There was a time that Comic-Con was all about the comics. No more. Capcom and Namco Bandai's Street Fighter X Tekken announcement shocked fighting game fans around the world. How? Why? 3D versus 2D? What? Since then the questions have increased in number. So it is with great excitement that Eurogamer sits down with producer Yoshinori Ono to get some answers. Oh, and have we mentioned Street Fighter on 3DS?
Eurogamer: Are the fundamentals of SvT's fighting system the same as Street Fighter IV's? Will fans be able to seamlessly transition into the game?
Yoshinori Ono: Yes. We're working on the sweet spot. In terms of gameplay, as a Street Fighter fan, you'll have no problems. There is no barrier. You can just play it as if it was Street Fighter.
For Tekken players, we understand they're going to be quite wary and they're going to think the game system's very different. We're going to have Tekken but with eight-direction stick and six buttons. I'm definitely sure they won't have a problem either, but because we know they're going to be quite wary, we reckon the Tekken fans will start off slow but grow exponentially because they know it's still Tekken as well.
Eurogamer: Will the Focus attack from Street Fighter IV be in the game? Will the Ultra and Super system be in it?
Yoshinori Ono: Super combo and Ultra combo are a part of the Street Fighter genome, so we can't take that out. In terms of Focus attack, that was only there because of the Street Fighter-style mind-reading type of game. When it comes to Street Fighter X Tekken, that kind of rhythm will differ a little bit, and Focus attack may not be the most appropriate system.
So we will come up with something that probably advances the tempo and rhythm a bit more. But we have to come up with something new for that one.
Eurogamer: So the Focus attack won't be in the game?
Yoshinori Ono: Next time this year I might be saying something completely different, but for the moment we've taken Focus attack off the candidate list and we're trying to devise something new.
Eurogamer: Will Street Fighter X Tekken be a slow game, like Street Fighter IV, or will it be fast, like Marvel vs. Capcom 3?
Yoshinori Ono: It's not going to be as fast as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 because I simply can't catch up with that speed. So, if you could think of Street Fighter II dash Turbo minus...
Eurogamer: Right. Is it a problem making Tekken characters work on a 2D plane?
Yoshinori Ono: Back in Comic-Con when Harada [Tekken director] and I showed the gameplay demo, we were quite surprised they fit very well - contrary to what people thought. We're quite confident at the moment that it's not going to be a problem.
Even before all the discussion of Street Fighter X Tekken came up, we were obviously quite curious of each other's fighting game. We've been always discussing about it, half-heartedly obviously, that we should do this sort of project.
There have been signs of some tags, possibilities that we could do this. At the moment, it was all about, do we do Tekken in Street Fighter style, or do we do Street Fighter in Tekken style? That was the biggest question. Now that question has been answered, I don't foresee any problem in bringing Tekken characters into Street Fighter, and they will fit in as if they were always there.
Eurogamer: Will you create any brand new characters just for this game?
Yoshinori Ono: I don't know about Tekken X Street Fighter, because that's Namco Bandai's business. But in terms of Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, we will pick the characters depending on their popularity and propriety of the character to the game system.
I think we're going to do an all-star game. I mean, obviously not with all the characters, but with all the existing characters. So it won't be like it was in Street Fighter IV, where there were completely new characters like Rufus, or in Super Street Fighter IV, Juri and Hakan. We're currently not thinking about those type of characters. We're picking the roster from existing characters.
Eurogamer: Bit of a personal one: will Guile be in the game?
Yoshinori Ono: I want to say, if we don't put Guile in, who's going to be in the game? But, we say that and you write about it... We will say, most likely and probably, but not sure.
Eurogamer: It seems the game won't be out for ages. What kind of wait are fans in for?
Yoshinori Ono: At Comic-Con I think I said two years. After that I got called into Inafune's [Keiji, head of global research and development] room and he literally kicked my arse. So I'm trying to shorten that. So, yeah, less than two years.
My message to your readers is that the fighting genre has flourished lately with the help of Street Fighter and Tekken. All the franchises are doing really well. So we didn't want to let the fans down. We wanted to keep this going. That's why we announced it as a gratuity to the fans, saying, 'We're going to keep on doing this.'
Having said that, we can't just announce it and then release something that's not very good. So we really have to put our effort in this. Okay, we announced it a bit early. That was just so that we don't let you down. We also have this duty of bringing out something perfect, to deliver it to you. We'll be doing our best in ding so.
If this doesn't do well, then my ultimate dream, Darkstalkers, will also flop. This has to do well and then maybe next. This is all up to the readers. They have to create the buzz. They have to tell us. They have to write the condition. They have to send in all these letters of plead. That is the only thing that will make Inafune-san nod.
Eurogamer: How many requests will it take before Inafune says yes?
Yoshinori Ono: I say one million.
Eurogamer: How many have you had?
Yoshinori Ono: We've got 5000.
Eurogamer: So a long way to go. What's the best way for fans to help make it happen?
Yoshinori Ono: The fans can make noise. Anything about Darkstalkers - they can write about it, or whenever there is a random blog ranking of what you want the most – if we see Darkstalkers that would help.
Most importantly, the press guys helped in this. The reason Street Fighter IV came into reality was through this sort of lobbying. When I used to do press tours with Onimusha, press guys would just ask me, 'So many people want a new Street Fighter. Why aren't you doing it?' I kept on telling them to make more noise about it. That's how it came to realisation. Likewise, if enough people make noise about it, it could happen.
Eurogamer: Now you've announced Street Fighter X Tekken, does that mean there are no plans to do a Championship Edition update for Super Street Fighter IV or add downloadable characters?
Yoshinori Ono: At the moment, as you know, we're working on the arcade version of Super Street Fighter IV. I suppose once that's done, in terms of the Street Fighter IV franchise, that might be it for now. The rest I'm not able to say because I don't want to be punished by the PR.
But obviously I want Street Fighter IV to keep on going. As you know, we keep on updating our iPhone version. That's a part of our reach to a different audience. I do believe the Street Fighter IV franchise is the best re-entry point to those who used to play Street Fighter II. So in that sense we will actually keep on working on Street Fighter IV and make an effort to bring everyone back into the scene.
Eurogamer: So no plans to bring new characters to the home console version of Super Street Fighter IV?
Yoshinori Ono: In terms of making a major update version, like Ultra Street Fighter IV, is not something we're thinking about. In terms of character additions, I don't want to be kicked by the PR.
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Eurogamer: How will the 3DS version of Street Fighter IV differ from the home console version?
Yoshinori Ono: If you think about the Street Fighter hierarchy, there's probably Street Fighter III at the top, for very hardcore people. Then comes Street Fighter II and the rest. Has the Street Fighter IV franchise covered all that? Probably not.
So what we're trying to do with 3DS is extend the cover of what Street Fighter IV has so far achieved. 3DS obviously has a new interface – it's got a touch panel. We understand Street Fighter II used to be played most by Super NES players, so people who remember that game will remember it by Super NES pad. What we want to do with 3DS is to provide that, so play Street Fighter with the d-pad, four buttons and shoulder buttons. That's one configuration we'll provide.
The other is to supplement for those who are not used to that sort of play. They could use the touch-screen to play. That's another. That is the difference between the console version and 3DS version.
At the same time, again, when people remember about how Street Fighter used to play, most of the image they have is supplemented by their own desires or their own memories. So, people used to play on 16-bit, but because of new films and computer graphics, they are quite indulged in the high-tier graphics.
It probably helps these people to provide as much detail as possible about a character so they can remember that's what they used to play. So the 3D slider will help you to adjust to your own memory and how much you've changed what the game used to look like. So you can adjust.
For some people Street Fighter is completely 2D. For some people it was a 3D experience. So, all that will be provided with 3DS.
Street Fighter X Tekken will be released in less than two years' time.