Street Fighter 3: An oral history

Street Fighter 1: An oral history – Polygon

Street Fighter 2: An Oral History | Polygon

Street Fighter Alpha: An oral history – Polygon

Street Fighter Alpha: An oral history – Polygon

Just took the main articles, not all the references from the various protagonists, for the entire article, refer to the previous links.

Six years later

As it turned out, for about half of that six-year stretch, Capcom had been working on Street Fighter 3 — it just hadn’t told anyone.

In 1997, Capcom released Street Fighter 3: New Generation, showing its work by underlining the word “Three” front and center on the game’s arcade marquee.

Flying in opposition to market trends and most of the circulated rumors, Capcom delivered a 2D game with highly detailed art and animation — which led to many calling it one of the best-looking 2D games on the market. The development team made subtle changes to the series’ mechanics, added a parry system that allowed players to counter attacks, and took a bold chance by wiping clean the character roster, only bringing back series mainstays Ryu and Ken.

As quickly became clear, the market Capcom entered in 1997 was far different from the one it had dominated in 1991.

What took so long

Capcom kicked off Street Fighter 3’s development in 1994 — originally as a new IP — using a small team led by producer Tomoshi Sadamoto. The team expanded in 1995 as more staff became available, yet it took until early 1997 for Capcom to ship the game to arcades — an anomaly at a time when most of Capcom’s fighting games took a year or less to develop, and a counterpoint to the fast-tracked Street Fighter Alpha.

Street Fighter 3 was to be a showcase of Capcom’s technical abilities and new CPS-3 arcade hardware, with extensive resources poured into the game’s 2D visuals. But as planner Shinichiro Obata says, that wasn’t the only reason the game took so long to make.

The new generation

One of Capcom’s boldest decisions for Street Fighter 3 was to drop most of its established characters in favor of a new cast led by a new main character: a wrestler named Alex. While Capcom reversed course on producer Sadamoto’s initial idea to release the game as a new intellectual property, the game still ended up with 10 new characters alongside Ryu and Ken, shifting the balance considerably.

This proved controversial, both because fans were disappointed to see their favorite characters missing, and because the new cast didn’t resonate with players in the same way as the original roster.

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