Yoshi Ono was in Miami last week for Capcom’s Captivate event to demo Street Fighter X Tekken, confirm ten characters and explain mechanics. This is knock-out awesome.
Street Fighter X Tekken – triple movie whammy
It lives. All these movies are in 720p. Check them out on Youtube for the full effect – it’s worth it.
The collision of the Street Fighter and Tekken universes is as big as fighting games will ever be, but the move instantly drew concerns about melding the two series’ style. Yoshi Ono, the ever-enthusiastic project lead, explained to us last week in Miami why we shouldn’t be worried.
Characters in Street Fighter X Tekken come in pairs, as a tag team. You can choose whomever you wish to fight with, but the teams are automatically put together with their own stories as to why they are there and why they teamed up.
Pairs shown during Captivate were: Able and Guile; Ryu and Ken; Kazuya Mishima and Nina Williams; Craig Marduk and King; and Chun Li and Bob. More partners are to be announced at E3.
“As you can see, unlike normally with Capcom, we have announced ten characters at once,” said Ono through his translator. “More characters are to be revealed in large chunks like this throughout the rest of the year at various events.”
According to Ono, “there’s going to be tons in the game,” and he has even hinted around via Twitter that Kuma and Blanka will be included as well.
Between the two games there are a lot of characters which should be difficult to get working together, but Ono said there is a method to his team’s madness when choosing characters for SF X Tekken.
“Because of our criteria, we’re trying to find ones that will be the hardest, the most difficult, and require the most work to get them up and running because it not only makes it more fun for us, but it will make it a more compelling game in the end,” explained Ono.
“Out of the characters we revealed here, one of the more surprising might be Marduk. I mean, we’ve got some Street Fighter characters that have grappling techniques like him, but none who moves like he does using those kind of moves.
“But at E3 this year, and other events, we will be announcing plenty of characters who are maybe more out of left field than Marduk, and more surprising. There might be characters in your head you’re presuming will make it in, but you might actually also be second guessing yourself.
“In effect, the Tekken universe has some supremely weird characters.”
“In effect, the Tekken universe has some supremely weird characters. From inanimate objects, to animals, and all sorts of stuff. That might strike you as counter to Street Fighter characters, but it really isn’t. I mean, we’ve long had a guy with limbs that can stretch, or a guy that can throw fire out of his hands or whatnot, so to shove an animal in there or any other kind of wacky character wouldn’t be out of place. Indeed, it can make the game really interesting.
“If you are looking at the roster of Tekken characters and thinking some might not make it, broaden your search a bit and don’t just assume that some are going to be cut.”
Tag teams can be any two characters
Tag teams will not provide any specific advantage over another team. The characters are partnered up for storytelling purposes and to help set up rivalries; players can choose any combination they choose. If a player would rather have Ryu pair up with Chun Li or, for instance, King pair up with Bob, it can be done.
“Basically, there are no gameplay advantages to any particular team,” said Ono. “We don’t want to make that decision for player. We want them to set things up with any partnership they so choose. In fact, anyone can work with anyone, and you may find some unusual stuff by putting Ryu with King. It might seem like kind of an odd couple, but you could do some really cool combos together and you might find it to be a really strategic match.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Created to attract fans from both sides.
Fighting mechanics are a mix between SF and Tekken.
Coming to PS3 and Xbox 360. Date TBA; 2012 at the earliest.
More characters to be announced at E3 and other venues.
“It’s a bit like Street Fighter III and IV, where you choose your combos and your Super Arts – it’s almost like here, where you pick your particular playstyle and it might motivate you to put a certain set of pairs together.
“That said, there are indeed kind of ‘official’ pairs. As to why they exist, it’s not a gameplay advantage. That’s just there to add in the storytelling aspect of things for characters within the story framework we have: why they are working together, why they are traveling together, and embarking on a quest against certain people.
“This gives us a chance to set up rivalries and a chance to tell a specific story about specific characters. You are completely free to move outside of that framework if you so choose.”
To reiterate, there’s no advantage, for example, of setting Ryu and Ken up. There’s no 50 percent power boot or anything, nor are there any specific combo additions with different pairs. Deciding which characters work well together depends entirely on your playstyle and what you want to do with them.
Gameplay, controls, characters
Street Fighter X Tekken is a tag-based fighter, so you can call in other characters and switch out at will. To switch between characters, you hold the punch and kick controls down at the same time. If you would like to switch over to Tekken characters, you hold down the select button for three seconds. You then switch between those characters the same way. To go back to SF play, once again hold down the select button.
Tekken’s traditional four-button control scheme has been implemented for its characters. When playing Street Fighter characters, the traditional six-button configuration has stayed the same.
However, if you are playing a Tekken character, but want the six-button configuration, it will result in a mixture between the two games’ fighting styles. This was decided so as to lower the entry barrier to non-fighting players, Tekken fans, or just folks in general who have not played a fighting game since PSone.
“Our goal was not to just copy the controls of Tekken but to also give it an extra layer,” said Ono. “Instead, we give you a combination of six-button Street Fighter moves and four-button Tekken moves all rolled into one.
“The mixture between Street Fighter and Tekken goes beyond the control scheme, and the gameplay itself. As you are aware, Tekken has a very distinct playstyle. Street Fighter has always been a little more slower-paced and a little more thoughtful, perhaps even more deliberate. It was always about keeping an eye on the distance between yourself and your opponent, making predictions about what they are going to do next and trying to react to that. It’s not quite as aggressive as something like Tekken.
“Tekken has always been faster-paced, and more aggressive. The competition really begins on the first hit, and then you have to start guessing where they are going to punch from next. There’s some of that in Street Fighter, but not as much, as it’s a little more reserved. It’s really two different kinds of gameplay styles.
“With SF X Tekken we’ve tried to merge the two of those together so that we retain some amount of what we see in Street Fighter – waiting for your chance to attack – while at the same time adding what you get from Tekken, which is more aggressive and in your face.
“We think we have found a way, and we are going to continue refining a way to mix these two together so it feels both simultaneously like a Tekken game and Street Fighter game, yet something completely new.”
People are probably wondering what would happen if the Street Fighter IV team got their hands on Tekken characters: what the world would look like, how the characters art would play out; how it would feel.
“Our goal was not to just copy the controls of Tekken, but to also give it an extra layer.”
As far as environments go, what was shown during the demo went from campy – like fighting on a bridge with dinosaurs snapping at the air in the background – to dark, with a destroyed city as the backdrop as you fight in the street.
When it comes to the characters, players will be able to jump into SF X Tekken with ease, because the controls will be familiar. The basics are what you’d expect from Street Fighter: the aforementioned standard eight directions and six-button layout, and the traditional four buttons combo style of fighting in Tekken.
“This will allow Tekken players who have not played in a while to join into the fray and enjoy the same play style they may remember from ten years ago or so,” said Ono.
How this all came about
The fact that Street Fighter X Tekken is happening at all is miraculous. Ono explained how any of this came to be.
“Both of these have illustrious histories,” said Ono. “Street Fighter is 20 years old, Tekken is approaching its 20th anniversary, so there has always been somewhat of a connection between us. We talk to the Namco guys, we know them, we have dinner together and that sort of thing – so there has always been a personal connection.
“When we were taking a break between Street Fighter III and Street Fighter IV, Namco very diligently kept the campfire from going out. They kept stoking it and making sure the embers were lit so that people were still interested [in fighting games]. So, when we came back and did Street Fighter IV, it really got people interested in fighting games again. We essentially tossed some kerosene onto the campfire and got it nice and big again.
“So, when having dinner with Katsuhiro Harada shortly after Street Fighter IV came out, we started talking about making sure fighters stayed big, because if we walk away from [the genre] it’s going to go out again. We started talking half-jokingly about a collaboration thing, and it seemed like a good idea to both of us, so I said, ‘I’m going to back to my office and tell them I’m going to do this, and you go back to your office and do the same thing – coordinate watches now.’
“So we did it. We’ve got ours going and they’ve got a similar game going on their side as well, and we’re going to see what happens.”
When it comes down to how well the two games will do at retail, there’s no monetary bet that exists between Ono and Harada as far as who’s going to sell the most. Surprisingly, the loser won’t have to mow the others lawn in a dress in a tutu, but, “Whoever ends up doing better in the marketplace will buy the booze and food whenever we go out drinking together,” said Ono.
Sharing materials with Namco
Be clear. These are two games. Tekken X Street Fighter is a different thing.
“Harada has zero input into this particular project and we don’t actually do a lot of communicating regarding our development of this title,” admitted Ono. “As a matter of fact, once the embargo listed for this is up, and everything gets out there, this will probably be the first time he hears about any of this. He has less knowledge about it right now than you guys do.”
There were certainly some communications early on between the two creators though, and traditionally with a project such as this, Capcom would be obligated to purchase any sort of reference materials the team might need for Tekken from Namco.
Harada and Ono, though, have worked out something between them.
“Capcom can sometimes be a bit cheap and not want to put money into [purchasing assets], and they certainly don’t want to give money to a competitor,” Ono joked. “So we work out some backroom deals where I will talk to Harada-san privately and he’ll lend me some material that we should technically be buying, and stuff like that.
“Of course, I also don’t tell him exactly why I need these materials. He has no idea what we’re up to at all.
“But when it comes to the specifics of this game in particular, he has no input and we have none in his as well.”
As far as bringing the game to 3DS is concerned, Ono said there are no specific plans at the moment, and any comments he made previously regarding such a possibility were “not as specific as it was portrayed.”
“It was more about whether we would consider doing more fighting game stuff on 3DS, not specifically this title as a possibility as well,” he explained.
“I am happy to bring any game to any platform if people are interested.”
“We think we’ve shown what we can do potentially with fighting games such as Street Fighter IV on 3DS, and we’re interested in taking that further from here on in. Whether it would be this particular game or not depends entirely on whether there are enough 3DS players that want to play it on the handheld, obviously, but certainly we do not have specific plans at the moment.
“When it comes to Sony’s handheld, the NGP, the same thing applies. We really want to see what users think of that machine, what kind of games they are interested in playing on it, and we have to talk to Sony to see what kind of games they are interested in having on it.
“It’s still very early to say. All platforms are open and the sky is the limit. I am happy to bring any game to any platform if people are interested.”
The ultimate goal
But what’s the point in all this? Money? Partly, obviously. But Ono is a man prone to travelling the world with a small Blanka, a developer who’s eyes sparkle when he talks of pouring “kerosene” on a genre. The goal is to innovate, and, as you can imagine Ono dreams of, to facilitate the ultimate fighting game face-off.
“I will tell you what we are aiming for – what will happen in the end is another question,” said Ono.
“Hopefully we’re going to construct this game in such a way that we’ll be able to track fans from both sides. We’re not just trying to throw some Tekken characters into Street Fighter – otherwise we could just call it Street Fighter IV: Some Other Edition and call it a day. We are really looking to make something new and different with this.
“What I would love to see at some point is some tournaments between the top Tekken players and the top Street Fighter players actually getting together and duke it out on this game. That would be the ideal ending to the story.”
- Street Fighter X Tekken is slated for PS3 and Xbox 360, with a release date yet to be determined.