Interview: New Generation Pictures and Street Fighter IV
Page 2

by Zac Bertschy, Feb 17th 2009

So that must've been a unique experience, working with storyboards on an anime. I'd imagine you do that a lot with traditional animation…

LB: It's happened in the past – I've done a few projects where I'm working from sketches or storyboards, but it's different every time it happens, and it's hard, for sure.

This is a huge project – Street Fighter is a big franchise, everyone knows what it is. I have to ask – were any of you fans of the series going in?

TJ: [laughter]

TW: Dude! Of course!

LB: I gotta say, during the auditions, they weren't allowed to say what the title was because it was all protected under non-disclosure and all that, and you couldn't say what the character you were auditioning for was. But when I came in, you gave me art for my character, and I saw it was Chun-Li and I just jumped out of my chair and I was like “Oh my God! This is Chun-Li, this is Street Fighter, this is so awesome!”

TW: Yeah, they just had like, character 1, character 2, but the lines you were reading… you recognized the attacks.

So you knew it was a game, not just an anime series.

JK: Yeah, when we called auditions for this, we could say it was a game, but we couldn't say what it was. Even when people recognized it, we couldn't confirm it.

TJ: Yeah, there were people I had to entice into auditioning – like, “I know you're busy, but come and audition for this – it's awesome. I can't tell you why, but you want to be here…” and there were a couple people who called me up afterward and were like “so that was the audition?!” and I'm like “I tried to tell you!”.

There have been various anime adaptations of Street Fighter over the years, not to mention the original voices from Street Fighter II – did you go back and listen to some of the performances that came before?

TW: Oh, it's so ingrained in your mind. I played it so much as a kid, I knew what Sonic Boom is supposed to sound like. We had to ask – “do you want it to sound just like Street Fighter II or…”. In the end we wound up sticking to the basic structure of what it sounded like, but it has to be…

LB:  Yeah, you're putting your own spin on it.

TJ: I bought a copy of Street Fighter II, and we had a PS2 in the breakroom, and I put it on in there and we would just sit and play and listen.

It's interesting though – I remember seeing that Street Fighter II movie, but we definitely used the game as our backbone, because those are the iconic voices. Actually, for Capcom, I wrote up a ton of material about what I thought each character was and sent it to them, and they kinda looked at it went “yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, no” for each character and for the “no”s they'd send back notes saying “well, this is how we see the character”, and it was great.

TW: That's sort of the difference between anime and video games – you don't have all this time and character development, you have to kind of zone in on this one thing, this one thing the character represents in the story.

JK: And technically, this is kind of a sequel – the events take place between Street Fighter II and III, so those elements have to be there.

TJ: You have to find a voice for each character and find what makes them special. Especially like… Blanka had to talk. That was one of those things, staring at it, saying “I have no idea what we're going to do with that.” But some characters… especially like, Guile and Chun-Li … those are characters I sort of classify as, well, some people are fighting for sport, some for inner power, some for a sense of justice, and those two are definitely in that latter category. Guile isn't even a soldier anymore – he's AWOL, fighting for his brother, and Chun-Li is fighting for her father, and it's about finding where those characters are at and what they should sound like.

Speaking of Chun-Li, they have that live-action movie coming out, was there any attempt by Capcom to find some kind of synergy between that and what you did for the game?

TJ: There were some brief talks about it, but to my knowledge, performance wise, no. I'd be very happy to think that the Street Fighter movie was influenced by what we did! [all laugh]

JK: Let me emphasize that the voices were all chosen by the Japanese representatives at Capcom. They knew how they wanted everyone to sound. We gave them several candidates for every character.

TJ: Oh, there was never a feeling of dartboard casting… we'd make a suggestion, and then we'd have a long conversation with Capcom about each character, and they were very articulate. I remember talking at length about Dan, because apparently I didn't “get” Dan, which I freely admit to now. They gave me a ton of material about what Dan is, who he's supposed to be, and it was really fascinating.

So how long did it take to record each character?

LB: I think for my character it was around 2 4-hour sessions.

TJ: Yeah, I think mine was 4 2-hour sessions.

JK: Yeah, it was around 4-8 hours each. Depending on how much dialogue they had. Obviously Ken & Ryu took longer than others.

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