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Street Fighter's Forgotten Birthday
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 03, 2006   |   Episode 118 (Show Archive)  

   

The Street Fighter animes are far from perfect, but at least they were entertaining. That's more than I can say about the 1994 Street Fighter movie!
In the five and a half years we've been covering the video game industry we have posed a lot of questions that will never get answered. We wonder why GamePro refuses to do its research before publishing history lessons, we question if Sony will ever bring Jumping Flash back, and we ask why Best Buy is willing to sell unrated and NC-17 rated movies but not adults-only video games. But of all the questions we have asked, none of have been more troubling, more controversial, and more confusing than that of Capcom's Street Fighter Anniversary Collection.

Eighty-one episodes ago we exposed Capcom's dirty little secret, that they were out and out lying about their products in order to sell more video games (see: The Anniversary Collection That Wasn't). We wondered why Capcom

Say what you will about the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, but at least the artwork was cool!
would slap the "Street Fighter 15th" sticker on its 2004 Street Fighter Anniversary Collection. After all, in 2004 Street Fighter was celebrating its 17th birthday, not its fifteenth. Even if they were confusing Street Fighter II with the original it still didn't add up to the number 15. And to make this story even more confusing, Capcom decided to release their Street Fighter Anniversary Collection disc in two different years.

It has been nearly three years since we first broke this story, and so far we have yet to get a single answer that makes any sense. We've talked with Capcom representatives at E3, hard core Street

Wouldn't a Street Fighter Alpha make for a more interesting live action film?
Fighter fans and even our peers in the media. Just about everybody agrees that this is confusing, but regardless of who we talk with nobody seems willing to put forth a believable explanation. Last year I thought I was on to something, at E3 we spoke in length with Capcom's PR department. The people running the booth took my name, number and email address and told me that they would do some research and come to the bottom of this controversy. But here I am a year and a half later and they don't return my calls or answer my

The original Street Fighter movie cost $35 Million but only brought in $33 Million!
emails. Capcom seems perfectly happy to allow people to believe in false anniversaries for the sake of selling more copies.

With new systems on the way, all kinds of new IPs to worry about and a whole host of fighting games that are more popular than Street Fighter, I thought I was done trying to get to the bottom of the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection. But this week Capcom thrust the Street Fighter anniversary back into the spotlight, thanks to the rather bizarre announcement that there would be a second live-action Street Fighter movie headed to the big screen in 2008.

It was Variety that broke the story, they reported that instead of focusing on all of the World Warriors, this new Street Fighter movie would be about Chun Li and her

Street Fighter may have been born in 1987, but this battle started in 1991!
adventures. Apparently Hyde Park Entertainment (the people that brought us the brilliant movie Shopgirl) will pony up the money to resurrect this failed film franchise. To a lot of game fans this move makes little sense, there hasn't been a "new" Street Fighter game in close to a decade and the first movie couldn't even make its $35 million back. These days game players are much more interested in Tekken, Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive than Street Fighter, and it's not like video game movies are particularly profitable for anybody (see: The Great Game [Movie] Crash of 2006).

But beyond all of the reasons that this movie is a bad idea, there's one thing about Variety's piece that stuck out. Half way through the article Variety reported one line that left me scratching my

Is Chun Li a strong enough character to carry an entire movie? Where's my movie about Dhalsim?
head, they said: "Hyde Park and Capcom's film is targeted to bow in 2008, the 20th anniversary of the game franchise."

2008 is the 20th anniversary of Street Fighter? Considering the original arcade game was released in 1987 (in both the U.S. and Japan), wouldn't that make it the 21st anniversary? I suppose you could argue that various ports of the game (including releases on the Commodore 64 and Amiga) were released in 1988, but by that rationale you might as well consider 2009 the anniversary since the TurboGrafx-CD port was released in 1989.

Variety isn't the only publication to make this mistake; GameSpot also ran the story without correcting the error. On October 30th GameSpot stated that the movie was slated for 2008, "to coincide with Street Fighter's

The new Street Fighter movie can only be improved by the absents of Jean-Claude Van Damme!
20th anniversary." All GameSpot had to do was look at their archive of games to see that Street Fighter was from 1987 and not 1988, but there must not have been time for that because they decided to run the story without doing the slightest bit of fact checking.

I realize that the original Street Fighter was not that memorable of a game, but that's no reason to constantly forget the release date. When it comes to Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog nobody has trouble remembering their birthdays, yet nobody is willing to do any research when it comes to Ryu and Ken.

Or maybe there is something more sinister at work here; perhaps this has more to do with Capcom using these faux anniversaries as a reason to

The last thing we need is Jackie Chan attempting to pull off Ryu's moves!
get people to buy into their product. Do they think that slapping the wrong anniversary on their game or movie will attract more people? Would somebody be more willing to buy the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection if they thought it was the 15th and not the 17th? Are people going to be more excited to go to a movie on the 20th anniversary than the 21st? If so then what does that say about us as consumers?

In the end it doesn't really matter what anniversary they say it is, the idea of a new Street Fighter movie is patently ridiculous. That's not to say that it is doomed to be a terrible movie, but I think most long-time Street Fighter fans would rather see a Street Fighter IV game than a Street Fighter II movie. Capcom can go ahead and lie about the anniversary all they want, but those journalists reporting this information (Variety, GameSpot, etc.) should have done the research and noted that 2008 is NOT Street Fighter's 20th anniversary. If they can't get the simple stuff right then why should we expect them to be accurate when it comes to the big stuff?
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