Siliconera recently caught up with Tekken 7 Producer Katsuhiro Harada and designer Michael Murry who shared more on what’s new in the fighter, character styles, and heir process on deciding when to charge for DLC.
How has Tekken 7’s combat system changed from Tekken Tournament 2?
Michael Murry, Game Designer: Did you notice there is a new move? I think the community is calling it “tailspin” now. You could do a spinning kick and send a character into a tail spin. Each character has a few of those. There are properties quite different from bounds. Tailspins go a little further away and towards the wall, the wall mechanics of what are bounds and tailspins is quite different, as well. The game overall has been kind of tuned to not have these extremely long combos. That is something we tried to dial back a little bit.
The rage art system also gives players a chance for a huge comeback. I was able to knock another player out who had 75% health when I was down to less than 20% using a well-timed rage art.
Katsuhiro Harada, Producer: That’s a new mechanic that isn’t in Tekken 7 arcades yet since we’re about to release a new update called Tekken 7: Fated Retribution, which is like Tekken 7.5. What you played in the console version is going to be on the latest version. In Tekken 7 for arcades, rage arts didn’t necessarily do that much damage, but now it depends on how much life you have. If you get into rage and do a rage art it might not do that much damage. But, if you only have a little bit of life left it will do much more damage. It depends on how much health you have.
Did you make this change to have big comebacks in battles?
KH: Originally, rage was added to have a tense feeling through a match all the way to the end. Also we had hoped it would be used as a comeback mechanic, but it turned out that some people didn’t see it positively like that. They thought a comeback should be up to a player’s skill level. After a few years, people started to see the value in it and taking the new rage arts made it seem easier to use not just for advanced players, but beginners as well. You’ll see how each player uses the rage mechanic itself differs on both of those categories.
Tekken character ideas usually came from looking at fighting styles around the world. How did you come up with characters like Lucky Chloe and Shaheen?
KH: In the past, each character was based on a famous fighting style. More recently, not so much. You have these different characters like Lucky Chole and Shaheen, like you mentioned. Rather than focus on different fighting styles it’s more about how they are controlled and how they play.
With Lucky Chloe, we wanted to attract an audience that might not play Tekken. For her, it was focused on input – the rhythm and timing. Timing that correctly might have moves connect to each other or increase the power of her rage arts to appeal to a different audience.
What can you tell us about the character roster for Tekken 7 on consoles? Will it be expanded beyond Tekken 7: Fated Retribution?
KH: That’s something we can’t answer right now. We can say that Fated Retribution won’t be released and just done. We will be releasing additional characters, but we can’t say who, how many or if there will be any additions on consoles.
So far, in Tekken 7, comical characters like Kuma and Roger Jr. aren’t in the game. Tekken Revolution also mentioned some other unique characters from Tekken 3 like a praying mantis and flopping salmon that could have been added into the PS3 game. Will we see any of the non-human characters return or any of these unique characters in Tekken 7?
KH: It’s very difficult. They were part of Tekken and we’ve seen when they’re not there we have a lot of fans who say those characters are what made Tekken interesting we want to see them again. But, if we do introduce them, we get another side of the community who says, “What’s your problem? Why are you putting animals into my proper fighting game?” Then the people who got the animal characters are happy and they become quiet, but then the voices saying, “What’s your problem why are these crazy characters in the game?” are left. It’s very hard and it’s something we would like to think in depth about.
With these two different groups, what do you think Tekken is? Is it serious, realistic fighting or crazy fun?
KH: That’s a difficult question to answer too because fighting games often try different things and action games as whole also have serious elements as well as lighthearted or comical ones, but that doesn’t make the game either or. It is something that changes depending on the perspective of who is viewing it, so it is kind of hard to say.
Even if you are trying to create a game serious or realistic it may not seem that way because after all it’s a game. Those of you with girlfriends or wives probably have had the experience where someone is watching from the side – even though you are wrapped up in this serious, realistic game and they are like, “What is that? That is crazy! That would never happen!” It depends on the perspective.
Tekken 7 in the arcades has a crafting system where you can create items to customize your character. Will this crafting system be in the console version and will there be microtransactions similar to the arcade game? There are some lighthearted costumes players can make with this system too.
MM: Which are often liked and often hated. [Laughs].
KH: Even in the arcades there is Tekken.Net, which is a separate service where you can pay for additional more features. The way this feature works in Japan where players can pay to have a higher chance to get rare items is different from Korea. The company that runs that is a different one and the way they have their monetization whether it’s playing the game more often to get something or paying to get it quicker is different from the Japanese version.
We can’t say anything concrete for consoles, but we could say we aren’t going to make you pay for something in the game. If it’s something not in the game like a Karin costume from Street Fighter V which wasn’t originally intended and everyone wants us to make it. If we end up making it later we would have to pay Capcom royalties and in that instance it would be DLC or something. Monetization just to unlock something in the game isn’t something we’re thinking about.
Although, we can’t detail the system a good way to judge it would be if it’s something that costs more than the original game budget to create it would be DLC. If it was within the original game’s budget then it wouldn’t cost the users anything extra.
You also made a very different fighting game recently, Pokkén Tournament. What did you learn from making that game?
KH: The development of Pokkén Tournament and Tekken 7 was pretty much simultaneous. One thing that was interesting in Pokkén Tournament is we noticed many players would guard and it was hard to tell if they were guarding or not. There was an effect added to show when a player was continuously guarding common to all characters. If there was something we could do for Tekken visually to show what kind of situation was going on, whether they were ducking or in crouching guard maybe it might make the game easier to understand.
Pokkén Tournament is interesting since it may have brought players who never thought of playing a fighting game into the genre.
KH: Pokkén Tournament was designed to be a new kind of Pokémon game for Pokémon fans. That group came to Pokkén rather than a general audience. Many times people say there are more fans or less fans in the fighting game genre, but there is always a core group of fans that come along. From the PS1 era where Tekken 3 sold many, many copies it wasn’t that the fan base that increased then, it was that technology increased to showcase polygon models. Fighting games were just one way to showcase that. People were attracted to the latest technology and we saw a huge influx into genre. When that isn’t the latest trend the number of players dissipates. That occurs and reoccurs. Rather than trying to change the mechanics or fundamentals to bring new players in, I feel it is better to focus on unique characters and storylines.
Tekken 7 is releasing for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2017. You can read more from Harada-san on how Summer Lesson’s idea started our from experiments with Tekken 7 characters and more on the PSVR title’s chances of being localized outside Japan.