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Captivate 2011: Street Fighter X Tekken Gets More Coverage – Looks Beyond Awesome.

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At the company’s ‘Captivate’ event today, Capcom have pulled the curtain back a little more on their cross-over fighting game offering Street Fighter x Tekken.

Boasting a tag system somewhat similar to the team based fighters of old, such as Tekken Tag Tournament and Marvel Vs Capcom, characters in Street Fighter X Tekken come in pairs and each pair actually has their own mini-story as to why they have been paired up.

Early pairings that were shown were Guile and Abel, Craig Marduk and King, Chun Li and Bob (!) Nina Williams and Kazuya and predictably; Ryu and Ken. According to producer Yoshi Ono, more pairs will be unveiled throughout the year, with the next bunch due to be unveiled at E3, including as Ono hints, a comedy pairing between electric fiend Blanka and crazily intelligent/comical grizzly bear, Kuma.

Ono went on to elaborate on the character selection process for the game, providing some additional insight into how characters with stylistically unique fighting styles such as Marduk, would translate into the Street Fighter style of fighting:

“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.”

Speaking further on the uniqueness and outlandish natures of some characters in the Tekken universe Ono continued; “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.”

In terms of balancing, players can choose whichever combination of fightes they want (forsaking the story-telling scenarios if they do not select the predefined pairings) and tag teams will not provide any specific advantage over another team that can be exploited by players.

“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.”

“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.” concluded Ono.

Therefore, choosing a predifined pairing, such as Guile and Abel will not provide any boost or ‘buff’ to that team; all teams are meant to be played equally and if they are partnered together it is only for storytelling purposes and not due to any meaningful impact on the gameplay.

Tagging back and forth between characters is easy; simply holding down the ‘select’ button will bring in the other person on your team. One particularly awesome stroke of genius is that not only will Tekken and Street Fighter characters abide by their traditional four button and six button controller layouts respectively, but if needed, the player can switch a Tekken fighter to utilise the controller style to a six-button layout too.

The reasoning behind this as Ono explains, is to increase the level of accessibility and choice available to the player:

“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.”

“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.

Graphically the style of the game is obviously far more in line with the cel-shaded, blotty ink style that has been Street Fighter IV’s hallmark. A huge amount of credit must be given to the character designers as the Tekken characters look and move EXACTLY as you think they would with the SFIV art style and animation routines applied to them.

Indeed, looking at the graphical style the mind begins to boggle as to just how flawlessly the two styles mesh and that this was always regarded as the ultimate cross-over between franchises that fans would never likely see.

Indeed, recalling the inevitable genesis of the project Ono went on to say: “Both of these have illustrious histories. 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.”

While the two companies have shared materials, assets and expertise, Ono was keen to point out that actual development on the two titles is entirely seperate so that the integrity and robustness of each developer’s vision for their side of the crossover wouldn’t be compromised.

Ono went on to say: “Harada-san (The Tekken producer) has zero input into this particular project and we don’t actually do a lot of communicating regarding our development of this title. 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.”

On the topic of how they shared assets and materials for the two projects Ono admitted that Capcom haven’t always been historically willing to put resources into purchasing assets and materials for a project:

“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.”

It is rare to see two videogame producers of rival fighting franchises really come together in this fashion and in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek sense, embrace the rivalry that has existed between the series for years. Everything from their twitter war of words, reeking of hammy bluster and boasting through to Ono-san sneaking into the Namco offices and destroying cardboard cutouts of Tekken characters to Harada-san’s attempted reprisal by entering the Capcom offices with a replica(?) AK-47, just conveys the amount of fun these two devs are having in playing up the rivalry of these two long-standing franchises to the fans.

The ultimate goal of all this of course according to Ono, and one that he is very much hoping for is a coming together of the top Tekken and Street Fighter players, so that they can test their skills against each other for the first time on common ground:

“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.” finished Ono.

That seems as noble goal as any and with two of the finest franchises in the world under one roof I simply cannot wait to see the final result.

Tekken x Street Fighter: You’re up next.

In addition to this, a new trailer and additional gameplay videos were also released and can be seen by clicking on their respective links below: – Cinematic Trailer. – Gameplay Video One. – Gameplay Video Two.

Written by bitsnark

April 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

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