Street Fighter fans received a surprise in recent weeks. The announcement of a new season’s worth of content has rekindled hype and anticipation for Capcom’s fighting machine. The announcement promises to bring four major scheduled updates that will add new characters and stages over the course of winter 2020 and autumn 2021.
However, this wasn’t all Capcom was ready to release.
On August 9, FGC figurehead and Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono announced his departure from the company and Street Fighter after 30 years. He resigned his position as brand manager and stated in his departure tweet that:
“Capcom staff in the new generation will continue taking care of the Street Fighter brand and leading the World Warriors… I will look forward to seeing the new Street Fighter brand and how it’s going to be expanded, as just one of regular gamers next time around.”
While the news was bittersweet, putting a damper on the Street Fighter 5 content hype-train, FGC members and insiders were left curious about its timing. Amidst this excitement and change, news and rumors have been making headway.
According to insider Dusk Golem, there was some internal conflict within Capcom regarding Street Fighter 6. In a tweet, they detailed the following:
- Street Fighter 6 was supposed to release in 2021
- SF6 was not received well internally by testers
- The development team focused too much on a “team mechanic” which soured the reception
- Yoshinori Ono was demoted again
- Someone else replaced Ono’s position to “fix” SF6
- The new season pass was launched to buy time for SF6
None of what was stated has been confirmed by Ono or Capcom and should not be taken at face value. However, Dusk Golem listed these details several days before Ono’s subsequent departure from Street Fighter and Capcom, further credence to possible drama unfolding behind the scenes.
Ono announced his departure in a bittersweet yet positive spin, detailing his time with Capcom and Street Fighter. To people that weren’t paying attention, this may have seemed out of the blue, but with how rumors were unfolding, things added up too neatly.
This next section is wild speculation and should be taken with a grain of salt, especially if more news comes to light in the future.
Dusk Golem’s tweet mentioned Ono’s demotion again. To those unaware, this might refer to Capcom’s press release earlier this year. In the release, there was a section dedicated to changes in duties of corporate officers as of April 1, 2020.
Yoshinori Ono’s name was listed there. It mentioned his current duties (corporate officer, deputy head of eSports business division, general manager of management department 2) and the new duties he assigned to him (eSports executive producer).
It is unspecified if Ono was cleared of his previous duties and relegated to the eSports executive producer and brand manager roles or if he merely took on more roles. Insiders believe in the former, which may have led to his departure from Capcom after his rumored second demotion after working on Street Fighter 6.
Capcom may have forced such a heavy hand after their blunders with the Street Fighter brand and Ono’s own missteps. Street Fighter 5 released to a mixed reception in its rushed, incomplete state. It was only through future patches and add-ons that SF5 redeemed some of its lost luster. Even then, these updates were not enough for fans turned off by its botched release. Ono was an executive producer and brand manager for this game.
To follow up, Deep Down is another game Ono was a producer for. It was announced in 2013, revealed alongside the Playstation 4, set to be a single-player or co-op multiplayer dungeon crawler taking place in future New York City. Since then, the project has been shrouded in silence aside from a trademark extension and a small assurance comment by Ono in November of 2019 that the game has not been “given up on.”
Lining this up with Street Fighter 6’s development mishaps, Ono was likely given the demotion for his lofty goals while failing to execute to what was demanded. Capcom is most likely cautious about how to proceed with sequels and IPs, given Street Fighter 5’s mishandling. This may explain the sudden SF5 update, giving the development team more time to fix up Street Fighter 6 for its inevitable launch.
All this may have been exacerbated to the point where Ono felt the need to leave the company on his own terms to save face for himself, Capcom, Street Fighter, or maybe all three.
Whatever the issue may be, the situation remains murky, kind of like the Street Fighter 6 release date.