Capcom actually had to pay Namco to use the name ‘Street Fighter…’ and still may be doing so today according to SF2 producer Yoshiki Okamoto

Posted by John ‘Velociraptor’ Guerrero • 42 minutes ago • Comments: 2

Capcom’s iconic Street Fighter franchise kicked off back in 1987 with the arcade version of the very first title, but when Street Fighter was ported to the TurboGrafx-16 for home console use, the name was curiously altered to “Fighting Street.”

This factoid is little more than a bit of cute Street Fighter trivia these days, but recent clarifying remarks from Street Fighter 2 producer Yoshiki Okamoto apparently reveal the reason for this odd change: Capcom didn’t own the rights to the “Street Fighter” name… and very well still might not.

This was initially brought to our attention via a Twitter post by a video game fan by the name of James Wragg, who shared some sentiments from Okamoto’s recent video upload (which is entirely in Japanese):

Remember Fighting Street, the PCE version of Street Fighter? Well, the long rumored reason for the name change (pre-existing tm, shoes etc) is apparently just that: a rumour!?#StreetFighter

— James Wragg (@Captain_Pixel)

As the story seems to go, Namco (which has since evolved into Bandai Namco) actually owned the trademark to the “Street Fight” name back when the original Street Fighter franchise was getting off the ground. As such, calling a game “Street Fighter” would naturally come with a licensing fee payable to Namco.

While Capcom could have justified paying this for SF1’s major arcade release or for anything SF2-related once the franchise exploded, paying it for a home port in 1987 probably wasn’t financially justifiable. Developers found a path of less resistance in simply swapping the words around a bit for the port.

That’s all well and good and makes enough sense, but Okamoto goes on to speculate (he left Capcom in 1997, so hasn’t been very close to the action for a while now) that it’s entirely possible that Capcom is still paying Namco to call their titles Street Fighter.

How’s the potential possibility that the creators of Street Fighter have to pay the creators of Tekken to use the name Street Fighter for a bit of cute Street Fighter trivia? Japanese speakers can check out Okamoto’s video below.