Capcom's next fighting game should be an all-star effort of the company's franchises for a title that's greater than the sum of its parts

Think The King of Fighters but for Capcom and properly tuned unlike Fighting Evolution

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • July 9, 2019 at 7:42 p.m. PDT

It's been almost two years since Capcom released its last fighting game with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, and since that time, the company has gone on to meteoric success in just about all avenues of its developments including big hits in Monster Hunter World, Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5.

If Capcom wants to try and match that success with their fighting games, they should look at fully combining the likes of Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Rival Schools and other games typically outside the fighter realm to create a new all-star series — even though the developers have tried something similar twice before without much luck.

No other video game developer on the planet has more time and effort put into the fighting game scene — unless we maybe want to factor in all of SNK's different titles — though only Street Fighter as a brand has stuck around to 2019 as essentially the OG of the whole genre.

While many fans would love a brand new Darkstalkers or Rival Schools title, it's feeling harder to justify another Resurrection or final year of high school given the hyper competitive landscape we find ourselves in for fighting games right now.

If I were a project lead over at Capcom right now, I don't think that I could convince the higher ups that it'd be worth pouring in AAA resources into a smaller franchise when even Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom haven't been as strong this generation.

Capcom has fighting game characters who have outgrown their original series to have an extended life of their old titles considering we see characters like Morrigan and Felicia continue to pop up in crossover titles including the recently released Teppen mobile card game.

Between the likes of Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Cyberbots, Rival Schools, Power Stone, their original Marvel vs. Capcom characters and any other property they'd like to pull from, Yoshinori Ono's team should have no real issue coming up with a roster that could appeal to just about any fighting game fan out there.

'What might be stopping them from attempting such a feat?' you may be asking since it sounds all good on paper. It may come down to history since they've tried this idea twice in the past... with not great results to put it lightly.

Capcom's Previous All-Star Attempts

At around the turn of the millennia, Capcom found decent success with their first foray into 3D fighting games with the Street Fighter EX series developed by Arika, so the larger company decided to try their own hand in the realm of three dimensions.

Capcom Fighting All Stars: Code Holder was the culmination of all their hard work... or it would have been had it actually seen the light of day.

The title was set to include various fighters from Street Fighter, Final Fight, Darkstalkers, Rival Schools and even Strider Hiryu duking it out in a bit of a more realistic setting that the company hadn't really attempted before.

As Capcom's first big attempt at a crossover that didn't include the likes of outside properties like Marvel or SNK, Fighting All Stars was an ambitious project though one that seemed almost doomed from the start.

The game was in development at a time when arcades were in a sharp decline — at least in the West — and at a point when most fighting game franchises took an extended break unless their names were Tekken, Mortal Kombat or Soul Calibur.

Ultimately, Code Holder was beta tested, but received largely negative responses from the players leading to its cancellation in late 2003 after attempts to salvage the project fell through.

"Capcom Fighting Evolution's biggest issue came from the characters largely feeling like copy-pasted versions of themselves from their original titles each retaining their own unique mechanics. That sound fun on paper, but without any real attempts at balancing the roster, it felt like a cobbled together mess to actually play doing anything except trying to have fun with its novelty"

From Code Holder's ashes, however, rose Capcom Fighting Evolution or Capcom Fighting Jam which released the following year in 2004 going back to their classic 2D sprites for a crossover fighter which proved to be among the game's greatest faults in a way.

Actually coming out automatically makes it a step above the previous attempt though it would quickly be left behind by the community at large for a unique reason.

Capcom Fighting Evolution featured characters from Street Fighter 2, SF Alpha, SF3, Darkstalkers, Red Earth — which had never been released on consoles at that point and still hasn't — and Ingrid, who was originally going to appear as an original fighter in Code Holder.

The game's biggest issue came from the characters largely feeling like copy-pasted versions of themselves from their original titles each retaining their own unique mechanics. That sound fun on paper, but without any real attempts at balancing the roster, it felt like a cobbled together mess to actually play doing anything except trying to have fun with its novelty.

Street Fighter 3 characters could parry attacks, Darkstalkers fighters could block in the air, Alpha characters could perform custom combos, etc.

It remains as an odd relic and one of Capcom's last attempts at a new fighter until the start of the new fighting game boom with Street Fighter 4 in 2008.

Why Try All-Stars Again?

Capcom is in a one-of-a-kind position where their various properties are the biggest / most recognizable out of any company that's not Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft meaning they have a ton of potential clout especially coming off of their latest hot streak.

Mega Man, Ryu and others like Leon S. Kennedy are some of the most iconic faces in Japanese game development to the point where they've even been included in other series' crossovers like Super Smash Bros.

"Capcom has a chance at making a new crossover title that's greater and has more appeal than the sum of its parts which could hopefully quench the thirst of fans who have been waiting for the return of franchises that have been all but gone for two decades"

Their fighting games will likely always have an audience because of their history as essentially the genre's originators as we know them today though there's even more potential there they could tap into.

Capcom has a chance at making a new crossover title that's greater and has more appeal than the sum of its parts which could hopefully quench the thirst of fans who have been waiting for the return of franchises that have been all but gone for two decades.

SNK has made it work for years with The King of Fighters, and even Capcom Fighting Evolution felt like it had a nugget of potential or something special there that it wasn't able to figure it out.

Most big fans of particular franchises would obviously rather have a new game for their favorite series, but it seems as though that ship has essentially sailed considering that Capcom has re-released every Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Street Fighter game under the sun over the past few years — yet there's been no hints at even a re-release or remaster of other games like Rival Schools.


A screen of Teppen's opening sequence showing off characters like M. Bison, BB Hood and Lady

Street Fighter may be technically on top of the competitive scene at large to the cohesiveness and large payouts of the Capcom Pro Tour, but we've seen other games like Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate beat SF5's sales quickly and take over top slots at majors that the franchise previously dominated.

Going into the next console generation, Capcom can make a big splash with fans new and old by combining their legacy together into one big juggernaut if it's handled correctly and given the love and attention to detail that it deserves.

That would essentially kill any hopes of a Marvel vs. Capcom 4 for the time being, but I'd be content with that if it meant that we finally got a quality Capcom Fighting All-Stars game to enjoy.

It doesn't even need to be a hyper fighter like Marvel I don't think considering we saw how good things like Capcom vs. SNK 2 turned out in the past.

We've seen this hunger a little bit more now with the release of Teppen where it's been really cool to see care and attention to detail paid to these iconic characters big and small. Seeing fighters like Remy and Rose or even old Mega Man X characters like Colonel and Iris reminded me of just how deep the hole goes for Capcom characters that deserve to return in some fashion — preferably in a fighting game.

Video sources: coblj003, coldmaster613.

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