Are you okay?

A lot of new 2D fighters on display at TGS, huh? Well, I guess that depends on whether you’d consider three “a lot.” And also whether games with 3D characters count as 2D. Still! Big day for fans of the genre.

People have made light of Street Fighter IV copying II‘s roster and mechanics, but at least it’s not the lone offender in playing it safe. Sure, The King of Fighters XII has gorgeous new, hand-drawn sprites, but c’mon, it’s been a decade since they updated some of these characters. It’s more an act of penance than evolution.

The addition of Sakura to SFIV’s roster is one of the more telling signs of this reliance on series history. Storyline-wise (yeah, yeah, I know) there’s no reason for her to be there, let alone in a schoolgirl outfit. Parish claims it’s meant as parody, but I think he’s just being charitable to Capcom on account of Mega Man 9. SFIV is really just a mash-up of Street Fighter’s greatest hits (and, uh, Rufus). KoFXII’s roster reveals about the same. Iori’s been redesigned, but that primarily entailed relocating one of his belts, and Terry’s back to his classic Fatal Fury jacket instead of his Mark of the Wolves look.

But these are fighting games. Cut them some slack; they have a hard enough time surviving without relying on their most valuable assets. And besides, solid mechanics usually trump bringing something new to the table. Oftentimes being a good fighting game is irrespective of being a groundbreaking one, and characters are, to a degree, window dressing under which the game is played. If copying Street Fighter II’s roster wholesale means bringing back casual fans who fondly remember mashing-punch-as-Blanka duels, why the hell not?

9 thoughts on “Are you okay?

  1. I feel sort of the same way about Street Fighter IV. It’s got SFII’s roster mixed with updated mechanics from SFIII. While I welcome a new entry to the franchise, it strikes me as another attempt by Capcom to cash in on nostalgia rather than confidence in having created a good game. It’s true that we gamers love to use the same characters over and over again. However, sometimes we need to move on. I remember SFIII was originally not going to have any returning characters, but due to popular demand they shoe-horned Ryu and Ken into the game. That’s interesting to me because they probably initially off-balanced the game. Before they were put into it, only two characters aside from the boss had projectile attacks. SFIII would have probably been an entirely different game without them.

    I’m looking forward to the new KoF. It’s been too long. The videos that I’ve seen look like Art of Fighting 3 with better art and animation, but at the same time we’ve a returning to scaling and overly blocky looking characters. I’m sure it’ll play better than AoF, though. Terry going back to his old outfit sounds like disappointing fan pandering right now. The series always gave the illusion of having some sort of great continuity, but this loses something for me. Well, that and the fact that it looks like Andy’s officially retired…

  2. I’m a huge fighting game fan, and when it comes to Street Fighter IV I’m taking Ono’s interviews at their word. SFIV is a game that he wants to use to get old fans interested again. Bringing back SFII’s entire roster makes sense, as it took YEARS for the fighting game community (people still interested, mind you, not even fans who played SFII in the early 90s and then forgot about it) to warm up to the almost entirely new cast of SFIII.
    The truth is, Street Fighter III was unique among fighting games for ditching most of its cast from the previous game. If anything, SFIV just falls in line with most other franchises. How can we call capcom out for something SNK, Namco, Sega, and Arc System Works do routinely?

  3. I like Terry’s Mark of the Wolves look! I guess that means MotW is in the future? It’s not like you see Rock Howard much these days. Oh well, it’s hard to kill the classics I guess. C’mon, c’mon!

  4. Concerning SFIV gameplay system, it does look like III, yeah, but sadly and for some combo videos I’ve seen around, it also looks like Street Fighter Alpha… 3, which was the most MarvelvsCapcom-ish SF game in the series.

    As for story… they shouldn’t even try. Sure, Sakura shouldn’t be there, but neither should be Gouken or Bison. But what can we expect from the series that killed Charlie three times (not counting Vs. games)? Let’s just enjoy the flashy combats.

  5. The importance of KoFXII’s new spritework should not be understated. Stuff is gorgeous, son.

  6. “SFIV is really just a mash-up of Street Fighter’s greatest hits ”

    That doesn’t say much for what Capcom’s view of SFIII.

  7. I wasn’t a terribly big fan of Third Strike to be honest. At this point, I’m looking forward to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom the most. A spiritual sequel to MvC2 with except now with giant mechs? Sign me up!

  8. I think it’s a lot easier for people to cut KoF some slack for not making major changes each game because, unlike Street Fighter, these are not being presented as upgrades or entirely new games, but as new episodes of an ongoing story. With the exception of the dream matches and a few bonus characters that are tossed into the console releases, dead people stay dead, and most of the fighters that make it back are chosen according to the storyline’s needs. And the cast tends to expand at the beginning of each new storyline. You wouldn’t expect them to drop the old stuff anymore than you would expect a TV show to axe its supporting cast mid-season.

    Street Fighter, on the other hand, made massive changes between one, two, and three, so going back to two’s cast and mechanics seems a bit more embarrassing.

  9. I say let them add fighters like Sakura to SFIV, I could care less about the “Story” of Street Fighter if they would add all the cool characters… How awsome would it be if Capcom was able to add all the SFII SFIII and Alpha characters to SFIV? I think that would be AWSOME… bring it on Capcom! Bring… it… ON! ;)

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