What’s Past is Prologue

With the New Year still fresh, I thought about doing this little lookback at one of my most awaited games in 2009. Tekken 6 (as it was eventually known) has had a colorful past. The last release in the franchise was Tekken 5 (not counting the arcade and PS3 upgrade Dark Resurrection), which was quite a while before. As the next big chapter of Tekken to debut on Sony’s super-console, there was a lot riding on Tekken Next-Gen.

The original Tekken trailer for the PS3.

The original Tekken teaser showed just one character- main hero Jin Kazama, looking all sweaty and eerily lifelike and realistic. If this little tease was to be believed, Tekken PS3 would be awesome, with graphics beyond that of any CG animated movie so far shown. Detail was down to the life-like, sweating flesh and muscles, nostrils and nose-hairs (okay, probably not THAT detailed). But eventually, it was revealed that all this was bogus. Like the much-maligned Killzone trailer, this CG spot was just that- a CG fantasy and ‘projection’ or targeted image of the actual, upcoming game. This was made all the more apparent with the release of the second major Tekken trailer, at the E3 Expo in 2006.

A seldom-seen Tekken 6 trailer at E32006, starring then-newcomer Lili Rochefort and Jin Kazama.

The second Tekken 6 trailer seemed like something from Metal Gear Solid, looking at it now. Some over-the-top fighting action starring Lili Rochefort and Jin Kazama followed, with a bit of Hwoarang thrown in. Hwoarang’s interference seems to indicate a bit of connection with his Tekken 5 ending going into Dark Resurrection (hence Lili’s appearance), and also seemed to point to a possible Tag Team component. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the spot eventually turned out to be non-canon and just another footnote or What If scenario in the Tekken saga.

Though detailed, the character models in the E3 2006 trailer were nowhere near the level of the original teaser. This is probably the least impressive of the Tekken spots, despite some cool combat and a spotlight on Miss Lili Rochefort. To be fair, the actual in-game models in the actual game now are better than the stuff shown in the E3 trailer. It all went to show that at that point in time, perhaps there was a bit of misdirection in the series’ development.

The first REAL Tekken 6 trailer.

And THEN came gamers’ first real look at the Tekken sequel. The graphics were closer to what would eventually appear in the final game, but had a plasticky sheen and a stiffness which turned a lot of players off. Thankfully, most of these graphical issues have been addressed when the release version of Tekken 6 arrived in arcades in late 2007. Other stuff, like Items and Customization, drew mixed reactions. Customization was greatly improved over Tekken 5, but still could do with more improvement. The Item Moves were entertaining for the most part, and never really became an issue for game balance… a simple novelty which was good for a laugh or two every so often.

Since then, we’ve seen several trailers, each getting more spectacular and cinematic than the last, mixing actual gameplay along with pre-rendered cinematics. Thankfully we’re well past all the muddled confusion of before. We all know what’s in store for us later this year, aside perhaps for any new extras and of course the new content to be included with the home versions. So with one last look at how embattled Tekken was before, let’s all look forward to the best Rave War ever later this year.


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