It's not the first time that two rival fighting game families have come together in a controversial, unexpected marriage. But when Capcom and SNK ran away together a decade ago, at least the two parties lived on the same side of town: 2D, sprite-based fighters that shared DNA and - in the case of some members of the Street Fighter and King of Fighters casts - a creator in Takashi Nishiyama.
By contrast, Tekken and Street Fighter hang at different ends of the fighting game family tree: entirely different creatures that share a genre but no family likeness whatsoever. Street Fighter is defined by sweeping stick motions, sneaky cross-ups and punctuation-mark special moves. Tekken, by contrast, is known for its visual spectacle, quick jab stick motions and four-button combination button presses. Few tournament players double-dip, as the mental and physical approach required for each is so radically different. You're born Street Fighter or you're born Tekken. Never the twain shall meet.
And yet, in this meeting, we find a marriage that not only works - it transforms and inspires. Street Fighter is the dominant partner (while Tekken will take the lead in Namco's version of the game, whenever it surfaces) and the foundations of the game are built from Street Fighter 4's building blocks and aesthetics. Players who have grown proficient with Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and the other big ticket characters from Capcom's recent fighting game resurgence will slip into the roles like a comfy old gi, the move lists and inputs mostly shared, even if the speed and timbre of the outputs are quite different.