Friday, July 30, 2010

Return of the Fighter?

yea...the Comic-Con announcement was a BIG surprise. It's funny Street Fighter II peaked during my elementary/junior high years, it had a serious battle with Midway/Mortal Kombat, but it kind of came after the SFII hype - the SFII cabinets extended the life of arcades and when it eventually coupled with Mortal Kombat it gave arcades its final hurrah. Virtua Fighter and Tekken/SoulBlade/SoulEdge were basically life support - delaying the inevitable.

So I guess if you looked at it in that context - Capcom never really had "beef" with Namco in the arcade arena. Tekken was the de-facto fighting game in my high school years, it was the last great arcade fighting series...never had the hype of SF or MK and I didn't get to fend off elementary school kids like the high school kids did to us when we tried to get close to a SFII cabinet. Reading the latest issue of EGM on remaking Mortal Kombat we learn Midway pitched Capcom on Mortal Kombat VS Street Fighter over 10 years ago!

Over 10 years ago - that would have been my junior year of high school. If MK VS SF came out in 2000 it would have directly competed with Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Competition from these companies alone would have elevated the genre and possibly save the arcades. My generation is probably the last generation to remember how big Street Fighter II was in arcades, comic-book stores, pizza joints, bowling alleys, movie theaters, or any place that had the funds to get a cabinet. That game might have reinvigorated the industry...instead all the innovation was going to RPGs (FFVII), RTS, Pokemon, etc. - games you played at home.

But something funny happened in 99 - something that gave us arcade kids hope - SoulCalibur on the Sega Dreamcast. Namco made the perfect home port of a very good 3D fighting game; probably the best arcade port since SFII Turbo on SNES. Thanks to Namco (who already gave us Tekken/SoulBlade on the PSOne when arcades were on life support) we knew that the arcade didn't have to berth hype and a home console could become a viable venue for our beloved genre.

Capcom and Namco announce their "project." I am more interested in what Namco does with Street Fighter than what Capcom does with Tekken. The Tekken universe has strict laws - will we see Ryu's Hadoken in a Tekken environment? How will the SF characters look in a true 3D setting instead of the SFIV pseudo-3D? Can this "project" go beyond SF x Tekken/Tekken x SF and evolve into Capcom VS Namco? Can Midway truly resurrect the MK franchise? Marvel VS Capcom 3 is it a worth successor to MvC2? A lot of questions for fighting games, but its good to see there is some promising projects lined up for the new decade.

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