He held onto that guilt for years, and after being promoted to the role of producer, pitched a design document for Street Fighter IV. "I was working on Onimusha 4 and during that time I repeatedly submitted my proposal for a new Street Fighter," he told Eurogamer. "The company kept telling me: 'It's a dead franchise. It doesn't make any money. We have series that make money like Resident Evil and Onimusha. Why bother with a dead franchise?'"
"Eventually I was given a small budget to create a prototype," Ono revealed. But it wasn't a result of his "pestering" the management that eventually brought the game to fruition – the journalists and fans "started making a lot of noise and pressuring Capcom," even though Ono admitted he told them to do that. "Journalists and fans have the power to move Capcom - not producers. With so many voices crying out for a Street Fighter game Capcom could no longer ignore it any more and so they gave the green light for a prototype and they asked me to create it. It's a miracle that happened after a decade..."
But as romantic as all of this is, Ono's account of work-life at Capcom is anything but. After taking a step back from the Street Fighter spotlight following a health scare, Ono spoke candidly about his employer – one he accuses of overworking him and failing to recognize his health woes related to overworking.
"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. 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 recalled a previous project in his first days at Capcom, when he had a short timetable to retrofit the soundtrack for Street Fighter Alpha to be compatible with a less advanced arcade chipset. "Capcom was very good at squeezing people to the last drop of their blood to get work done."
In regards to what's next, Ono isn't talking – but there's no way he'll leave fighting games behind. "There have been rumours saying Ono is dead or retiring. None of that's true. I want to support the next generation of fighting game. It's my job. It's my calling."
- Key specs
- Game format Optical disc, Downloadable
- Online features Multiplayer, Voice chat, Video chat, Store, Browser
- Drive capacity 250 GB
- Controller type Wired, Wireless
- Motion controls Accelerometer, Gyroscopic
- Video outputs HDMI (v1.3), RCA / composite
- Released 2012-09-25
Microsoft Xbox One