Have you ever wondered why it is that Street Fighter characters all seem to be based on the same basic build? You haven’t? Oh. Well…off you go.
For the rest of you, it turns out that the classic Street Fighter look has nothing to do with a lack of creativity on the part of the designers, but rather a basic anatomy template that Capcom has been using for years.
As part of a Gamasutra article, Toshiyuki Kamei spoke about a guide Capcom uses which outlines the basic anatomy structure they adhere to for some of their characters. The guide was partially created by former Capcom artist Akira Yasuda and goes into pretty in-depth detail regarding the basic design and movement of certain Capcom character models.
The guide seems to largely focus on Capcom fighting games – particularly Street Fighter – and Kamei admits that it hasn’t really been formally updated over the years. That means that most of the technical design references it mentions actually relate to the sprite era of gaming graphics.
Even still, the guide is treated as the foundation of fighting game character design to this day. It’s not hard to see why. The sketches within the book detail everything from shoulder muscle movement to the proper design of abdominals (Spoilers: the proper design is “ripped”) and give you a good idea of what kind of detail character artists have to think in if they want to create semi-believable characters.
Actually, the outdated nature of the guide makes many of the sketches featured within it that much more impressive. At a time when technology barely allowed for anything more advanced than a pixel, artists were already imagining details and designs that wouldn’t even be possible until decades later. The fact that any of this information is still relevant – much less valid – is pretty shocking.