Meet the heroes and helpers of Project X Zone
Are you ready for Project X Zone? The tactical RPG crossover was recently confirmed for US release, and it features a huge collection of familiar (and not-so-familiar) faces from Namco, Capcom, and Sega's extensive histories.
Are your favorites in the game? Need some background on the many obscure, Japan-only games that are referenced? Check out the roster and see who you'll be playing as...
Mii Kouryuuji & Kogoro Tenzai (Original)
Taking a page from Kingdom Hearts' book, the star-studded cast of Project X Zone is led by a couple of original characters to ease audiences into the fray. The Namco Bandai-designed Kogoro Tenzai and Mii Kouryuuji might have shorter backstories, but that certainly doesn't imply humble beginnings.
Kogoro is a private detective who's also a highly-trained ninja assassin, while Mii (no relation to Nintendo's familiar player-surrogates) is a churlish high school student, trained by monks to use a gun that's taller than she is. So now that the normal characters are dealt with, on to the game's more flamboyant entries...
Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
Once an inseparable pair, these two have spent their last couple of appearances fighting to rescue one another from relentless onslaught of zombie death. Finally the long-suffering heroes of the original Resident Evil get to fight side-by-side just like old times, though likely with fewer keys to collect.
The pair are evenly-matched in their hand-to-hand combat and gunplay proficiency, and both are defined by their dedication to eradicating the flesh-eaters of the world. Fans know that when these two are together, nothing short of a T-Virus enhanced ultra-mercenary can stop them.
Demitri Maximoff (Darkstalkers) & Dante (Devil May Cry)
Capcom's Dante and Demitri may have originated in different franchises, but as grim antiheroes on Hell's home-team, the exiled vampire king and estranged devil prince have plenty in common.
Devil May Cry purists will no doubt be thrilled to see the return of Dante's pre-DmC look in Project X Zone, whereas longtime Darkstalkers fans are probably just glad to see their game's undead underdogs put in an appearance anywhere.
Ken Masters & Ryu (Street Fighter)
These are doubtlessly two of the most recognizable non-mascot characters in the medium's history. Ryu and Ken represent the entire industry in dragon-punchin', hadouken-chuckin' form: a stoic Japanese journeyman and his flashy American counterpart, the stars of a series that goes from strength to renewed strength the further we get from its fairly rubbish opening act.
Capcom's old reliables are no stranger to genre-crossing either, having appeared in the likes of Puzzle Fighter and Street Fighter 2010. And after Street Fighter X Tekken, they're more than ready to kick butt in their newest crossover.
Chun-Li (Street Fighter) & Morrigan Aensland (Darkstalkers)
Few characters have consumed as much fan-ink as Darkstalkers' seductive succubus and the Street Fighter series' high-kicking bunhead. Both have sustained popularity for decades (Morrigan's 20th anniversary comes next year), and they outlasted countless imitators to become standouts of the Capcom cast.
Besides the obvious sex appeal--which, let's face it, is hardly a scarce commodity within the video game heroine populace--Chun-Li and Morrigan share a focus on quick, precise combat that ought to translate well to the RPG arena.
Mega Man X & Zero (Mega Man X)
Fans can't get enough of Mega Man, whose adventures run the gamut from pixelated old-school romps to slick RPG-style platformers with a penchant for cancellation. Here Capcom's tenacious cyberman teams up with Zero a.k.a. X's rival that was first introduced in the original Mega Man X. Zero later went on to star in his own line of spinoffs.
Both are crossover veterans of titles such as Marvel vs Capcom and Tatsunoko vs Capcom, but Project X Zone's cross-franchise team-up marks the first time the pair have appeared playable, side-by-side outside a Mega Man title.
Riela Marceris & Kurt Irving (Valkyria Chronicles III)
Sega's Valkyria Chronicles franchise may not have the international clout of a Golden Axe or Shinobi, but the continuing series commands a loyal following--particularly in Japan, where PSP owners are still keeping up with the story via 2011's dark-'n'-edgy Valkyria Chronicles III.
Out of the series' sizeable cast, it's VCIII's star-crossed leads, Kurt and Riela, who've been chosen to team up for crossover exposure. Seeing as how VCIII never came to the US, we don't blame you for not recognizing this pair.
Frank West (Dead Rising) & Hsien-Ko (Darkstalkers)
As an avowed hunter, decapitator and general humiliator of the undead hordes, you might expect Dead Rising's Frank West not to take too kindly to Hsien-Ko. Why? Because she's officially a jingsh (literally, Hopping Corpse), and she was first introduced in Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge.
However, their team-up appears amicable enough, with the Capcom stable-mates apparently choosing to put bygones behind them and bond over shared interests--jumping, corpse-killing, incongruously huge sawblades, etc.
Sakura Shinguji & Ichiro Ogami (Sakura Wars)
Even Sega diehards may be forgiven for drawing a blank on these two, as the Sakura Wars franchise didn't see Western release until the PS2/Wii debut of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love in 2010--almost 15 years after the series began life in Japan.
The cross-media property tells the continuing story of a worldwide squadron of demon-fighters whose lives, as it turns out, are a lot more like a soap-opera than you might suppose. Ichiro Ogami is the leader of Flower Division, the central squad of the series' initial entries, which counts Sakura Shinguji amongst its singing, dancing, demon-vanquishing members.