Although Yoshinori Ono has become something of a divisive figure in the fighting game community, for years he was revered as the man who revived Street Fighter with his big personality and even bigger ideas.
Long-time Tekken Director Katsuhiro Harada and Evo Director of Business Development MarkMan Julio recently discussed their first impressions after meeting the former Street Fighter Producer and how some of his ideas turned the FGC into more of what it is today.
In the latest episode of Harada’s Barasks Ono’s friendly rival MarkMan what he thought of meeting the developer when Street Fighter 4 came out and shared his own humorous story about getting to know each other.
“I had met [Ono] a few times before, but when I first spoke to him I literally thought he was **** or something,” said Harada. “A little while later I noticed that he didn’t even drink alcohol at all… We say the 3 main vices are drinking, participating and seducing, but he does nothing.”
Obviously Harada seems to be referring to drug use in the censored part, but he doesn’t want to force that on his friend, even if it’s just a joke.
MarkMan, however, speaks a little differently about his early time with Ono, while he worked at Mad Catz developing their arcade sticks and other hardware.
“I think my first impression of Ono-san is that he had a lot of wild ideas to grow the Street Fighter brand,” said MarkMan. “A lot of what we’ve done at Mad Catz to support the community’s ideas has come from Ono-san.
So he was the one who advised us to sponsor a player like Daigo Umehara-san. He was the first player to sponsor Mad Catz, and I think that was big news and slightly changed the mindset of pro players in Japan and how it was perceived worldwide.”
It’s fascinating to learn that more than a decade ago Ono was at least partly responsible for bringing larger and player-specific sponsorship to the FGC, which of course has grown over the years to include many/most professional players who have received support from eSports teams of all sizes.
How you feel about the current competitive FGC scene is up to you, but that shift has allowed more players to travel the world regularly and give them opportunities to pursue fighting games as a career that didn’t really exist. on the player side of the industry rather.
Ono was highly regarded by fans for years, not only because of what his team accomplished with Street Fighter 4, but also because of Capcom’s first push to get back into fighting games with Marvel vs. Capcom and Darkstalkers.
Unfortunately, over time, his public perception would begin to change as Capcom started making major missteps with each of their major fighter releases, starting with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, which continued through the rough start of Street Fighter 5 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite not to make a splash.
How many of those decisions actually fall into Ono’s lap, because what happened behind the scenes will probably never be known.
Ono would be . to announce departure from Capcom in August 2020 amid rumors that Street Fighter 6 was dealing with internal development issues after 27 years with the company.
However, he recovered almost immediately and became the president of what is now Lasengle Inc, so he’s probably fine anyway.
You can watch the full episode of Harada’s Bar below and the discussions around Ono begin about 16 minutes after the video.
Image source: GameSpot†