Street Fighter X Tekken was first announced last year at San Diego Comic-Con by producer Yoshinori Ono. Very little detail was offered, but the prospect of mashing up characters from two such well-known fighting game universes was enough to leave fans salivating for more. Well more is what we got last week at Capcom's annual Captivate preview event, and straight from Ono himself no less.
"We're dealing with Street Fighter and Tekken, two big IPs that come from big worlds, lots of characters to choose from," Ono said through a translator in an exclusive Captivate interview with G4. "All the fans surely are wondering, what are we going to do with the characters we're putting in."
"I think that 10 that we revealed today give you a pretty good idea of the direction we're headed, the kind of flavor we're after. I will also give you this hint: we showed this many characters, [but] the grand total is going to be significantly larger. We really are just scratching the surface here. So if your favorite hasn't been announced yet, do not despair."
The classic Capcom and Namco fighting games share a few similar features, but they differ in one fundamental way: Street Fighter's combat is built around a six-button attack system whereas Tekken's moves and combos are based on just four buttons. Instead of simply building a new set of controls for the Tekken fighters -- though that's been done as well -- Ono and the development team simply included the option for players of using Tekken characters with only the four attack buttons they've become used to. It seems there will be more as well, but again-- there's nothing revealed just yet.
"When it comes to lowering the barrier of entry... into the game for Tekken players, it all starts with the controls," Ono explained. "I touched on the idea of using the four-button combos that traditional Tekken players are used to [during the demo earlier]. That's a big part of it, but there are other elements too that that I'd like to save until the next phase of our discussion [of the game]."
Ono also spoke a little bit about the announced pairings. He confirmed that players won't be locked into using familiar pairings, and that each duo was placed together simply because they "fit together well, storyline-wise, and get along well, character-wise." In the final game, there will be no limits placed on who pairs up with who; we got to see this firsthand in a playable Captivate demo pairing of Ryu and Kazuya (blasphemy!).
Two trailers were shown earlier in the day during the demo presentation for Street Fighter X Tekken, with the second focusing almost entirely on gameplay footage. While the playable Captivate demo restricted attendees to a single, non-descript battle arena, the trailer offered more in terms of both the surroundings -- a crashed NANCY-MI847J was visible alongside a giant, bouncing Servbot head in one of the arenas -- and the range of moves each character can pull off.
Ono pointed directly to that trailer in our interview, advising fans to watch it closely for additional hints and information. "There were certain instances where characters were on the screen at the same time doing things. I would recommend that you analyze that trailer like you would the Zapruder tapes. You will find some hint in there of what this game will eventually allow you to do."
There's very little to be said about the game itself at this point, other than that it feels like a fighting game. A hardcore fan of these series' would undoubtedly be able to find more -- Ono even teased that the Captivate build contained a few easter eggs -- but casual observers will probably find that the game compares easiest with Street Fighter IV. Tagging back and forth between your two fighters is simple enough, accomplished with a simultaneous press of both medium attack buttons.
Even for a fighting game noob, it's clear that this is going to be a big game. Ono promised that future character reveals would depart from the slow trickle that typifies so many previous Capcom fighting games, with "large chunks" coming at various points in the weeks and months ahead.
"The overarching theme for this game is 'party,'" he told us. "You can't have a big party with a number attached to it. It goes beyond that; you'll see characters that were not in IV." As for Tekken fans, he's hoping they give the expanded set of controls a chance.
"What I'm hoping will happen with Tekken players who are very accustomed to four buttons [is] they'll jump in and play as their favorite Tekken characters with the four-button combos, gradually get used to using six buttons with Street Fighter characters and the circle of life is complete."
There's no announced release date yet, but look for Street Fighter X Tekken to hit Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year.