Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, and the entire cast of Street Fighter II are absolutely legendary among gamers. While they might not have the expanded reach that characters like Mario or Sonic do, you'll be hard-pressed to find a gamer who doesn't know these fighters. Their creation is thanks to Akira “Akiman” Yasuda and Akira Nishitani, two Capcom employees tasked with filling out Street Fighter II's roster.
In a newly-translated interview that was originally conducted in 2003, Yasuda sheds some light on how the creation of these iconic characters came about. Check out a blurb on the creation of Chun-Li below.
“My first idea resembled the Chinese character Tao from the Genma Taisen (Genma Wars) animated movie, with big wide-legged pants. She would also have that front and back apron. The character wasn’t very sexy though, and my design lacked visual impact and personality. So at the 11th hour, I experimented and made a bunch of frantic changes to the pixel art. First I tried giving her bare legs and a bodycon dress. That made her look like a female pro-wrestler, a sort of “fake” kung-fu fighter. It’s a little bit hard to describe in words, but it had a lot of impact, and I decided to go with it and release her to the world this way. She became far more popular than I had imagined, I was shocked. I guess part of it was that she was the only female character in the game.”