Yoshinori Ono Leaves Capcom After Rumors of Street Fighter 6 Development Struggles
Street Fighter visionary Yoshinori Ono has departed Capcom following nearly 30 years of service with the company. He is widely credited with championing the revitalization of the fighting game Division 3 within the company, and was one of the biggest reasons that Street Fighter 4 entered development in the first place.
Unfortunately, Ono’s departure from Capcom also came timed with some rumors about the reasoning for his departure, namely that his work on the unannounced Street Fighter 6 may have hit a snag and caused a delay of over a year to the game’s release. This somewhat mars the legacy of a man who, without him, we might not otherwise even have the modern fighting game community.
Ono Releases Statement on His Departure
Ono released a statement on his Twitter detailing his feelings upon his departure from Capcom, and thanking the community for all of their support over the years.
“I’ve been with the Street Fighter brand for a long time, experiencing good times, bad times, and even non-existent times. My heart is felled with appreciate to those players who have been giving warm and kind support on the brand especially little over the past decade or so as all the activities on the Street Fighter brand regained sunshine, and grew its liveliness. And now after serving almost 30 years at Capcom, I am leaving the company this summer. This means that I will resign my position as the Brand Manager for Capcom’s various titles including Street Fighter.”
Ono was also quick to pass the torch to the next generation of faces for the Street Fighter franchise, as Ono had (for better or worse) been the most public face for the franchise since the debut of Street Fighter 4 in 2009.
“Capcom staff in the new generation will continue taking care of the Street Fighter brand and leading the world warriors,” Ono continued. And I do believe that they will continue making Street Fighter extraordinary. I look forward to seeing the new Street Fighter brand and how it’s going to be expanded, aas just one of the regular gamers this time around.”
This means that we won’t get to see Ono at Fighting Game Community events like Evo, where Capcom has revealed many a character and game, nor will we have the traditional Shoryuken shout before Street Fighter finals – this is a fact that was not lost on Ono.
I regret that I wasn’t able to do “SHORYUKEN” together with you at each event in 2020 before I left,” Ono said in close. “So please allow me to shout it as my closing statement – SHORYUKEN!”
The Capcom Pro Tour has largely been forced to play online this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that’s ravaged the world and forced a lot of us to stay home and bunker down. This presented serious challenges for Capcom, which Ono took the time to address as one of his last actions as Street Fighter’s brand manager.
“There have been many unexpected events occurring globally in 2020. Especially COVID-19, which has significantly affected many people’s lives and health all over the world. I’m praying that all of you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy,” Ono said in a statement. “Since Capcom Cup in 2013, the Capcom Pro Tour has become an annual event because of the continued tremendous support front he player and Fighting Game Community members in the world.”
“We at Capcom had many internal discussions about the format for the Capcom Pro Tour in 2020. It took a long time for use to decide the format for this year, but we believe that conducting the event itself would repay those who have been supporting the Capcom Pro Tour, regardless of the format. Needless to say, I understand there has been some criticism about this particular format. However, I’m fully convinced that is it important to shed light on various hopes by keeping the event, even in this way. Additionally, I’m extremely grateful that so many players and Fighting Game Community members and its related individuals have been supporting us so that we can make the Capcom Pro Tour happen at all this year.”
Mixed Reactions to Street Fighter 6 Development Problems
While many figureheads expressed their warm wishes and dismay that Ono would be leaving Capcom after being such a stalwart for the FGC and Street Fighter overall, there were some in the community who believe that new blood is needed in the Street Fighter franchise and leadership.
We’ve already begun to see that transition as during the summer update, Capcom chose the route of being extra-communicative with SFV Director Nakayama-san and SFV Producer Matsumoto-san doing a Super Smash Bros Ultimate style reveal stream for the season V characters and esports news.
Many players and figureheads were sad and respectful at Ono’s departure but there were some reactions that were downright mean to Ono, especially once rumors began circulating that Ono was departing Capcom due to his work on Street Fighter 6.
According to the leaker Dusk Golem, SF6 hit a major development snag as a result of Ono’s work.
“The basic gist of the reasoning is that Street Fighter 6 was supposed to release next year, but it was not received well internally or with testers,” he said. “There’s this team mechanic that the game was too focused on. Ono got demoted again and Capcom put someone else in charge to “fix” Street Fighter 6 with an additional year in development. The new season is to buy time for that. I’ve heard that the extra year and new director/fixes and direction they’ve taken have been doing it wonders.”
He continued, elaborating further, which caused the community to react with some dismay towards Ono and his impact on even current Capcom projects.
“Ono was the director for SF6, but the game didn’t come out good,” Golem said. “The new director I don’t know much about, but hear she’s pretty well known in the FGC, brought some really cool ideas to fix the game with what was there.”
Ono will likely be remembered fondly for his work in the FGC and at Capcom, but these rumors surely have made a number of people question his impact on Capcom’s fighting game division, and if a number of their more questionable decisions could have been avoided without his input. Either way, the future for Street Fighter has never looked brighter after a well-received season five reveal, and Ono leaving the franchise in capable hands.