The excellent shumplations site translated a 1996 round-table interview with the team behind Super Street Fighter II Turbo. While I never played the game, I understand from the interview that Capcom took the characters from its iconic Street Fighter series and placed them in a falling-blocks puzzle game. Instead of using the character designs from the main street-fighter series, the team opted to “chibi-fy” them, in the words of designer Katsuhiro Eguchi. How did the team, which was accustomed to depicting the Street Fighter fighters realistically, adapt to creating cartoonish, chibi-fied versions of them? Quite well, according to producer Noritaka Funamizu:
Our company tends to draw a lot of detailed, realistic characters, and it turned out that lot of the designers had privately been waiting for an opportunity to draw characters in this style, but were reluctant to say so.
Apparently the Capcom artists always wanted to draw chibi characters. They just never had the chance. Had no one said anything during the Super Street Fighter II Turbo development process, their hidden desires may have gone unfulfilled. There is a life lesson here (probably). Of course, chibi is not for everyone. In a September post, I discussed some interesting thoughts on video game stories from a 1993 interview with writer Hitoshi Yasuda. He noted in that interview that he was not a fan of certain art styles:
Also, about these cutesy anime-style nitoushin characters… I guess they appeal to middle and high school students, but aren’t they off-putting to adults? It’s sad when there’s a game that looks like it would otherwise be fun, but when I see the graphics I lose all interest. Such a waste.
Perhaps this is why some of the Capcom artists would have been reluctant to admit that they wanted to draw chibi versions of some of the company’s most well-known properties.