Eurogamer: It seems the game won't be out for ages. What kind of wait are fans in for?
Yoshinori Ono: At Comic-Con I think I said two years. After that I got called into Inafune's [Keiji, head of global research and development] room and he literally kicked my arse. So I'm trying to shorten that. So, yeah, less than two years.
My message to your readers is that the fighting genre has flourished lately with the help of Street Fighter and Tekken. All the franchises are doing really well. So we didn't want to let the fans down. We wanted to keep this going. That's why we announced it as a gratuity to the fans, saying, 'We're going to keep on doing this.'
Having said that, we can't just announce it and then release something that's not very good. So we really have to put our effort in this. Okay, we announced it a bit early. That was just so that we don't let you down. We also have this duty of bringing out something perfect, to deliver it to you. We'll be doing our best in ding so.
If this doesn't do well, then my ultimate dream, Darkstalkers, will also flop. This has to do well and then maybe next. This is all up to the readers. They have to create the buzz. They have to tell us. They have to write the condition. They have to send in all these letters of plead. That is the only thing that will make Inafune-san nod.
Eurogamer: How many requests will it take before Inafune says yes?
Yoshinori Ono: I say one million.
Eurogamer: How many have you had?
Yoshinori Ono: We've got 5000.
Eurogamer: So a long way to go. What's the best way for fans to help make it happen?
Yoshinori Ono: The fans can make noise. Anything about Darkstalkers - they can write about it, or whenever there is a random blog ranking of what you want the most – if we see Darkstalkers that would help.
Most importantly, the press guys helped in this. The reason Street Fighter IV came into reality was through this sort of lobbying. When I used to do press tours with Onimusha, press guys would just ask me, 'So many people want a new Street Fighter. Why aren't you doing it?' I kept on telling them to make more noise about it. That's how it came to realisation. Likewise, if enough people make noise about it, it could happen.
Eurogamer: Now you've announced Street Fighter X Tekken, does that mean there are no plans to do a Championship Edition update for Super Street Fighter IV or add downloadable characters?
Yoshinori Ono: At the moment, as you know, we're working on the arcade version of Super Street Fighter IV. I suppose once that's done, in terms of the Street Fighter IV franchise, that might be it for now. The rest I'm not able to say because I don't want to be punished by the PR.
But obviously I want Street Fighter IV to keep on going. As you know, we keep on updating our iPhone version. That's a part of our reach to a different audience. I do believe the Street Fighter IV franchise is the best re-entry point to those who used to play Street Fighter II. So in that sense we will actually keep on working on Street Fighter IV and make an effort to bring everyone back into the scene.
Eurogamer: So no plans to bring new characters to the home console version of Super Street Fighter IV?
Yoshinori Ono: In terms of making a major update version, like Ultra Street Fighter IV, is not something we're thinking about. In terms of character additions, I don't want to be kicked by the PR.
Eurogamer: How will the 3DS version of Street Fighter IV differ from the home console version?
Yoshinori Ono: If you think about the Street Fighter hierarchy, there's probably Street Fighter III at the top, for very hardcore people. Then comes Street Fighter II and the rest. Has the Street Fighter IV franchise covered all that? Probably not.
So what we're trying to do with 3DS is extend the cover of what Street Fighter IV has so far achieved. 3DS obviously has a new interface – it's got a touch panel. We understand Street Fighter II used to be played most by Super NES players, so people who remember that game will remember it by Super NES pad. What we want to do with 3DS is to provide that, so play Street Fighter with the d-pad, four buttons and shoulder buttons. That's one configuration we'll provide.
The other is to supplement for those who are not used to that sort of play. They could use the touch-screen to play. That's another. That is the difference between the console version and 3DS version.
At the same time, again, when people remember about how Street Fighter used to play, most of the image they have is supplemented by their own desires or their own memories. So, people used to play on 16-bit, but because of new films and computer graphics, they are quite indulged in the high-tier graphics.
It probably helps these people to provide as much detail as possible about a character so they can remember that's what they used to play. So the 3D slider will help you to adjust to your own memory and how much you've changed what the game used to look like. So you can adjust.
For some people Street Fighter is completely 2D. For some people it was a 3D experience. So, all that will be provided with 3DS.
Street Fighter X Tekken will be released in less than two years' time.