Why Namco vs. Capcom isn't a great idea (but Capcom vs. Namco is)

Roll up, roll up, get your fresh rumours here! Tasty, oven-fresh rumours, packed with speculative excitement and guaranteed 100% free of inconvenient substantiated fact!

Ahem. Sorry, a lack of coffee in the morning often makes me go a bit Carnie. Anyway, the point is that there’s another theory floating around as to what Street Fighter IV Producer Yoshinori Ono’snew game (opens in new tab)might be. Andthat rumour (opens in new tab)states that there are actually two new Capcom-related ighting games due for reveal at Comic Con, One by Ono, one by Namco.

They are rumoured to be Capcom vs. Namco (by Capcom, using the Street Fighter IV engine)and Namco vs. Capcom (by Namco, using the Tekken 6 tech). But, if this is true, then I suspect only one of them will be good.Read on for the details and the reasons for my 50% dubious response.

Above: Sakura needs no more of this shit

The Capcom game, I’m down with. The Namco one, well that just makes me want to run away and whimper under the stairs for a little while. Why? Well first up, we’d very probably be talking about shoehorning the Street Fighter characters into a 3D game. Shoehorning being done by a developer that isn’t Capcom. This has happened before, and it gave us Street Fighter EX. The staircase. Its cool shade will hide my tears from all.

Yes, I know that Street Fighter IV uses 3D models on a 2D plane, but in order to justify a second game, I can’t help feeling that Namco would have to put theirtitle into a more tangible 3D space. Indeed, with a line-up of Tekken and Soul Calibur characters to squeeze in, along with their respective ablities, it would probably be a necessity. And neither Street Fighter’s mechanics or move-set are designed for that at all.

Also, while Namco's characters could look utterly badass if treated with the chunky stylisation the Street Fighter IV engine allows, seeing Street Fighter's gleefully brash and OTT cast rendered in the relatively sterile looks of the Tekken engine just wouldn't feel right at all after the expressionistic colour explosion of Ono-san's two games.

Above: Whichfattie is the more expressive fattie? Rendering Rufus like Bob would neuter his personality

You’re probably standing there, looking at me accusingly with your armsfolded right now, adopting that expression of yours that unmistakably says, ‘Well why is it not okay for Street Fighter to go 3D but it’s fine for Tekken to go 2D? Eh? Eh? How do you justify that then?’. Don't pretend you don't know the look I mean. You are, aren't you? And I can understand that perspective. But the fact is that it’s way easier to adapt 3D gameplay to 2Dthan it is to dothingsthe other way around. There are less variables to worry about, much more designer control, and the potential for tighter game mechanics. Hell, even Mortal Kombat has realised the value of dropping the third dimension in favour of 2D purity now.

The Street Fighter IV engine is more than capable of showboating , camera-swirling set-pieces, so the likes of Ivy and Heihachi needn’t lose any of their cosmetic 3D bells and whistles. And Namco's characters could absolutely sing in 2D. Hell, a 2D version ofIvy's sword-whip mechanic would actually make her a pretty good counterpart to Dhalshim and Seth. Capcom's hypothetical game would seriously work, and breath a whole new life into the Namco cast through a fresh gameplay angle (or lackof angles). But I can't see Namco's maybe-game doing the same for Capcom's line-up.

Plus, all of this technical talk aside, when was the last time Namco made a really exciting fighting game anyway? Not just solid. Not just appealing for the hardcore fans. But really, genuinely fun, fresh and exciting? Soul Calibur II? Tekken 3? Obviously I remain open-minded on this one. After all, more great fighting games are better than less. But right now, I can only get excited about one of the two games rumoured. But let me know. Which one do you find more appealing, and why?

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.