King Cobra (キングコブラ Kingu Kobura?) is a character concept that was initially drawn up for the roster of Street Fighter IV. Designed by Daigo Ikeno, King Cobra was an African-American male who used a mix of Kung Fu and breakdancing under the moniker, “Breaking-Fu” as his fighting style. Eventually, however, Ikeno and art director Takashi Kamei decided that an overweight character would work better instead. Eventually, King Cobra would become Rufus. During an interview with 1up.com, producer Yoshinori Ono stated that they decided on Rufus because he would get gamers talking and fit the Street Fighter series’ over-the-top roster, comparing his inclusion to that of Blanka.
The most recognized sketch of King Cobra was a slender man with an athletic build wearing a black, a furred-lined karate Gi with a gold belt, white athletic shoes, gold fingerless gloves and a gold chain. The belt has four kanji symbols on it (弱肉強食), which translates into the weak are meat; the strong eat or survival of the fittest. Concept sketches also showed a picture of a cobra on the back of the gi jacket. This costume was used as Ken's first alternate costume for the SFIV series.
The concept art of King Cobra was well revived with most fans, believing that the character looked cool. When a brand new character was going to be introduced for Ultra Street Fighter IV, some fans speculated that the character was going to be King Cobra.
Noe Valladolid, also known as BigMex of 1up.com felt King Cobra was a great concept, saying “This character was possibly the best new design in the series and was a step above the design of a popular SF III character.” Valladolid thought the design was effective overall as not only slightly touching on the fact that he was a “…modern urban youth”, but someone who took fighting seriously.