San Diego Comic-Con 2012
The X Button at Comic Con: Friday, July 13

by Todd Ciolek, Jul 14th 2012

THE TITANS OF FIGHTING GAMES PANEL
There was no officially named Tekken panel at the San Diego Comic Con, but Namco Bandai's “Titans of Fighting Games” fit the bill. Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada arrived first and showed a lot of the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Also on hand were models dressed as Tekken characters Lili, Xiaoyu, Asuka, Alisa, Anna, and Nina.

Harada and his Tekken entourage weren't alone, of course. Capcom's Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono soon crashed the proceedings, dressed in Shrek ears and giving Street Fighter X Tekken trinkets to front-row audience members. The two jovially sniped at each other throughout the panel, with Harada repeatedly telling Ono to “go home.” Other fighting-game producers weren't safe either, as Harada told Ono that he thought Mortal Kombat producer Ed Boon was coming to the panel.

In promoting Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Harada played a clip from E3, showing Snoop Dogg, the various Tekken models, and a great mess of glitz and glamor. Harada then had some news about the game. It'll feature swimsuits for every character, including even normally unclothed animals like Xiaoyu's Panda. The extra costumes all come free with preorders of the game.

Harada also made the first of many jabs at Ono and Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken when he revealed that the swimsuits in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 would be free downloadable content.

“If Capcom did it, it'd probably cost twenty dollars,” said Harada, referring to the 12 characters sold separately for the console versions of Street Fighter X Tekken.

“Thirty dollars,” Ono corrected with a laugh.

Both producers were asked to name something they'd borrow from each other when making a fighting game. Ono remarked that he'd add swimsuits for all of the Street Fighter characters, but with “suits of each gender available for any character.” When asked what he would borrow from Street Fighter, Harada proposed a feature where “each time you tag out your character, it charges you money.”

The two also discussed Harada “headhunting” Ono during yesterday's Street Fighter panel. Ono jokingly mentioned that he'd since flunked an interview with the president of Namco Bandai.

“I am happy to say that I will remain at Capcom for the foreseeable future,” Ono said.

Halfway through the panel, Harada welcomed another fighting-game creator: Omar Kendall, director of Sony's upcoming PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Ono brought up Seth Killian, the fighting-game expert who recently left Capcom for Sony, and Kendall stated he was “glad to have” Killian on board.

The subject of crossover characters also came up, and Harada showed a trailer of Tekken's Heihachi Mishima in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Some members of the audience asked about Street Fighter characters appearing in Sony's new fighter. Ono also joined the inquiry and joked with Kendall.

“When can I have Seth Killian back?” Ono asked.

“When I can have Chun-Li,” Kendall replied.

The panel closed with enough time for a single question from the audience. It involved the current state of Tekken X Street Fighter, the other half of the crossover between Namco and Capcom's major fighting series. Harada chose this moment to jokingly leave the stage, suggesting that he prefers to focus on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for the time being.

METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE (PS3/XBOX 360)

Konami's Revengeance demo takes all of twenty seconds to set itself apart from the typical Metal Gear Solid experience. Dropped into a virtual simulation, white-locked cyborg ninja Raiden immediately sets to slicing through targets and enemy soldiers. The game's sword combat is quite intuitive: hold down a trigger button to bring up a targeting screen, adjust the blade angle with the right analog stick, and carve as furiously as you please. Once the trigger's released, Raiden goes on his way, and the target of his fury falls to pieces behind him. Developer Platinum Games pulls off the same style that made Bayonetta and Vanquish so striking, particularly in Raiden's quick dashes and varying methods of slaying enemies. The Comic-Con demo closes strong, too: Raiden leaps from one oncoming missile to another, Casshern-style, and dices up an attacking helicopter in mid-air.

Revengeance also breaks with one of Metal Gear's more interesting ideas: the moral choices available to the player. It's not so extreme when Raiden kicks over a cardboard box and the soldier hiding within gets on his knees, begging to be spared—after all, the player's free to let him live. Yet mercy isn't an option when it comes to the cyborg soldiers who engage Raiden in combat. Previous Metal Gear Solid titles allowed players to stun enemies in various ways, but Raiden's only choices seem to be in the many ways he can turn enemies into blood-spraying human jigsaws. There's a reason for that, though: Raiden has to keep up his power levels for freeze-frame swordplay and other moves, and so he must harvest the power cells of other cyborgs—often by ripping out their internal robot organs. It's clear that Revengeance will be an exceptional action game, perhaps the best since Bayonetta, but it sure won't be a lighthearted one.

PROJECT P-100 (WII U)

Project P-100 went largely unmentioned in Nintendo's E3 showing, but the company's Comic-Con suite had the game positioned front and center. Coincidence? Or has Nintendo realized the appeal of making weapons from a city's populace? Developed by Platinum Games, the still-untitled game finds superheroes leading around random citizens in a battle to vanquish alien invaders. They accomplish this by fusing into larger weapons, and a swipe on the Wii U's touch screen can turn a pack of bankers, construction workers, schoolkids, and other puny humans into a large glowing sword or a giant paraglider.

The polar opposite of Platinum's work on Revengeance, Project P-100 has a shiny, garish-colored style that's part Ultraman, part giant-robot anime, and part Disney Channel CG cartoon. While the demo at Comic-Con proved frenetic, it wasn't hard to pick out the Platinum-style mechanics underneath, particularly when a mass of superheroes and citizens climbed a city-dwarfing robot, dodging its attacks just as Bayonetta might. Project P-100 earned some of its attention simply by being a new Wii U property in a pile of re-used Nintendo licenses, but this demo showed that there's more to the game.

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. WII U

It's hard to look at the title of Nintendo's latest Mario outing and not wonder if it, like Project P-100, is awaiting a better name. But no matter what it's called, New Super Mario Product for New Nintendo Console is engaging. Its side-scrolling mechanics use the same Mario standard as New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the demo showed off a flying-squirrel suit, even if proved hard to control. The game's best side may be its five-player feature. In this mode, one player uses the Wii U's touch-screen controller to create blocks and guide the other four players through the stage. The game had the strange habit of pausing when any player grabbed a power-up, but it nonetheless captured the essence of good multiplayer: easy to grasp, fun to play, and certain to start arguments among everyone concerned.


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