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Ono: Porting Street Fighter X Tekken to Vita isn't hard, but integrating rear touch panel might be


Street Fighter X Tekken producer Yoshinori Ono told me that he hasn't had much trouble in technical terms porting the game over to PlayStation Vita ("When I say 'I' of course I mean the programmers," he clarified, "because I'm not doing this myself.")

"A lot of people, when they're porting to new hardware, especially a handheld, they'll talk about how it's difficult because of memory restrictions or speed or things like that, and I haven't found that to be the case." His team has been able to confer with the team working on the Vita version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as well, further streamlining the process. The difficulty isn't in the technical stuff, it's in making smart use of the Vita's features. "We've been putting less energy into the porting process itself and more energy into adding additional features, because we don't want to do a straight-up port -- that's silly and meaningless."

The major difference between the Vita release and the console version is that the Vita has not just one, but two touch interfaces. "The front, luckily for us, we have the iPhone and 3DS versions of Street Fighter," Ono said, "so we have some experience in doing button inputs on the front screen. We think there are some cool things you can do with that being that it's a multitouch screen; we think there's some way to utilize various finger movements to do cool stuff." That's still being figured out, and Ono teased a further reveal at the New York Comic Con in October.

"The rear panel presents kind of a challenge for us, because when you're playing a fighting game, given the button configuration you're going to have your index fingers on the top and your thumbs on the front," he said. The challenge is, then, avoiding situations in which your fingers move accidentally on the back of the unit. "We don't want a situation where you're accidentally throwing shoryukens because you moved your ring finger in the middle of a bout." He's "not entirely sure" how the rear touch panel will be used.

There's no difficulty in justifying a mobile port, at least. Ono's philosophy for handheld fighting games is that they're most useful as practice tools. "When it comes to a portable machine, I don't think that you could replicate a fighting game experience 100% in the palm of your hand. It just doesn't translate well to the palm of your hand as opposed to other, bigger experiences you could have on a TV with a joystick," he said. "So the challenge for us is coming up with ways to get people to use this version of a game to brush up your skills. That's the ultimate motivation for a fighting game is to get better at it." So you can use a portable version (perhaps with a tiny joystick!) to get better, learn the timing and the movesets and such, and then transfer those skills into the "main" game. "The key is to get the portable version and the proper version to play nicely together and focus their lifestyle on always using their free time to practice and get better."

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