Udon brings you the art behind Street Fighter X Tekken

Posted on Oct 7 2012 - 9:00am by Eric Guzman

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Upon first gaze I fell in love with Udon’s Street Fighter X Tekken Artbooks; I couldn’t, and still can’t, keep my eyes off of Kazuya and Ryu about to throw down on the cover. I anxiously and feverishly skimmed through the pages amazed at the different concept drawings and character designs. This is more than just another art book; it’s two of the most beloved and storied franchises dissected by the people who created the amazing fighting game characters and their portrayals. If you’re looking for the inside scoop and design process for one of the biggest fighters of this console generation, look no further.

This beautiful art book is divided into three distinctive sections. “Visuals,” which covers the games artwork, character visuals, trailers and endings, and culminates with an interview with Polygon Pictures, the team behind the visual artwork. “Materials,” covers the development, prologues, concept art, and stages, and ends with an interview with the Dimps team. It all comes together in the “Special” section that features interviews with Street Fighter illustrator Akiman and the Tekken Team, and a diligent and meticulous sketch gallery.

This is more than just another art book; it’s two of the most beloved and storied franchises dissected by the people who created the amazing fighting game characters and their portrayals.

The art book is jam-packed with detailed and thoughtful concept art. Each character has a small profile from Polygon Pictures’ Kazuma Teshigawara. Street Fighter IV’s Chief Designer gives a brief outline of his design process telling us why he choose certain design elements like poses, colors, and background images.

The illustrations all incorporate water as their main focal point, and some feature iconic venues from previous fighting games. Cammy’s concept art features the fan favorite England stage (Super Street Fighter II) in the background, while Guile’s art has the jet from his stage (Street Fighter II) tailing closely behind him.

The Tekken portraits are Teshigawara’s best. He receives a lot of help from the Tekken cast, which at times is more playful and comedic than the Street Fighter characters. You have Kuma, Heihachi, Law, and Paul all serving as comedic relief to a game that takes itself too serious at times. Heichachi’s concept has him in a very powerful and menacing stance, but chuckles will soon ensue once you notice his backgrounds (I won’t spoil it). While Laws drawing has him striking an amazing pose all while skipping out on the check at a restaurant. Honestly, fans of both series will appreciate each characters design and small references to past games within all these drawings. It’s amazing how each concept portrait incorporates the use of water, and compliments while contrasting the sumi ink art style of the trailers.

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No page is left un-turned (no pun intended); you’ll find the promotional trailers broken down scene by scene. The sumi ink art style from the Street Fighter IV trailers returns, but fittingly so as it represents each fighters energy and spirit. Toshio Ohashi from Polygon Pictures details how the sumi ink is later incorporated into each trailers thematic use of water, which is extremely evident in the Ryu and Ken vs. Kazuya and Nina trailer. Ohashi also explains that a physics simulator calculated the water effects used in the trailer, and then added the hand drawn ink outlines. The tidbits given for each trailer help readers understand Polygon Pictures creative process. Ohashi goes on to explain the influences and design of each ending, and the effect they were intending, while readers are treated to brief summaries to keep them afloat with the events. It’s all quite detailed and offers fans and those interested a deeper look into both Street Fighter and Tekken mythology.

The unused character costume swaps are my favorite parts of this section–it’s interesting to see what didn’t make the cut. It’s even more interesting seeing costumes that didn’t make the cut that actually look better than the ones included in the game.

The interview section does a commendable job introducing us to Polygon Pictures, and details its working relationship with Capcom and how it began. In a sit down with Toshio Ohashi, (Art Director for Street Fighter IV) Kazuma Teshigawara, and Jun Watanabe (Compositor and Editor) we learn how the team evolved the ink style used in Street Fighter IV and changed it into a melting water effect for Street Fighter X Tekken. The team goes on to discuss each trailer and the influences behind each one.

To say I fell in love with the Material section is a complete understatement. Dimps did an incredible job putting together the 3D models, character swaps, and unused costume ideas for each character. There are also brief character profiles as well as commentary by Capcom’s design staff and the esteemed Akiman. The commentary snippets give us insight on the character design and some of the inspirations behind each character, many of which stem from film, anime, and pop culture.  The unused character costume swaps are my favorite part of this section–it’s interesting to see what didn’t make the cut. It’s even more interesting seeing costumes that didn’t make the cut that actually look better than the ones included in the game. I would have preferred any of Kazuya’s unused costume over the one included.

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There’s also a section that covers each team’s prologue and ending, explanations behind each, and insight on the characters’ motivations to pursue Pandora’s Box. The real treat is the concept art that shows us what Street Fighter X Tekken could have been in terms of character design, menus, and stages. After reading this section you’ll find that each game stage contains more Easter eggs than what appears on the surface. There’s also a lengthy and informative interview with Dimps. The developer discuss everything from initial concepts to rough drafts, and shared ideas that where canned. Fans of both series won’t want to miss out on this interview.

Lastly, you’ll find interviews with Akira “Akiman” Yasuda where he covers his history with Capcom, and his storied character designs for Final Fight and the Street Fighter series . It’s easily another highlight in a stellar book with its insightful look at a legendary character designer.  There’s also an interview with Yoshinari Mizushima, Bandai Namco Games Visual Design Supervisor and Kenji Kimura Designer for the Tekken Team. They discuss Tekken’s history and lore and briefly mention small details about the upcoming Tekken X Street Fighter (tentative title).

Udon has done it once again, with easily one of the most beautiful and informative Art Works in its extensive collection. If you’re a Street Fighter or Tekken fan this book is a must buy.

  • Price: U.S. $39.99
  • ISBN: 1-926778-51-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-926778-51-8
  • Format: Softcover
  • Page Count: 192, Color
  • Size: 8.25″ wide X 11.75″ long

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Features Editor Eric Guzman will play any game at least once. Any game. That even means Detective Barbie, although he prefers to flex his video game muscles with fighting games such as Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When he isn’t in the digital dojo, he loves watching films or reading comics.

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