You have to hand it to Capcom – they are the masters of making their fighting fans get hype for upcoming titles. By realizing that too much hype at one can lead to a life-threatening come-down once the news has dissipated through the internets, they have perfected the hype drip-feed IV, carefully timed to release new character and gameplay information at regular intervals to maintain a constant, healthy hype level for new fighting games amongst the gaming masses. They were kind enough to give us another hit this TGS for Street Fighter X Tekken, introducing two more characters to the roster and revealing a brand new gameplay system: Pandora!
The first addition to the roster is Street Fighter and Final Fight alumni Rolento. The paramilitary thug was last seen almost ten years ago in Capcom vs. SNK 2, so his return is something of a welcome surprise. He’s still got his vast array of dirty-fighting weaponry in tow, but we’re sure he doesn’t give a rat’s ass if anyone else thinks he’s a dirty rotten cheater for bringing a knife (and a pipe, and grenades) to a fistfight.
On the Tekken side, we have seemingly immortal old man/Dad of the Decade Heihachi joining the fray, along with prima donna/serial panty flasher Lilli. Only a few character slots are still unknown at this point, but we’re sure Capcom will reveal them (along with any boss/secret characters) in due time.
Meanwhile, a brand new gameplay element was also shown for the first time at TGS. The Pandora system is a feature that can be activated by double-tapping down and pressing MP+MK when one of your characters has under 25% health. It effectively allows you to sacrifice the ability to call in your partner, but gives you unlimited super meter. There are serious drawbacks beyond losing your partner’s assistance, however: Pandora only lasts for a limited time, and if you’re not able to knock out the opponent’s team within this time period, you lose the round automatically. It also has an extremely creepy-looking side effect of making your fighter into a terribly miscolored mess, and the way your character seems to be KOed from within should you fail to finish the opponent under Pandora is incredibly unsettling. (We asked if there’s a story element to Pandora, and were told that there is a connection, but that they couldn’t say anything more at this time.)
It’s clear that Pandora is meant to be used as a last-ditch effort if things are really going badly, but it’s tough to see it being useful if you’re really getting beat down since its duration is so limited. In other words, don’t expect massive comebacks like you could pull off from the MvC3 X-Factor.
Pandora sounds like it could open a whole new box of tricks, but a few other quick teases – such as the still-mysterious “gem” system for the super meter – indicate that there’s still a lot Capcom has yet to show for this crossover epic. It likely won’t be too much longer until we hear more, but given the potential game-changing implications of Pandora, there’s plenty of hype here to last you until the next serving of information.