Street Fighter 6 Preview – Director Takayuki Nakayama Talks Akuma’s Arrival

By admin May20,2024

Street Fighter 6 is poised to wrap up its Year 1 character offerings with one of the franchise’s most iconic fighters. Akuma brings his Satsui no Hado mastery to the renowned title this week. Introduced in 1994’s Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma represents the most classic post-launch character added to Street Fighter 6 during its first year of post-launch content, following Rashid (Street Fighter V), A.K.I. (Street Fighter 6), and Ed (Street Fighter IV/V).

In preparation for Akuma’s arrival, we interviewed Street Fighter 6 director Takayuki Nakayama about bringing the Great Demon to the game. You can see our full interview below, ahead of Akuma’s release on May 22.

The introduction of Akuma has traditionally been a tricky thing for the Street Fighter series, as he is often not super balanced. Can you talk about the challenges of balancing Akuma and how you worked to address those challenges within Street Fighter 6?
Akuma is a powerful character with a lot of moves in his arsenal, with many different approaches to try against his opponent. At the same time, players will need to be skilled with him in order to achieve consistent results. Similar to past iterations, we have decided to balance him by giving him many powerful techniques, while setting his vitality on the lower end.

Many of the additions in Year 1 have been newer characters to the series. What does having a character like Akuma, who dates back to the Street Fighter II series, do to round out the SF6 roster?
New characters, and characters that have appeared in recent titles, are more difficult for people to become familiar with. The inclusion of an iconic character like Akuma helps bring cohesiveness to the lineup. We want Street Fighter 6 to be accessible to everyone, from players who have been playing for a long time to those who have only played the recent titles and those who are new to the series.

Given Akuma’s extreme in-universe power, are there ever any struggles with fitting him into the story in believable ways?
Like Ryu, he is a bit of an enigma, but we thought this would be a good opportunity for people to get to know his feelings and thoughts, especially through World Tour. I didn’t find it too difficult to incorporate him into the story.

Back in February, you told me a fun anecdote about Ed’s importance to the development of Street Fighter 6. Does Akuma hold any special places in the hearts of developers besides being a very popular and long-running character?
Yes, we consider him to be a special character. He was the first hidden character to appear in the Street Fighter II series, and his techniques and settings were shrouded in mystery. We believe that his appearance will make the game more complete.

When designing an updated look for Akuma, how do you go about ensuring longtime fans will enjoy his visual aesthetic while still showcasing the visual evolution you hope to portray?
In Street Fighter III, the previous title in the chronological order of the series, his characteristic red hair had some white in it. This was a great way to express that even a character like Akuma is aging and has reached a higher level of mastery. In addition, the illustration of Akuma selling fruit to children, which was depicted in the Street Fighter Alpha series, shined a light on the unexpected aspect of his life. As we pondered how Akuma grew older and more powerful, and followed his life’s path, it led us to a more Ashura or Buddhist statue-like design. Our intention was to design him to be a fighter with the intimidating presence of a beast while transcending human existence.

Speaking of evolution from game to game, what differences should players expect from how Akuma plays in Street Fighter 6?
Most of the techniques used in past titles have been implemented. An aggressive fighting style suits him very well, so take advantage of your opponent’s openings and defeat them. The match should conclude quickly.

With Akuma serving as the final character from the Year 1 pass, how has the process gone for selecting the characters for Year 2? I know you likely can’t go into specifics, but did the team identify any holes in the current roster that needed to be addressed or filled with the next batch of playable characters?
Of course, I can’t make any specific comments yet, but I think you will find there to be some unexpected characters. Sorry, but the method of selection is also a secret (no fortune-telling or divination involved). We hope you’re looking forward to it.

Street Fighter 6 arrived on June 2, 2023, meaning its one-year anniversary is right around the corner. We don’t know when we’ll learn about what Capcom has in store for the game’s second year, but with the anniversary and Summer Games Fest right around the corner, we might learn about the next batch of characters coming soon. In the meantime, Akuma joins the Street Fighter 6 roster as the final Year 1 character on May 22. 

For more on Street Fighter 6, read our review here.

By admin

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