Does anyone know why many of Capcom’s excellent fighting games stayed in Japan during the Saturn era?

This was pretty mind blowing to me. If you were a Saturn fan at the time, you missed out on tons of amazing fighters. You needed to import these games from Japan. And this was much harder at the time.

Do we know if Sega had an anti 2d policy similar to PlayStation?

Saturn wasn’t their future/Bernie Stolar pretty much! Saturn was already on it’s last legs by the time XvsSF came out as well and so there probably wasn’t much market for it either. It is a shame, but I don’t think any of these games would have helped Saturn much despite their quality.

There are a myriad of reasons why the US didn’t get many Saturn titles in the US. Fighting between Sega USA and Sega Japan, lack of advertising in the US and Sega’s business model for software developers to name a few.

I’ve been a Saturn fan since jr high, it was the first system I bought with my own money, 35 bucks used. Slowly building my library back up the past 5 years, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the Systems that games will never really drop in price on.

It’s a sad thing that many of these games only got localized on PS1 with butchered animations. I still enjoyed those PS1 ports a lot, but now seeing the difference, I wish Saturn had more of these ports freely available in North America. They certainly would have helped.

Heck, maybe sprite based games would still be around and more popular if all of those superb Saturn Shmups and fighters came over and were advertised properly in NA. You never really know. 3D was the craze, but Sega could’ve carved out a nice niche for themselves if the played their cards right. They also could have advertised the 2D advantage between their system and PS1 to try and move more units.

It could have probably persuaded me to get a Saturn instead of a PS1 to complement my primary system of choice back then (n64). I just never knew those games were available in Japan.

Certainly, Capcom’s early and excellent Dreamcast support is what made me choose it over the PS2 too.

Well… plus Soul Calibur.

Plus… it was only like 50 bucks for a new Dreamcast back in 2002. But still, the point stands.

Sega somehow didn’t see money in advertising arcade perfect 2D games in North America.

I vaguely remember EB having the Japanese Capcom releases. Pretty wild at the time haha.

Yep, I can remember Bababges carrying XvSF, Golden AXE the Duel, and a few other imports. From my recollection of the time, not too many people cared about 2d stuff at that time. All the major gaming mags were hyping 3d games as the next big thing. 2d was seen as kiddie stuff, or a relic of the 8 bit days. Only Die Hard Gamefan championed the Saturns 2d prowess, but as was said, Stolar and Sega had written off the Saturn at that point.

Yes. What you have to realize if you didn’t live in that era is that game magazines were all most had for information and they were banging the 3D drum HARD from the moment we got into the latter 16-bit era. That was the future and anything 2D had an absolute stigma attached to it.

Even faux 3D in rendered games like Donkey Kong Country was seen as a massive leap over all things 2D and hand drawn. It was a world that had gone mad IMO and while I loved seeing 3D and its advancements, I also was still in love with hand drawn art and every Neo Geo game or Saturn/PlayStation release in 2D was something I paid attention to or put above many big 3D releases.

Today we can look back and say it was stupid but if you loved 2D back then, you kinda got shit on for having that positive opinion of a new Capcom or SNK fighter and shooters? Completely off the radar to the point the term “Shooter” today means an entirely different genre of games.

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The simplest answer is that they did all come over… until they needed the 4MB RAM add on.

The way I read it in magazines back then, Sega USA didn’t want to release extra hardware add ons after becoming known for them coming out and having no support. So no 4MB RAM, no Capcom fighters after Marvel Super Heroes. Same goes for SNK with the 1MB RAM cart.

Capcom were seemingly not going to re-engineer them for non-cart play, so they only brought over the ‘already cut down for the Japanese market’ Playstation version.

Bigger question to me is why no N64 port of say XvSF while Saturn got pretty much everything. N64 was huge in the US, and sold more than triple the Saturn worldwide, and could easily have done all those games and could really have used them as Nintendo had no good fighters and Street Fighter II on SNES was Capcom’s biggest ever hit by far.

Could have been a real money spinner, but seems Japanese companies a) just loooooved CD and b) still thought of Japan first, and only bothered with elsewhere after that. Bizarrely Capcom still made some N64 games, but it wasn’t these…

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The PS ports were so butchered lol. Especially the versus games.

SFA3 was decent tho. Apparently they did some trickery on that one.

Nintendo’s continued embrace of cartridges was roundly rejected outside the “Dream Team” of developers they pronounced would help carry N64 upon its release. Japanese developers specifically wanted CDs and many were upset with the NES and SNES years of cartridge prices set by Nintendo.

Yeah, some of them relented, or Nintendo went to them to get them involved, but N64 was also the gen when Nintendo was given the “kiddie” moniker that often sticks through into today although it truly took hold with the advent of Gamecube.

But Capcom still released three N64 games anyway.

Surely a Street Fighter variation would have been a money making move, given the history on the SNES with their highest selling game ever, the N64 having a six face button pad by default, and the N64 was the only console that could have done Xmen vs Street Fighter out of the box RAM wise, even the Saturn needed a hardware add on.

XvSF on N64 would have been a huge hit, I’m sure of it. It was THE multiplayer console by a wide margin and that was the biggest arcade hit of the era.

Not in the US. The biggest fighting game here was Mortal Kombat, which is why Trilogy was such a big deal for them to get that. X-Men vs Street Fighter barely registered.

You’re talking about a time when game mags were lambasting Capcom monthly about not being able to count to 3. Blood, gore, 3D,… that’s what sold in the west. Heck, Virtua Fighter was a bigger deal on Saturn and never forget how people were flipping over Battle Arena Toshinden! Tekken of course was an arcade hit on PlayStation hardware. Fighting games in arcades were about 3D at that time.

I can only speak for the US, but that’s what it was like here. Japan was just so different at that time (and still is) because there were real arcades as we like to think of them while US arcades were dying or dead.

I doubt MK1/2/3 on 16-bit sold as much as Street Fighter II? Only if you combine all MK games together they may come close. The three SF2 versions sold 12.4 million on SNES alone (insane figures for that era), and another 1.65 on Mega Drive. Worldwide figures, but the bulk of that would have been in the US (probably 7-8 million total since Japan was 5 million of them from Famitsu and PAL was much smaller than either). MK2 sold 1.78m on Genesis, the highest selling one of the era.

Confirmed figures directly from Capcom, and doesn’t even count MD SSF2 or Street Fighter Zero 2. Heck, the SNES Street Fighter Zero 2 is the proof of how dumb it was - why was it not on N64 which could do it better and was a growing hit platform in the US?

And MK Trilogy and MK4 were released on N64, pretty much showing Capcom the way!

I remain unconvinced any of the VS games would have been very good on N64. There’s no real measure of how well it could do 2D fighting games other than MK Trilogy… and KI Gold? Both pretty cut back in terms of animation and sound quality iirc. Capcom would be better at porting for sure, but the VS games seem like they need more grunt than those. Maybe with the N64’s expansion pack it would have been fine. It’s really a shame nothing came out to demonstrate it’s 2D power. I was hoping for SF3 after that was rumored for a bit!

The N64 posts are interesting, I was wondering about this the other day.

Other than video memory and potentially storage space, which is important with fighting games with large sprites and wonderfully complete animation, I wonder what the bottlenecks were in making 2D games on the N64?

Treasure must have picked N64 as the development platform for Bangai-O for a good reason considering the increased publishing costs of going cartridges over CDs at the time, would it be reasonable to suggest that the machine must have good at excelling at drawing and manipulating a lot of sprites to the screen at once? Even if the sprites in Bangai-O are relatively small, and don’t have much animation, I’d definitely be interested in learning more about how the N64 handles 2D and from that, what it excels at and wouldn’t excel at.

From what I understand, sprites can be drawn by the N64’s GPU but texture cache on the N64 is manually controlled whereas it was automatic on the PlayStation. All three consoles at the time didn’t do proper hardware sprites (though the Saturn allowed them to be mixed with the real 2D layers from VDP2) so I’m guessing memory size, management, and rendering techniques all played a big part…somehow.

Mortal Kombat II was the best selling videogame in the world until Donkey Kong Country arrived. It was really that big…

I literally opened day one boxes in the Electronics Boutique at the Harrisburg East Mall in PA and oversaw the launch. There was nothing like it we had ever done at EB up to that time.

It cannot be understated the sales magnitude of Mortal Kombat compared with any other fighting game of the time here in the US, the world’s largest market for videogames. It was insanely popular here.

I wish it were true that at that time people wanted more Street Fighter, but they really didn’t unless Capcom counted to three, and when they finally did it was too late.

I don’t know what the sales were back then but I can say in the arcades I frequented back when this stuff was new and in the arcades, at least in my area, X-Men vs Street Fighter was massively popular. A home console port that didn’t suck (which the PS1 version did) would have been absolutely huge.

Unfortunately that’s just not true. It shows the weakness of the way Wikipedia works. The likes of Mario 3 and Mario World vastly outsold either of those games, Mario 3 sold over 11 million copies in the US, over 17 million worldwide.

The source for that, not actually linked just referenced offline, is aparrently "Minnesota Intellectual Property Review - Volume 3 , University of Minnesota Law School, 2002 (p.99)."*

It’s most likely confusion based on MK2 being the top selling game for the short period between when NPD started publicly tracking sales in 1994 and when DKC was released in late 94.

We have actual NPD total figures for Mortal Kombat II:

1.78 on Genesis
1.51 on SNES

And MK3:

1.22 SNES
1.02 GEN

The original Street Fighter II on SNES alone sold 6.3 million worldwide, which surely means more than either of those in the US for sure, we just don’t have released US sales data for it because it was three years earlier than public NPD tracking started.

Here’s the NPD top 40 for January 1995 including LTD sales for each game to that point. Can see that the games released before 94 have no LTD.

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Rakugakids was super clean and had animation comparable or better than the Saturn + 4MB cart’s best, probably Vampire Saviour IMO. With the RAM cart the N64 would have four times the RAM of the PS1.

Heck the PCE Engine with Arcade Card had more RAM than the PS1!

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I think Capcom and Sega knew that the people who wanted those games knew how to get them and play them, saving them the effort of having to do it themselves.

That being said, the VS games were some of the most popular cabs at any arcade I visited as a kid, seemingly taking over in popularity from games like MK3, Killer Instinct, which faded pretty fast. Capcom getting these out once a year up to the millennium was a smart move.

If anyone in NA still cared about the saturn into 97,98, these games WOULD have been a huge coup, but that market was non existent. Saturn was virtually dead and buried and ancient by that point.