Harada Discusses New Characters, Game Mechanics, and Unexpected Easter Eggs in TEKKEN 8 on his Youtube show, "Harada's Bar".
In a recent interview, Katsuhiro Harada, the renowned game developer and producer, discussed various aspects of his latest project, TEKKEN. His insights provide a unique look into the development process, character design, and the overall philosophy behind one of the most iconic fighting games. Below are the key questions from the interview, along with Harada's responses (translated into English.)
Question: This character Azucena has an MMA striker fighting style. Is she modeled after any specific martial artist?
Harada: No specific martial artist was used as a model for Azucena. She is an MMA champion, primarily focused on striking – a style not much explored in TEKKEN previously. MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, especially ground fighting, influenced her development. We wanted a character that embodies a striker yet is proficient in MMA. She's created to emphasize agility and striking, moving freely around the ring.
Question: Azucena has unique attacks– Did you, Mr. Harada, have any specific new concepts you wanted to try with her?
Harada: More than myself, it was our battle team that took on the challenge with Azucena. I didn't give detailed instructions about her battle gimmicks and mechanics. The team independently developed her proficiency in dodging high attacks, which was quite surprising to me as well.
Question: In the Peru stage, there are UFOs and aliens. Is this because of your interest in the occult, Mr. Harada?
Harada: The inclusion of UFOs and aliens in the Peru stage wasn't my idea. Our background team has always been keen on incorporating such elements. In fact, aliens have been hidden in the game's backgrounds since TEKKEN 5, often inserted without my permission.
Question: With the introduction of new characters like Azucena, Victor, and Reina, are there any recommendations or key points for players on which characters might suit their playstyle?
Harada: Each character in TEKKEN 8 is designed to be approachable for a variety of players. Victor is particularly popular within our diverse staff and is easy to play, effective at both close range and from a distance. Azucena is a bit trickier, suitable for players who can make bold moves. Reina, utilizing a specific fighting style, might particularly appeal to players from Peru.
Question: The costumes of the 32 characters in TEKKEN are overwhelmingly cooler and cuter than in previous works. Are there any plans for apparel development or merchandise sales?
Harada: Yes, we are considering apparel merchandise. While updating the costumes for TEKKEN 8, we've kept elements that allow players to instantly recognize the characters. The idea is to have items like Reina's clothing that could be worn as normal attire, not just cosplay. We're also thinking about expanding into shoes, given the interest many have in sneakers.
Question: On November 12th, at the Evo Tekken Showcase, Aslan Ash from Pakistan caused a stir with the new character Azucena. You mentioned that a nerf for Azucena was confirmed. Is that true?
Harada: The comment about nerfing Azucena was more to balance the initial strong impressions. Realistically, the strength of a character can only be determined after extensive gameplay and analysis. We continuously adjust all characters until the release to achieve the right balance.
Question: Regarding the 'exhibition match', what is your perspective on this concept? And how did you feel about the match showcasing Azucena?
Harada: Exhibition matches should showcase the charm and techniques of the sport, rather than just focus on winning. The match with Azucena turned out to be one-sided due to players' unfamiliarity with her. Ideally, I would have preferred to see a balanced match that better demonstrates the appeal of TEKKEN 8.
Question: Finally, regarding the gifts from Peru, including hats and beanies, would you mind trying them on, Mr. Harada?
Harada: I'm not really suited for hats, as I've learned from past experiences. Even Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., couldn't help but laugh when he saw me in a hat. The hats and beanies from Peru are nice, but wearing them might not give the best impression due to how I look in hats. It's a bit of a personal style challenge for me.