Tekken, as a fighting game series, has a long and storied history. It has been one of the premier 3D fighters on the market pretty much throughout the entire lifespan of the franchise. It wasn’t the first one out there – that honor belongs to Virtua Fighter. And these two series have more of a connection than most people know.
Back in the early nineties, Namco was doing 3D animation tests for characters. One such test expanded into a full-blown video game after the company acquired a development team from Sega. They had only recently finished working on the Virtua Fighter, a game that revolutionized the market and brought 3D into the fighting game industry. The designer of this game was Seiichi Ishii, and his first endeavor at Namco would be making a game that would go on to be historic, too. This game was Tekken 1 for the arcades, which was later ported to this new Sony platform called PlayStation.
The success of the platform itself was one of the contributing factors to the overall success of the early entries of Tekken. Ishii made another game for the franchise, which was a major improvement both visually and mechanically. But it wasn’t until the third entry that Tekken became a worldwide phenomenon that is fondly remembered even to this day. The gameplay became much more fluid, and the visuals extract all the possible juice out of the PlayStation graphics processing chip. The characters look crisp, striking, and memorable. This factor, coupled with easy-to-pick-up mechanics, contributed to the vivid images ingrained in people’s minds. They remember defeating their friends in two hits with Paul; they fondly reminisce about mashing cross with Hwoarang and getting away with it. They will never forget when they accidentally killed themselves with Yoshimitsu.
Many don’t realize this, but it was Tekken 3 that introduced the series’ first guest character – little dinosaur Gon from the eponymous manga by Masashi Tanaka.
He was the ultimate rage-inducing character, being small and annoying to hit. Back then, he was just a hidden character, a gag, funny licensed character. But if we were to look at the Tekken characters nowadays, we’ll see that the guest fighters are much more serious and better implemented than in the past. We have Noctis Lucis Caelum from Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV – a skilled prince that has the ability to use teleportation magic and wields weapons that manifest from thin air at his behest. We have old man Negan from the Walking Dead – a ruthless and merciless man who is an alpha-predator even in the world overrun with zombies. Then we have more traditional characters – Geese Howard and Akuma, 2D fighters that were adapted specifically for Tekken. They visited this 3D game from Fatal Fury and Street Fighter, respectively.
There is a good chance that when Tekken 8 (or Tekken Tag Tournament 3, for that matter) inevitably arrives, it will also have some spots for the guest characters. Let’s take a look at who would be a perfect fit for this.
Kiryu Kazuma / Goro Majima
At this point in time, we all know what the stance of Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of the Yakuza series, is. Fans have been clamoring for the possible inclusion of Kiryu Kazuma in Tekken, but the game designer has stated that the Dragon of Dojima never has and never will hit a woman. Kiryu is just principled like that. But there is a loophole out of this: we have already seen multiple characters occupying the same slot in Tekken with Eddy Gordo, Tiger Jackson, and Christie Monteiro. Admittedly, they shared the moves and all. But why not expand on this? We could have Kiryu Kazuma fighting all the menacing dudes, and if his opponent was a woman, he would swap places with Goro Majima, who doesn’t have problems with his conscience. They could have a somewhat similar moveset, as both of them are essentially street fighters, but with some key differences that wouldn’t require people to learn two matchups for a single character. Or, alternatively, Harada could simply lock Kiryu when his opponent is a woman. Both options work for us.
Tifa Lockhart has been a gaming icon for over two decades, teaming up with Cloud and co. to defend the planet against Sephiroth and Jenova in the original Final Fantasy VII. Her popularity got an immense boost after the release of the Final Fantasy VII Remake in 2020. Her design was slightly tweaked from her appearance in the Advent Children movie, and now she looks better than ever. And she fights better than ever, too. She lays the smackdown on her foes with her bare hands when her comrades have to resort to using broadswords, Gattling guns, boomerangs, and other deadly weapons like loudspeakers. In fact, her fighting style from the remake can be seamlessly transitioned to Tekken with only minor tweaks needed. She’s such a fan favorite that enthusiasts made a mod that replaces Josie with Tifa’s model.
Baki Hanma is the protagonist of the famous manga series Baki the Grappler, written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. There, he’s the son of the strongest human alive, Yujiro Hanma, and a very competent fighter in his own right. Built like a brick wall, he employs devastating kicks and punches in his arsenal. His main style is MMA, so he’s well-versed in both striking and grappling sides. Overall, he’s more of a pragmatic fighter, preferring sure-fire means of action to those more flashy and flamboyant. In the end, it’s the victory that matters and the lessons you can learn from it. A character that was designed to be a fighter from the ground up could be an excellent addition to the Tekken roster in the future.
Ada Wong is the prime femme fatale of the Resident Evil franchise. A skilled agent, she primarily specializes in subterfuge, spying, and covert operations that require discretion. At a glance, she doesn’t look especially strong in hand-to-hand combat, and that’s where you’d be wrong. She proves, time and again, that she’s adept at fighting when she has no other options. Her athleticism allows her to go toe to toe with Leon S. Kennedy, a trained operative, and even survive the fight with the mutated Jack Krauser. Admittedly, there is already a character that fits the same archetype in the Tekken franchise – Nina Williams. The key difference between them is, Nina prefers to get up close and personal with her opponent, while Ada fancies keeping her distance. She has some neat tricks up her sleeve for that – like grappling guns and actual crossbows. There is no doubt that she would feel right at home among the Tekken character cast.
It’s obvious that the amount of guest characters people want to see in Tekken games is staggering. Big Boss, Ryu Hayabusa, Chun Li, Captain Falcon, even Katsuhiro Harada himself has been suggested by the overzealous fans. We can’t be sure when the next game in the series will come out or who will be featured in it. But what we do know is that there will be no middle ground – fans will either love included characters or absolutely loathe them.
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