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It's clear that you're trying to make the game more accessible to more people. How do you make the fighting genre itself more accessible to people? And so that they feel more confident about, "Okay, maybe I can actually play this."
YO: What we've done this time is that we kind of hit the rewind button and went back to Street Fighter II, because I think we're used to that. That lowers the hurdle for people who are familiar with Street Fighter II, but it doesn't necessarily bring new people.
We haven't done anything terribly special. What we really need to do if we want brand new people playing fighting games, is we need to simplify things to the point where they no longer have to rely on looking at the manual.
Perhaps less buttons is the key, or perhaps less special moves is the key.
Really, we just need to focus on the idea of reading your opponents' moves. People would understand the fun of that, and it doesn't require a lot of special moves. It needs some kind of general simplification to get more people into it at this point.
This didn't really open the market, but with SNK's Neo Geo Pocket versions of games like King of Fighters R2, there were only two buttons, but it was based on length of press. But I wonder if that's actually more hardcore, because you have to internalize the timing.
YO: I completely agree. When it comes down to asking people to memorize timing like that, we do kind of get into hardcore territory, and that's what happened with the focus system in Street Fighter IV.
We deliberately made it so that the hardcore people can worry about the timing and memorize exactly how long you need to hold it down for the second or third level attack, whereas the ordinary folks out there can just hit it and let go -- and they've already done something, and they don't have to worry about exactly how long they hold the buttons down.
When it comes to timing and things like that, even if you do reduce the number of buttons, timing actually makes it more difficult and hardcore I think, ultimately.
When I play fighting games, I really like to play them by feeling, because that's how you really understand how a fighting game is really going to work. I prefer not to look at the manual, but understand basic tools like, "This is how a special works. This is how supers work," and then move from that. Street Fighter IV seems like the kind of game you can play by feeling, using those sorts of tools. What sort of feeling are you trying to go for with this? It's a very subtle thing, but...
YO: That's a really good philosophical question. Basically, with Street Fighter IV, we're going for real simplicity. It's the idea of, "Welcome back to Street Fighter." We didn't want to think too deeply philosophically about what kind of feeling we wanted to get across. With III we sure did.
With III, we looked at Street Fighter II and said, "This is what's wrong with this game. Let's fix it." We looked at the SNK games. "This is what they're doing wrong. Let's fix that. Let's make it so that you have to do this in this specific way, or you're not going to be able to win."
We did that with III, but with IV, we deliberately went for a simplified kind of way where we avoided that philosophical thing and went for as simple and appealing as possible.