out on OpenCritic.com.