They have just ended The Game Awards 2022, with tons of incredible announcements and some unexpected surprises. During the ceremony there was also talk of fighting games, with trailers dedicated to the best known representatives of the genre: we are obviously talking about Tekken and Street Fighter. The presence of Tekken 8 at Geoff Keighley’s event had already been made official by Harada-san’s team through gadgets sent to the most important industry influencers, confirmations via social media and promotional videos.
All this suggested an announcement in a big way, with substantial gameplay sequences or a rather in-depth explanation of the new game mechanics. Unfortunately this was not the case, e the Tekken 8 trailer of about 1 minute and 20 seconds has left longtime fans of the saga with more questions than answers. However, carefully analyzing the video material provided and reading some statements by Harada himself, we are able to outline the contours of the eighth edition of the King of Iron Fist Tournament.
A long-awaited return
The first big news of this trailer concerns the return of one of the most beloved characters in the series, which was missing in a numbered title from the distant Tekken 2. We are talking about Jun Kazama, Jin’s mother and coach who acts as an angelic counterpart to the demonic Kazuya Mishima. We had already foreseen the presence of the fighter in the next chapter, considering the focus given to the events between Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 in the Netflix series dedicated to the Namco fighting game in our Tekken 8 specialbut its appearance in the trailer confirms our assumptions definitively.
In the video of The Game Awards, Jin seems to have the worst of Kazuya but thanks to the intervention of his mother (in the form of a vision) he manages to find the strength to fight back. Although Jun’s presence, in terms of lore, is not “in the flesh” at the moment, the complete render of her makes us think that in all probability we will see her as a playable character within the roster. She will of course a substantial adaptation of the moveset to modern standards is necessarysince – as already underlined – it is a character who has been missing from the scene for several years.
In the course of the video material shown, Jun loses many of his characteristics as a martial artist, appearing more like a sort of “conscience” of Jin Kazama: therefore it cannot be excluded that he may show supernatural/spiritual gifts which would improve his fighting skills, in a similar way to what happens with Kazumi in Tekken 7 (here the Tekken 7 review).
The intent of the fighter seems to be to purify the world from the evil forces that corrupt it, and could represent the tip of the balance for resolving the clash between good and evil that tears the Mishima family apart from the very first episode. We can’t wait to see the revamped moveset of the historic fighter in action, but this character reveal isn’t the only important aspect of the presentation.
According to Harada himself, the main key to understanding Tekken 8 will be aggression. In order to make the game attractive to those unaccustomed to the genre and at the same time give a rewarding experience not only to the players, but also to the spectators, we need to push the accelerator on the offensive aspects. According to the developer, the extremely defensive approach of some users could lead the games into a stalemate and therefore make the experience less enjoyable for the general public.
The development team’s effort will therefore focus on the will to make the offensive phases extremely advantageous, in order to discourage “turtling” tactics as much as possible and, at the same time, encourage action-oriented gameplay. For this purpose, the mechanics of the “Heat system” was conceived, which we can see during the video but of which we know very little. It can be observed how the fighters are sometimes surrounded by fiery auras and are able, through quick leaps forward, to continue offensive sequences that would otherwise have ended. The Heat system will therefore allow you to lengthen your strings of blows to leave no way out for your opponent, probably by exploiting a resource similar to the bars used for the “cancels” of 2D characters such as Akuma or Geese in Tekken 7. This mechanic could have a really important impact on the gaming ecosystem, making Tekken 8 one of the most experimental and daring chapters of the saga. However, a similar choice also involves considerable risks and could make the defensive phase extremely frustrating, especially in a saga that already puts the players’ reflexes and knowledge to the test.
The game roster
In the movie you can admire many classic characters from the series, in a heavily revised version. Indeed, they come back Paul, King, Jack, Lars and Forest Law, son of Marshall Law and recognizable by the absence of scars on the chest and a more youthful appearance than his father. The movesets don’t seem altered and contain some of the techniques that made them famous, such as the very powerful Paul’s Phoenix Smasherwhose power stands out even more thanks to the move to Unreal Engine 5.
Jin and Kazuya look like the fighters who got a heavier “makeover”, thank you to the integration of some “demonic” moves in their command list. The free transition from devil to human form seems to be one of the aspects most highlighted by this brief presentation, and it will be interesting to understand to what extent the presence of a warrior like Devil Jin will still make sense in the future of the saga.
Ultimately, Tekken 8 has all it takes to represent a fundamental chapter in the evolution of the Iron Fist saga and in general in the fighting game ecosystem. Some gameplay choices could be extremely risky and daring, and for this very reason we can’t wait to learn more about the Heat System. Is it finally time for an important breakthrough for Harada’s team?