A few weeks ago, Namco released a very ambiguous teaser for the new Tekken game, Tekken 7. In this teaser, it has been shown that Kazuya and Heihachi are going to be involved in an all our war to settle their bitter relationship. More interestingly, it has been confirmed that Heihachi indeed killed off Kazuya’s mother, Kazumi. A mysterious figure explains that two evils must be stopped as the words “the final battle” flashes across the screen.
Is this the last Tekken installment, or is it the beginning of the end for one titular character in the franchise? Some questions have been answered, Katsuhiro Harada (the man in charge of the Tekken game and a producer for Bandai Namco) has spelled out a lot of interesting info on the matter. The mysterious figure is indeed Kazumi Mishima, and whether she is dead or alive is currently unknown. Also, after a long wait from fans everywhere, Jun Kazama has been confirmed to return after her last canon appearance in Tekken 2.
On a more technical aspect of the game, Harada has confirmed in an interview with Famitsu at a Tokyo Game Show, Harada has stated that he wants to balance gameplay with new players as well as pleasing veteran players. This can spell bad news for more seasoned fans, who feel that the game has been “made easier” over the last few installments. Check out the interview below:
Famitsu: What are the objectives you hope to accomplish with Tekken 7?
Harada: There are two main sides to Tekken 7. The first is to neatly tie up all of the storylines that have developed over the course of 20 years for the Tekken series. Since it’s Tekken’s 20th anniversary, story will play a big part this time around, which is why we wanted to tie things up and reach a conclusion. So in that sense, we hope to be able to wow and recapture the imagination of players who focus on characters and backstories in the games. This will take quite a bit of time to put together, but we have a couple of things in store.
Famitsu: Right, so story-wise, the saga in the mainline games is going to come to a conclusion.
Harada: As for the game side of things, we want to make it easy to approach for newcomers, returning players, and also those who thought that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was just too difficult.
There are also players out there who keep a distance from the Tekken games because they think the games are too difficult. For instance, there are actually quite a lot of players who watched Tekken match videos on YouTube, but do not actually play, thinking that “it’s just impossible for me to learn it”. We’d like to make the new game accessible and enjoyable to these players as well, and at the moment we’re thinking about implementing some kind of new system that will make them think “hey, I can actually do this”. We’d like very much to get these sorts of fans to participate in the games more actively.
Famitsu: What sort of elements have kept these types of beginning players from getting more involved with the games, and how do you plan on refining these elements?
Harada: In Tekken, there’s a surprising amount of things you’ve got to learn. And we think that the problem for beginners is that they don’t know which parts to start learning from. This makes it confusing and defrays their focus. So for instance, in 2D fighting games, you could teach new players to “use this move in this way, and you’ll be fine”. This time around, we’d like to very clearly convey that sort of instruction to the player. We feel that with Tekken thus far, it’s quite difficult for these players to tell the various special moves apart, in terms of how strong they are, and so this time we’d like to make that easier to observe.
Famitsu: As a way to make the game more accessible, I see.
Harada: There’s another aspect to it… but it’s a bit of a spoiler if I talk about it now (laughs). We think that another key aspect to enjoying the game to its utmost, is to be playing against opponents of the same level as you. So we were thinking, even in the arcade verison of the game, wouldn’t it be possible to implement some kind of system that would allow players to easily find others at their level to play with? We’re currently looking into that, so please look forward to hearing more about it in the near future.
Famitsu: Right. Since there’a wide spectrum of player skill levels.
Harada: I wonder how much further I should say (laughs). One of the Tekken series’s unique features is its wake-up game mechanic, which is known to be quite difficult to deal with.
Although in other fighting games, when you get knocked down, there is a certain period of invulnerability that allows you get back up on your feet simply, in the Tekken series it’s not that easy. The mechanic is actually quite complex. But because of its complexity, that’s what makes it really interesting and compelling to the core players, even though beginning players have a hard time with it. So we’re currently taking some effort to review the wake-up system quite extensively. We’d like to get it to a point where it’s easy for light users to grasp, but still satisfying for the core players.
Famitsu: When you say that you’re going to make it more enjoyable for beginners, I’m sure the core fans must be worried about if that might mean there won’t be as much depth in the game for them to bite into. How do you plan on tackling that issue?
Harada: We absolutely plan on implementing the level of depth fans have come to expect of the series. It’s just that, for beginning players, if what their opponent is doing is too deep and profound for them to understand, then even if there is depth, they wouldn’t be able to get into it. So I think we need some kind of mechanic that will ease players into the depth level by level. So that in the beginning, even if you don’t have to be too conscious of the game’s mechanics to be able to enjoy playing it. We want to allow seasoned players to be able to start at the deep end. But at the same time, beginners will be just fine not using the advanced mechanics. That’s the balance we’re striving for.
Famitsu: I see. Alright then, when is the next time we will hear an update on Tekken 7?
Harada: Probably just before or after Tokyo Game Show, is what we’re looking at for now. That’s about slightly more than a month away, but in the meantime do stay tuned to us on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doling out bits of information over the course. And for the fans, please send us any questions you may have.
Harada has also stated that he will consider more stages, more countries, and possibly more fighting styles (and fighters) via his Twitter account. One thing is for sure, this game will be a big grand blast with (hopefully) scoring out the various feuds within the Iron Fist Tournament.
Maybe, just maybe we will finally not have to wait another decade for Kunimitsu to make it in a game.