Tekken May Never Cross Street Fighter

The only piece of promotional art for Tekken x Street Fighter.
The only piece of promotional art for Tekken x Street Fighter.

Through an interview with Gamespot, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada confirmed that Tekken x Street Fighter has officially been put on hold. But honestly, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who’s followed its miniscule developments.

The title was originally announced at San Diego Comic-Con way back in July 2010, alongside Capcom-developed counterpart Street Fighter x Tekken. Though it wasn’t precisely the crossover of fighting game franchise fans of the genre wanted (i.e. it wasn’t a new Capcom vs. SNK game, or Tekken vs. Virtua Fighter), they were intrigued by the possibilities both would bring.

But the fate of SFxTk has also been well-documented. Capcom got a little too greedy with its DLC after announcing around $70 worth before it released, and its launch iteration was incredibly unpolished. And though it received significant improvements through a patch with the 2013 Version, it was too little too late. The market rejected it, and Capcom expressed how disappointed they were with its overall sales. Some content was salvaged for use in Ultra Street Fighter IV, but the damage regarding the crossover was done. Despite Harada’s claims regarding its development status to the contrary, TkxSF was likely doomed after this.

Capcom barely wants to remember Street Fighter x Tekken these days.
Capcom barely wants to remember Street Fighter x Tekken these days.

It was also tough not to notice how Bandai Namco hasn’t too interested in prioritizing this since its announcement nearly six years ago. Following that, they quickly revealed Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which remained their focus into 2012 — even after SFxTk released. Harada’s development team subsequently split themselves across multiple projects like Pokkén Tournament, Summer Lesson, and Tekken 7, presumably leaving TkxSF in limbo. Many still held out hope that it was still coming, thanks in part to Harada’s aforementioned assurances, but that the company now feels confident in letting him publically say it’s been put on the backburner is an ominous sign.

It’s not just the failure of SFxTk or Bandai Namco’s development teams stretching themselves too thin that spelled doom for TkxSF; other issues threatened its potential existence. Fighting game sales haven’t been at their best in the last few years, with the only exceptions being Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U and the Mortal Kombat games. Worse, it seems Street Fighter V is very likely a victim of the genre’s declining popularity, as all signs point to it not making the 2 million sales goal Capcom set for the end of the fiscal year that ended on March 31st. (We’ll get a better impression of how it sold once Capcom provides their financial results in early May.) Upon realizing this, the company may feel this venture is no longer worth pursuing.

Of course, if they haven’t already made up their minds, they’ll also determine whether to resume its development depending on Tekken 7’s home console sales. While there’s still no timeframe for when it will arrive, it should come soon after the enhanced Fated Retribution version hits various arcade centers in July. I’m expecting it to release sometime early next year, and they should make sure to pack it with content to avoid the mistake Capcom made with SFV.

Hey, at least one Street Fighter character made their way into a fighting game.
Hey, at least one Street Fighter character made their way into a fighting game.

Fated Retribution is well worth a mention in tandem with this news thanks to its guest character: Akuma. He’s currently on a vacation from the SF franchise, since, story-wise, Kazumi Mishima has asked him to help with the perpetual Mishima family drama. Videos have surfaced from various location tests showing how he plays, best demonstrated by Street Fighter IV Akuma tournament player Tokido. He looks a little awkward in motion, thanks to his playstyle being completely dissimilar to any other character among Tekken’s cast. But it’s possible no one knows how to control or handle him here just yet. His inclusion could represent Harada’s continued desire to keep faith for TkxSF alive, but it’s also possible they simply wanted to give something to fans who’ve been awaiting the game after all this time, given low chances that title has of releasing.

It’s always tragic to see promising ideas for a project which never pan out. Seeing SF characters (beyond Akuma, of course) in Tekken’s art and gameplay style would have been a treat, something the development team would have faithfully done given what they’d already prepared for Ryu regarding the former. It also would have been enjoyable to see and experience precisely how the development team would have adjusted their move sets have to fit Tekken’s 3D movement and fighting system.

While there’s a chance of an on-hold title rising from that status, that’s not a common occurrence. The best I would expect is another one or two SF characters for the home version of Tekken 7, but I wouldn’t expect to see the actual crossover. At least Harada’s teams will remain busy with other projects.

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