Mashing together two popular video game franchises runs the risk of alienating fans of both. When those games are fighting games, it can raise the stakes even higher.
Street Fighter X Tekken blends the best of those franchises and all it took was the collaboration of two producers who just started out teasing one another. Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada and Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono got together two years ago to decide how they would merge the lore and history of the storied fighting games.
Ono-san explained the vision and the hope in a recent interview.
Q: Dozens of characters and fantasy match-ups. This title is a fighting game player’s dream. How did the collaboration begin and how intense was it trying to get the characters right?
Ono-san: I’ve always thought “Isn’t there something interesting we can do with Street Fighter and Tekken?” When I brought up the idea with Harada, he responded, “Actually I’ve been thinking the same thing.” Before he could change his mind, we started on the Street Fighter X Tekken project [laugh]. We had to create a brand new stage where both properties could stand together head to head as equals. In this way, we were able to merge the two franchises into a final product we are very proud of.
Q: Where did the idea of the Gem system (a game mechanic that allows players to customize characters) come from?
Ono-san: We wanted to create differences between the characters in the game that could be controlled by the players to a whole new degree. Now even if players are using the same characters, they can customize them based on their own personal fighting style preferences. Beginners can focus on using Assist Gems to help cover weaknesses in their game, while more experienced players can use Boost Gems to modify the parameters of their character and create very personalized results. Hopefully this enhances the experience for advanced players and opens up the game to a whole new audience
Q: Was this title built with the fans of the two classics in mind? What about someone who has only heard about Tekken or Street Fighter and wants to try it out?
Ono-san: This game was made for fans of the two franchises, but for beginners as well. We want as many people as possible to come and enjoy this game, which is why we like to refer to it as a “festival.” We added a number of battle mechanics, which are easy to execute and help ease beginners into the game. The Cross Rush, for example, is a universal simple tag combo that automatically tags in your partner. It’s easy enough to learn, but is also useful in high level play, so things like this open up the game to everyone who plays.
Q: There have been other mash-up games lately (Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, for example). What makes this one different?
Ono-san: This game is unique because it is a cross over between two of the biggest fighting game franchises out there. There has never been a fighting game cross over on this scale before, so it is definitely an event not to be missed!
Q: Did any of the character’s powers require changing to keep gameplay balanced? Did any get new powers we’ve never seen before?
Ono-san: We did a lot of tweaking to keep the characters in line with the new battle engine. Since we were working with Tekken characters for the first time, it took a lot of testing and time to get the gameplay balance just right. I think we did a great job of integrating the Tekken characters into a brand new environment, and you will find they handle nothing like the Street Fighter characters. Some characters, such as Abel, also got new moves, so please check them out.
Q: Is the fan of Tekken different from the fan of Street Fighter?
Ono-san: Tekken fans aren’t as rowdy as Street Fighter fans, that’s for sure! [laugh] They also tend to like characters that are high on the tier list, based on character popularity ranking polls. But fans of both series love their games a lot, so we hope that they will both enjoy Street Fighter X Tekken as well.
Q: Last question: Tekken or Street Fighter?
Ono-san: Hmm. This is a really tough question, but I would say… BOTH!
Ono was recently hospitalized for undisclosed reasons. He tweeted that he was taking some time off for a while. Capcom released a statement regarding Ono’s future: “Ono-san is a vital component of the Street Fighter franchise and he continues to play an important role on the R&D team at Capcom. More information regarding his involvement with future Street Fighter products will be revealed at Capcom’s annual ‘Captivate’ event next week.”
“Street Fighter X Tekken” is available now for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Japan, North America, and Europe. It will be available for the Windows PC on May 11 in North America and May 14 in Europe. It is also expected to be released for the PlayStation Vita in Fall 2012. It is rated T for Teen due to alcohol reference, crude humor, language, suggestive themes, and violence.