This summer, mobile game Power Rangers Legacy Wars opened the doors to its multiverse and added playable characters from Capcom’s iconic arcade series Street Fighter. A day after New York Comic Con, a seven-minute short film, Power Rangers Legacy Wars: Street Fighter Showdown, was released. It features Power Rangers stars Jason David Frank and Ciara Hanna reprising their TV roles as they fight alongside Chun-Li and Ryu.
In the film, Ryu gets a special ability to become the “Ryu Ranger,” a fusion of two different worlds. In an interview with Inverse, Kuroki explains that there are more than 40 different variations on the design, and how nWay aimed to help Ryu stand out.
“When I was designing the game, I was thinking about Street Fighter as a huge influence,” Kuroki says. “The discussion started from there. We slowly got Capcom into the idea. We showed them the game and they really liked what we did with the Power Rangers and how we made sure the [intellectual property] would be] represented in the game. From there it took off.”
Describing the integration as “seamless,” Kuroki says Capcom was on board with the crossover character, Ryu Ranger, a Power Ranger costume tailored specifically to the Hadouken-throwing, spin-kicking Ryu.
“We thought, originally, it would be cool to get all Street Fighter characters in a Power Ranger suit, but we decided it might dumb down the idea,” Kuroki says. “So we thought, ‘Let’s get the most iconic Street Fighter character in the suit. That was thought about way in the beginning.”
Approximately 30-40 different versions of the “Ryu Ranger” were drafted before the final version, with contributions by both Capcom and Saban Brands (prior to the IP’s sale to Hasbro). A list of unused animal motifs were explored, including a nine-tail fox, a shiba inu, and, of course, a dragon.
“The dragon was already used,” Kuroki says, referring to Tommy the Green Ranger.
“We worked with the lead concept artist from Capcom, who gave us more direction on what it meant to be Ryu. We got the headband, the eyebrows, the gloves. The final piece was making sure the Power Rangers, the brand, was applied. That came down to the helmet design and giving the coin an animal. Capcom gave us ideas what would work for Ryu and then Saban gave us ideas of what hasn’t been used yet.
Eventually, they settled on the crimson hawk. “With the hawk, the sound effects, the way the VFX worked for the attacks, ended up working great.”
Ryu Ranger is the last Street Fighter character to be implemented in Legacy Wars, and will remain exclusive to the smartphone game. In other words, don’t expect Ryu Ranger in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But “never say never,” Kuroki teases.
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