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How the genius of Street Fighter II's game designer made it a hit

A key insight led the Street Fighter series from obscurity to unparalleled success with its second installment, says its producer.
"[Nishitani] is a genius, and he's also great at analyzing and studying games... That really surprised me and changed the way I thought about game design."
- Street Fighter II producer Yoshiki Okamoto Polygon has today published a massive retrospective on influential fighting game Street Fighter II which clocks in at 18,000 words and features over 20 new interviews with developers who worked on the title. For his part, producer Yoshiki Okamoto chalks up a lot of the game's success to its designer, Akira Nishitani: "[Nishitani] is a genius, and he's also great at analyzing and studying games. At one point, I saw him spending time analyzing why it was so difficult to pull off a Shoryuken [special move] in the original Street Fighter -- it's really difficult to perform the command, but it inflicts a lot of damage if you do it right. And everybody just had that idea that a Shoryuken was tough to pull off but when you did it was very powerful. But Nishitani said, 'It doesn't have to be like that. If you could make it easier to perform, it would make the game look cooler and be less about luck.' That really surprised me and changed the way I thought about game design," says Okamoto. Of course, the original Street Fighter is but a historical footnote, but its sequel reached unparalleled heights of popularity at the time of its release. For more, read the full feature at Polygon.

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