Street Fighter IV ready to brawl

Teaser trailer arrives for long-awaited next installment in flagship Capcom fighting franchise.

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For the last week, a countdown timer on Capcom's official Web site has been ticking off the seconds, telling visitors simply to "Prepare yourself." This morning, the countdown ended, and was replaced by a teaser video for a game the Capcom faithful have had a decade to prepare for.

Today, some 10 years after Street Fighter III: The New Generation made its arcade debut (and a host of remakes, upgrades, and spin-offs later), Capcom revealed that it is finally making Street Fighter IV.

The trailer depicts longtime rivals Ken and Ryu duking it out once more, this time in a moonlit forest. The two friends and frequent rivals exchange, block, and parry blows for about a minute, busting out such familiar moves as the hurricane kick and dragon punch. With neither fighter gaining the advantage, Ryu charges up a fireball that bathes the screen in white before the Street Fighter IV logo appears with a splash of blood, followed by a warning to "Prepare yourself."

The trailer appears to have been rendered in heavily stylized 3D, which calls into question what form the fighting in the next Street Fighter would take. Although the Street Fighter series has traditionally focused on 2D fighting, if Street Fighter IV turns out to be a 3D brawler, it would not be the first time the series has hit the third dimension. Capcom enlisted developer Arika to create the Street Fighter EX arcade spin-off in 1996. It spawned a handful of sequels and decently reviewed PlayStation ports, but has been dormant since Street Fighter EX3 helped pad out the PlayStation 2 launch lineup.

This is the smirk Ryu wants to wipe off Ken's face.
This is the smirk Ryu wants to wipe off Ken's face.

Capcom's own experience with 3D fighting games goes a bit further, given that it has created the Power Stone, Star Gladiator, Tech Romancer, and Rival Schools series. However, not all of its 3D efforts have borne fruit. Capcom Fighting All-Stars was announced in 2002 as a 3D fighting game with characters pulled from a host of the publisher's series (including Street Fighter, Rival Schools, Strider, and Final Fight), but it was cancelled the following year.

As for 2D fighters, Capcom has produced a steady flow of repackaged and compiled Street Fighter games, but the last new 2D fighter from the company was 2004's lukewarmly received Capcom Fighting Evolution. That game was a crossover of multiple Capcom games, including Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers, and the obscure Red Earth (also known as Warzard).

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