Cramming Tekken fighters into a Capcom-made Street Fighter game sounds like a tall order, but the developer seems to be doing really well so far with Street Fighter X Tekken. I was able to spend a chunk of time last week messing around with the game's first ten characters, and it feels like it'll be a really interesting addition to Capcom's fighting roster when it's released next year.
The game starts with Street Fighter IV as a core. It's the same engine and, visually, the game definitely looks similar. And the Street Fighter characters don't initially seem that different than their Street Fighter IV incarnations until you leave the ground. The jumping feels different. It's perhaps a bit more floaty, which makes sense considering how juggle-focused the game is. While the juggling doesn't make the game feel identical to Namco's Tekken games, it opens up a lot of wild combo potential that doesn't make its way into more-traditional Capcom fighters.
The systems in the game feel partially built around combo potential. SFXT is a tag game, so you'll pick two characters before each fight and you can tag between them by hitting both medium attacks at the same time. Though this is a free action, if you press the tag buttons mid-combo or when you're on the ground, you can cancel into a tag at the expense of some meter. There is also a launcher, which all characters can perform by hitting both heavy attacks at the same time. This isn't a Marvel vs. Capcom launcher that you can chase up into the sky for air combos (or, at least, I wasn't able to reliably do that). It's more for setting up additional juggles via standing punches, additional specials, or even your super. Supers require two of your meter's three bars to perform, allowing you to tag cancel into your partner's super, if you so desire. The whole system feels a little freeform, like it would allow players to get more creative with their combos.
The game also gives each character a move than can be held and charged. Take Guile's sonic boom, for example. He'll start the animation and then hold, finishing the move when you release the punch button. If you hold it long enough, the move will charge up into an EX sonic boom, and if you keep holding, he'll eventually bust out his super art, sonic hurricane. Still, it's hard to say for sure how the fighting system will pan out, as it's apparently still early. Some of the characters in the version being shown felt more complete than others.
The Tekken side doesn't seem to be getting the short end of the stick, though I had trouble getting past projectiles with some of them. While the Tekken fighters have been updated to use six buttons instead of four, and their jumps aren't crazy slow as they are in the Tekken series, they still feel enough like their former selves to do some sort of justice to the Tekken lineage. Part of this is accomplished by having the light and medium attacks sort of map to the four buttons in the Tekken fighting system. This means that some of the basic combos--like Kazuya's 1, 1, 2--are still possible. He also has his rising uppercut, and the way you do the move still requires you to bring the stick back to a neutral position. It doesn't just come out the same way Ryu's shoryuken does. I thought that was a nice touch.
The videos give a better look at the sort of combo-oriented chicanery you'll be able to get up to when the game is released in 2012. Here's a look at what the Tekken guys are capable of.