There’s a running joke in the fighting game community that Final Fantasy XIV, the hit massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), is a retirement home for former fighting game players.
It turns out that the director and producer of this game, Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P), once had Zangief nerfed in the Street Fighter EX series due to a 57-game winning streak, where he also strangled the game developers in this process.
The roots of the fighting game run deep and Yoshida told the story in 2018, in an interview with 4Games via Reddit / Twitter. Yoshi-P was at a show of the Amusement Machine Operators’ Union (AOU), which is now known as Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO), which is a long-standing convention where video game developers showcase their games of arcade.
The story gets a little murky here, as the exact game and date isn’t clarified during the interview, but from what we know of this timeline, it was probably around 1997 or 1998, and Arika was arranging a localization test (loctest) at the AOU convention, probably for Street Fighter EX 2.
At the time, it was common for fighting game developers to run tests before a game was released to help tweak the balance and get a feel for how it would be played by the general public.
The person who would become the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV went on a 57-game winning streak at the event – and even faced – and defeated three of Arika’s developers. Yoshida said he destroyed them.
This led to Zangief being heavily nerfed in the release version of Street Fighter EX 2. Zangief was generally considered one of the best characters in Street Fighter EX in 1996, but was thought to be much weaker in its sequel. which hit in 1998. According to Yoshida, it had everything to do with him.
Zangief tends to be one of the most polarizing characters in the entire Street Fighter universe when it comes to his balance, because it isn’t the first time a player has had a huge winning streak with him in a whereabouts testand caused the developers to nerf it because of it, as also happened in Street Fighter 2.
The fact that history repeated itself a few years later in a different game with Zangief is pretty hilarious.
Zangief’s style of play can lead to some incredible runs from players if they figure out how to work around his many drawbacks, as his okizeme and pressure abilities are often best in class, or close to it, once they get started. he approaches the other player.
There are many video game developers who have created highly successful titles that can trace parts of their history back to Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 and the fighting game revolution that took place after its release in 1991. We can now add Final Fantasy XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) to that list.