Sometimes we almost have it too good...
When I met with Frank O’Connor, my would-be boss at Bungie, he told me that my interview with him was going to be unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Frank wasn’t one of the shock troopers sent in to shine a blinding light into my eyes and grill me with a series of hypothetical questions, as I was pretty certain he would be. It turned out the Frankie portion of my day-long loop was designed to relax me. The apparatus he employed to keep my nerves in check?
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
Like it should be, Capcom’s Street Fighter series is a pretty big deal here at Bungie. There’s a group of guys who play regularly at lunch, occasionally snagging games during the day. And there’s even an email alias at Bungie, specifically crafted to contact those interested in “Fighting Games.” Like a bunch of our other internal lists (Music Aficionados, Spam, Ideas, Parents, et cetera), this alias has all kinds of fighting game related news posted to it: character reveals, new art, techniques, game balancing changes and other assorted information and discussion.
When Joe Tung asked Capcom’s Senior Director of Communications and Community Chris Kramer, and Capcom Community Manager Seth Killian (peep Capcom’s Community site
) to come out to the Pentathlon and bring a version of Street Fighter IV for the studio to check out, the ask was, for lack of a better term, tall.
Yet, last Friday at the Pentathlon, the annual Street Fighter Tournament, usually played on our 3rd Strike machine, was played on a 360 build of Street Fighter IV courtesy of Chris and Seth, who hand carried builds up to Seattle to hang out with us.
And before you ask, we played with sticks, not joypads.
During the Barrython (the moniker given to the Street Fighter tournament), the crowd was bigger than usual. We projected the signal onto a wall in one of our conference rooms. Our general enthusiasm for the game – some of us were pretty enamored with SFIV – begat curiosity: Who did the particle effects? What are you doing for networking? When is it my turn at the sticks?
The Barrython is an annual test of might in Street Fighter. On the fighting gamers mailing list, we’re now trying to figure out how we’re going to get the best possible set-up for Street Fighter IV when it arrives next year.
Today, Tom Doyle, 3D Artist and Barrython Commissioner, answered a handful of quick questions about the Barrython via electronic mail:
How was the Barrython named and what started the Barrython?
Barrython was named after our own Chris Barrett (mangod art director on project X). He bought the Third Strike cab when we moved out of Redmond. Think of it as a celebration of independence in kumite form.
How is the Barrython tourney structured?
Single elimination tree with random seeding.
What maintenance work is required to keep the Third Strike machine in working order?
A servitor team of Ugnaughts from the Bespin Cloud City and a few junior Animators.
How is the “Final Boss” determined?
Final Boss? I don’t know what you are talking about. This is a fighting tournament, not some stupid videogame.
Why Street Fighter?
Because Time Killers and Clay Fighters machines are hard to come by.
Who won this year?
Richard Lico but…. he got the bad ending. Better luck next year Lico!
Special thanks to Seth, Chris, Capcom and the folks at Capcom-Unity for letting us fangasm over Street Fighter IV. It was awesome and folks should check it out when it comes out in February.