Minimalism and Subtlety in Fighting Games

Or How Less Was More for the Arcade Classics.

Brilliantly, the Tekken team was able to tell a fascinating story in just 30 seconds without any dialogue. The Tekken 2 (1996) Armor King Cinematic Ending is revealed after completing the game’s arcade mode— I don’t want to over explain the cinematic, just watch the short clip above.

Basically, in just a few short shots, they are able to really add dramatic character to the mythos of Armor King. First and foremost, notice the color and shadows of the environment…notice the minimal usage of sound. Here they show us less is more.

This dramatization was apparent in almost all of the Tekken cinematic endings of that era. But notice the continuation of that tradition with the Tekken 3 cinematic for King:

Once again, a chilling ending. Here we see Armor King umasked but the shadows obscure his face…continuing the mystery surrounding the identity of this awesome wrestler.

Little short clips really helped add just enough for players to become invested in the characters; not because they gave us all the information, but because they left us asking more questions. We wanted to know more, but we still got a lot of information that focused on the attitude and motivation of the Tekken cast.

Witness the Virtua Fighter 2 Secret Ending

Here we are completely submerged in an aquatic arena. This time, with a cybernetic T1000 (Terminator 2) type breaking from it’s shell.

It’s imagery like this that makes us truly test our imagination and come back for more. In whatever you do, don’t be afraid to use subtly to make your message truly palatable and stylish….also play more Tekken and Virtua Fighter.