By the time Tekken 6 is released, it will have been more than four years since the last "numbered" game in the long-running Tekken series. From our previous previews of the game, we know that Tekken 6 is going to be jam-packed with 40 characters to choose from, new fighting tweaks like the so-called "bound combo system" that will let you string aerial and ground combos together, and online features that are sure to add legs to the game. We recently spoke with the game's executive producer, Katsuhiro Harada, about the development of this much-anticipated fighter, online plans for Tekken 6, and Harada's thoughts on the recent fighting-game revival.
GameSpot: How is the development process going?
Katsuhiro Harada: It's going smoothly so far. When we developed the latest arcade installment, we added post-processing effects and animation blur while maintaining 60 frames, which really sets it apart from other games. As such, we've managed to harness most of the machine power. Of course, the same high quality will be maintained when the game makes its way to consoles. We have a lot more content planned this time than past console iterations, so that is one thing that is difficult about the console version.
GS: How has the reaction been since the multiplatform announcement?
KH: We had a lot of inquiries after we announced this. Even personally, I received a lot of mail regarding the multiplatform announcement. I received varying responses from people in the industry, ranging from "Wow, finally!" and "It makes sense from a software development viewpoint" to "Europe and North America are the main market for Tekken so I suppose you can't ignore the Xbox 360." People in the industry are mostly aware that 90 percent of Tekken sales are generated outside of Japan, so we want to ensure that the game is available to all of our fans.
GS: Have there been any fan messages that have surprised you?
KH: There were, actually. Some feedback was in favor of taking the franchise multiplatform, and some were against it. The feedback we received the most was "I don't care which platform. Just release the game as soon as possible!" Outside of Japan, there aren't as many arcades, so most players haven't been able to get their hands on the game since Tekken 5 or Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection for the PS3. Those fans are really vocal about this request.
In Japan and Asia, we can't release a console version too soon after the arcade release or the arcade market will suffer. We started work on Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion--in which we revamped the graphic engine--right after completing Tekken 6, so there was no time to start the console version just yet. So taking the game multiplatform had nothing to do with the schedule. We just finished the overseas arcade version and were finally able to concentrate on the console version. We hope everyone can hang on a little longer.
GS: What have the biggest challenges been in bringing Tekken 6 to multiple platforms?
KH: The biggest challenge will be providing the exact same experience on both platforms. Both platforms have similar overall capabilities, but there are also many differences, such as the difference between DVD and Blu-ray.
GS: Can you fill us in on any of the additional content and features we can expect in the home version?
KH: Tekken has always had a variety of minigames and modes for the console versions. Building on that experience, we plan to have a major console mode. In addition to this main mode, other modes that are a staple of the series will be back, along with new and exciting features. In any case, Tekken 6 is not about just the game's versus mode. There is a lot of console-specific content to enjoy.
GS: How much does user feedback affect the extra features you include?
KH: It affects development quite a lot. However, with Tekken, the opinions differ greatly among users in Europe, North America, Asia, and Japan. Sometimes the opinions are completely contradictory between different regions, making it quite difficult to disseminate the suggestions. Analyzing the feedback and incorporating it into the new elements in the game is a huge challenge, and it is one thing we continually focus on.
GS: What are your plans for online besides multiplayer? Should we expect any DLC?
KH: We're currently developing an online feature other than online versus [mode]--something that we haven't done before. It's going smoothly so far, but I can't go into any details at this moment.
GS: Considering the upcoming/recent releases of Street Fighter IV and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, what are your thoughts on the current fighting-game revival?
KH: I think it's great! For over 10 years, Tekken has been a popular fighting game franchise that sells 4 to 5 million copies with each installment, making it the top in its category.
In the past few years, we were quite disappointed to see the majority of arcades disappear in the US and Europe. Not only abroad, but in Japan as well, many arcade fighting games have disappeared. We were quite concerned that the genre itself might disappear, so we are extremely pleased to see a lot of the titles we respect regaining popularity. It really is great. Just as the first-person shooter genre has many established franchises, I would like to see the versus fighting genre continue to have its own established franchises. I believe it is then that the genre has real potential to grow and evolve.