We jumped at the chance to ask some question of the producer of the entire Street Fighter series, Capcom's Tomoaki Ayano, because, well—it's Street Fighter! Little did we know that Ayano-san would use this opportunity to announce the next Street Fighter cross-over game: Street Fighter X Complex. No doubt it'll be the best one yet.

Capcom being currently entrenched in the series' 25th anniversary celebrations, we also touched on what 25 years of Street Fighter means to him—and even some moves that were left out of the most recent entry, Street Fighter IV.

Our Q&A was accomplished over email and through a translator. For more Street Fighter 25th anniversary celebration coverage check out our gallery and interviews from the art gallery opening in LA.

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Complex: What does 25 years of Street Fighter mean to you?
Ayano-san: My first encounter with the series was Street Fighter II when I was still in middle school (around 12-13 years old). I was absolutely hooked on playing the game in the arcades back then. Trying to beat M. Bison in story mode, practicing combos I couldn’t get right, making friends with other players, and so on. I owe a lot of my friendships to the game and community around it, so it means a lot to me personally. After graduating university I decided I wanted to work at Capcom because I couldn’t live without the series in my life somehow. In fact, I had to apply to Capcom three times before they accepted me into the company! I kept on “continuing” however and that got me to where I am today, as a producer for the series. If Street Fighter didn’t have a “continue” feature, I may have never gotten into Capcom [laugh].

What do you think it is about the series that has caused it to become such an important cultural force?
At its core, Street Fighter is a tool for competition between players, and it pioneered the fighting game genre during the 90’s. Within the designated rule set, players can freely act and execute strategies as they see fit, which leads to endless gameplay possibilities. The variety of options and outcomes and resulting gameplay depth is what keeps users engaged for a long time. That, in tandem with the eclectic cast of memorable characters, is what made the series so endearing to fans all over the world.

Also, simply put, the series is just plain fun! Street Fighter is able to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year because the fans have supported the franchise through thick and thin, and they wouldn’t have stuck around during the large gap in time between Street Fighter III and IV if the games weren’t fun to play.

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