The chances are, if you are the kind of gamer that would take a fierce punch into shoryuken over a melee into shotgun, you have found yourself drawn into nonsensical “what if” cross-over beat ’em up debates. What if Shin Gouki could compare fireballs and haircuts with Goku in Street Fighter Vs Dragon Ball? Who would triumph in a tooth and nail tussle between the Blanka and Macho Man Randy Savage in Street Fighter Vs WWE? What if Sagat could exchange uppercuts with Tony the Tiger in Capcom Vs Kelloggs: A New Age of Breakfast?
No matter how unruly the suggestions got, the prospect of Capcom’s world warriors squaring off against Namco’s Kings of the Iron Fist never warranted serious (or even humorous) consideration – that is of course until Comic-Con 2010. Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono and Tekken 6 producer Katsuhiro Harada joined forces to bring us the games that we had all not been waiting for – a 2D Capcom-developed Street Fighter X Tekken and a (presumably) 3D Namco-developed Tekken X Street Fighter. So who asked for this?
On paper it’s a simple enough equation: they are the two most commercially successful fighting games in the world, with Street Fighter creating the competitive fighting game and dominating the 2D scene for the past two decades and Tekken succeeding in translating arcade success to home console domination in the third dimension. From a commercial perspective, it’s Namco’s and Capcom’s shareholders that asked for it, with the two communities converging, they are bound to share each others’ player bases, boosting sales for both camps, right?
What about the players? When SNK birthed the concept of marrying two existing fighting game franchises by pairing Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury to form The King of Fighters, there wasn’t a shred of doubt that the fans were hyped. Having whetted appetites by including Art of Fighting front man Ryo Sakazaki as a secret boss in Fatal Fury Special, the demand for convergence was clear and when proof of concept appeared in The King of Fighters ’94, fans responded by turning the KoF series into SNK’s flagship fighting game, effortlessly eclipsing the source material.
Capcom were of course the first company to look outside of their own development studios for fresh faces for the Street Fighter cast to bruise, and following their success with X-Men and Marvel Super Heroes, any true believer could have envisaged the two similarly constructed fighting games sharing the same screen. With Capcom opening the door to such possibilities, fan demand for a Capcom Vs SNK title reached fever pitch – not purely because fans were anxious to throw Hadoukens into Ko ou Kens, but because of the greater rivalry that existed between Capcom and SNK. Hardcore fans were eager to choose their side and fight for their team. Are Capcom and Namco fans similarly at each other’s throats? Not in the least. You could argue that the clash between 2D and 3D fighting is a rivalry yet to be explored, though many view such a mish-mash as cause for concern rather than celebration.