Art of Fighting – 1993 Developer Interview
This short interview with the unnamed designer of King from Art of Fighting was originally featured in Gamest as part of their "Gal's Island" special issue. It covers the design of that character and the npc damsel Yuri. Be warned: Japanese chauvinism is on full-display here. For those seeking more, there is another short interview with the Art of Fighting 2 staff from an old mook which I've translated here.
—How was King created?
Staff: 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.
—Looking back now, are there any points you're unsatisfied?
Staff: Maybe we should have given her a slightly bigger butt.
—What does she disguise herself as a man?
Staff: As a bodyguard, she wouldn’t be taken seriously if people knew she was a woman.
—What were some of the key points you focused on in designing King?
Staff: 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.
—And what would you say King's "charm point" is?
Staff: 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.
—By the way, what is Yuri's personality like?
Staff: 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.
—The quality of the voice acting in Art of Fighting is very high.
Staff: 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.
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