Capcom Explain's Ken's Bizarre New Street Fighter V Look

Capcom Explain's Ken's Bizarre New Street Fighter V Look

SFV Ken Social

Capcom wants there to be a lot more distinction between Ryu and Ken.

Street Fighter's Ryu and Ken are two of the most iconic faces in video games, and one of the most iconic rivalries out there. Being trained by the same master, but from very different backgrounds (Ken is from the US while Ryu is Japanese) the pair have remained largely unchanged throughout Street Fighter history. But, fans were shocked to discover that Ken's Street Fighter V appearance would be drastically different from what they were used to. In an interview with IGN, Capcom sheds some light on why Ken was changed.

"[The new] Ken looks fine [laughs]," said Capcom brand manager Mike Lunn. "People say he looks a little bit different. He looks a little bit different, his hair is a little bit different; he now has that kind of sporty shirt on as well."

Lunn explains that the differences go beyond cosmetics, and that Street Fighter V's Ken actually plays a bit more differently this time around, and changing up his outfit helps differentiate him from his rival. "So I think the team wanted to separate the two a little more, so it wasn't a 'white ninja dude, red ninja dude,'" said Lunn.

"Clone" characters (characters that have the exact same moveset of another character but with minor tweaks) are certainly a thing that fighting games sometimes struggle with. Ken was probably one of the original "clone" characters, and while he has changed a bit over the years he still played fairly similarly to Ryu until now.

What do you think of the new Ken? Personally, I still prefer his classic look, but maybe he will grow on me?

Source: IGN

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Bizarre is going a bit far, just different would do. I think it looks cool, and he'll stand out more now.

Well, if you think from going to 90s representation of american fighters to guys who surfs and plays volleyball is not weird.....then I think that you're very bizarre.

I like the "old" Ken so It'll be hard to win me over, but I guess I'll give the "new" Ken a fair shot.

I do think the new one looks absolutely horrible though, but that's just my personal opinion.

Oh... I thought it was for story-related reasons... I guess it's more technical than that...

Other than that, right now, they should have kept his old attire... except the hair because I'm kinda digging it...

I hate the hair. It makes him look like an action figure with a bad paint scheme. I mean it looks like it's glowing. It kinda burns my eyes.
I don't mind the change, though, hair aside, and the reason is actually believable.

I've never been a huge fan of Street Fighter but even I can tell the difference between Ken and Ryu. Ken's bright red Gi and blond hair makes it pretty easy. All they did for this new outfit is darken it and give him a muscle shirt underneath.

I dunno, it looks like Capcom's trying to do one of those dark re-imaginings of a character's design like comic books are so obsessed with doing. Here's hoping they aren't pulling a Penance and that it's just his outfit that's changing.

Weren't Ryu and Ken pretty much the most generic characters in street fighter?

Only thing I don't like about it is the hair, feel like the style just doesn't suit ken at all. I've always pictured him as a life long mop-head.

WonkyWarmaiden:
I've never been a huge fan of Street Fighter but even I can tell the difference between Ken and Ryu. Ken's bright red Gi and blond hair makes it pretty easy. All they did for this new outfit is darken it and give him a muscle shirt underneath.

I dunno, it looks like Capcom's trying to do one of those dark re-imaginings of a character's design like comic books are so obsessed with doing. Here's hoping they aren't pulling a Penance and that it's just his outfit that's changing.

We'll see, he seems to be the same Ken personality wise.

I really like that they're trying to progress characters' looks a little bit. I like the idea of Ken looking so much more casual and sporty here compared to just wearing Ryu's clothes painted red. It's good for the series if you ask me.

...That being said that is some unnatural looking hair. It looks like his face is framed in bananas. I'm filing this redesign in my "close but no cigar" bin.

What the flying fuck is that?

I understand them wanting to differentiate him mechanically. Sure. Cool.

But that design is hideous. The hair and the colour scheme and the mismatched eyebrows. Yeesh.

To echo everyone's sentiment... It's the hair colour.

He doesn't look bizarre, his hair simply looks like it was painted in a car factory. It doesn't look blond, it looks greenish yellow, like a banana. Just change it to actual blond and the problem is solved.

Im in the camp of that looks freaking awesome in a sorta 90's sorta way.

At a glance the main pic for the article makes it look like he's wearing pigtails. Otherwise the outfit seems fine to me.

It's the hair. The hair is the problem. It's looks like he is wearing a wig made out of banana peels.

But other than that ken is awesome.

Hair quality is really goofy; looks like something I made from play-dough as a kid and accidentally stepped in. Not sure why his hair and eyebrows are totally different colours, either.

Cool that they're trying to give a unique identity to one of their most popular characters, though. From a clone to now his own, almost as if he's 'earned' a slot among the other, fuller characters.

Don't think they needed such a drastic change in appearance; a change in skeleton and basic animations probably would've done fine. But at least they're giving some communication on it! :)

I just wish they didn't...you know...make his hair look like it was made out of a solid chunk of bright yellow plastic...

So trombone guard in the 9th picture is going to be a character too right? He seems pretty into it and I'm going to assume the fire is actually from his trombone.

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Why do I keep thinking about Dio Brando when looking at that hair?

I like that he is more that just Ryu with a red suit. I can see the historical reason why he started that way, but there is no modern reason for it, so I am glad they are making him different.

I am not a fan of the hair, but it is endemic of the graphical style of every character in the game. All the characters have bright plasticky looking hair, specially noticeable with those with long hair (look at Nash, Necalli, Mika and Laura).

Eh, doesn't bother me really. Since SF2 (the original) they've been working at making Ken more than a Ryu clone. His character background is considerably different and with every title Ken's move set has centered more and more around the Dragon Punch While Ryu fluctuated between the Hurricane Kick and the Hadoken. This is just another step in that process.

I'll just echo what others said about his redesign and say that the only actual problem with Kens new look is hair.

Every other change I like: they made him look and feel different from Ryu. Now he doesn't feel like a Ryu that does 4 hits during Shoryuken and flames it up a bit.

Rebel_Raven:
I hate the hair. It makes him look like an action figure with a bad paint scheme. I mean it looks like it's glowing. It kinda burns my eyes.
I don't mind the change, though, hair aside, and the reason is actually believable.

I dunno, the art style for all of the characters seems relatively over the top and a bit of an eye-sore. I don't see Ken's as being any worse than the rest of the game.

Egh, I still liked his Alpha look best. The thing with SFV character designs is that they look great in action, but look...off in still screenshots. Ken looks fine in-game, and he's probably one of the few that actually don't have real hair problems...

I think he looks much better now, it's not a "Bizarre" look, he just didn't want to be boring anymore.
Meanwhile Ryu looks identical and maintains his position of most boring video game character ever, i've seen people saying his bearded topless pre-order costume should be Ryu's default and i agree, it gives him something which the character has needed for awhile.

erttheking:
Why do I keep thinking about Dio Brando when looking at that hair?

No I see it too. Kinda want to see Street Fighter X Jojo now. With only two color palettes and the rest dlc only, 5 bucks per 4 per character.

I didn't really mind that they changed his outfit a lot, but his hair looks like play-doh.

At least Ken washes his outfit. Ryu needs to world-wander by a laundromat sometime.

But anyway. Bizarre? Nah. It really does suit him, I think, and it does go a long way towards differentiating him from his rival.

Somehow don't like the new look of all Street Fighter characters beyond SF2. What's up with the oversized hands and feet, and thighs like tree trunks? They all look like they have allergies or are suffering from extreme steroid abuse. Or like friggin Hobbits.

Street Fighter V: Hobbits on Steroids

I'm no SF fan, but I think it's fine for Ken to end up a bit different. My issue is his hair looks like some unholy fusion cake icing and clumped up pasta.

This reminds me of the last time Capcom talked about changing an Iconic Character's appearance and keeping the same name rather than just making them a different character. *looks at Devil May Cry*

How the hell can I like the new Ken when he's wearing lipstick? Look at the screens, he's doing duck lips. I mean seriously, at this point either write them out of the series or leave them alone. Why not mess with ChunLi's thunder thighs or Guile's ridiculous hair? Ryu and Ken were different characters with similar move sets...so what. People that used them knew the differences. This is a change for the sake of change, which is usually never good(see Dante).

"[The new] Ken looks fine [laughs]"

I died. I can't believe that was their literal first response and that they seriously think that.
It looks like complete trash, even worse than that DMC:DMC:DMC&Knuckles redesign of Dante.

Seriously, it just looks like a black dude wearing bananas for hair, it's like they couldn't decide to go all the way with a full redesign and wanted to keep something so people "know" it's Ken.

They could have at least matched up the eyebrows... sigh

Zhukov:
The hair and the colour scheme and the mismatched eyebrows. Yeesh.

KenAri:
Not sure why his hair and eyebrows are totally different colours, either.

VincentX3:
They could have at least matched up the eyebrows... sigh

I personally quite like the redesign. Admittedly I didn't grow up with Street Fighter and only got into the series at IV, so I've not grown up knowing Ken to look how he does, but I'm surprised people like his old design so dearly. I mean, he's essentially just a pallet-swapped Ryu, which I never felt works for Ken's flashy fighting and bit of attitude. All Ryu ever does is wonder around and fight people,so the 24/7 gi makes sense, but Ken actually has a life and some actual personality. The long hair he had in Alpha was a good step, showing that he's not quite as disciplined as his clean-cut rival, and I'm glad they're doing something similar with this design.

That said, I wouldn't be heartbroken if they did a 180 and reverted to his old look. I think the changes to his gameplay that are starting to properly set him apart from Ryu are more important.

 

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