During a Game Developers Conference talk yesterday evening, Capcom's art director Toshiyuki Kamei showed off some early prototypes of the now-infamous Hot Ryu from Street Fighter V. Well, it's not necessarily the Hot Ryu design so much as a scantily-clad design for Ryu with a beard, but in my book, that still counts as a "Hot Ryu prototype."
SFV tried using realistic visuals in a prototype stage, but the game was much harder to play. pic.twitter.com/jemTjHoIzU
— H.K @ PAX East (@Zerochan) March 3, 2017
In his final iteration, Ryu and the rest of the SFV roster look cartoony and exaggerated, but Hot Ryu used to live in the uncanny valley! Kamei explained that the playdough-esque appearance of Ryu and his fellow fighters came about because it was more difficult to visually interpret moves when the characters had this grimy, shadowy, grounded-in-reality aesthetic. The brightly-lit playdough muscles and yarn-like hair of SFV hasn't made for attractive screenshots, but the game is easier to play as a result of those choices .
If you ask me, Hot Ryu's actually a lot cuter in the cartoony style. Sadly, Ken doesn't look nearly as good. But that's why they're rivals, right?