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Interviews with Harada on Tutorial Mode, Tekken 7 Development and the Future

New interviews with the Tekken head producer Katsuhiro Harada surfaced recently on some gaming sites. The PushSquare & PC Games N's interviews with Harada go over some pretty interesting topics like the current development circumstances for Tekken 7 as well as some minor insights on what they're thinking of for the future of the series. The PGN interview mainly goes over the decision to not include a tutorial into the game but the PushSquare features a more extensive discussion. I'll be adding notable snippets from both below but feel free to read the source interviews in full over on their respective sites:

PushSquare Interview ≫

PCGamesN Interview ≫


▌Tekken 7 DLC, Development & Future
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On capturing the attention of more casual gamers:

Katsuhiro Harada: One thing that has changed is the interaction with fans. Instead of having our games played in the arcade and interacting with the players asking questions, there is also now feedback from the internet via different social media platforms. It’s no longer interaction just between fans and the developers but fan discussions from the different communities and countries. Trying to understand exactly what the overall player base wants has become more difficult as you have different groups saying different things. It’s hard to tell which one is the more popular opinion since we get much more visibility on the community now via social media. That aspect is a bit more difficult.

When you look at this new player base, a lot of them are watching and streaming a lot of games and tournaments. To try and go after these people watching the streams, we made the game easier to understand by adding in “Rage Arts”. They give you a visual cue of when the tide in the battle is turning so that viewers can feel the same excitements as the player. Also the super slow motion occurs when players are low on health and they trade blows towards the end of a match. These things where designed to make it more entertaining to watch and thus appeal to that new group.

On the development of the Tekken 7 Story Mode:

We started development on the story mode after Tekken 7 Fated Retribution released in the arcade. That would make it about a year which for a fighting game is quite a long time as they are usually not so long in development. That being said, that was still not enough time. There were still a lot of things that we wanted to do but couldn’t due to time constraints although a lot of time and money was devoted to that particular mode.

Tekken has a fan base that looks forward to the story based elements or past modes so it’s something we would like to continue to explore with future iterations of the game. With games like Call of Duty, you have a group of players that don’t play the online versus, they just play through the campaign because they want to see the story from that particular instalment. This is similar to Tekken. We would like to make a comprehensive story mode which casual people would pick up the game to play through to find out what happens.

On future DLC / update plans and returning characters:

Originally I was quite against paid DLC during the Tekken Tag 2 era so I made it free but it does take a lot of money to develop characters, content and make fixes to the game. Support is typically ended 2-3 months after release. Having a season pass would allow new characters to be provided and continue support of the game making fixes and balance changes for at least a year post launch. This is something we were able to get the company to agree with. I feel the season pass is necessary as it costs so much money and time to develop new content. It’s difficult for companies to release new characters for free after launch.

That being said, I understand that people want to see returning characters implemented to the game but it is not so simple. If you just made all of the same characters from the past instalments you are going to have people who say, 'there is nothing new, give me new characters'. If you then take all the characters you’ve ever made and then put them in one game with the addition of new characters, it will be too much. For Tekken Tag 2 this was a problem that occurred.

If you have a game which only has 5 characters, it won’t be difficult to learn because you only have to learn to fight against only five characters. What about a game with 50 characters?

Many different players say that they want to see returning characters but also want the game to be accessible. This is not a simple problem and we struggle to figure the optimal number of characters for a fighting game to keep it accessible. There is also the issue of what to do with characters that didn’t return and how DLC should be handled. It is still something I struggle with.

On the future of Tekken:

It’s hard to say because we can’t reveal our plans for the future of the franchise. A few things that can be said is from the release of Tekken 7, we gained a lot of hints from the addition of rage arts and the super slow-motion camera which changed the way people enjoyed playing and spectating. There’s still a lot we can do to make the game more enjoyable for people who are watching on stream, the streamers themselves and from an eSports level. 

We have the tournament mode implemented in the game but perhaps we could advance those feature to change the experience. Online play too is something we look to make a more enjoyable experience. We could add different ways to play. For example, in Japan a popular tournament format is three-on-three and five-on-five. We could give these options to the players to compete against each other.

There are a lot of different hints that we have gained from people’s reactions playing Tekken and feel there is a lot of stuff we still can do before delving into a huge new project. There is still a lot to be done. That’s the only bit we can touch on publicly. 

Doing all these features cost a lot of money so another key part is probably to look for a working partner to make things happen more efficiently.

▌Tekken 7 Tutorials Interview
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“We can tell with most of our games which modes players are spending time in,” says Harada. “We have that data in our company. You hear a lot of people say this game is great because it has a tutorial but when we look at the data, not many people play these tutorial modes. This is the same when you buy something new, you take it home and you don’t read the manual. It’s a positive for your product if you can say you have a tutorial but when you take a closer look you notice that people aren’t really playing it.“

“As you’re playing through the story mode,” says Harada, “you naturally learn things like, ‘oh, this can be side stepped’ or ‘this character has this powerful special move if I learn how to use it properly.’ In the story mode, you can perform these with a simplified command so once you know about it, you can practice to perform this with the normal command.”


Harada Header image source: Nikkei BP ITPro

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