San Diego Comic-Con 2010
The X Button at Comic-Con: Saturday, July 24

by Todd Ciolek,

Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono knows how to work a panel audience, even when he shows up in his bathrobe.

Apparently arriving just out of the shower, Ono began his Street Fighter Comic-Con panel by breaking the hearts of every Darkstalkers fan present: he reminded them that “this is the Street Fighter Panel, not the Darkstalkers Panel.” Then he gave the Darkstalkers faithful a surge of hope by asking them to wave their cash in the air. Nearly the entire audience obliged, and Ono snapped a photo. He promised to show the picture to his cohorts at CAPCOM Japan when he pitches another Darkstalkers.

Ono then moved on to Street Fighter. Some in the audience wanted to know about the arcade version of Super Street Fighter IV, currently location-testing in Tokyo. Ono asked the crowd which characters they wanted to see in it, whereupon the whole audience yelled out the names of every possible Street Fighter character (except Alex). Ono then broke a few more hearts by stating that he couldn't announce any of the new additions to the cast until the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, though he added that all of the upcoming characters were mentioned in the crowd's babble of Street Fighter characters.

Ono mentioned a few minor additions to the console versions of Super Street Fighter IV: online tournaments and new costumes (including Chun-Li's Alpha outfit). He then unveiled the panel's first big news: Street Fighter III Online. No release dates or systems were given (like it's not going to be on the PS3 and Xbox 360).

All of a sudden, the panel was interrupted by Katsuhio Harada, director of the Tekken series. Dressed in a ripped gi, Harada strode through the audience and joined Ono, who shuffled off his robe to reveal a Ryu costume. The two bantered about the rivalry between Street Fighter and Tekken, and then revealed the panel's big surprise: Street Fighter X Tekken. The two set up the trailer and then gave the crowd a look at the game itself. Showing a mixture of Street Fighter IV's visual style and the tag-team antics of Marvel vs. CAPCOM, the trailer showed Ryu and Tekken's Kazuya pounding on each other before a robot-wrecked street (with a giant, swirly-eyed Servbot head lying in the ruins), while Chun-Li and Nina jumped into help with combo attacks.

Street Fighter X Tekken (the “X” is pronounced “cross,” just like Namco X CAPCOM) won't be out until well after Marvel vs. CAPCOM 3, Ono stated. Harada had one more revelation: there'll be a Tekken X Street Fighter made by the Tekken team and, presumably, in the Tekken style. Of course, Ono added, “I know the real fans will only play Street Fighter characters.”

As this is my last entry for the 2010 Comic-Con, it's time to give out a few awards.

Best Booth Attention-Getter: Red Faction Armageddon. Other booths had better attractions, like the mock cryogenic capsules in the Alien section, but THQ's Red Faction mecha was the best among video-game companies. If it doesn't look impressive, remember that it's eight feet tall and opens up to allow visitors inside.

Game I Least Wanted to be Seen Playing: Otomedius Excellent. Nothing against Konami, as I think it's good that they're bringing out a 2-D shooter, but when that shooter is filled with half-naked anime maids designed by Sgt. Frog creator Yoshizaki Mine (whose combination of “sexy” and “childishly wide-eyed” has always been uncomfortable), it's not the sort of thing one plays in public. Granted, Otomedius Excellent seems like a sturdy shooter in the vein of Gradius, based on my limited play time, and it's littered with nods to classic Konami games. It's out later this year, and, surprisingly, Konami isn't just sticking it on XBox Live or something. It's a full-fledged disc release.

Most Unexpected Revelation: Parasite Eve sequel The 3rd Birthday was only present in the form of a trailer, but that trailer showed off many of the game's interesting points. Heroine Aya Brea roams around like any lead in a third-person shooter, but she can also hijack various enemies and control them. And, if that photo of the trailer is any indication, she can possess famed and often misquoted author Oscar Wilde.

Merchandise I Thought I'd Never See and Never Wanted To: A Ghost in the Shell body pillow, making Major Kusanagi the rare adult female character to end up on one of these things.

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