It sounds like the kind of thing you would see developed illegally in sprite form by an amateur-hour team of teenagers, but it’s going to actually exist: an arcade fighter where all the contestants are Pokemon. In fact, it will literally be an arcade fighter with its own cabinet: a spinoff of Tekken, Pokken Tournament.
Bandai Namco is creating the game under license from Nintendo and Tekken team lead Katsuhiri Harada is in charge of development. The game’s matches are first played in a 3-D open-field arena, then in a “duel phase” where the Pokemon fight close and hand-to-hand. Lucario, Machamp, Suicune, Guardevoir and the obligatory Pikachu (who has a special move entitled “Eagle Wind God Fist”) are the announced battlers so far, with more to be revealed in the months leading to the game’s release. Additional Pokemon will appear as assist characters.
The moves each Pokemon can pull off are similar to the moves the lucky few that have been included in Smash Bros. games can do: a strong attack, a weak but quicker attack, a shield that degrades the longer you hold it down and a special “Pokemon” move unique to each monster. Pokken Tournament will not feature traditional joystick-based arcade controls, but will use two controllers wired into the machine that sport a cross pad, four face buttons and two shoulder buttons. Seems easier to break, to me — there’s a reason joysticks are used, if Wal-Mart kiosks are any indication.
The exact release date for Pokken Tournament has yet to be revealed. There is no word on any sort of a Wii U or 3DS port for Pokken Tournament, but it may be too early to think about such things. Gotta kick the crap out of ’em all!