For some time now, North America’s premier professional videogame league, Major League Gaming, has aggressively but unsuccessfully campaigned to get Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise on their gaming roster. And though Microsoft’s Halo 3 enjoys the moniker of MLG’s flagship game (soon to be replaced by Halo: Reach), MLG has made it no secret of their intentions to broaden the depths of their tournaments with other fighting, real time strategy and first person shooter games. While MLG has been able to secure the licensing rights with publishers such as Nintendo and Activision for games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and StarCraft II, respectfully, Capcom has remained more than a little reluctant to permit MLG the right to promote the Super Street Fighter 4 ensemble on a large-scale, high-production and respectable competitive gaming platform (unlike EVO’s second-rate conference room production with no proper seating for fans and an equally horrific “live stream” which heralded an unbridled plethora of unmoderated bigotry while constantly dropping the live game coverage). Thanks to Namco, however, that may all change.
Currently, Namco and MLG share a relationship which finds Tekken 6 as the top 1v1 fighter at MLG’s live circuit events across the country. And, while Capcom continues to hold Ryu and company close to their Japanese chests, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada made a ground-breaking announcement at last month’s Comic-Con 2010 that may change all that: Namco is developing Tekken X Street Fighter.
What this means for MLG, Capcom, and gamers is yet to be seen. I may not be privy to the intricacies of the licensing rights at stake here between the interested parties here, but it’s doubtful Namco would invest their time and resources in making Tekken X Street Fighter if they weren’t free to promote/distribute/license their game as they saw fit – and I would be willing to bet that MLG will make it worthwhile for Namco to make Tekken X Street Fighter accessible to MLG fans. Plus, with Namco possibly becoming an unintended conduit for Street Fighter finding its way to MLG, Capcom may now become more open and interested in working with MLG to help promote the Street Fighter legacy in their own vision – and more importantly, with their own game engine on their game platform: namely, Super Street Fighter 4.
Now, before fanboys on both sides of the fence get up-in-arms, know that Tekken X Street Fighter has no slated release date and is rumored to play in the style of a more traditional Tekken 3D arena. But, given MLG’s documented efforts to provide the best experience for competitive gamers with the most popular competitive games today, I expect MLG’s CEO Sundance DiGiovanni to seize upon Namco’s announcement as an opportunity to finally bring Street Fighter to MLG – if he hasn’t done so, already.