Director confirms Street Fighter: World Warrior Cancelled
So back in 2012, Street Fighter fans all around the world rejoiced when Joey Ansah with his friend and colleague Christian Howard had produced a 3 minute fan film called Street Fighter: Legacy which they released on YouTube.
Their reasons for creating the short film was due to disappointment of Video Games films and TV Series had a habit of failing expectations at the time. Street Fighter 1994 and Street Fighter Legend of Chun-Li were the two that really got Ansah and Howard thinking: "could we do better?"
The 3 minute short filmed starred Ansah himself as Akuma, with Jon Foo as Ryu and Christian Howard as Ken. The short gained critical acclaim among fans and lead to a kickstarter campaign to fund web series called Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist.
Released in 2014, Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist was a 12 episode web series. Ansah canceled the kickstarter after Producers like Jacqueline Quella stepped forward to help produce and fund the project as Capcom (who own the rights to Street Fighter) would not fund the project but allowed Ansah and co the creative rights to create the series.
The Web series was also a success. focused on the origins of Ryu (Mike Moh) and Ken (Christian Howard) training under the elderly Goken (Akira Koieyama) as well as some episode were set in a parrallel story of young Goken (Shogen) and Goki (Gaku Space) training under their master Gotetsu (Togo Igawa) with Sayaka (Hyunri Lee) being the object of Goki's affection before his transition into Akuma (Joey Ansah).
The series brilliantly blends in Video Games lore with real life martial arts techniques and even concepts used in the Martial Arts genre such as Musha Shugyo (Warrior's Pilgrimage). While set authentically 1987-1989 Japan for Ryu and Ken's origin (the same year as Street Fighter 1 was released in Japan and then overseas) and in 1950s for Goken and Goki's origin, they filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria rebuilding the same dojo set used for Isaac Florentine's film Ninja (starring Scott Adkins). In fact unlike many shows, Assassin's Fist take authenticity even further with appropriate bilingual dialogue with the cast speaking mostly Japanese and English. Another bonus is majority of the cast are genuine martial artists and cross trained in martial arts, weight lifting and Gymnastics for Ryu, Ken and Akuma's actors.
After the series concluded Ansah had announced plans to make Street Fighter: World Warrior as a squel series set in the 1990s based primarily off Street Fighter II. Many fans had anticipated this series as it would introduce fan favourites like Chun-Li, Cammy, Guile and M.Bison. However in 2016, to promote the upcoming Street Fighter V video game. Capcom requested Ansah and co make another series based on the new game. This lead to a mini-series called Street Fighter: Resurrection. Resurrection gave fans their first look at several character with Charlie Nash (Alain Moussi), Laura Matsuda (Natascha Hopkins), Decapre (Katrina Durden), Kolin (Amy Olivia Bell) and finally M.Bison (Silvio Simac).
Unfortunately despite this, Ansah and co had trouble with production for Street Fighter: World Warrior due to many issues with rights and funding. Aswell as creative differences and control over the series direction as deviating to far off the source is something Ansah prefers to avoid to keep the rendition faithful for the fans.
Regarding the cancelation of the series Ansah had this to say.
“…Do not expect a follow up series anytime in the immediate to near future.” Ansah wrote on Facebook. “Horrible news I know, but all we can do is look forward. I still have a fantastic relationship with Capcom and the fight to do something with them in this space is not over!”
Ansah, whose latest credits partly include Mission Impossible: Fallout, Aladdin, and upcoming Netflix comic adaptation, The Old Guard, spoke extensively to Facebook fans about the production costs, prospects and usual idiosyncracies that come with the dealmaking process of filmmaking, adding that the streamlined story told in Assassin’s Fist “allowed us to create a high production value on a tight budget.”
Hinting at eOne’s acquisition, Ansah further states his team “partnered with one that we believed best understood the ‘vision’ and more importantly understood the creative process that made SFAF what it was.”
That was in Spring when The Mark Gordon Company’s own Mark Gordon was acting president and chief content officer of film and television for Entertainment One. In July of 2019, Gordon left his post at eOne, with the rights to the series elapsing and reverting back to Capcom in the months that followed.
By this time, Machinima, which was also home to Warner Digital series Mortal Kombat Legacy, had ceased operations a few months earlier after thirteen years of business, officially closing shop in February.
“…Creative execs come and go from a studio, so who you end up working with down the line calling the shots on your show’s development may well not be the person you originally pitched to and believed in.” said Ansah, who asserts his creative control would have lessened significantly in different hands.
“You are at the mercy of trying to work as best you can with all the players involved when things finally get moving. As the process developed it was clear that despite being an exec Prod. on the show, I wouldn’t be the lead writer or director of the show, and without being in creative control, I would not be able to guarantee an authentic continuation of the SF story in live-action that you have grown to love and support” Ansah writes.
You can read Joey Ansah's full Statement here.