This short interview with the designer (he doesn’t give his name) of King from Art of Fighting talks mainly about the design of that character and Yuri, the npc damsel of the first game. Be warned: Japanese chauvinism is on full-display here. Apparently there is a more substantial interview with the Art of Fighting 2 staff from an old mook, which I hope to locate and translate soon.

This interview was found at the GSLA, a Japanese a website that, among other things, preserves game developer interviews from older, now-defunct print sources. The GSLA often redacts the original interviewer questions, so the text ends up reading more like a narrative than an interview.

Art of Fighting – 1993 Developer Interview

with the character designer of King

We struggled a lot with whether we should include a girl character in a vs. fighting game. But Art of Fighting is an especially manly, sweaty game, so we thought we’d try adding a single girl to the roster as a point of contrast. But we didn’t want her to be delicate and frail.

Our original model for King was the actress Grace Jones from the 007 film. We made her white, then made her look kind of half-Japanese. She had those super high cheekbones, and her hair was closely cropped. But we felt that she wasn’t sexy enough after all, so we gradually started making her more girl-ish, until we achieved her present form. I think we should have given her a slightly bigger butt, though.

King disguises herself as a man because, as a bodyguard, she wouldn’t be taken seriously if people knew she was a woman. In designing her, we paid special attention to the fact that though she was a woman, she was also a man. It was a balance between how masculine and how feminine she should be. We redrew her face alone dozens of times.

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Grace Jones was the original inspiration for King, although
she was deemed not “sexy” enough for the final design.

Her charm point is definitely when her shirt gets ripped off. We redrew this over and over, too. People around us at SNK gave their various opinions about how it should look: “oh, her hands should move like this,” etc. Originally the conditions for her to make that pose were even more limited, but it looked so good that we increased its frequency. Ah yes, it was for the best.

As for Yuri, I don’t know all the details myself, but at SNK the idea was that she was spoiled by her brother, who doted on her and carried her around everywhere. But to the same extent, her past has been very dark, with her Mother dying and her Father gone missing. She somehow has a bright, happy personality today though.

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Yuri, as depicted in the first Art of Fighting.

For the character voices, we used all pro or semi-pro voice actors. King and Yuri were done by the same person. We had her do a variety of voices actually. At first, we held auditions for King at SNK, too… I asked this girl at the office who did Judo to audition, and her voicing for the attacks (ORYAA!!) was good, but then we had her record the parts when King takes damage. It sounded a little too… sexual. I took a first shot at Ryuhaku Todoh’s voice myself, too, although he also ended up being voiced by a pro.