Patrick Reynolds, CEO of Kenzai, is one of my best friends. We met years ago when I became an instructor at the English school he and I used to work at. His company was small then, but Kenzai has since grown into a strong player in the online health industry. Patrick, the man, has a standard of quality in his work that I wish many more companies had, and its been a honour and a pleasure to learn the ways of the entrepreneur from him. Over the years we have bonded over many things, and we have become partners in another amazing business venture, Question Quest, but the thing that started our friendship really rolling was Street Fighter.
We have beaten each other to virtual pulp, Patrick’s Ken and my T. Hawk trading blows night after night online, and both of us became stronger players because of our many battles. We have become too busy over the last couple years to pick up controllers like we used to, but the fun-scars our games have left on us have never healed, and we don’t want them too!
But while Patrick and I see eye to eye on many things, Ryu/Chun-Li is not exactly one of them. He doesn’t hate the idea. He’s more wary. Patrick is the one who pointed out to me that having Ryu and Chun-Li together in the Street Fighter story may have a significant impact on the Street Fighter experience and made me ponder just what that impact would be. He also reminded me of one of his greatest lessons in entrepreneurship, unless the final product on this project–on any project–is quality, no one is going to care.
So, keeping these things in mind over the course of this graphic novel endeavour, my people and I finally finished the main story. And last Saturday I gave the story to Patrick to read. I tried not to watch him while he read, but it was impossible. While I sat next to him trying to focus on my online newspaper, I kept glancing over at his face to see if he was enjoying himself. I glanced over so much I knew exactly where he was in the story at all times. He had a poker face all the way through.
When he finished, Patrick didn’t say much, but that’s normal. He likes to let things percolate in his mind a while before commenting, something I’m still trying to learn. But, to my relief, when he finally did speak, his feedback was positive. He said “Good job, man!” He said the story was well written and the twists were good. He also said the book sent a clear message and the motivations of the characters were believable. And like most comics, you wish there were more pages to give parts of the story more room, but sometimes that can’t be helped.
In the end, Patrick summed up his feelings about the book in the following review:
Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle intertwines a fast-paced, action-filled story with the tender moments of a budding relationship between the two most famous characters of the Street Fighter universe. We get to see the relatable, human side of Ryu and Chun-li as they wrestle with their feelings for each other vs. the paths they’ve chosen to walk. Any fan of Street Fighter will love all the small details and cameos that pop up throughout the story. Whether you’re a lover or a fighter, you’ll find plenty of great moments in this 110 page, full colour story. And the over 120 pages of bonus content are a true delight!
Patrick has been more than a friend. He has been a mentor over the years of our friendship. After all my people and I have done to bring this book to life, I’m so glad (and relieved) he is pleased.
More next time!
And see you on February 14th, 2015 for the official release!