Taking the concept of action movies and applying them to fighting games is an awesome new idea for e-sports professionals.

With the rise of e-sports, we’re seeing one-on-one fighting games get a little closer to professional boxing and mixed martial arts. Competitive video game tournaments now draw massive crowds of spectators, both in person and online, with an international field of competitors vying for the glory and sizable monetary prizes that come from defeating their rivals.

But what if instead of pushing fighting games towards combat sports, you went down a different path and made them more like action movies? In the movies, the actors might be highly trained martial artists, but they’re not really competing to see who can knock the other out. Instead, they’re throwing punches and arcing kicks at one another in an intricately choreographed display of physical prowess strictly for the purpose of exciting the audience.

Of course, you’d need some extremely talented gamers, but the staff of online Japanese video game variety show Yatte-Mikka! found two in e-sport pros Itabashi Zangief and Sako, who went toe-to-toe in Street Fighter V to produce the amazing fight seen in this video.

Over the course of two months of planning and practice, Itabashi and Sako put together their routine, carefully planning out every hadouken, shoryuken, and tastumaki senpukyaku. Both would play as series poster boy Ryu, with their identical move lists and attack physics allowing for frame-perfect counters and cancels during their “fight.”

However, this isn’t some tool-assisted, re-edited super-play compilation. It’s genuine performance art, as Itabashi and Sako staged their demonstration live for cameras and commentators, and the result is exhilaratingly amazing.

They start off with a series of paired fireballs, closing to an incredibly short distance before changing things up and altering parries, zero-damage defensive techniques that require timing down to a fraction of a second.

It’s almost 15 seconds into the fight before anyone inflicts damage, with Sako cancelling a parry into a three-hit combo. He keeps the pressure up after that, landing another combo before throwing Itabashi to the ground and dizzying him. The thrashing continues, and before long, Itabashi is down to just a few pixels of life.

But then Itabashi starts his epic comeback, trapping Sako in the corner and pummeling him with a variety of strikes that break his opponent’s guard.

Eventually, both fighters have no visible life remaining, but it looks like Sako is going to finish things off by throwing his Shinku Hadouken super fireball at near-point-blank range…

…only for Itabashi to do the exact same thing, setting the stage for the fight to end with the shocking conclusion seen here!

Because really, with two fighters so evenly matched, a double KO is really the only fitting way to wrap things up.

While the Internet is filled with videos of fighting game players doing impressive things in training modes, it’s rare to see two players combine their skills in this way. Yatte-Mikka! calls the segment the fight was part of “The Game Enbu” (enbu being a Japanese word for “dance performance”), in which it aims to showcase the performance potential of taking games meant to be played competitively and instead making them a collaborative endeavor, and if Itabashi and Sako’s Street Fighter V example is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Sources: YouTube/PlayStation Japan via Jin
Images: YouTube/PlayStation Japan
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