How Sirlin struggled with Street Fighter 2 HD

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix released last week on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network to great acclaim, but according to lead designer David Sirlin, the game was a momentous struggle with which he received very little help.

“I struggled almost every day with that whole project trying to get something done. A real critical hurdle for me was having the rebalanced mode at all. Backbone, they just didn’t want to do it at all because it sounded like too much work,” explains Sirlin. “Who’s going to pay for all this, it’s hard enough to ship this game in the first place and, were they going to assign programmers to help me? They didn’t want to do that. So they said, ‘no, we’re not going to do it’. Just flat out no.

“I pretty much ignored that. I started reading the source code myself, and I’m not a programmer, and I’m certainly not an assembly programmer, so it’s complete gibberish to me.”

Undeterred, the designer used the Yoga Hyper Book, which contains Street Fighter hit box data and frame statistics, to basically teach himself the code. He received very little help from either Capcom or Backbone, who didn’t want the rebalanced mode to happen. 

I can believe this of Backbone, who has made a career of doing straight ports so faithful, they even leave in all the glitches. Massive kudos to Sirlin, then, who went above and beyond the call of duty and delivered a game that was more than the simply standard port everyone else wanted it to be. Lazy developers be damned!

Jim Sterling