Tekken 7 Director: Crossover Characters Are A Bit More Difficult Than Expected

Tekken 7 is seeing a great deal of starpower this time around, including Akuma from Street [...]


Tekken 7 is seeing a great deal of starpower this time around, including Akuma from Street Fighter, Geese Howard from the Fatal Fury series, and, as of recently, Noctis from Final Fantasy XV.

But adding characters to a fighting game isn't nearly as easy as you might think, according to Tekken producer and director Katsuhiro Harada. He recently spoke to Gamespot about the challenges of adding familiar faces to the world of Tekken.

First up, he addressed how characters are balanced within the game. "One of the things we face with Geese, and this is kind of similar with Akuma, is that we didn't receive any assets from SNK or Capcom. We created the character from scratch, so all the character modeling, the animations, everything we did on our own. And also, when taking new characters and putting them into our game, obviously, the Tekken characters have a lot of techniques, a hundred or so on average per character. The 2D fighters, they have their very famous techniques that we implement first, but then we have to also fill out the rest of their technique list with moves to mesh them well with the Tekken. Even before we get to the balancing part of the development, this section alone is quite the priority.

"As far as the game balance goes, two characters fighting each other on the ground is something we have a lot of experience and confidence in as far as the frame data, the attributes that we give to the techniques, how much time they need to recover after their techniques, etc. All these balancing issues are something we're very familiar with, but when we implemented Akuma, he appeared to be quite strong to a lot of people at first because he was one of the first characters in a 3D fighting game to actually be able to jump at your opponent like you do in the 2D games, and Tekken wasn't designed like that. So, some characters don't really have a lot of options against that particular aspect, at first, when he was released. So we've continued to balance out Akuma through a series of different patches after we released him. Now we feel that the feedback from the community is that he's fairly balanced. But it took some time developing that. We're in a good space with the blend of 2D characters with our game."

He was also asked about the idea of future characters in crossover situations, including fighters from Street Fighter and Guilty Gear. "After doing two collaborations so far in Tekken 7, one thing we found is it's a lot more difficult than we've originally come to vision. First off, there might be a certain character that we would want to do that maybe the person on the other end, the other company and their licensors, might not be on board. Or it could be something that the fighting game community would really like to see, but that particular IP owner wouldn't sign off on being in Tekken.

Even a lot of times, the point is not to try to take the fans from the respective IP and bring them into Tekken. It's more, by adding that IP if fighting games as a whole kind of become more exciting, and you attract a newer audience that wouldn't have bought either game in the first place because it's so exciting, and that's really what we're trying to achieve from a marketing goal, especially. So when you look at these kind of collaborations, there might be some that the fighting game community just go crazy about, so some of the marketing people in charge might be in the mind that 'Okay, that might be really cool for the hardcore fans, but it wouldn't bring a new audience.' Collaboration is really, we've found, quite difficult. It's just that in certain cases, we think, 'Yeah, this is awesome.' The IP owner then thinks, 'Yeah, this is cool. Let's do it.' And the marketing guys as well say, 'Yeah, that's a good opportunity.' And then it's finally able to come together. It is a lot more difficult than we originally imagined."

Geese Howard is expected to be added to the game later this year, while Noctis will make his debut early next year.

Tekken 7 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.