COLLECTED WORKS YASUYUKI ODA
The SNK veteran and Street Fighter IV designer on three decades fighting the good fight
As a keen young animator eager to join the game industry, but reluctant to leave his home city of Osaka, Yasuyuki Oda’s options were limited – if you can call it that – to Capcom, Konami and SNK. After graduating from art college and while still working part-time in a supermarket, Oda secured an interview at SNK, whose games he knew from the arcades, where he’d spend much of his free time playing Ikari Warriors.
He took with him a bulging folder of character designs and animation stills and, when he was led into the interview room, found himself sat at a table across from Seigo Ito, director of the Fatal Fury series. After answering Ito’s questions, Oda was passed an envelope containing a small amount of money, intended to cover his travel costs, a standard practice in Japan at the time but one that was unknown to the twenty-year-old. “I figured they’d just liked me and decided to give me some money,” he later recalled. Oda walked out of SNK’s offices and promptly headed for the arcades, in order to spend his unexpected bonus.
It was a fitting start to a career of which much has been spent in and around arcades. As the producer of SNK’s Game Division Studio 1, Oda has been responsible for some of the best-regarded fighting games of all time. After a brief stint at Dimps, where he was instrumental in the design of Street Fighter IV, in 2014 Oda returned to the company where he made his name to reboot Street Fighter’s great rival, King Of Fighters.
Fatal Fury’s boss Wolfgang Krauser employs a unique style of fighting that fuses the German martial art Kampfringen with the ancient Greek style of Pankration. His style was supposedly inspired by the 1970s Japanese comic-book character Tiger Mask