Street Fighter IV Q&A
Earlier this month we were recently invited to an Xbox Community Network (XCN) event – The Gathering 2008: Live Your Moment, in which we were able to play some fantastic upcoming games coming to your 360 in the weeks and months to come. One title at the event was Street Fighter IV on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation. Today we are lucky to bring you an XCN Q&A with our favourite Capcom PR staff – Leo Tan, who gives us an insight into a game that is close to our hearts, releasing on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 20th 2009. Enjoy!
Street Fighter IV was the first game to attract the crowds at The Gathering 2008. While everyone was kept busy practicing their Focus combos we grabbed Capcom’s Leo Tan by the arm to have him answer our burning questions. Interviewing Leo is like fighting Dhalsim, a real tricky customer…
XCN: Okay, how come Street Fighter IV is 2D again, and not 3D? After all this is 2008… We’ve seen photographs from Mars and everything!
Leo Tan: Well it depends what you mean by 3D – it’s presented in 3D but it’s Street Fighter II gameplay. It’s a classic game design template. Street Fighter means something very specific – when you think of Street Fighter you think of this 2D plane with jumping, fireballs, dragon punch, whirlwind kick sonic booms and such. So if you’re going to make a Street Fighter game it has to fulfil certain expectations. Our goal is to make the best possible game within that template. If we wanted to make a 3D fighting game we’d give it a different name.
XCN: Why go back to Street Fighter II as the starting point and not Street Fighter III, the most recent – and more technically impressive of the two?
LT: The thing about Street Fighter IV is that it was very much designed with Street Fighter II as the inspiration – Street Fighter II changed the world, everybody was playing it and it was bigger than, say Grand Theft Auto – that dominated every console but Street Fighter II dominated every console and every arcade, cafes, chip-shops, so that was really a magical time. Then Street Fighter III came along and the gameplay got more complicated.
It became less and less easy to challenge the experienced players, and the parry system would lock out less competent players. So we didn’t so much want to build on Street Fighter III but we did want to offer some of the dynamics of reversals and switching moves – I guess we wanted something that would appeal to the old skool guys without alienating newcomers.
XCN: Is the version we’re playing today (which seemed pretty much complete to us) going to be released on Xbox LIVE Arcade as a demo?
LT: We haven’t finalised our demo plans yet. We may release something onto Xbox LIVE Arcade but this version is just for The Gathering.
XCN: You’ve got to keep the Street Fighter hardcore happy, but how much of the game is designed to attract new users, so they don‘t feel intimidated by it?
LT: The main goal for SFIV is to bring back Street Fighter players. I guess it’s as much about nostalgia as it is an exercise in updating what is perhaps our biggest ever franchise. It’s interesting watching hardcore players explore the game – all the characters are back and so are a lot of the tactics, so you start off believing that everything is the same as Street Fighter II, but you don’t do any of the new stuff because you don’t know it exists yet. Over the last couple of months the hardcore players testing the game have been finding the differences between the two. So if you want to take the game home and play it as Street Fighter II you can do that. But if you want to take it to the next level and find out about the new stuff and all the high-level techniques that are in there you can do that as well.
XCN: You mentioned characters. Sakura’s in there, some of the old Street Fighter Alpha characters. Any faces from Street Fighter III?
LT: We haven’t announced any Street Fighter II characters yet, so I can’t give you any official confirmation. Personally I’d like to see Makoto, I’d love to see Dudley and Ibuki – a lot of people are asking for those characters as well. I guess the more people ask the more chance there is of characters coming back in.
XCN: And how might that be handled? Does the game support downloads through Xbox LIVE?
A: The home version of the game can be patched, so we could release DLC; new characters, extra gameplay modes, there’s lots of things that are possible. But let’s focus on getting the game out and then let’s think about expansions – let’s not get ahead of ourselves! It’s interesting, a lot of people have been asking about DLC. They seem to care more about DLC than they do the single-player experience!
XCN: So why hasn’t the game been released before now? It seems that I’ve been looking forward to a Street Fighter IV for years now…
LT: Me too. It’s not like we think it’s 1992 so it must be time for another Street Fighter or that we must bring out a new Street Fighter every five years. Street Fighter II came out, then the Championship Edition… there’s always been new ideas to add, the formula gets refined and we’re thinking how can we make this game better? And then you bring out a better version if there’s a demand for it.
A lot of people thought Street Fighter III was as good as a 2D fighting game could get, and maybe we thought that as well to be honest. So maybe we just didn’t feel that there was a reason for Street Fighter IV. Also, by this stage Capcom is making incredible games in their own right – Resident Evil, the Devil May Cry and Onimusha series – so there were lots of brilliant games coming out and people were moving away from the arcades so perhaps we felt there was no need for another Street Fighter. But what’s happened in the last few years is that every time the Street Fighter producer is interviewed people are always asking him when’s the next Street Fighter – and he really wanted to make one. So he’s basically been campaigning to make it happen. Everyone’s asking for it, people inside really want it, so let’s do it!
As you know Street Fighter IV will be arriving on Xbox 360 in February 2009. Not long to wait after all. Thank you Leo for your time – entertaining as ever!
Look out for our own report on The Gathering event on Console Monster very soon. Until then, let us know your views on this Q&A. Did you learn something new about the game? Did this Q&A turn you on or turn you away from the game? Let us know in the comments.