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Capcom overworks devs, treats them with 'no mercy,' says Street Fighter producer

Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono has a bone to pick with Capcom, claiming that his employer's overbearing demands led to his sudden hospitalization earlier this year.
Capcom's Yoshinori Ono, the producer behind major fighting games including Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken, is a bit unhappy with his employer, claiming that Capcom's overbearing demands led to his sudden hospitalization earlier this year. Ono told Eurogamer that ever since the launch of Street Fighter IV in 2008, he's been tasked with not only making Capcom's flagship fighting games, but also with coordinating marketing efforts, appearing at press junkets, and more. He leads quite a busy life, and at times, he said he's been pushed to the edge. "Capcom doesn't allow a trade union or any sort of worker movement you see," he said. "So if I complain I will probably get sacked. You have to say it for me, OK? I want you to write: 'Capcom overworks Ono'. That's your headline." In March, Ono's health took a sudden turn for the worse, and even after spending some time in the hospital, he found that Capcom's management didn't hesitate to put him right back to work. "Nobody told me to take a rest. When I returned to work, Capcom didn't even acknowledge that I had been in hospital. There was no change in my schedule. I was at home for an entire week before the doctors allowed me to return to work," he said. "When I returned to my desk there was a ticket to Rome waiting for me. There's no mercy. Everyone in the company says: 'Ono-san we've been so worried about you.' Then they hand me a timetable and it's completely filled with things to do." Ono added that he doesn't think his situation is unique. Rather, he's noticed that Capcom employees regularly disappear after finishing a new game, and he suspects it's because they've been worked far too hard. "After I passed out, I was thinking in the hospital: there are so many people at Capcom that, over the years, have disappeared at one time or another. Suddenly, in that bed I understood what happened to them... The day after a game is finished and goes off to manufacture there are 10 empty desks, their previous occupants never to be seen again." Despite being overworked himself, Ono said it hasn't made him any more sympathetic toward the younger staff members on his teams. "Quite the opposite," he said. "I am a middle-aged man so I am saying to the younger ones: 'You have the energy, the stamina, the get-up and go. You should be doing better.'"

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