Siliconera sat down with Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada for a long chat about the past and future of the Tekken series. We started with the quirky mini-games and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue then moved on to cross platform development.
At Comic-Con we saw Devil Kazuya in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue. What other new characters will we see?
Katsuhiro Harada, Producer: I was just saying on Twitter, some people misunderstood that it’s actually Devil Kazuya. He is in the arcade since Kazuya, when you input a certain command, he can transform into the Devil form and he has all of the moves the Devil had like laser beams. That’s the character you saw.
The model is different and no one had ever seen that form before. It was done specially for the animation [Tekken: Blood Vengeance]. As far as other characters, we can’t say anything else.
The Tekken series is known for having wacky, but grand mini-games like Tekken Force and Tekken Bowl. Where do you get ideas for these and what other kinds of games do you want to create with the Tekken characters?
The starting point for Tekken Force is we wanted to have Tekken characters side-scroll through stages and pick up meat to replenish health. At the beginning, that’s what we wanted to do. I know it sounds silly and it’s hard to see the purpose, but I really wanted to do that.
Tekken Ball was first designed as a simulator to help people practice air juggles. The original idea was to hit the ball and juggle it to a basket, sort of like basketball. It didn’t go how I imagined and I was kind of frustrated. If it’s not going to be good, I thought I should make it into a versus game. Just an art designer, programmer, and myself made Tekken Ball. We were pretty efficient. The rest of the team was swamped developing the main game at that time. If we had more people it may have turned into more of a practice mode.
Since we used a ball in Tekken Ball, we thought about using one in other ways. At first, we thought about pinball, but we thought we would rather have two characters taking turns so bowling would be better suited. That’s how we settled on bowling. Now that you’re hearing this you can tell how much we listened to fans at that time. We pretty much made what we wanted. [Laughs.]
Now that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has been announced, during interviews and from fans, we hear from fans they like bowling and they really want one in Tag 2. Or I like Tekken Ball and I’d like you to bring that back. Since the Tekken team has more interaction with fans and the Tekken community maybe we will listen more to what fans want for a mini-game as we’re creating one.
But, you created those fun mini-games without fan input. Fans gravitate towards familiar things. As a creator, you had a vision for creating things like Tekken Ball and Tekken Force. Do you think you will create something new instead?
I have several ideas I came up with first. Maybe we’ll pitch these to fans. Also, fans might not know what they want, but through all of their feedback there are some keywords they might not even realize they’re saying, which we can pick up on and expand our current ideas.
The Tekken series is known for the limb system (where each button represents a different limb) will you use this system for Tekken X Street Fighter?
Street Fighter X Tekken was developed using four buttons and it plays similar to Street Fighter. For Tekken X Street Fighter, I want to keep it where players use left punch and right punch. Maybe we will have an alternate control system where the four buttons will have different functions.
Earlier, I was talking with Ono-san about how he wanted to implement Tekken’s aggressive combat. Since distance plays an important role Street Fighter how do you plan to add this to Tekken X Street Fighter?
Hmm… trying to recreate Street Fighter into our engine wouldn’t please the fans of Street Fighter or Tekken. Instead, I’ll make this game more Tekken-like. I’ll probably give Ryu more up close techniques, for example, when he’s put into our game. The Tekken characters have a whole lot of techniques compared to Street Fighter so we’ll add more cool moves and variations. It’s still the Ryu everyone knows, but with that added to him.
So, it won’t be Street Fighter or Tekken, it’s something almost new. We haven’t started prototyping yet. We have to do that first before we can define the game’s systems. Oh, and Ryu will still have his hadokens.
What can you tell us about the Wii U and 3DS versions of Tekken we saw at Nintendo’s E3 press conference?
The Nintendo projects are top secret and we can’t talk about it at the moment, sorry!
Since you brought previous Tekken titles to PSP, are you thinking of PlayStation Vita games too?
There are a lot of requests for a Vita version. Rather than work with Vita or not, I want to work on as many platforms as possible. That’s all I can say right now!
Harada-san has more to say about Tekken, though! Tomorrow, we’ll continue our interview where we discuss different martial arts styles and porting Tekken Tag Tournament 2.