In the original Street Fighter 2, red hadoukens were an intentional easter egg among other, more esoteric secrets, according to tweets from the game's lead designer Akira Nishitani.
Nishitani, who recently joined Twitter, shared details on Street Fighter 2's development process, including the slew of tweaks the development team had to make for damage values to add up correctly and fairly. Mugen Fighters Guild forum "felineki" translated the tweets, which detail easter eggs and other small secrets included in the title — such as red hadoukens being an intentional addition by the programming team.
"We had given each character their own separate defense value, then somewhere along the line we discovered that those values weren't actually being reflected in the damage calculation, but ended up leaving it that way," Nishitani tweeted. "But I guess it felt more fair that way? Turned out alright in the end.
"In Street Fighter 2, sometimes Ryu takes absurdly high damage when dizzied," he added. "This is due to the fact that we experimented with characters taking twice as much damage when dizzy, and applied this flag to all dizzied animation frames, but forgot to remove it from one."
He also shared a handful of anecdotes from the title's development, detailing how some of the game's major gameplay features came to be.
"A Street Fighter 2 detail anecdote: On the occasion that two opposing processes had to occur on the same frame, I thought it would be unfair to give one player priority over the other, so the programmer made the order of processes during an individual frame rearrange at random," he wrote. "And as a result of that, attacks that become active on their very first frame like Blanka's Bush Buster and such become unblockable 50 percent of the time. Although that's my fault for making them active on the first frame in the first place."
Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior originally launched in 1991 for arcades.