EVO: Capcom’s Seth Killian on PSN Street Fighter III, Street Fighter X Tekken

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EVO: Capcom’s Seth Killian on PSN Street Fighter III, Street Fighter X Tekken

Capcom’s fighting-game renaissance surges forward like an EX Hadoken. This August sees the long-awaited PSN release of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, followed by Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 in November and Street Fighter X Tekken in 2012. I caught up with Capcom’s Strategic Director of Online & Community Seth Killian at EVO, the world’s biggest fighting game tournament, to get the latest updates on all three games.

Killian did me one better, discussing Capcom’s evolving view of community engagement and sharing his analysis of Noah “The Prodigy,” the eight-year old Marvel vs Capcom 3 competitor who captured the imagination of EVO attendees when he outmatched much older players to place among the competition’s top 64 finalists.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition for PS3 (PSN)Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition for PS3 (PSN)Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition for PS3 (PSN)

PlayStation.Blog: Street Fighter III was famously a huge departure from Street Fighter II, earning it a fair bit of controversy. How does it hold up today?

Seth Killian, Strategic Director of Online & Community: For me, the essence of any great fighting game is learning how to read the mind of your opponent. If you can do that, Street Fighter III gives you the ultimate way to show that off — you can deflect any move that your opponent can do using the Parry mechanic, where you tap forward or down to deflect attacks. The Parry is at the center of SFIII; if you use it correctly, you can get out of any situation. That’s why it has this enduring legacy.

As for its reputation, there’s no question that SFIII is an incredible game. It has a huge tournament legacy, particularly in Japan. It’s one of those games where the execution bar is a little bit higher: it took everything that had come before and built and built upon it. Particularly with the Parry, which is a bit harder to learn — you need to be familiar with the kind of attack that is coming, knowing how it hits and how many times it hits. With Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, we’ve added a new mode to specifically help people understand that Parry, practice it, and get comfortable with it.

PSB: Aside from the training mode, what else is Capcom bringing to SFIII: 3rd Strike Online Edition?

SK: We wanted to preserve the integrity of the game, so we used the arcade code and removed a few minor crash bugs. Otherwise, the core gameplay is untouched. We did add a few extras to the online and single-player modes, including the ability to unlock items though in-game challenges. It brings a little bit of that Call of Duty, carrot-on-a-stick incentive but it’s purely optional.

Online is a key focus. We’ve added new netcode developed by the EVO organizer, who happens to be a programming genius who created a piece of middleware called GGPO. It’s extremely popular with fighting fans because it’s a great online experience; it was designed by hand for 2D fighters. It has some very crafty ways of getting around input lag. It doesn’t defeat the speed of light or anything, but it uses a fixed frame setup. It will skip frames of animation to hide latency, which makes an attack finish at the same time as it would if we were playing offline. I’ve never heard a piece of middleware get an eruption of cheers at a panel, so that’s how seriously this is taken among fighting-game fans.

We also have online tournament and spectator modes, plus YouTube uploads that enable you to share your favorite matches with your friends whether you’re on your PS3 or off it.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for PS3Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for PS3

PSB: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 comes this fall. Other than the new characters, what new features will be included?

SK: They’re going back to the drawing board with some of the netcode, and adding a spectator mode — a major request from the North American and Japanese fans. It’s particularly challenging for a hyper-busy game like Marvel vs Capcom 3, but the team did manage to figure it out.

There will also be some additional single-player surprises, some new graphical elements, and of course re-tuning for the existing characters. There are little changes to certain moves, and sometimes all-new moves, animation tweaks…it’s a complete package and coming in at a lower price point. If you missed out on Marvel vs Capcom 3, this is the perfect time to dive in.

PSB: Tell me about this eight-year old kid, Noah “The Prodigy,” who fought his way into the top 64 players in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 EVO world finals. Is he as good as they say?

SK: He was finally eliminated, but he took down some of the best players in the world. His brother is in the competitive fighting scene, so this kid has grown up with this stuff. The thing that distinguishes Noah is, here’s got skills, but he’s very composed. He’s got this weird calm for an eight year-old kid playing on stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people. We’ve had 12- or 13-year old competitors who have done some damage, but Noah is unprecedented. He took out real players. I think he’s got an amazing competitive career ahead of him.

Once he develops more agility and insight he’s got a lot of room to grow, even using his existing gameplan. He also played some slightly unusual characters, and his opponents may not have been ready for that.

Street Fighter x TekkenStreet Fighter x Tekken

PSB: Let’s shift to Street Fighter X Tekken, one of the more unusual fighters to come out of Capcom in recent memory. How much of Tekken’s gameplay made the cut?

SK: It’s set in a Street Fighter world on a 2D fighting plane but, at the same time, we’ve tried to preserve some of the Tekken elements. For me, the essence of Tekken is getting in your opponent’s face and forcing him to guess between your high, low, and mid mix-up attacks. Not only are the Tekken characters performing some of their signature moves, they’re able to do it in the same sort of style. They have a more fluid ability to execute those kinds of mix-up attacks. The Street Fighter characters are a little stronger at a range with their projectiles. The other nod to Tekken is that many of the traditional Tekken combo strings will still work.

PSB: How can the Tekken characters get past those projectiles? It seems like a major disadvantage.

SK: I feel like, in many ways, there’s less difference between Tekken and Street Fighter than people often think. In Tekken, you have sidestepping — moving into the third dimension to dodge attacks. In Street Fighter, you have a similar concept: Cammy, for example, can use her Spinning Backfist move to flip around an incoming projectile if you time it correctly. From a game design perspective, it’s quite similar — she’s briefly moving into the third dimension to dodge that fireball. The Tekken characters have moves that work much like that, where they spin, dash, or slide around projectiles. So the Tekken characters are very adept at passing through projectiles if you read your opponent correctly.

PSB: Explain this new “Tag Assault” move, where you call out both of your characters to pummel your opponent.

SK: Street Fighter X Tekken is a tag-centric game, an homage to Tekken Tag Tournament, so you can tag normally or cancel a special move into a tag. With the Tag Assault technique, you can bring in both of your teammates at the same time — you control them both simultaneously. Then you can do all sorts of dirty tricks like creating a sandwich so you can ping-pong your opponent between both of your fighters from both sides. It’s actually really strong right now — we’ll probably tone it down a bit as we move forward.

Street Fighter X Tekken for PS3 and PS Vita: Cole

PSB: We’re surrounded by some of the best fighters in the world here at EVO. What are they saying about Street Fighter X Tekken? What’s the feedback been so far?

SK: I get worried, because this is the toughest audience in the world. If these guys are good at anything besides fighting, they’re good at complaining. [laughs] They will let you know exactly what’s wrong with your game. The worst complaints we’ve had to date has revolved around certain UI elements and the lifebar being hard to read. Ono-san has already gone back to the drawing board to re-tool them.

In terms of gameplay, people seem to be walking away with a smile on their face. Which actually just makes me nervous! I want to say, “Guys, this is the time! Let us know what you love and what you hate.” So far, it’s sort of a half-step between Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

So right now, the EVO crowd is digging in and finding the worst possible things they can do to each other.

PSB: Fighting game creators haven’t always been hugely receptive to their fans. But Capcom has clearly led the way in terms of enabling community feedback. What’s the philosophy there?

SK: It’s been a learning process. Capcom is a traditional Japanese company, and Japanese companies tend to engage in one-way communication. You know: “Here is what we are doing. Please enjoy. We’ll see you again in a year.” [laughs] There wasn’t a lot of back-and-forth there.

But today’s social media tools have changed the game. Capcom, I think, has led the pack among the Japanese game publishers in adapting to that — though obviously, PlayStation is no slouch either! Capcom has been aggressive with community interaction and they’ve seen the power of it. I’m proud to be a part of it because I came from this very community, the EVO community. It’s how I got my start at Capcom.

It’s not a matter of being bound by the demands of fans. You know, “well, fans voted to put a clown wig on Ryu, so that’s what we have to do.” It’s about good ideas, and fans have some of the best ideas in the world. Being able to bring those ideas forward and presenting them to the right people who can evaluate them is what it’s all about.

The games are all here at EVO for a reason: the designers want to hear feedback from the fans. As a business, you need to be responsive to the concerns of your fans, or you’re doing it wrong. It’s smart business to have a real dialogue with your fans.

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3 Author Replies

  • Is there gonna be any cross-platform features between PS3 and PS Vita versions?

  • is it true that Kaz said yesterday playstation vita wont be released these holidays in NA ?

  • Fantastic! Read words from Seth Killian AND listen to him discuss SFIII;3SOE on a QL:EX on GiantBomb!

  • Not really excited for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 seeing as they released the original months ago… I’m really hesitant buying any Capcom product now because I know in less that a year there will be a newer version.

  • Yeah, nice collection can’t wait for the games etc…
    More bummed about the Vita being pushed ’till next year for everyone else. (If that’s true)

  • can’t wait to play my fighter games on my VITA!!

  • I honestly will never buy a capcom game until at least a year after it’s release. Really upsetting how Capcom can release a game then re-release it with additional characters. So upsetting.
    I didn’t buy street fighter because of this but MvC3… i’ve been waiting for so long that when it came out i just HAD to get it. and now theirs an ultimate edition. Which I won’t be buying cause I’m saving up for games that will be complete, like Batman AC, Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3.
    I’m even thinking about getting Rage cause that game has peaked my interest.

    • Rage is way cool. As for UMvC3, I’m not an expert on the subject but I have heard that the disaster in Japan earlier this year played a role in not releasing them as DLC.

  • Yeah, I like SF3 and would have looked forward to this if I had not already decided never to buy another Capcom game again. They are the only company to have brought their over-the-top DRM policies over the the PS3 console with Final Fight and Bionic Commando 2. What they tried to pull with SSF4AC for the PC only confirmed to me that they have no plans to change the strategy up, so guess what? Neither do I. Capcom isn’t seeing another penny of my money.

    And there is my second beef with Capcom. Sorry guys, it was fun in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve moved on to better developers now, who make new IPs and complete games.

  • Good games, but pleeease NO HARD TROPHIES !

  • lol so glad im not a little rich boy who has to have it all the day it comes out….. now i can buy the ultimate with 12 extra characters…..hell i can buy the old one for 24 bucks now…. thanx capcom………hadoken

  • Has it been confirmed that the UMvC3 won’t be available as a download like they did with SSFIVAC? Why wouldn’t they do that for their loyal customers?

  • Glad I waited for MvC3 to come down in price I got if for 24 dollars to see if I would even like it. Now I have the money to spare to get Ultimate MvC3. Can’t for the games coming out this year.

  • Mega Man much?

  • good

  • Really hate these articles that paint Capcom in such a bright light….If they listened to the community so much MvC3 would not need to be fixed so much. And to use the disaster in Jp as an excuse is….well just disturbing to me. Way to play the empathy card, Capcom.

    I am really torn on getting UMvC3. Might have to wait until till it drops $15-20 or grab it used. To boot they will continue there recent tradition of releasing DLC that arguably should be on the disk or free. Take a look at WB and NR studios, Capcom. Yes they are charging for DLC also….however they throw you a free bone here and there too.

    Is it really needed to have $50+ of skins, which could be fan service to say ty to the community? Its really ashame, because i use to buy about 80% of your new release titles. Now i have to sit and wait…seeing what you will announce as DLC before the game even hits the shelf.

    Get your stuff together. Japanese developers are slipping and has nothing to do with a tsunami.

  • Will it be four-player playable like MK9?
    That was sick, this feature could seal the deal for me into getting the game on day one.

  • I’m still upset with Capcom’s shenanigans this generation. The whole UMvC3 was the last straw for me. The draconian DRM of Final Fight:Double Impact was my first indication of their new company of goal of sticking it to the consumer, and it all went downhill from there.

    This whole “hey now we have spectator mode” and “we balanced our characters” in UMvC3 could and should have been added as a patch, even if it was large update. Also not giving us the choice of whom to buy as DLC, not to mention people like myself who happily supported MvC3 by picking up the CE version of the game, and then get shafted, or rather “taken for a ride.” I expect Super and Championship editions from Street Fighter, this is the first time it was ever done to this series and I was caught unaware.

    I’m just glad that there is not one Marvel character or Capcom character that merits me getting it right away and even if there was I would have still hesitated to trust Capcom to supporting the title and not give us another version of the game in 5 months after release.

  • The stand alone disc seems lame, but compare the price ($40) to what DLC would have cost.

    Twelve characters at $5 a piece is quite a bit more expensive than the price of the stand alone game ($5 being the cost of Shuma and Jill). Only way that would have been better is if you bought seven or fewer characters and none of that takes into consideration what they would charge, if anything, for the other additions.

  • If they don’t release the content in UMvC3 as DLC for those who got the original then I will not be purchasing it new, I will get a used copy when it gets down to $20 or so, and likely will not be buying another Capcom game new again. So many bought MvC3 planning on getting DLC characters just to be left with “Shadow Battles” and a remake that Capcom thinks people will want to buy. If it’s DLC it’s okay, but if you have to buy another disc, well that’s it. I’ll stick with Bethesda games, Dark Souls, and any of the other games that are going to come out FINISHED where I don’t have to buy a remake just to get access to all of the game’s content.

  • good interview, but I’m with everyone else – umvc3 should be DLC. What was the point of buying the original? To re-buy it again? Come on, it’s 2011. This is a huge slap in the face to everyone who supported the original game. The timing should of been better if they planned on doing something like this.

  • Can’t wait for Third Strike Online Edition! Havn’t played Third Strike in years! Also really excited for SF X T

  • Furthermore, it makes your games look like a bad investment,Capcom. The customer expects longevity from games (hint: DLC), not a product that looses support in 6 months & expects the customer to go out and buy it all over again. That’s why people are angry. It’s like you’re punishing the people who supported this game and rewarding the people who didn’t; when instead, you should be rewarding the people that supported it. Now people are going to be hesitant about purchasing your games. Nice way to sabotage your sales.

  • i love to fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEEEEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • marvel vs CAPCOM 3 i really have to get it!!!!!

  • i have marvel vs capcom 2 and is the best fighting game ever.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 56 characters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!

  • im not buying it. i love MVC3, but i love Monster Hunter and Sengoku Basara, and i have been let down by capcoms decisions too often this generation.

  • I really hope Capcom don’t implement that crazy DRM on SF3: OE like they did with Final Fight.

    I’ve bought SFIV (Limited Edition), SSFIV and the SSFIV: AE update day one, and have also bought SSFII: HDR and Puzzle Fighter HD along the way.

    I’ve been looking forward to SF3: OE since it was announced, but if they have this DRM in place, they’ve lost a day one sale for that, a lifelong fan of their games and the sale of anything else in the future with the word “Capcom” on it (incidentally, i was planning on buying FF, but didn’t for the obvious reason).

    DRM is supposed to limit and control piracy, not punish paying customers.

  • I think its awesome how Capcom knows how crucial are feedback actually is, thats how you please your fans, by takingsome of their ideas and implementing them into their games.

  • and when did plus’s start appearing alongside user pics for ps+ members

  • anyone want to have some matches on Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition? Send me friend request

  • Still no comment or even raising the question about what Capcom is going to do regarding the input lag on the SF engine or the slowdown on MVC3? Guess that just confirms SFxT and UMVC3 are still going to suffer from the same issues.

  • Does anyone know if they are going to make Super Street Fighter 4 for the PS Vita also? I’ve been looking around and saw some sites saying yes they are, but then there are other sites that don’t say anything. so whats up?

  • i wonder if ps vita can play psp games cause i hav a lot of them

  • I Want SF 3 & 2nd Impact Online For PS3.

  • sweet SF 3

  • id like to play mvc3 again but its been a while since i got back to my mvc2 roots, not to mention that Noah and the other famous EVO tournament players inspired me to finally order a fight stick. but im looking forward to these games and Im looking to good players to play against so look me up cuz i wanna learn to play better.

  • that was a good read, thanks sid..

    god i feel so ancient when i think about growing up playing in mortal kombat and street fighter tourny’s
    because they were the originals,lol.. yes and through the years i stuck it out w/ ken and sub zero but back then it was ok to master one and stand there while quarters line up on the screen for next, but now a days i feel like you need to master every one in order to compete on a grand level.. in other words for the younger readers , there were alot of head to head sub zero and same w/ ken and ryu back when the dinosaurs were around.. but again thanks for the read, street fighter always makes me remember when..

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