Just what is going on with Tekken X Street Fighter?
The past decade has been covered with an absolute avalanche of fantastic fighting games. So much so, that long-standing fighting game franchises like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Tekken, have largely been brought to their logical conclusions in terms of how tightly their inherent characteristics can be toned, and how far their essence can be taken. Even still, these games continue to carry on with consistently outstanding iterations. However, one idea that has only been explored too rarely in the fighting game world, is the crossover idea.
Crossovers are a great way to keep franchises relevant with new iterations, but also inject new energy into them with spirited experimentation and fresh ideas. It might sound odd, but honestly gamers don’t need much to make it work. Just give them a fighting system that respects the sensibilities of both games, include the most popular characters from each, and maybe throw in a story about interdimensional time travel or any real reason to get different characters together, and boom, you have a solid cross over fighting game. As such, Capcom has gone down this road more than a couple of times over the years, their perhaps most prominent example of which is Street Fighter X Tekken.
The gameplay style and artistic direction of Street Fighter X Tekken was more or less in line with what fans of Street Fighter would expect, with the more cartoony looking characters and very fast, flashy animations. Even still, Tekken Characters still played similarly to how they do in Tekken games, with each limb bring mapped to one of the main face buttons and combos working similarly to Tekken games as well.
So it was pretty much a perfect balance; respecting Tekken fans with control schemes that don’t ignore the years and years of experience that Tekken fans have with their favorite characters, but still housing it all into a feel and tone that largely fits with Street Fighter and that Capcom style of fighting game. As you might expect, the game reviewed well and pretty much got solid 8’s across the board and ended up getting ported to almost every available platform at the time, including the PS3, 360, Vita, and Nvidia’s Shield. Remember that?
As part of the deal with making Street Fighter X Tekken, supposedly, another game was to be made by Namco, the home of Tekken, with the same idea as Street Fighter X Tekken but reversed, called, as you might have have guessed, Tekken X Street Fighter. This game would bring together the same cast as the first game, but instead of it favoring the art and gameplay stylings of Capcom’s Street Fighter, this time, it would embody the three-dimensional, combo-heavy, technical methodologies of Tekken.
Together, both games would be the perfect crossover duo. Taking turns favoring the other, and ensuring that fans of either franchise would have a great time with at least one of them. So as a game franchise that reviewed pretty well, and was thoroughly distributed to nearly everything you could want it on back in 2012, why have we not gotten it’s mysterious other half yet? Where the hell is Tekken X Street Fighter?
If you try to get answers out of Namco, you’ll likely be disappointed and empty-handed. However, thankfully, certain individuals have piped up to some degree about it, and we can stitch that together with some other statements from the past. Five years ago, in 2015, the Tekken series lead producer, Katsuhiro Harada, did publicly say that the game was “well into development”. He went on to also declare that “It might seem like we haven’t started on it at all, but the character lineup has been decided upon since a very long time ago, and we’ve already finished the polygon models, moves, and systems,” Which sounds like a fairly confident endorsement of the health of the project.
However, that was several years ago. Since then, we’ve seen Capcom’s Street Fighter 5 and Namco’s Tekken 7 come and go, as well as several other projects that have taken much of Namco’s time and resources into other directions. According to hearsay throughout the internet, Tekken X Street Fighter was initially supposed to launch on the PS3 and 360, just as Street Fighter X Tekken did, but was put on hold around 2016. Harada offered up his take saying, “Yes, I am emotionally up for it. I still want to release the game. However, as much as I want to proceed with the project, things have changed a lot since 2012. So I need to get approval and I need to speak to Capcom again as well — they may say ‘no’ now. I was excited to see how well Bandai Namco could convert 2D characters like Akuma from Street Fighter” He went on to add “I was excited about that and I have passion for it, but my logical and business thinking has me wondering if I really should do it.” So without question at that point, the state of the game was not nearly as promising as it was back in 2012 or even in 2015.
Shining a little more like on the subject, Harada has gone on to say “When we were ready to progress further with the project, Capcom released Street Fighter V and then we released Tekken 7. Those titles are some of the best fighting games ever and they became very successful. So then I started to wonder, do I really want to attempt to compete with these huge titles? It could end up splitting the community. That was a serious consideration from the marketing perspective. So I decided to hold off releasing the game for one or two years. Following that, Tekken 7 is now doing very well as a service game. Traditionally, the life cycle of a fighting game is very short – maybe one or two years and then you make a sequel. But Tekken 7 is very successful as a service game with its DLC. That makes it much harder to justify releasing another game, while Tekken 7 is still doing so well.”
So it seems that the reason we don’t have Tekken X Street Fighter isn’t so much about some sort of chaotic development shift, or even the somewhat underwhelming sales of Street Fighter X Tekken, but it actually has much more to do with Namco not wanting to self-cannibalize. They know who they’re audience is, and they don’t want to split them up while they’re clearly still enjoying Tekken 7, which by all accounts, is easily one of the best entries in the entire series.
This is understandable for the time being, as neither fighting game would benefit from only having half of the Namco fighting game audience playing it. Tekken 7 is still going strong with plenty of DLC and a strong player-base online, so it makes perfect sense that Namco would want to ride that out at least another year or so. However, with the next generation of consoles looming on the horizon, as well as Harada teasing the game in the form of a twitter poll, which, the overwhelming majority of users did respond favorably to the idea of the game, one couldn’t be blamed for suspecting that the Tekken X Street Fighter could be closer than we think.
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