Rufus (Street Fighter)
|Street Fighter character|
Rufus in Street Fighter IV
|First game||Street Fighter IV|
|Designed by||Daigo Ikeno|
|Voiced by (English)||Christopher Corey Smith|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Wataru Hatano|
|Fighting style||Self-taught martial arts|
Rufus (ルーファス Rūfasu?) is a fictional character in the Street Fighter series of fighting games. Designed by Daigo Ikeno for Capcom's development team, he first appeared in the arcade version of Street Fighter IV and later in related promotions and media for the title.
A very large, overweight martial artist, Rufus seeks to defeat Ken Masters, angered by his claim of being the "number one fighter in America". Along the way he instead fights many people he confuses for Ken due to similar attire or hair color, regardless of gender. The character is voiced by Wataru Hatano in Japanese, and Christopher Corey Smith in English.
Since Rufus's introduction, the character has received a mostly positive reception. Though some criticism has been made over the character's design and aesthetic, the majority have praised the character as exceeding expectations based solely on his appearance.
While previous Street Fighter titles relied almost solely on Capcom's Research and Development branch, the development team instead allowed other branches of the company to give input on the design of new characters, due to the influx of fan requests from outside of Japan. Rufus was designed based upon marketing research on what sorts of characters an American audience would enjoy playing, and was one of several characters considered for inclusion during the game's development.
Designed by Daigo Ikeno, Rufus was initially intended to be a bald slender African American male wearing a gi named "King Cobra", meant to be a more acrobatic counterpart to series characters Ryu and Ken and voiced by Wataru Hatano. His fighting style was intended to be "breakung-fu", mixing elements of Chinese martial arts with breakdancing, which they perceived as a fad in the United States at the time, and Ikeno developed the character's concept around it. Midway through the process of recording the character's lines, however, art director Takashi Kamei proposed that they have the character be overweight, an idea Ikeno agreed with. As a result, the design was gradually changed completely, becoming more obese and turned into a blonde, long haired white male, a design which Ikeno later admitted was in fact rushed. The changed appearance surprised many of Capcom's staff members, including Hatano, who remarked "Wait, is that my character?" Rufus final appearance was chosen over his initial design because the developers felt he would "freak people out". Street Fighter IV's executive producer Yoshinori Ono likened his inclusion to that of Blanka in Street Fighter II, noting that Rufus' "over-the-top" design was intended to help set the game apart from the "really cool-looking but ultimately bland" characters of Tekken and Virtua Fighter.
In an interview, Ono noted they made Rufus intentionally silly, adding that he could be called an "American Dan" in terms of being a joke character in the game's roster. He later referred to Rufus as "quite grotesque to look at" when describing the new characters for the game. When asked about comparisons between Rufus and Bob, a character introduced by Namco for their Tekken series around the same time, Ono emphasized that the characters were different in many regards, and while Bob represented a "cool fat guy", Rufus represented a "weird fat guy". Other Capcom staff members including community manager Seth Killian have received the character warmly, noting Rufus as their favorite new character in the series.
Street Fighter IV sound director Masayuki Endou developed the character's musical theme for the title with a "freewheeling spirit" in mind due to Rufus's motorcycle and personality, utilizing an American drummer and drum set for parts of the theme. Feeling it would be an interesting approach, Hatano's recorded voice samples to be incorporated into the character's background music. The development team agreed, feeling that his voice gave the character presence and fit Rufus' overall image.
Personality and attributes
Rufus is an American motorcycle repair shop mechanic. Using a self-taught fighting style from watching martial arts films and putting his own spin on the attacks, he believes he is handsome and America's best martial artist. Rufus takes himself very seriously in this regard, to the point of referring to himself as "Lord Rufus" and regarding rude people as beneath him. Capcom describes the character as having a hasty personality, prone to jumping to conclusions to achieve a goal and sacrificing accuracy for speed. Rufus tends to speak in a long-winded manner, demonstrated through considerably long victory quotes at the end of fights. His girlfriend, Candy, accompanies him as a result of him protecting her from an angry waiter she attempted to bilk and paying the bill.
Rufus is depicted as a large, heavily obese blond male. His head is mostly bald, with a long braided ponytail jutting from the top, and a mustache extending down the sides of his mouth to his chin. His clothing consists of a yellow and black sleeveless jumpsuit with padded shoulders, with the closing straps left open due to his girth and exposing the center of his torso and lower abdominal hair. Black shoes cover his feet, while black fingerless gloves cover his hands and most of his forearms. His secondary outfit is similar, changing the jumpsuit to a dark blue and green version with sleeves and a raised collar, additionally removing the gloves and changing his hairstyle to a double ponytail. Other alternate designs were considered but rejected, amongst which included an Elvis impersonator appearance and martial artist attire. Rufus stands 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) tall, and weighs 185 kilograms (408 lb).
For Super Street Fighter IV, a third outfit intended to resemble the Chinese jiangshi was included, consisting of a long Chinese robe, black hat with his ponytail extruding from the top, yellow and black striped pants, and a yellow strip of paper meant to represent a sealing charm extending from the front of the hat and over his face. The developers considered to have the charm able to be knocked off by an opponent's attacks, and as a result alter his attack patterns and power; however, they felt this overcomplicated the character, and instead abandoned the idea. Assistant producer Natsuki Shiozawa cited the outfit as one of her five favorites in the game, feeling that design suited his body well.
Introduced in the 2008 video game Street Fighter IV, Rufus is angered that martial artist Ken Masters is declared the best fighter in America. Per Candy's suggestion that he find and defeat Ken to prove himself as the best, he declares Ken as his rival and sets out to find him. However, along the way he repeatedly mistakes other fighters for Ken, attacking similarly dressed or blonde people regardless of gender, and blames the mistaken identities on his belief Ken is using decoys to delay him, notably, the character Abel. He eventually confronts Ken, who states he does not know who Rufus is, which angers him further before they fight. In the game's conclusion, Rufus is shown pushing his broken down motorcycle uphill with Candy on board, using it as training and blaming Ken for the predicament. At the conclusion of Super Street Fighter IV, Rufus repairs his motorcycle and at Candy's request for a colder climate, heads due north to the North Pole. Rufus appears with his official tag partner, Zangief in Street Fighter X Tekken.
Outside of the video game, Rufus has also appeared in UDON's Street Fighter comic series. First appearing in their Street Fighter II Turbo comic in February 2009, Rufus is shown to hate Ken for being named the best fighter in America as well as for the media attention he receives, feeling Ken put no effort into the achievement. Taking Candy along with him, Rufus sets out to find and defeat Ken at the story's conclusion. Later appearing in the second issue of UDON's Street Fighter IV comic book, Rufus attempts to find him through his friend Sakura Kasugano, defeating Dan Hibiki in the process but is himself defeated afterwards.
Rufus was purposefully made faster than his outward appearance would indicate and given the ability to string his attacks together more readily, in order to "[defy] expectations based on what he looks like", and to contrast against other large characters in fighting games. During development of his attacks, the developers devised several options for his fighting style, considering different ways to combine it with his appearance. After considering his design, they decided to allow his movements to be quick and strengthened by the inertia of his body fat, accompanied by martial artist yells and shouts.
Rufus's gameplay has been compared to the fighting styles used by Street Fighter III characters Yun and Yang by the development team, notably in regards to his diving kick attack, and emphasized mobility while attacking. Other attacks were designed as a means to negate enemy offensives, such as the Galactic Tornado, which destroys enemy projectiles while drawing the opponent closer to Rufus for a final strike. His Ultra Combo, Space Opera Symphony, is a barrage of attacks that requires close proximity to the opponent, dealing several blows and ending in a final upwards blast.
In Super Street Fighter IV, a second Ultra Combo named "Big Bang Typhoon" was added, consisting of Rufus spinning his body with arms outward in a tornado-inspired fashion. The attack was designed to have deceptive range, but a long startup period. In addition, several attacks were altered in terms of range and damage. This in turn gave the development team trouble and relied on a lot of "trial and error" to balance the character.
Promotion and reception
To promote Street Fighter IV and the character, artwork of Rufus including hand-drawn sprites of the character is included in Xbox Live themes. Worldwide restaurants Wan Zhu Ji and Benitora Gyoza Bo offered four Street Fighter IV themed meals, which included a nimono meat dish named after the character. At organized events, Capcom distributed a limited series of Street Fighter IV cards to promote the arcade title, one of which features Rufus in a fighting stance.
Rufus has received mixed to positive reception since his debut. GameDaily named Rufus the strangest of the new characters introduced in Street Fighter IV, placing him 12th on their "Most Bizarre Fighting Characters" list and noting his high attack speed despite his weight. IGN described Rufus as one of the most interesting new characters introduced in the title, due to the "juxtaposition between his comical size and impressive speed" and added that his attack set "shows that if you can get past Rufus' comical exterior, a capable fighter hides within." IGN AU stated that while they felt the character was the ugliest in the game, they enjoyed his unpredictability and acrobatics, as well as his attitude. 1UP.com called Rufus a worthy addition to the series, "despite...outward, me-too appearances". Anime News Network described Rufus as well-designed and engaging, despite initial reservations regarding the character. VideoGamer.com praised Rufus as one of the game's better new characters in the title, in heavy contrast to other additions such as Crimson Viper. GameTrailers praised the character and noted he "definitely offered something different", adding "You may not have expected a game's most obvious jiggle physics to apply to a male character." Stars and Stripes noted the level of detail in Rufus's animations and movements, describing his mobility as "weirdly awesome".
In contrast, Doug Buel of The Tampa Tribune considered Rufus a character the game could have done without, describing him as "an obnoxious, overweight fighter with a big mouth", additionally citing the character as the game's worst feature. GameSpot described him as "a bit of a sight gag", though noting his speed as "deceptive". A reviewer for the New Straits Times felt that though the character stood out from the other newcomers, his play was too "lethargic". Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann noted that the character was "a bit out of place" with the rest of the cast, describing him as a "big, bobbing belly with appendages", though he added that Rufus was feasible as a playable character.
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