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How Street Fighter X Tekken's 'Pandora Mode' bridges the fighters' styles


During TGS, Capcom revealed Street Fighter X Tekken's "Pandora Mode," which allows players to sacrifice a character in order to give the tag partner infinite EX meter before also dying, allowing for last-ditch comeback efforts. Curious about the motivation for this kind of crazy mode, I asked producer Yoshinori Ono, who then proceeded to take me to school about the differences in flow between Street Fighter and Tekken games.

"In Street Fighter IV we had the Ultra Combos, and we think, for the Tekken characters, it doesn't really suit them," he said. "I think Tekken players have always been more accustomed to spending the last bit of a round doing a big combo rush [meaning manual combos, i.e. pushing a bunch of buttons] and beating the crap out of the other guy, whereas Street Fighter guys have always been suited to a Super Combo style system." Ono's team sought to replicate this "Tekken-y" feeling in a more Street Fighter-style game, and that's what the Pandora system is about.

"When it comes to the basic differences between Street Fighter and Tekken, really it's kind of a matter of pacing," Ono continued. "Fighting games in general boil down to a game of rock-paper-scissors, where you have to guess what the other guy's going to do and try to one-up him. In Tekken, if you're a really good player, if you do the correct choice of rock-paper-scissors in the beginning, as soon as "'ound one -- fight!' you can end the match." In comparison, he said, Street Fighter games are more "tennis-like." "One guy might get the advantage at first, and then there's a breather in the middle of the round, and the other guy can get the advantage back."

Ono said that Pandora represents that Tekken element of being able to dominate a match with a long combo if you know what you're doing -- but by requiring that you have less than 25% health to activate it, that element is shifted to the end of the round instead of the beginning, meaning that it can coexist with the Street Fighter back-and-forth.

Ono thinks about fighting games a lot.

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