Legendary Capcom artist Akira “Akiman” Yasuda – famous for illustrating games such as Street Fighter II, Captain Commando, Power Stone and many, many more – has revealed the unlikely inspiration for one of his most iconic pieces of artwork.
The arcade poster for Capcom’s Final Fight – which was originally supposed to be released as Street Fighter ‘89 – shows playable character Cody standing over a prone enemy lying in a pool of blood. His face is turned away from the viewer, eyes already trained on another incoming foe.
If you are young enough to remember the arcade release of the game you may recall seeing this art in video game magazines of the period (we see to recall UK magazine CVG giving this away as a free pull-out poster), but it was later used on the North America cover for their Sega CD version. It’s a brilliantly brutal piece of artwork that perfectly communicates the tone of the game.
Yasuda has revealed his inspiration for the art – Enix’s Famicom epic Dragon Quest. He states in a tweet that he tried to copy the idea that the hero’s face isn’t clearly displayed because the player will be taking the place of the hero (it’s worth noting that Guy, another playable character in Final Fight, also has his back to the viewer).
Yasuda notes that Dragon Quest’s Akira Toriyama appears to have been inspired by illustrations for the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, which also adopts the same approach to showing the hero.
So there you have it – one of the most striking pieces of ‘80s arcade artwork was inspired by an RPG. Who would have thought it, eh?
Thanks to James Wragg for the tip!