Capcom’s Street Fighter series executive producer Yoshinori Ono announced Sunday through Twitter that he would be leaving the company this summer, ending the producer’s nearly 30-year-long reign as producer of one of the most influential fighting videogame series of all time.
“I’ve been with the Street Fighter brand for a long time, experiencing good times, bad times, and even non-existent times,” Ono wrote in one of two images in the post. “My heart is filled with appreciation to those players who’ve been giving warm and kind support on the brand especially little over the past decade or so as all the activities on the Street Fighter brand regained sunshine and grew its liveliness.”
Ono joined Capcom around 1990, and stepped into his current role as Street Fighter’s executive producer in 1998. In the 22 years since, Ono has steered the direction of the fighting game’s course, seeing the release of two numbered entries in the series and countless other editions — well, we could probably count them, but we don’t want to. That just goes to show how extensive this man’s credits are.
Ono’s also had a hand in a bunch of other Capcom projects as music and sound manager, CG modeler, character designer, and of course producer and executive producer in everything from Resident Evil to Monster Hunter to Marvel Vs. Capcom. He’s a man of many hats, and wore nearly all of them well.
Although he still maintains his position at Capcom through the end of the summer, it’s unknown where, if anywhere, Ono will go next. Today happens to be his birthday (happy birthday Yoshinori!), so perhaps he timed the announcement to go with reaching a new milestone? Only he can say.
Ono will still be overseeing the Capcom Pro Tour taking place remotely over the summer. The next competition, in which those in western North America compete at Street Fighter V, takes place Saturday. The subsequent block will take place Aug. 29, with those from eastern North America competing. You can see the rest of the Capcom Pro Tour schedule here.
I never met him, but I did get to see him appear in-person at EVO 2017. Unlike many other executive producers, Ono is an excellent entertainer, showing electric energy and enthusiasm that matches the passion of Street Fighter’s fans. Capcom hasn’t indicated who will replace Ono once he leaves, but whoever it is, they have big shoes — and a taxing work schedule — to fill.
In 2012, Ono entered the hospital, in part due to being overworked. In an interview with Eurogamer, he opened up about how much Capcom worked him, and how little anyone there seemed to actually care.
“When I returned to work, Capcom didn’t even acknowledge that I had been in hospital,” Ono said for the 2012 interview. “There was no change in my schedule. I was at home for an entire week before the doctors allowed me to return to work. 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.”
So even if Ono’s not quite done with the games industry, hopefully he’ll be taking some time to rest up. He just wishes COVID-19 weren’t keeping everyone at home, so he could do Street Fighter’s iconic “SHORYUKEN” together with audiences at each event.