The playground squabble of which franchise is true king of the fighters is set to be settled once and for all.
Capcom and Namco are colliding head-to-head - as Street Fighter tackles Tekken. And, conversely, Tekken tackles Street Fighter - in two completely new games.
We caught up with Street Fighter guru Yoshinori Ono and Tekken boss Katsuhiro Harada to get the full story...
How did the Street Fighter and Tekken crossover come about? Most people would assume Tekken would naturally crossover with Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter would continue on with SNK...
Ono-san: We get this question a lot, which probably means that everyone is surprised by this match-up. Rather than making something where people think 'oh, we knew that was coming', we wanted to make something to surprise people.
For instance, if Tekken and Virtua Fighter went along people would expect 3D, but when it is Tekken and Street Fighter everyone is just really surprised and even we don't really know how it's going to end. So as creators we really want to try something and make something new that no one's done and this is definitely the best opportunity so far.
Capcom will make Street Fighter X Tekken in to our interpretation of what Tekken is like and how Tekken would fit in the Street Fighter world, and vice versa. Tekken X Street Fighter will invite Street Fighter characters and concepts into the Tekken world and just make two games saying 'that's yours', 'this is mine', and deliver two completely new games to the fans.
You've made it clear that this is a "competition" between two beat-em-up teams. How seriously are you taking this? Are you keeping your ideas secret or sharing information with each other?
Harada-san: Well, it's not like we're trying to trip each other up in creating these games - it's nothing like that at all. There are two aspects to this face-off; the first is in-game between our characters and the Street Fighter characters.
For example, from Ryu's viewpoint looking at the Mishima Zaibatsu and the characters involved there, I'm sure he hates them and can't really go along with their principles and the things they're doing, so he'd want to crush them. On the other hand Kazuya, Heihachi and others would see the Street Fighter characters as something in that way and would do anything to eliminate them - that's their way of thinking. That's the game aspect of that facet.
On the other hand, from a development team perspective, although Ono-san's team was absent from the fighting game scene for about ten years they have over 20 years of fighting game experience with their franchise. So, of course, they have a lot of know-how and I'm sure they have a lot of pride on the line, especially since a franchise other than their own is attached with the title.
The opposite can be said of us as well, I don't think it's trying to hide something from the other side, it's more company pride to try to make the best product possible and then to be excited to see the results of how that plays out.
Ono-san, what advice would you give Harada-san in using the Street Fighter characters?
Ono-san: We have a mutual, fundamental understanding and utter trust between the two of us, so we don't intend to censor each other. I am entrusting the Street Fighter franchise to Harada and Harada is intrusting the Tekken franchise to me.
So we're just going to leave it as that, I won't say how he should deal with the Street Fighter franchise, that's up to him and likewise, it is up to me how Tekken is used in Street Fighter X Tekken. Harada believes in me and trusts me with it.