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Can the ultimate fighting game crossover ever happen? Katsuhiro Harada wants to create the King of Fighters of the entire industry

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • April 4, 2022 at 7:26 p.m. PDT • Comments: 43

Fighting game collaborations are more prevalent now than they ever were before with guest characters and crossovers appearing in just about every major title now, but it's been a long time since we've received a new title dedicated to pitting different series against one another.

Tekken Director Katsuhiro Harada and Virtua Fighter Producer Seiji Aoki recently discussed their desires to create a King of Fighters-like fighting game focused on the all stars of all the major fighting game developers.

In the latest episode of Harada's Bar, the developers show of the Tekken 7 collaboration for Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown to Street Fighter pro player Rohto|Tokido, which kicked the conversation off.

"Not just a collaboration, it would be cool to create one big product with everyone," started Sega's Aoki.

Harada quickly jumps in to state that is something he's been thinking about for a long time now.

"I've been saying that for years," said Harada. "I worked on stuff like it before directly. The devs aren't against it at all. They'd love to make a big product together, like an 'all stars.'"

We can assume he's talking about the previous deal between Bandai Namco and Capcom to create Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter, but of course only one of those big crossovers actually released — and that was a decade ago.

"It'd be cool to make a sort of King of Fighters with the whole fighting game industry," said Harada. "2D or 3D, doesn't matter, but we'd have to decide who makes it."

"It'd be okay to form a joint venture company to make it too, but creators are not the ones who get to decide. These adults will bicker about which company gets to handle what, so I've been ignoring it for the past 20 years. It just wouldn't work."

This isn't too surprising to hear coming from the head of Tekken's development considering they were the team to pretty much spearhead the current trend of fighting game crossovers with Street Fighter's Akuma and Fatal Fury's Geese Howard joining Tekken 7.

That would be the first time we'd officially see fighters from Bamco, Capcom and SNK on screen together until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which was also co-developed by the Tekken makers.

While something like a Capcom vs. SNK vs. Bandai Namco vs. Arc System Works sounds like a dream of fighting game fans and many people developing these titles, Harada's probably right in that it'd be close to impossible to ever achieve.

It doesn't matter how many people want to make a massive crossover fighter because there would be too many executives and board members to get such a project greenlit for the logistical nightmare it would create.

A brand new coalition studio made up of developers from every company could be the best shot to make something like this a reality to try and appease all parties.

There would still almost assuredly be too many debates to be had regarding funding, resources, rights and profits to overcome, however.

That would also assume these companies are willing and able to hand off some of their best talent when they've got their own flagship series to support.

The community has witnessed how difficult it can be for just 2 companies to combine forces with Marvel vs. Capcom or when the deal ends up benefitting one over the other like Capcom vs. SNK.

When you grow that number to 4 or 5 or 6 different publishers with each of their own bottom lines to consider, that's too much overhead for any project, especially "just a fighting game."

Aoki suggests doing something brand new and original between the companies, but Harada shoots that down pretty quickly because it likely wouldn't sell without the iconic characters and series that fans know and love.

There have been great strides to improve the working relationships between these developers in recent years with these already existing collaborations as well as many of them sitting down together for the Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable broadcasts.

This has seemingly built more comradery and good will between the companies, but there's only so far that can realistically go.

The closest the FGC has gotten to that dream in the modern age outside of Tekken 7 and Smash Ultimate is actually in The King of Fighters Allstar.

SNK and Netmarble managed to bring in Tekken, Street Fighter 5, Guilty Gear, Samurai Shodown and Dead or Alive to create the largest fighting game crossover, but it's unfortunately stuck only to a mobile title that isn't a fighting game itself.

These closer relations are encouraging for the potential of future collabs and crossovers. It's just if and when that'll ever turn into a fighting game dedicated to the idea.

Something like a Tekken X Street Fighter or Capcom vs. SNK 3 doesn't feel outside of the realm of possibility in the current state of the industry. There's no guarantee of them happening either.

As for what the limit would be for making a large-scale crossover fighter, I think we need to look at what's already been achieved by these same companies.

There are the Project X Zone RPGs that combined the properties of Capcom, Bamco and Sega, including Street Fighter, Tekken and Virtua Fighter characters, so 3 seems like a pretty safe bet.

Even if it's not the ultimate MUGEN dream, something like Capcom vs. SNK vs. Bandai Namco or Tekken vs. Virtua Fighter vs. King of Fighters would still blow the pants off of the FGC collectively.

It's going to be very interesting to see how these relationships and collaborations will continue to hopefully grow and evolve over the next generation of fighters.

You can check out the full Harada's Bar episode below with the all star fighting game discussion starting around the 19:10 mark, and let us know in the comments who you'd like to see develop the ultimate fighting game crossover.

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