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Harada on How Tekken 7 Online Changed Due to COVID-19

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Tekken 7 online interview

Bandai Namco uploaded a new interview with Katsuhiro Harada discussing how the Tekken 7 online elements changed. The Executive Producer also talked about the Tekken series hitting 50 million units sold worldwide, utilizing Unreal Engine 4, and esports. Harada spoke candidly regarding changes the team implemented due to player feedback and the need for stronger online connections during 2020.

Bandai Namco Esports Producer Naoya “Esports” Yasuda interviewed Harada about his career with Tekken spanning over 15 years. The series producer explained that the 50 million sales milestone included both digital and physical console versions of the games. Though no one expected the series to get this big, Harada said he felt like it took longer than expected to reach this goal. He elaborated by bringing up the strong presence Bandai Namco has in arcades. Harada joked that if they could have included the number of times players put coins in the arcade cabinets, sales would’ve been much higher.

Harada also revealed that he was the first person in Bandai Namco to suggest using Unreal Engine 4 during Tekken 7‘s development. Yasuda also chimed in that this was quite the challenge for the team. It was the first time Bandai Namco used an external engine, so it took some adapting. With the newest entry, Harada also cited streaming audiences as a big influence in making sure spectating was exciting. This lead to new additions like Tekken 7‘s Super Slow-Motion feature.

tekken 7 online interview harada

Interestingly, Harada revealed that he initially had no plans to produce DLC beyond season 2. Harada even stated that he had no business plans or strategies for it. However, strong demand from players and the high turnout at events like tournaments led the team to create more seasons.

On the topic of player feedback, Harada stated that COVID-19 had both positive and negative effects on development. Suddenly, players needed a more robust Tekken 7 online infrastructure to organize tournaments and participate in Esports. Both Yasuda and Harada said everyone on the team worked very hard to gather player feedback, share it with development and the studio, and promptly figure out solutions. The pandemic situation ultimately led the team to improve online functions. Harada stated that they are even working on another update currently to improve the Tekken 7 online experience further and “liven up the gaming scene in a different way than usual.”

Additionally, the team is revisiting the Dojo System to make sure it meets the needs of players. Regarding tournaments, Yasuda and Harada both expressed how commentators, announcers, and the MCs are pivotal to the experience–not just the players.

Bandai Namco published the interview under its YouTube web show, Asobi Motto. The video is coded with hard subs in both Japanese and English.

At the end of the video, Yasuda and Harada teased fans by saying more videos are on the way. Special guests may even make an appearance. Tekken 7 is currently available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Oni Dino
Oni Dino is a Japanese-English translator, localization editor, and podcaster. He has several video game credits and regularly translates columns from Masahiro Sakurai and Shigeru Miyamoto. When not knee-deep in a JRPG and wishing games had more environmental story-telling, he's attending industry events and interviewing creative auteurs to share their stories.