Will Tekken 7 Have Better Longevity than Street Fighter 5?

With Tekken 7 doing wonders and Street Fighter 5 disappointing, will the fighting game crown finally change hands?

The Street Fighter and Tekken franchises have been going at it for years. As two of the biggest franchises in the fighting game genre, both have long and storied histories, with successes and failures throughout. Historically, Tekken has always lagged a bit behind Street Fighter, having a smaller competitive scene and less overall notoriety. With the latest iterations of each franchise, however, Tekken has the opportunity to, for the first time in history, flip the script on Street Fighter

Tekken's chance to overtake its longtime rival comes largely due to the overall negative reception of Street Fighter V, which launched as an incredibly bare-bones game, lacking a large number of mechanics and modes that are seen as standards in modern fighters.

Street Fighter V launched over a year ago, and to this day, it still doesn't even have a proper arcade mode. But that's not it. At launch, Street Fighter V only had 16 characters, a tutorial mode, survival mode, and online vs. battles. In 1991, that would've been plenty. In 2016? It was nothing. Even Street Fighter IV, it's predecessor, had 25 characters at its base console launch. Street Fighter V still has yet to overtake even its previous installment's base character number, and we're coming up on its second full year of content updates.

By comparison, Tekken has far more content (practically) at launch, with a proper story mode and arcade mode, as well as character customization, all included. It even has 36 characters on its roster at launch -- with one more as a preorder bonus. Tekken 7 has the content edge on Street Fighter V, but is more content enough to give it the advantage?

Street Fighter's held onto its edge for as long as it has because of its history with the fighting game genre. As the grandpappy of modern fighters, many look to Street Fighter as the definitive fighting game. By comparison, Tekken has always moved to the beat of its own drum, remaining a 3D arena fighter where most returned to the classic 2D style, not integrating super moves, and keeping intact its oddball cast.

But now, as Street Fighter takes a big misstep, Tekken is in the perfect position to capitalize. Street Fighter V's biggest mistake was focusing so heavily on the competitive scene. While the pros found SFV to be a mechanically deep game, the casual crowd found a game with very little to actually do.

And everyone starts as a casual; no one is born a Street Fighter champ.

It is here that Tekken's biggest advantage lies. By providing the casual market with numerous gameplay options for all kinds of players at launch, Tekken's competitive market will grow as more casual players find enjoyment in competing at a higher level. Street Fighter, on the other hand, by catering only to already-existing professionals, chases away its potential future by giving fans an empty game, one they'll get tired of before they ever get to that professional -- or even semi-professional -- level.

Tekken's best chance to grow competitively is to offer more casual content. Whether it's by providing DLC modes or new customization options, or something else entirely, if Tekken wants to fully usurp its rival, it needs to offer more silly fun to really grow that competitive seed.

It's an uphill battle, but if Namco plays its cards right with Tekken play their cards right, Kazuya and Heihachi just might take over Ryu and Chun Li's place as the luminaries of the fighting game genre. They're off to a really good start, and if Street Fighter keeps moving at the snail's pace it has been, they'll have it locked down. Capcom needs to kick it into high gear -- or Namco is going to rightfully steal their throne.

Published Jun. 22nd 2017

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