Where is Tekken X Street Fighter?

The Depths of Development Hell

A long time ago in a land far, far away...

Let’s go back 11 Years. For what felt to be a prolific time in gaming, San Diego Comic-Con hosted a plethora of panels that included an illustrious line-up of development that year. One announced was the confounding Super Street Fighter IV panel, which essentially was a re-release of the already established title with additional features. However, fans immediately spotted Tekken’s lead developer Katsuhiro Harada in attendance, handing out copies of Tekken 6 to audience members which was met with cheers and comical jeers. Invited to join the panel, Harada took centre stage with now former Capcom Executive Producer, Yoshinori Ono. Grinning from ear-to-ear, they knew this was a historic moment. It was then announced that Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter were both in development, and to be released simultaneously in the fall of 2011.

Before this, it was always a pipedream to see two respective properties within the same category duke it out to be the top contender. This wasn’t a first for either studio, as their respective worlds had met in prior instalments, but never how gamers envisioned. Namco x Capcom, a tactical JPRG released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, exclusive to Japan, was met with a lukewarm reception. Fans had craved a potential fighting formation of two formidable franchises, and forever it was the conventional Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter conversation. It’s well documented that Ed Boon’s favourite fighting series’ has been Street Fighter, with Tekken a close second but even the Chicago native knew that MK’s formula of combat could not simply meld with the expeditious, multi-faceted pacing of Street Fighter’s diverse repertory.

Street Fighter X Tekken – CAPCOM (2012)

So here’s our conundrum; after a minor delay stalled development, Street Fighter X Tekken was release in March 2012. So, where was Tekken X Street Fighter? The fighting game has been sitting in development hell for a near decade of its scheduled release, with Harada last making comment of its existence in 2019, where the Namco Executive Producer tweeted a poll asking fans if they were “really waiting for TEKKEN X Street Fighter?”. On August 9, 2020, Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono announced his retirement and that he would be leaving the Japanese development studio, stating the “new generation will continue taking care of the Street Fighter brand and leading the World Warriors”. Yes, another spanner in the works for what we can only assume is now a cancelled crossover event. For years, I had salivated in unequivocal anticipation. 

The pretense of portraying my adored heroes in the Tekken engine was a premise unfathomable, yet it’s now slipped itself into development hell. Without Ono to bridge the concept through Harada, there’s little-to-no hope of this title ever escalating any more than an initial idea. Should we just give up on it? Probably. The possibility of this Tekken X Street Fighter ever manifesting is almost null. A certified failure to launch after the mixed reception its last crossover received, possibly shelved the project indefinitely – which is usually laymen’s terms for cancelled. Street Fighter looked to compete directly with Namco’s quadrilateral fighter within the mid 90’s, as Capcom launched Street Fighter EX Plus α in December 1996. The 2D fighting formation with a 3D twist, allowing players to experience a generational push with the IP’s existing framework intact.

Conversations were held internally regarding EX’s future, as the team expressed concerns that Street Fighter’s vision had slowly diminished throughout EX2’s development cycle, with the title showing age and pacing issues that stifled the series’ reputable seamless approach. It maintained its status as a cult classic and sold exceedingly above Capcom’s initial sales forecast, but struggled to maintain some semblance of Street Fighter’s  foundation. Personally, I was enamoured by EX on the PlayStation; an amalgamation of two expositions in style coming together to export an absolutely gorgeous 3D Fighter. There was something about its intended polygonal aesthetic that enriched its allure. I enjoyed its unique, abstract approach the Street Fighter team were seeking, but I knew it was only going to attract a fragment of its devout following.

Street Fighter EX Plus α – CAPCOM (1996)

We fast forward to December 2015, where Akuma had been announced to appear in Tekken 7 as a rostered character; a glimpse of what could have been Tekken X Street Fighter. Initially, I loved what I saw but over time my excitement flailed, once I noticed a clear disparity between the Tekken and Street Fighter gameplay loop. While Namco delivered a faithful outcome, it seemed like a misplaced juxtapose than a seamless transition. Akuma maintained his trademark offense, with moves executed in traditional Street Fighter manner, but there were advertent exclusions marketed as adjustments that stripped the demonic deity of his Godlike characteristics. While minor mechanics were moulded appropriately to fit within the crimson maned megalomaniac, his entire moveset disposed a misplaced delivery within his presence in the title.

Whether this was an intentional inclusion to satiate those that long for this crossover’s continued spiral through its purported vapourware vortex remains a mystery that has now sunk to “Duke Nukem Forever” levels of mystique in gaming development dormancy. Whether we privy to such knowledge remains ambiguous, and arguably apocryphal. An unsubstantial amount of proof has ever come out that the concept was more than an idea, but if there’s anything to go by, it’s the reality of Street Fighter X Tekken’s existence. So the question remains, where is Tekken X Street Fighter? Was its reveal all for naught? Are we lead to believe that Harada’s still holding out after Ono’s departure? Will we ever see a draft of its early development phase? These are all questions that will remain – along with the title itself – in video gaming purgatory.

Tekken X Street Fighter

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Tekken X Street Fighter is a crossover fighting game that was being developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It was supposed to cross the universes of Namco’s Tekken and Capcom’s Street Fighter into one game, creating a roster from both franchises.

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