Could you start by telling us a little bit about your role in the development of the game?
I’ve been mainly working as a producer on various fighting games, including a number that aren’t going to be released outside of Japan. But my previous role was as an assistant producer for Street Fighter IV, and now I’m a producer for TATSUNOKO VS. CAPCOM: ULTIMATE ALL-STARS.
A lot of gamers in Europe may be unfamiliar with the Tatsunoko universe. Could you give us some background to Tatsunoko as a whole, and how the idea to integrate their characters within a VS. game came about?
“Tatsunoko” is the shortened term for “Tatsunoko Production”, which is a prestigious anime studio that has been making many animes for 30 years. So a lot of gamers in Japan have grown up with Tatsunoko anime, and the studio offered Capcom their licence to make a game, something which coincided with plans we had for a new fighting game.
So those two elements naturally merged and led to the starting point for TATSUNOKO VS. CAPCOM. Tatsunoko’s offer also coincided timing-wise with plans for a new instalment in Capcom’s VS. series; which includes Capcom VS. SNK and Marvel VS. Capcom. So these three factors all together brought about TATSUNOKO VS. CAPCOM as the latest game in the VS. series.
When it comes to making a game in the Capcom VS. Series, how do you decide which fighters will appear as playable characters on both sides?
Fundamentally, it being a part of the VS. Series, I wanted to brew a chaotic atmosphere - so we have picked from all sorts of games and franchises. The basic rule was that we picked one character per franchise, with the exception of Street Fighter, and that’s because we picked one character from Street Fighter I, one from Street Fighter II and another from Street Fighter III. But for all other titles and franchises it was just one character per franchise.
We’ve tried to pick some unexpected characters for a fighting game, just to bring a few surprises for people when they play. Hopefully this should offer a sense of variety and make it more enjoyable.
This is now the seventh game in Capcom’s VS. Series. Why do you think the concept of two universes clashing has proved to be so appealing for players?
I think the essence of it lies in the fact that this collision of two worlds is something that doesn’t normally happen, and probably shouldn’t happen, but it does! I think there’s also an appeal in the fact that usually when we think about Capcom fighting games, they’re quite serious, and directed towards hardcore gamers, whereas the VS. Series is more of a huge party that stands alone – where things are slightly simplified without sacrificing the core fighting system.
For every fight, players will choose a combination of two characters. What effect does that mechanic have on the gameplay as a whole?
Traditionally in the VS. Series there are a lot of characters to choose from, and we have two-on-two fights because we know that users are greedy when it comes to the variety of characters, and nobody would want to pick just one, but rather two or even three. So by bringing more characters together on one screen, up to four at once, it creates more chaos when you play - which is the direction we want to take the VS. series in.
Being able to choose at least two characters is probably essential for this game because, for instance, with Street Fighter IV, where it’s one-on-one, players tend to be more serious, more static and more careful with their movements. Whereas two-on-two is so messy in a way – almost to the point where nobody knows what’s going on. But that is the attraction, and offers a real sense of fun. So choosing two characters really pushes that aspect to the forefront.
By all accounts, it hasn’t been easy to secure a release for this title outside of Japan. Why were Capcom passionate about making sure gamers elsewhere in the world were given the chance to play this game?
Capcom have been wanting to reignite people’s passion for fighting games for a while, and we saw this title as a great opportunity to make the fighting genre appeal to a wide audience. Talking about fighting games appealing to a wide audience may sound odd, but we wanted to show that titles like this one from the VS. Series are very much in line with the idea of a party game that anyone can enjoy.
Obviously, we had to go through a lot in terms of licensing, but nothing is impossible when you want to make something happen!
Part of the accessibility you mention is down to the game’s easy-to-grasp control scheme. Are you satisfied that as well as being easy for newcomers to get to grips with, the game contains real depth for experienced Capcom fighting game fans?
Most certainly. This is definitely a fighting game with the Capcom branding, and we know what that means. We just wanted to lower the entry barrier to fighting games, but this will definitely be enjoyed by any hardcore fighting game fans.