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Impression of bad blood between Capcom and SNK had to be resolved before they could collaborate in a versus series

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • January 16, 2021 at 2:49 p.m. PST • Comments: 28

It's been nearly 20 years since Capcom vs. SNK (2000) and Capcom vs. SNK 2 (2001) were released. Though Capcom vs. SNK 3 was actually in development at one point, it was ultimately cancelled due to SNK's financial problems. At the time, it was unknown what would happen to the ownership of SNK's intellectual properties, so Capcom wasn't able to continue devoting resources to the project.

For these collaborative projects to happen in the first place, some bad blood between the two companies needed to be resolved first. A recent article by Polygon revealed details about how this collaborative process began.

"At the time, it's not as if SNK and Capcom never talked to each other or anything, but I had the impression that there was some bad blood between the two," noted Toyohisa Tanabe, Capcom vs. SNK pixel art supervisor. "When I heard Capcom and SNK would be collaborating, it felt like, 'Ah! Spring is here!' Like there was a thawing of relations between the two companies."

It's mentioned by Tanabe that there was this feeling of difficulty associated with approaching those at Capcom before this happened. Following this, employees from both companies would interact with one another more often at drinking parties. They even began competing against one another at Yu-Gi-Oh! (Konami's trading card game) tournaments for fun.

The intense rivalry between Capcom and SNK came about because they were both competing against one another in developing fighting games. Capcom was pushing Street Fighter and Darkstalkers at the time while SNK had Fatal Fury and King of Fighters.

"We talked about putting the past behind us, and the idea came up of combining our forces and using each of our companies' characters in a collaborative project" - Takashi Nishiyama

A big factor of this rivalry came about because Takashi Nishiyama, one of the original creators of the Street Fighter series, left Capcom to work for SNK. Following SNK's bankruptcy, Nishiyama would later leave SNK to start his own video game company, Dimps.

Though Nishiyama didn't directly involve himself with Capcom and SNK's feud, he apparently did take notice of it. It appears that Nishiyama was ultimately among those that helped open up the discussion for a collaboration between the two companies.

"The way this came about was, Okamoto had become the top of Capcom's development division and I had been the top of SNK's development division, and we ended up meeting one day. We talked about putting the past behind us, and the idea came up of combining our forces and using each of our companies' characters in a collaborative project," said Takashi Nishiyama. "And Okamoto thought that the idea was very interesting. So I told Okamoto to convince Tsujimoto to make that happen. I would convince Kawasaki to make it happen."

Luckily, it apparently wasn't too difficult for Nishiyama to convince Kawasaki of this idea. Kawasaki was a businessman at the end of the day and saw the potential behind leaving the past behind.

Noritaka Funamizu, Toyohisa Tanabe and Hideaki Itsuno hanging out together in the months prior to the beginning of this collaboration also played a factor.

Of course, Takashi Nishiyama also noted that some time was needed before development could begin. "I don't think everything was necessarily decided in that initial agreement," said Nishiyama. "It proceeded more gradually, step by step. It was like building up a new business, and we had to figure out precisely who would do what."

Capcom and SNK employees ended up being very excited for the collaboration to begin. Funnily enough, it was noted that Hideaki Itsuno and others began begging to get involved with the project.

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