Street Fighter X Tekken Interview – We Say 'Hadouken' to SF Producer, Yoshinori Ono
Written Friday, February 03, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Street Fighter II was one of our formative gaming experiences as a young tyke, throwing coins into arcade cabinets for hours at a time, trying to master Blanka or Ryu, and lo, an obsession was born. Nowadays, Super Street Fighter IV is one of the go-to games for the hardcore fight fan, and Producer Yoshinori Ono is presumably hoping that Street Fighter X Tekken will scratch a similar itch this March, albeit with a tag team twist.
With zero details on Namco's Tekken X Street Fighter counterpart at present, all eyes are firmly on Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, and with the game but a mere month or so away from launch, we headed on over to Capcom towers in London to meet Mr. Street Fighter himself for some time with the game and a lengthy chat with Ono himself.
Following some frenetic Street Fighter X Tekken with Ono, we sat down to the serious business of chewing the fat regarding what the man describes as “the most ambitious Street Fighter game to date”, and extracted answers to some burning SFxTK questions, including “will there be a Super version this time?” Find out!
What would you say are the key design principles you've adopted for Street Fighter X Tekken?
There are three basic design principles that we were thinking about when we made Street Fighter X Tekken, the first being 'casual fun'. What we want to do with this project is lower the entry barrier to fighting games, because we know that it's a hard genre to get into, but we want as many players to come and enjoy this game as possible. The second pillar of the game is the hardcore depth of the fighting system. There's a lot of new mechanics, but a lot of old mechanics that we know the fans will recognise and be able to utilise. But definitely, the amount of things we have is not the kind of thing you can learn in 5 or 10 minutes. We really expect players to put in a lot of time to learn the basics of the system.
Finally, the third point is the customisation. What we want to do is take fighting games into a new era, where you can customise your character to suit the way you play. We hope that players will infuse characters with their own personality and make a unique character with a unique play style. This also forms the core of the gem system, which I'm sure you've heard about.
Tying this all together is the online functionality, so we've put brand new netcode into the game, as well as a lot of new game modes that can be enjoyed online and offline. We hope that players will build their own social networks and online communities through playing Street Fighter X Tekken.
And is SFxTK going to have the biggest roster you've ever had in a Street Fighter game?
You can see we have a very robust number of characters basically representing the 'all-stars' from the Street Fighter and Tekken series. What we want to do is kind of is get those casual fans who maybe played Tekken 1 or 2 who perhaps haven't played a fighting game in a long time, but recognise Kazuya and recognise Nina, to pick up the game as well as new players who'll think its cool to see all of these fighters together in one game.
We're trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible with the characters that we know are popular and in high demand for each franchise. What we've also done for a lot of the Tekken characters is implement the button combos into Street Fighter X Tekken, because obviously Tekken is a four button game and Street Fighter is a six button game. So, Tekken characters can do the same combos that they could in the Tekken games. For example, Kazuya still has his '1,1,2' commands and it's exactly the same in Street Fighter X Tekken, so we hope Tekken fans will be able to make the transition very easily. We've put in a lot of old and new mechanics, but that's because we want the game to be played for a long time.
What would you say to fans who are perhaps fearful or apprehensive of the game's new gem system?
When we first announced the system at New York ComicCon, a lot of players were worried and didn't understand why we'd want to put this kind of system in the game and they think it'll make it really complicated, then another thing a lot of fans were worried about was it breaking the balance of the game. They think if someone has this gem, it's like Red Bull for their characters and they'll just become more powerful and then they won't have to learn how to play. But what we want to say today, is that we don't view gems as power-ups for your character, so you can play the way that you want to play.
One way to think about it is like equipment for your characters. You won't lose to an opponent just because they have a powerful gem, as it's basically viewed as equipment for your players. As a sports analogy, it's like in football you have equipment which is your uniform and your boots, so if you want to play as well as Wayne Rooney, you might go and buy the same boots he wears. That doesn't mean you're going to be as good as Wayne Rooney and it's the same with the gem system. If you have certain gems, you'll want to find the gems that match the way you play the game and it doesn't mean that gem will necessarily be good for everybody. It doesn't mean you'll be able to beat people who are better than you because of a specific gem that you have. It's just really a way to put your personality into your character and play the game the way you want to play it.
There's not going to be a 'Super' or 'Ultra' version of Street Fighter X Tekken down the line is there?
We want players to play this game for a long time, and we fully intend to support it fully post-launch with a lot of content and patches if need be. If there needs to be a balance patch, we can do that. We want to reassure players that they only need to buy this disc. Just one disc. We're not planning to do Super Street Fighter X Tekken, so players only need to buy this disc, and if we do any updating in the future, it'll be issued via DLC.
Has it been difficult to please as many of the fans as possible with the character selection? Although there are a lot of characters, some fans are bound to be upset that their favourite didn't make the cut.
Like you say, obviously there are going to be fans that are unhappy their favourite character didn't get into the game. We still have some characters that we're going to be announcing, but we obviously can't put every character into the game, so there'll be fans who will be a little disappointed. That said, we want to have this game played for as long a time as possible, so we're thinking of things we can do to support the game post-launch, and we're always listening to the voices of the fans.
Cole from inFamous, Toro and Kuro are in the PS3 version of Street Fighter X Tekken. Are you planning to announce exclusive characters for the Xbox 360 version?
We do have the exclusive characters for the Sony platform. We have Cole, the two Sony cats, Kuro and Toro. But basically for the Xbox 360, we were in discussions with them (Microsoft) for which character to put in as an exclusive, but we weren't able to decide on a character because of differences in timing and things like that. So unfortunately for Street Fighter X Tekken, only the PlayStation family will be getting the exclusive characters, but (Xbox 360 exclusive characters) it's something we wish could have happened, but it's just too bad basically.
Which characters were you discussing?
In terms of characters we wish we could have put in the game, Master Chief or Marcus Fenix from Gears of War would have been really cool, but it was just really difficult. We have Cole from inFamous on PS3, which is really cool, but that's just the way it turned out.
Other than free colour packs, do you have any specific DLC plans in the pipeline for Street Fighter X Tekken?
We're planning to support the game as much as we can, in as many ways as we can. When it comes to new characters, that's a really large task, so we can't say whether we'll be doing that. But things like balance patches will be issued if we find that there's gems or characters that are too strong, like we did with Yun and Yang, just to level the playing field a little more after the game has been out for a while. In terms of things like DLC gems, we're not really sure what we're going to be doing in that regard, because we want to see what the community reaction to the gem system is like first. We'll consider doing something with that if there's a demand for it.
One other thing we want to do is help offline tournaments with regard to the gem system. A lot of people were worried that they'll have saved gems that they won't be able to bring to tournaments offline. Will they have to do gem checks like they have to do button checks before every match? We hear the concerns of the community, so what we're trying to create is a 'tournament support mode' that'll be available as a free DLC patch, post-launch. Hopefully, when we show the game in different parts of the world, we can hear from the community what kind of features they'd like to see in the tournament support mode. We have a basic idea of what we want to do, but we haven't fleshed out all the details yet. Once we get that settled, we can announce how we'll be handling this mode for the game.
What do you think is the secret to the enduring appeal of the Street Fighter brand?
It's hard to narrow it down to just one reason why Street Fighter has been able to survive and be so popular up until now, but there are two reasons in my mind. There's the support of the media, who really help us to get the good words about the game out to the fans, and the community of fans who continue to play the game and participate in the various tournament scenes over the years. Even during the time after Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III when we weren't even releasing fighting games, the fans still played the games that we had to keep the genre and the love of Street Fighter alive. That's really one of the major reasons why we were able to make Street Fighter IV, because we had such massive support from the community, even though we hadn't made a fighting game in such a long time.
Street Fighter X Tekken is due to release on March 6th in North America and March 9th in Europe.