Friday, September 16th, 2022

IGN Interviews Harada on TEKKEN 8


Before the big reveal of TEKKEN 8 earlier this week prior to the Tokyo Game Show, IGN sat down with producer Katsuhiro Harada to talk about the highly-anticipated next installment of the TEKKEN franchise. There are some interesting takeaways from IGN's 90-minute interview, including Harada stating that "all models and everything from TEKKEN 7 have been totally discarded" for TEKKEN 8. The extent of that remains to be seen, as Harada's quote pertains to graphics, mostly. TEKKEN 8's transition to Unreal Engine 5 marks a monumental leap and major visual turning point in the series, as everything is being built from the ground up.

Regarding the completely reworked graphics utilizing the most modern technology of Unreal Engine 5, Harada uses the example of the rain effects rolling down the faces of Kazuya and Jin in the trailer, describing how TEKKEN 8 will be visually different from its predecessor and mark a new generation of fighting games.

Katsuhiro Harada: "Tekken 7 had something that appeared similar; that when the character fell down or during the battle, they would appear to be sweating or something. But that was just a parameter in the game in how it was displayed. This is actually the first time that we're taking rain and outside effects and having that effect of rolling down the characters models. And not just that, 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," Harada says.
IGN: You’ve made a lot about Tekken 8 being on next-gen technology. Can you tell me about what it's been like to use Unreal Engine 5 for the first time, getting to grips with it? You were talking about the real time reflections and the rain rolling down and everything, but talk to me about some of the more subtle aspects of working with Unreal Engine 5.

Katsuhiro Harada: It's a very difficult question. From a developer's perspective, not just for us, but developers in general in the industry, it's different from the end users' impression, where kind of like an iPhone 4 was being used up until a certain date and then, "Okay, now the iPhone 5 is out, it's awesome, it's brand new, everything works so much better." That's kind of the impression that your average user has when this new Unreal Engine 5 comes out. But in reality, it's not that case at all. It's like it's a continuing process. Obviously, we didn't just start developing a game on UE5. UE5 was announced quite some time ago, but we haven't seen games for it yet.

So we started on UE4 and gradually started porting certain elements of the game over into UE5 and also confirming the results. Like, “Okay, oh wow, the graphic level on this particular area improved greatly.” And then other areas as well – the things that are important for a fighting game: the response time…those kind of things are stuff that we've been porting out into the game and then figuring out what to expect in that area as well. And we’ve been working closely with Epic to figure out how to optimize some of those processes for input. So we're just starting and it's going to continue from now on.

IGN: Can you talk to me about the early planning phases of Tekken 8? What were the discussions in the room with the team?

Katsuhiro Harada: Yeah. I mean, obviously, as you can see in the trailer, the graphics are something that we really focused on. And I know that sounds kind of trite, but if you look back at the franchise and see where it did well – like Tekken 3 on the PlayStation 1, maybe Tekken Tag Tournament on PS2 – there was the variety of modes and the gameplay that people liked, but an important aspect has always been the kind of graphics people can expect on new hardware. And not just from a certain segment of the community or audience, but from PlayStation fans in general, from casual players to hardcore fighting game enthusiasts. Everything was about the graphics at first.

During the PlayStation 1 days, just to have a game at that time be in polygons and make it look like a showpiece of technology, was something that really drove the audience for the game. And we felt that after all these years, that's something that hasn't changed. So we really decided what we wanted to do with the graphic benchmark of the game, what the tone of manner was going to look like visually. All of that stuff was one of the first things I think we discussed at the beginning of the project.

Later in the interview, IGN asked Harada a variety of questions regarding Rage Mode, Customization depth, the return and evolution of the highly-acclaimed and innovative Slow Motion mechanic, and the impact of guest characters on the series. Continue reading some more snippets from IGN's interview.
IGN: How did you feel about the reaction to the Rage system in Tekken 7? And will Rage Arts and Rage Drive be returning for this entry?

So regarding rage arts, we first added the Rage system, and then like you're saying, Rage arts, et cetera, were added for Tekken 7. So initially when we added Rage, there was a lot of backlash because people thought 3D fighters have combat mechanics built in where if you're getting damaged, you get some kind of meter that builds and allows you to do more attacks. Where before Rage was implemented, Tekken didn't have anything like that, so people thought that 3D fighters should not have that kind of stuff – that the only way to win was by being better than your opponent. And what was seen as a comeback mechanic was not very popular at first when people found out about it.

Fast-forward to Tekken 7, and we have the Rage Arts, Rage Drives, et cetera, and people had that same kind of opinion, where they don't think it fit. But maybe three months after the game was out and people had had time to digest it and play enough matches, the opinion drastically changed to, "Hey, this is actually a good addition to the game. It makes it more exciting both to play and to watch." So from that perspective we feel that it worked out quite well for [Tekken 7]. Regarding [Tekken 8], that's something that, unfortunately we can't talk about what's going to happen with the game mechanics today. That's something that we hope people will look forward to at a later date.

IGN: Will there be an arcade version before an updated console version like previous Tekken games or will it go straight to console?

Katsuhiro Harada:
Unfortunately, for the platforms, we can only talk about the ones that are announced right here. PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam. What we can say is that this is the first time in the history of the series that we've announced a console version first. So that in itself is quite notable. And that's all we can say at this point.

IGN: The trailer seems to imply expanded slow-mo during the actual game mechanics, not just at the end of the round. And I'm wondering if you can comment on that?

Katsuhiro Harada: That's something we can't really comment on decisively because actually we had points of slow motion in Tekken 7 outside of what you were mentioning – where you have low health, et cetera – it just wasn't as pronounced so people didn't notice it as much. It looks cool to have slow motion during the matches, but you can't just put it in whenever you want to, because it looks cool…it gets in the way because it slows down the tempo, et cetera. So there's a really fine balance that you have to achieve, and that's something that's not been fixed or locked in yet. So we can't say either way at the moment.

IGN: I know it's still early, but a big question that is being asked by a lot of fans is, how much customization can we expect? Something on the level of say Tekken Tag Tournament 2, that kind of thing?

Katsuhiro Harada: So that's an interesting topic because I was just joking that I should have never included customization. It was included for [Tekken 5] and I didn't think that it was going to be such a thing until after it was released and everyone just really took to it. Like you said, [Tekken Tag Tournament 2[ and even Tekken 7 had a lot of options, but people still want more. We brought up that the people who want more sometimes build their own mods and customization is even crazier. So it's just amazing how much people are really into customizing their character.

I have a theory that fighters like Street Fighter and others usually have just set skins because they saw what we have to do to develop customization and how intensive it is on resources. They're like, no, we're not going to do that. That's my theory.

IGN: How satisfied were you with the guest characters in the previous installment?

Katsuhiro Harada: We were quite happy with the results. When we first announced guest characters, the fans were just so shocked, both good and bad. But just that reaction that they got from first seeing it was really satisfying. It was ultimately a win for us because they did quite well. It was a win for the fans because they got something brand new and different for the series, and it was a win for the IP owners because they saw what we made and they saw the reactions from the fans and they were really happy about the results of it. So I think everyone in general, all around, was quite happy with the guest characters and how they turned out for Tekken 7.

There was one drawback. The president of our company, [Yasuo Miyakawa]... it was his first time ever going to EVO in Las Vegas. He had one of those box areas, the VIP seating, and we were watching the first match of the game. Normally I would sit next to him and explain the players, the characters they were using, the strategy, et cetera.

But it was funny because at that same time, just out of the blue, [Yasuyuki Oda], who used to work at Capcom…he was at our VIP area and he sat down with the president and said, “Hey, I'm Oda, nice to meet you.” And then he sat down and instead of me explaining what's going on, he was pointing out Akuma from Street Fighter, Geese from the SNK series, etc. So he was quite entertained to see that, but it was like, wow, that's one of the things you have to watch out for with guest characters I suppose.

IGN: Is this something you could see yourself doing again for Tekken 8?

Katsuhiro Harada: We’re not talking about wanting the guest characters to hang around for Tekken 8, but in general – not even just for Tekken, but in general – it is something that we are really happy we did because it's good to get that kind of motivation from working with some new material and also just the connections that you make with other people in doing so.

I brought up that working with Oda-san from SNK and how we had him on our panel at Comic Con one year and that building those relationships is also a really cool part of working with other companies. It's obviously something that we enjoy doing, and if the fans enjoy it, it's something that we would consider again. That's as far as we can go.

Watch the TEKKEN 8 Reveal Trailer in 4K if you haven't! also recently posted an article on TEKKEN 8 featuring commentary by Katsuhiro Harada. Bandai Namco confirmed TEKKEN 8 is currently in development for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. No release date or release window has been specified thus far, but we'll keep you updated. Be sure to keep it here on Fighters Generation for more TEKKEN 8 news and reveals!
~TFG Webmaster, Frank Joseph | @Fighters_Gen


 Sources:  IGN                  

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