While Yoshinori Ono has become a divisive figure in the fighting game community, for many years he was revered as the man who revived Street Fighter with his big personality and even bigger ideas.
Longtime Tekken manager Katsuhiro Harada and Evo business development manager MarkMan Julio recently discussed their first impressions after meeting the former Street Fighter producer and how some of his ideas have transformed the FGC as it is today.
In the latest episode of Harada’s Bar, Ono’s friendly rival asks MarkMan how he felt about meeting the developer when Street Fighter 4 released and shares his own humorous story of how to get to know each other.
“I had met [Ono] a few times before, but when I first talked to him, I literally thought he was **** or something,” Harada said. “A bit later, I noticed that ‘He didn’t even drink alcohol at all…the 3 main vices are drinking, participating and seducing, but he doesn’t do any of them.
Obviously, Harada seems to be referring to drug use in the censored part, but he doesn’t want to put that on his friend even if it’s just a joke.
MarkMan, however, speaks a bit differently about his early days with Ono while working at Mad Catz developing their arcade sticks and other hardware.
“I guess my first impressions of Ono-san are that he had a lot of crazy ideas in terms of building the Street Fighter brand,” MarkMan said. “A lot of what we’ve done at Mad Catz in terms of supporting community ideas has come from Ono-san.
So he was the one who recommended us to sponsor a player like Daigo Umehara-san. He was the first player sponsored by Mad Catz, and I think that made headlines and kind of changed the mentality of professional gamers in Japan and the way it was perceived globally.”
It’s fascinating to hear that Ono was at least partially responsible for bringing larger, player-specific sponsorships to the FGC well over a decade ago, which of course has swelled over the years so that many many/most pro-level gamers receive support from eSports teams of all sizes.
How you feel about today’s competitive FGC scene is up to you, but this change has allowed more players to travel around the world frequently and given them the opportunity to pursue fighting games as a career, which doesn’t didn’t really exist on the players’ side. industry before.
Ono has been held in high regard by fans for years not only for what his team accomplished with Street Fighter 4, but also for Capcom’s initial push to get back into fighting games with Marvel vs. Capcom and Darkstalkers.
Unfortunately, his public perception would start to change over time, as Capcom began to take big missteps with each of his major fighter releases, starting with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, which continued. during the rocky early days of Street Fighter 5 and Marvel. vs. Capcom: Infinite failing to make a splash.
How many of those decisions actually fell to Ono for what was going on behind the scenes will likely never be known.
Ono would announce his departure from Capcom in August 2020 amid rumors that Street Fighter 6 was facing internal development issues after 27 years with the company.
He bounced back almost immediately, however, and became the president of what is now Lasengle Inc, so he’s probably doing just fine anyway.
You can check out the full episode of Harada’s Bar below, and the Ono chat begins about 16 minutes into the video.
Image source: GameSpot.