Art of Fighting – Developer interview, in 1993

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

Entrevista traducida de:

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.

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.

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.


Art of Fighting 2 – Developer Interview, (1994, AoF2 Gamest mook)

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

Translated from:


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

Hmm, a little over a year.


How were the new characters Eiji Kisaragi and Temjin created?

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?

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?

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?

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

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

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?

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?

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…

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.”


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

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?

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Concept art for Jack Turner showing an early design somewhat
reminiscent of Ray Jackson from Bloodsport (1988).

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…)

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.”
Bienvenidos a Culturaneogeo, una página de habla hispana dedicada exclusivamente al sistema Neo Geo. En ella encontraréis información de todo tipo
relacionada con el sistema de SNK, así como un foro donde podréis encontrar gente aficionada a Neo Geo con la que podréis compartir vuestras experiencias.