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Tekken 8 - Gameplay, Characters, And Everything We Know

Tekken 8 is flexing new gameplay systems, impressive graphics, and a massive roster ahead of its release.


Fighting game fans have been eating well throughout 2023, and for fans of familial squabbles that can only be solved with a dip in a volcano, Tekken 8 is on the way. The next chapter in Bandai Namco's fighting game franchise is shaping up to be a stylish clash, one that is powered by Unreal Engine 5 and features new aggressive gameplay mechanics to help set it apart from previous entries.

Ahead of its release, we've gathered up everything that we know about the game so far, including which fan-favorite characters are appearing in its roster, when you can try the game out, and how the Heat system shakes up the fisticuffs formula. For more, check out our Tekken 8 review.

Tekken 8 Release date

With Heihachi Mishima dead, Kazuya is now Tekken's main antagonist.
With Heihachi Mishima dead, Kazuya is now Tekken's main antagonist.

At Gamescom Opening Night Live, series director Katsuhiro Harada officially confirmed that Tekken 8 will launch on January 26, 2024.

First revealed during PlayStation's September 2022 State of Play, Bandai Namco has regularly dropped character trailers for the game and early builds of the game have been made available for press and at special events as work continues on the new Iron Fist sequel.

Tekken 8 platforms

Like a number of other high-profile games, Tekken 8 will be leaving last-gen when it launches for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. It's worth noting that Tekken 8 breaks away from its arcade roots by being a console-first entry in the series.

Tekken 8 betas

The first closed network test for Tekken 8 will be held on July 21, and will be a massive slice of the game's core content. Players will be able to choose from 16 characters on the game roster and can battle one another in one of five stages. Beyond that, Bandai Namco hasn't confirmed any other closed or open betas for the game, but it's not uncommon for fighting games to do stress tests on the servers closer to release.

Tekken 8 storyline

For the first time in 25 years, Jun Kazama is ready to fight.
For the first time in 25 years, Jun Kazama is ready to fight.

Taking place six months after the events of Tekken 7, which saw longtime antagonist Heihachi Mishima finally meet his end at the hands of his son Kazuya, Tekken 8 continues the franchise's tale of terrible parenting. This time, the focus is on Kazuya and his son Jin Kazama, as their fated battle between the two bearers of the Devil gene will finally begin. After being missing in action for several games, Jun Kazama also returns to the fold, sporting a new design from Bayonetta artist Mari Shimazaki. If you're looking for a quick recap on the Tekken storyline, Succession's Brian Cox has you covered.

Tekken 8 roster

So far, Tekken 8 has over 30 playable characters, two of whom have alter-ego forms. The roster is made up of familiar faces like Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law, and Leroy Smith, and Jack-7 has been upgraded to Jack-8.

  • Alisa Bosconovitch
  • Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo
  • Asuka Kazama
  • Bryan Fury
  • Claudio Serafino
  • Devil Jin
  • Feng Wei
  • Hwoarang
  • Jack-7
  • Jack-8
  • Jin Kazama
  • Jun Kazama
  • Kazuya Mishima
  • King II
  • Kuma II
  • Lars Alexandersson
  • Lee Chaolan
  • Leo Kliesen
  • Leroy Smith
  • Lili de Rochefort
  • Ling Xiaoyu
  • Marshall Law
  • Nina Williams
  • Panda
  • Paul Phoenix
  • Reina
  • Sergei Dragunov
  • Shaheen
  • Steve Fox
  • Victor Chevalier
  • Yoshimitsu
  • Zafina

Tekken 8 gameplay

Paul Phoenix is finally letting his hair down.
Paul Phoenix is finally letting his hair down.

Compared to its rivals Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, Tekken games have emphasized three-dimensional brawling as players position all the space available within an arena. For the sequel, Tekken 8 has a noticeably more aggressive atmosphere, with the new Heat gauge system rewarding players for push-forward action. Every character has a unique fighting style and deep moveset, but it's the Heat system--a replacement for Tekken 7's Rage Drive--that really turns up the… well... heat.

This is essentially a new meter that grants each character new attacks and more tactical opportunities to punish enemies with powerful combos. Heat Burst lets you execute a flashy attack that gives you a window to start a combo, Heat Engagers are more complex, character-specific moves that add two stocks to your Heat gauge, and Heat Dash allows you to quickly close the gap. Lastly, Heat Smash consumes all of your Heat gauge and lets you throw out a powerful move in exchange. When in a Heat State, players can perform chip damage, and the properties of some moves are altered.

Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada also sees this new system as a way to draw in players to experiment with characters that they normally wouldn't use. "Because of the differences in the Heat system for each individual character, [players will] start off with their main, but then they'll see the [command] list and see what makes another character more unique in a Heat state that they'll gradually want to try other characters as well, and we really think it will induce that exploration," Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada said.

Stage destruction is also a big feature in Tekken 8, which won't just be fun to pull off, but also exciting to watch happen, as Bandai Namco has tailored the effect to make it stand out in esports events.

Tekken 8 graphics

Tekken 8 is the first major fighting game franchise to be developed on Unreal Engine 5. Built from the ground up using Epic's software, Harada said in an interview that the Unreal Engine 5 allows for small details to shine. "This is actually the first time that we're taking rain and outside effects and having that effect of rolling down the character models. And not just that," Harada said. "But when they fall down on the ground, their clothing gets dirty as a result. So you can see the kind of results of the battle on the character models."

The game also has some more overt details to gawk at, like ridiculously ripped characters popping veins and muscles with each strike inside the beautifully detailed environments.

Darryn Bonthuys on Google+

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