What we know
Sony announced during the PlayStation Vita unveiling at E3 2011 that you could expect to see Street Fighter X Tekken grace the handheld in 2012. Since then, the focus had completely shifted to the console versions. At Capcoms annual Captivate event, we not only got the details we were looking for, but got hands-on with the portable version of the crossover fighting title. Heres what we found out from the games new lead, Tomoaki Ayano:
Crossovers with Cables
If you have the PS3 version of SF x T, youll be happy to know that you can unlock the Vita exclusive characters on your PS3 version by linking them up. Once youve unlocked them, the save data on your PS3 game will reflect the change, so you wont have to worry about using your Vita as $250+ dongle every time you want to load up Blanka and Christie. However, thanks to the restrictions on Vita systems and PSN IDs, you wont be able to take your game to a friends and simply unlock them on his machine.
Updates at home and on the road
Patches and tweaks that come out on PS3 will drop on Vita around the same time to preserve continuity. Its important to maintain the cross-play feature between both versions, so expect big console updates to make their way to your small machine, and any gameplay refinements will reflect in both games. Ayano insists that Capcom wants to keep the experiences as close as possible.
Vita exclusive features
Ayano played it cool when we pressed him about details regarding how SFxT handheld will take advantage of the nascent Vita hardware, but we can expect to hear more about AR content and Near features in the coming months.
On the bus, in the office bathroom, or at home...
You can play games over 3G. 3G battles are what people want, says Ayano. He says that like the console versions, SFxT Vita uses a different netcode than other Capcom fighting games and therefore, is optimized to be played over a 3G network. For Vita users on limited data plans, he recommends that you download updates and important content over Wi-Fi to keep your bandwidth in control, but nothing should stop you from jumping into a few rounds at the bus stop.
Out of the box, the game you'll have on PS3
Look for the patches and refinements found in the console versions to come baked into the Vita game at launch.
More than a tap on the touchpad
It uses both the touch screen and rear touch similar to both Super Street Fighter 3D and UMVC3, yet takes its own style. To make up for the lack of shoulder buttons, Ayanos team has allowed much more flexibility than the aforementioned handheld titles. Not only can you use the touch screens quadrants to set up pre-made attacks, you can also tweak the placement of rear touch buttons so that you can see the action better while memorizing where to put your fingers.
A new roster, familiar faces
How does it play? A great deal like the console game. We hopped into rounds with the members of the new roster that were available and optimized to play: Dudley, Elena, Sakura, Blanka, Christie Monteiro, and Lei. Naturally, the Capcom roster felt immediately natural, while the Tekken fighters blended well into the style of the game. We have yet to try Lars, Alisa, or any of the other fighters, but Capcom said that well be seeing them in action at future events prior to the fall launch.
What's the difference?
The textures are a little lower res, and the backgrounds are less busy, but its essentially the same game. We asked Ayano about these details. Well, the textures had to be reduced, and the backgrounds are different than PS3, he says, for example, the Jurassic stage is different. In the console game, the dinosaurs in the background are all excited and bouncing around. In the Vita game, those dinos are tired and lying down and taking a break, allowing us to conserve memory. Japanese people are good at making big things into smaller things.
When's it out?
Capcom hasn't confirmed a release date, but look for it to drop some time this fall.