One of the main highlights of EVO every year is seeing the fighting game developers show up in force to reveal what they’re working on. SNK fans were eating good after EVO 2022, with a new Garou/Fatal Fury confirmed after 20 years, along with a healthy supply of KOF XV DLC news. Dragon Ball FighterZ fans were also blessed with the news of rollback netcode, after years of begging for it from Bandai Namco and Arc System Works. However, the most intriguing announcement came from the Tekken camp.
At the conclusion of the Tekken 7 Top 8 Finals, Bandai Namco announced a free update for the game, along with a new season of Tekken World Tour, culminating with the grand finals in Amsterdam in February 2023. However, the small sizzle trailer finished with a tease for the next Tekken project, showing the iconic (see: legendary meme) moment of Kazuya throwing Heihachi off a cliff at the end of Tekken 1. The image then suddenly changes to a modern looking Kazuya, with the announcer simply stating two words: Get Ready.
It’s safe to say that a new Tekken game is coming, and given how the teaser only featured one character in the form of Kazuya instead of several, we’re willing to bet that the new Tekken project will be Tekken 8 instead of Tekken Tag Tournament 3, for instance. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few things we’d like to see from the upcoming Tekken project. We’re not asking, because you know how Harada gets about people asking, but it’d be nice to see them either way.
1. Make The Story Mode More Killer, Less Filler
These days, you can’t make a high budget fighting game without including some kind of involved Story Mode, which isn’t something I’m going to complain about. As someone who’s advocated for single-player modes in fighting games in the past, seeing a decent focus being put on single-player content is nice. Tekken has never really been a stranger to single-player content since the release of Tekken 5, but Tekken 7’s Story mode wasn’t exactly perfect.
While the narrative featured a lot of cool moments, which were either focused around Street Fighter guest character Akuma and his interactions with the Tekken cast, or the final scrap between Heihachi and Kazuya, Tekken 7’s story had lots of filler. The bland narrator talking about how the war had affected him and his family and how he was now a witness to this epic struggle between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation ruined the pacing of the story for a lot of people.
It’s likely that Tekken 8 will contain a story mode of some kind, especially considering that Tekken’s overall narrative is one of the most complicated in fighting games. The stinger at the end of Tekken 7’s story also suggests another fateful confrontation between Kazuya and Jin, where another son will be destined to take out their father (probably). There’s potential there for an action-packed and enjoyable story, so let’s not ruin it by having to listen to the world’s most boring voice monologue for minutes at a time.
He’s the voice of the announcer for Tekken 7, but they made him sound boring for the narrator. Make it make sense.
2. Keep Rage Arts & Rage Drives
It’s only natural for fighting game developers to want their franchise to improve, evolve and innovate as it grows older, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tekken 8 introduce some kind of new, game-changing mechanic that’ll distinguish it from other entries in the series. While I agree that a new mechanic is pretty much a necessity for the continued growth of the series, we shouldn’t forget older mechanics.
Tekken 6 introduced the Rage mechanic into the game, where a character would receive a damage boost after losing most of their health, making comebacks a bit more viable. Tekken 7 built on that by introducing Rage Arts, one button super moves that could deal a ton of damage if landed, and Rage Drives, special moves that could extend or finish combos for massive damage.
3. Improve The In-Game Customisation
Ever since Tekken 5, Namco’s fighting game franchise has allowed players to customise their fighters with an assortment of weird and wacky collectibles. From dapper looking suits and New Japan Pro Wrestling t-shirts to rubber ducks, life rings and magic wands, the potential is already there in Tekken to create some memorable looking fits. Of course, they could be memorable for good or bad reasons, that’s up to you.
Still, some improvements could be made to the system as a whole. Tekken could take some cues from Soulcalibur’s customisation, which allows players to place designs, tattoos and scars in custom locations across a character’s body or clothing, and they can even change the patterns of a weapon or clothing. That alone would add more depth to Tekken’s customisation, and they could even make a way for players to share that content online through share codes or something similar.
4. More Fighting Game Crossovers
After the first golden era of fighting games, which culminated in crossovers like Capcom vs SNK around the turn of the millenium, the whole scene died down in terms of the mainstream. A few years later, Street Fighter IV put fighting games back on the map for a lot of people, but it felt like developers were gun shy about collaborating with each other. Over a decade and a half later, characters are popping up here, there and everywhere.
Tekken 7 featured a couple of fighting game crossovers, with Street Fighter’s Akuma playing a huge part of the game’s story, while SNK’s Geese Howard was the first DLC character for Tekken 7. It would be great to see more crossovers like that in Tekken 8, though they don’t have to be quite as involved in Tekken 8’s story as Akuma was. Unless you bring Geese back and have him body everyone. That’d be great, actually.
Also, on a personal note, can we get Negan from The Walking Dead to appear in Tekken 8? He’s my main in T7, so I’d like to hit the ground running when it comes to The King of Iron Fist Tournament 8. I just like it when the bat goes smack. Is that so wrong?
5. Bolstered Online Offerings
Improved online offerings seems like a blanket statement to be applied to most upcoming fighting games, as it’s only recently that major fighting games have been making the steps to add rollback netcode and other quality of life features to ensure the online experience is excellent. Tekken 8 should definitely follow suit in this regard, even if series director Katsuhiro Harada hasn’t been receptive to traditional rollback netcode in the past.
Connection aside, Tekken 8 could do more to make online play feel more like a community than it does. NetherRealm Studios and Arc System Works puts players in bigger lobbies for casual play, along with regular ranked matchmaking too, which would add a social element to the game. You could even tie it into an enhanced customisation system, as players could show off their customisations online here.
If “Fashion Souls” can be a thing, let’s get Fashion Tekken going.
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