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Yes, Pikachu is going to be in the Pokémon fighting game

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Pikachu, Gardevoir and Suicune will be playable fighters in Bandai Namco's Pokémon fighting game, Pokkén Tournament, the game's developer confirmed during a livestream on Japan's Niconico video service today.

The three newly confirmed Pokémon join previously announced playable fighters Lucario and Machamp, and a handful of assist characters, including Emolga, Fenniken, Lapras and Snivy.

Pokkén Tournament producer and Tekken team lead Katsuhiro Harada detailed some of the arcade game's mechanics during the stream. Fights are broken up into a field phase, in which Pokémon can run around the fighting area and use long distance attacks, and a duel phase, when fighters get close and fight hand-to-hand. Each Pokémon has a flashy ultra-style attack called a Resonance Burst, and characters are ranked by their skill in field fighting, duel fighting and their ultra move.

In practice, the game looks somewhat similar to Bandai Namco's action-fighting games based on Naruto and Dragon Ball. Harada said on Twitter today that the developers of those games, CyberConnect2 and Dimps, are not developing Pokkén Tournament.

The game's controls include a weak attack, strong attack, "Pokémon" attack, assist and jump. Fighters can block with a shield that degrades as they guard against hits.

The arcade release of Pokkén Tournament won't use a traditional arcade stick; instead, cabinets will feature a gamepad with a cross pad, two shoulder buttons and four face buttons — that mimic the button layout of Nintendo controllers. Here's what it looks like currently, though Harada said it's subject to change.

Pokken Tournament controller

No word yet on a console version of Pokkén Tournament, but given the gamepad-based controls, the fighting game's transition to a Wii U gamepad or Classic Controller seems like a natural one.

Interestingly, Pikachu appears to have some heavy influence from Tekken's Mishima family. The Pokémon's win poses mimic those of Heihachi Mishima and Kazuya Mishima. Harada said on Twitter that Pikachu can execute Eagle Wind God Fist, a Mishima-style karate move.

You can see Pikachu and other new Pokkén Tournament fighters in action in the gameplay trailer below, which was captured from the low quality Niconico livestream.

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