This short Art of Fighting 2 interview appeared in a special issue of Gamest in May 1994. Although the interview text is regrettably quite short, it does contain a nice collection of concept art showing early alternate character designs, which I’ve appended to the end of the interview.

Art of Fighting – Dev. Interview
KoF 94 – Developer Interview

Art of Fighting 2 – 1994 Developer Interview

originally featured in the AoF2 gamest mook

—How long did it take to develop Art of Fighting 2?

Development Staff: Hmm, a little over a year.

—How were the new characters Eiji Kisaragi and Temjin created?

Staff: For the new characters, we were unable to connect them to the story, so that meant we had more freedom in designing them. We wanted to make a really flashy, cool character with Kisaragi, and with Temjin, we were going for a lovable character. We were trying to rival King of Fighters in that way.

—I know every development has its difficulties: what were some you faced this time?

Staff: The biggest challenge was balancing all the different characters.

—In the first Art of Fighting, in order to emphasize the story, you placed more weight on the vs. CPU battles. How did you approach that balance in this game?

Staff: Well, just as you said, in the first game we were trying to pursue an interesting story, which necessarily meant more emphasis on the CPU battles. Art of Fighting 2 was meant to be more of a King of Fighters-style, “fighting tournament” game. To that end, we intended for the vs. play to be more important this time.

—Art of Fighting 2 has received a lot of praise for its many cool lines of dialogue, but who comes up with all that? Is it all done by one person in planning, or?

Staff: The designers for each character, and the planners, get together and write it all out.

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Concept art for Temujin. The Karnov-style character and bearded cowboy character are early alternate designs. The sketch of the little children above says “These are the children Temujin was looking after and raising in Southtown.”

—The names of the moves are also really cool and memorable. Where do you come up with all them?

Staff: This time, we used the names from the previous game as our basis. If there’s a strong move, we try to come up with a fittingly tough-sounding name.

—Regarding the hidden character Geese, he’s said to be the center of his organization, but what kind of organization is it, and what position does he hold exactly?

Staff: I don’t want to reveal too much now, but we have some future plans for the series (game and non-game related) in which it will all become clear.

—By the way, in the background of Robert’s stage, there’s someone peeking through the door and watching… who could it be?

Staff: The person worriedly peeking through that door is the Garcia family butler. Also, the silhouette that you can see on the second floor is Robert’s father. It’s said that when you see his figure there in the window silently watching over the house, a challenger has arrived…

—Are there any other little playful touches you added that you can tell us about?

Staff: The promoter of the King of Fighters tournament has sent their underlings to watch the proceedings. They can be found in each stage… see if you can spot them!

—Finally, I’d like to ask about Art of Fighting 3… is it currently in development? What kind of game will it be?

Staff: I’m not sure yet what will happen there—we only just released Art of Fighting 2, after all. I think it depends on the reaction of the players!

—Thank you for your time today.

Art of Fighting 2 – Concept Art Gallery

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Early concept art for Eiji Kisaragi. The text states he was a “short, Mexican Wrestler type character”.

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Ryuhaku Todoh was also an early candidate for inclusion in Aof2, but for some reason was later dropped.

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Early concept art for Eiji Kisaragi’s stage. The Japanese theme makes sense for his character, but ultimately a modern airport setting was chosen.

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Concept art for Robert Garcia, modeling three different potential outfits.

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Early concept art for Ryo Sakazaki’s stage. The “national park” theme is more obvious here, whereas the final version in-game looks more like a farm.

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Concept art for King. The image on the right is an earlier design.

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Concept art for Jack Turner showing an early design somewhat reminiscent of Ray Jackson from Bloodsport.

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Various concept art for Yuri Sakazaki, including always important design notes like the frilly style of her undergarments and the aerobics leotard exposing her belly button (well, I guess her stage is a fitness club…)

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Concept art for Yuri Sakazaki’s friends, who don’t appear in the game and seem to have been designed to help flesh out her character. The text for the friend on the left reads: “Yuri’s Friend #1. Part-time model. Stylish! Relatively masculine personality.” The middle character: “Yuri’s Friend #2. A quiet girl who is good at studying. Somewhat sickly.” And the far right: “Yuri’s Friend #3. A child about 10 years old, thinks of Yuri as her big sister.”