In a rather ambitious move, and one that I thought never would happen, or really expected, Capcom have announced that they are in the process of porting Street Fighter IV to the iPhone. Bizarrely over the last few weeks I had been thinking and talking about how a version of Street Fighter II might work if they ported it to Apple’s portable platform, without ever realising that they were doing almost just that.
Having a simplistic fighting game control well on the iPhone would be no small task, and here we have Capcom attempting to replicate SFIV’s intricate gameplay system without the use of any real buttons or even a directional slider. What’s more impressive though, is that they reckon that they’ll be able to pull it off whilst keeping a reasonable amount of graphical fidelity from the console versions, and get the game out by March. Certainly going by the screenshots below, it may just about be possible.
On the base of it SFIV for the iPhone will use both a virtual touch screen d-pad and buttons for its controls, with players performing all the routine quarter-circle motions and 360-degree rotations by rubbing their fingers over the touch screen, much like in GTA Chinatown Wars. However it appears that the game only uses four buttons for attacks instead of the usual six, with two being used for a punch and kick respectively, and the other two, we have no idea, though it looks likely for pulling off special moves or focus attacks. A range of options allowing players to configure the virtual control’s position, button transparency, and set-up will also be available for maximum comfort and ease of use, which is absolutely essential if they are serious about providing a solid experience for the SF faithful to play and enjoy.
Visually the iPhone version of SFIV features art assets taken directly from the current-gen PS3 and 360 versions, aptly scaled down with minimal detail loss and with the spectacular Super and Ultra moves remaining intact. As you can see the results are very impressive, and it would be nice to see something like this being made for the PSP – a platform in which the hardcore can more seriously take to potable play. However to see this up and running so solidly on the iPhone shows that Capcom are both serious and committed to making this work.
In addition to having touch screen controls and similar graphics, the game will include a wealth of familiar faces, including the likes of Ryu, Ken, Zangief, and Chun Li, plus some characters new to the SFIV universe. Various modes such as Arcade, Tournament, Dojo (training essentially), and Versus are all being included, so not only can you practice getting to grips with the new controls, you can then try out your new found skills against your best mate who just downloaded the game out of curiosity.
So far the iPhone edition of Street Fighter IV is looking good, and I personally cannot wait to see this running in the flesh at a hopeful 60fps. Really, I just wanna see if they can get a sensible degree of accuracy with the motion controls and show that the iPhone can successfully be used as a base for serious hardcore games.