The Street Fighter franchise is not something you’d normally find on these pages.
The classic beat ‘em up has a rich history in the video game world, but it isn’t turn-based, and it has never been. However, it could have been, at least for one installment, which could have been a tempting prospect for fans of turn-based games.
The Street Fighter series began in arcades in 1987, eventually making it onto home computers such as Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, and Atari ST. It was moderately popular, but in 1991 it entered video gaming legend. Street Fighter II was an instant success, with Foxy Games suggesting no self-respecting gamer from the early nineties would be without a copy. It spawned a movie, albeit not a very good one, and sold more than 6.3 million units on the Super Nintendo alone.
From there, Street Fighter has had a place in many gamer’s hearts and continued to be updated and released in different guises. Street Fighter III dropped on the Sega Dreamcast, and it was widely panned. The franchise appeared dead, yet it fought back strongly with Street Fighter IV, which followed on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008. The story was loosely based around Ryu in all of the games and featured frantic beat ‘em up action completely at odds with the patient strategy of a turn-based game.
By the time 2016 arrived, the Street Fighter series was feeling a little dated, without an update in eight years and essentially only boasting one decent game in almost 25 years. The developers had an idea that would have reinvented the series – making it turn-based. They sought to take the opposite route to the Fallout series, which went from turn-based to an action RPG; they’d make Ryu’s adventures part of a whole new turn-based experience.
“I did have an idea though that I thought may be revolutionary to turn the game into a turn-based simulation,” said Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono in an interview with EGX. “You would take the moves you wanted to do and put them together like blocks,” he added. “Then they would run automatically, but obviously, we didn’t make that in the end.”
The developers might have abandoned that route in favour of a dedicated beat ‘em up, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have potential, even as a possible side release on mobile devices. Think about Yakuza Like a Dragon, a title that swapped the usual beat ‘em up action for a turn-based strategy mechanic. It certainly worked well for them, and Treachery in Beatdown City took the retro beat ‘em up vibe and mangled it with a turn-based strategy to good effect. Why shouldn’t Capcom give it a go?
The major pitfall is the rebranding and rebooting of a popular franchise. Hardcore Fallout fans will still tell you Fallout 2 is the best of all the titles, whilst console gamers insist it is Fallout 4 (nobody says it’s Fallout 76, despite Bethesda’s best efforts). In taking Street Fighter and adding a turn-based mechanic, Capcom would endear themselves to a whole new audience but risk alienating their dedicated fanbase. After almost losing support in the wake of the disaster that was Street Fighter 3, it is sadly a risk they just couldn’t take.