The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

DO NOT READ

Posted by Matt on January 21, 2010

Let’s talk character selections in upcoming games, shall we?

I don’t plan on playing Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, as I’m not really interested in racing games, and even if I were, I’d probably wait for the reviews on this one. Even so, we don’t get very many devoted Sega fanservice games, and the developers seem like nice guys with the best intentions, so I still had an ear piqued for it.

Through recent leaks and other skullduggery, we have learned all the characters that will be racing. They are:

Sonic (duh)
Tails
Knuckles
Amy
Eggman
Big the Cat
Shadow
AiAi from Monkey Ball
Amigo from Samba de Amigo
Beat from Jet Grind Radio
Billy Hatcher from, well, Billy Hatcher
Alex Kidd
Ryo from Shenmue
Ulala from Space Channel 5
BD Joe from Crazy Taxi
Two cartoonish zombies from a House of the Dead spin-off
Jacky and/or Akira from Virtua Fighter
Bonanza Bros.
Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone
ChuChus from ChuChu Rocket

As well as console-exclusive characters like Miis on the Wii, and Banjo-Kazooie & Avatars on the XBox.

Sega has some really entertaining properties that would work really well being drudged up for a fanservice game. And while not everyone made it here, it’s good to see games like Crazy Taxi, Fantasy Zone, and Shenmue getting props. The Bonanza Bros. is surprising, but that makes them more fun. The rest are expected, either from popularity or their presence in the tennis game made by the same developer.

Of course, people will complain, and are complaining right now. I would have loved to see Panzer Dragoon or Shinobi or even Skies of Arcadia given some presence (and they may still appear in backgrounds or other cameo spots), but I’m fine with this (especially with the inclusion of Opa-Opa and BD Joe). Many people have talked about the lack of NIGHTS (who is fine, but I’m okay with that series getting a rest in favour of other series this time around), Streets of Rage characters (eh, I love the series, but I don’t really see how they could get them to work in a racing game), or even Ristar (I don’t really care at all). But overall, I find it to have a good mix of old and new.

Of course, I’m fairly undemanding when it comes to this type of game. Unless something horribly wrong has gone on, I don’t really care who’s in it, or even if my personal favourites have made it or not. Others…not so much. It seems like their entire purchase of the game is based on their favourite characters getting in. Some are even getting indignant about the inclusion of Banjo-Kazooie in the XBox version (and hilariously, see the advertisement of the characters on the box as an extension of the title, mocking the length and the presence of Banjo’s name on the cover of their precious Sega racer) or others as ‘wasting a slot’, which is silly because they have no idea whether or not another character would take their place if the undesired one was removed (the same thing popped up duringSmash Bros. discussion).

**********

Tatsunoko vs Capcom come out next week in the US, and I’m still astounded by it. I liked the import version, but I just didn’t see it translating. I’ll give Capcom credit for this one.

The roster of 26 characters has been known since September, although the last character had been held out until a few weeks ago. Overall, I dug the original because of the off-kilter choices (like Alex and Saki), which made it feel very unique. The new additions in the updated version are all good, with some fan favourites (Zero from Mega Man X and Tekkaman Blade) thrown in, although that certainly has quieted anyone down. I understand that the chosen Tatsunoko characters were rather conservative because of licensing issues, but fighting style-wise, characters like Joe the Condor and Yatterman No. 2 look very fun.

Recently, there was a live chat with the games producers, where fans threw their questions. Inevitably, many of the questions revolve around why certain characters didn’t make it in. Most of the answers (which involved a lot of things like the characters not bringing in anything unique, licensing, or difficulty in design) are entirely reasonable, although fans are still calling bullshit, which is what they do. One particularly contentious one is the lack of Resident Evil characters, which the producer attributed to the making the game ‘darker’ and thus involve a ratings change. Not that I care about it, because Dead Rising‘s Frank West is pretty much the same idea that a RE character would have, but is different and fun, in line with past character decisions in TvC.

Fans hate these responses, calling them half-assed, but I bet if you look at a lot of game development, the reason certain things don’t make it into the final product is probably as mundane as these are most of the time. But gamers, they don’t like simple reasons, because in their minds these things are too important to be simply dropped because they couldn’t get them to work, whether that be design, congruity, or even marketing reasons. It’s the same thing I’ve seen forever. If the Smash Bros. developers were this upfront about why certain characters didn’t make it in, fans would have strokes.

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Now, Super Street Fighter IV.

Like TvC, we’ve known the characters in the game since September, although unlike TvC, not all the characters have been revealed yet. Even so, I see absolutely no reason to doubt the leaked character list, as it has proven 100% accurate so far, and also considering that it included characters who are both impossible to simply guess and included announcements two months in advanced (not to forgot the teasing done by Capcom so far). So yeah, if you are not convinced that Ibuki, Dudley, Makoto, and Hakkan are coming up, you are dumb.

As for the selection, it’s good. You get new characters from each iteration of the series, and they include characters who are different, fun, and generally liked by fans (which didn’t stop a lot of online Cody hate, despite him being cooler than everyone). And of course there are new characters as well, although some may say not enough (I’ll let it slide, because I’m too much in love with the idea that this is the first time that a lot of these characters will be in the same game, which is just one of those things that get me). Of the new characters: I quite like Juri, who has a cool fighting style and design, and a fun personality. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Hakkan, as he hasn’t been officially unveiled yet, but from little we know about him, he sounds good. I hope he plays, as a grappler-type character (which is what we know he is), he has some neat moves, and maybe be my replacement SF3‘s Hugo.

Some other things:

*Some forum-goers seem convinced that Hakkan will be a Turkish oil wrestler, because his original description said he was ‘obsessed with oil’. Now, when I read that, what went through my mind was that he was, as an Arab character, stereotypically obsessed with the Middle East’s No. 1 resource, which seems to be a very Street Fighter thing to have. But I guess others thought the oil was somehow involved with his fighting style, despite there being no reason to come to that conclusion. I guess we won’t know for sure until he is unveiled, but I’m pretty convinced of my interpretation. It’s my hubris, I know.
*Some forum-goers still seem convinced that ‘Shadow’ is in the game, despite the initial rumor that talked of his conclusion was proven to be a 2Chan prank weeks ago. There is no other support for Shadow (who is thought to be the one who was in Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter) being in the game other than that prank; not the leaks or rumours we’ve had for months, not anything. And the only reason he was used in that prank was probably because the prankster thought that just saying that the characters everyone else knew was in the game were going to be announced soon would be boring, so he or she saw it fit to add in another juicy detail to really get the fans going.

Oh wow, I’ve certainly talked too much about this.

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