Tekken 6 Console: GamePro Interviews Katsuhiro Harada

Gamepro scores a long and very interesting interview with the Tekken Team’s main man, Katsuhiro Harada. Lots of meaty info here about the upcoming PS3 version of Tekken 6, so check it out!

Soulcalibur IV’s create-a-character mode was a huge hit, and Tekken 6 is getting a lot more character customization options. Do you think it will be as flexible as the character creation in SCIV? Will people be able to recreate famous characters from other mediums?

Katsuhiro Harada: Yes, Tekken 6 will give much more flexibility in terms of character customization. The system for customization is different from that in Soulcalibur IV or Tekken 5. The [character] model and the actual clothing are separate layers. The player can customize tops and bottoms as well as inner and outer layers of clothing.

We also completely changed the hairstyle customization system. Before, in Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, the system was limited to changing the color and certain styles. The new system allows the user to create the hairstyle of their choice by, for instance, allowing them to change the right and left of the front part of a hairstyle, or to change the top part of the hairstyle, etc. The new system offers a lot more freedom and is entertaining. As for whether it is possible to recreate characters from other mediums, it’s hard to say.

Have you made any decisions regarding online play and how matchmaking will work? The system in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online is fine but basic. Will this online system be enhanced for Tekken 6, and how so?

Katsuhiro Harada: Unfortunately I cannot reveal everything about the online functions of the game at this time. However, I will tell you that we have something new and exciting planned in addition to the regular versus game play.

In terms of matchmaking, we are focusing on the compatibility of players’ connections and hope to improve online matching in this way. Of course, Tekken 6 will improve on the system from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection in so many ways.

My favorite character is Sergei Dragunov, and he was introduced in Tekken 5: DR along with Lili and Armor King. Will these “new, but not-new” characters be enhanced for Tekken 6? What is your approach to upgrading these kinds of “new-ish” characters?

Katsuhiro Harada: Yes, I know you like Sergei Dragunov. 🙂

Given that Tekken 6 is the first Tekken game for consoles since Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Tekken 5 DR required a network connection, and most US Tekken fans may not have had an opportunity to try the arcade version of Tekken 6. I believe it’s safe to say that both Dragunov and Lili are like-new characters for most US console players.

Firstly, these new Tekken 5 DR characters were given new moves, as well as having their animations renewed for the arcade version of Tekken 6. They then received new moves and had their animations refined and game balance tweaked even further for Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion. So, they have been greatly updated since Tekken 5 DR, and we believe players will find a new level of quality and volume available for them in the console version of Tekken 6.

Tekken 6 (the arcade original) did take some criticism from Tekken pros for its massive wall-juggle and bound combos. How have combos been refined and adjusted in Tekken 6? Will these mega-combos no longer work, or work differently? Is there a better way to escape them? In short, how does Tekken 6 on consoles address the perceived shortcomings of Tekken 6 (arcade)?

Katsuhiro Harada: The console version of Tekken 6 is based on Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, which is an upgrade of the arcade Tekken 6. We created Tekken 6 BR based on user feedback from the arcade version of Tekken 6. Players can expect all of the game balancing and additions of Tekken 6 BR to make it into the console version.

Both expert and novice players, as well as our staff, did not want to simply decrease the number of combos or make adjustments that would decrease the freedom in gameplay. We changed the damage system when bounding or being hit against the wall, and the ultimate outcome was a general reduction in damage. We also added more open stages that have a greater distance to the walls. The wall-less stages of previous versions are also included so these changes help balance the game in regards to Bound and wall combos.

We believe that narrowing gameplay options would result in Tekken 6 losing some of the over-the-top excitement experienced during aggressive game play that the series is known for. The possibility of chaining an aerial juggle to knocking your opponent through the floor, picking them up when they are bound, and then carrying them to the wall is still there though. Part of the strategy involved is getting your opponent into a position to pull this off. For advanced players and novices alike, whether this is possible depends on the match up between you and your opponent.

Do you have any desire to port Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection or Tekken 6 to the Wii at some point? Why or why not?

Katsuhiro Harada: That would be very interesting. Like the Xbox 360 owners, if Wii owners are passionate and make it known they really want the series on their system, we would love to be able to answer that request.

Hearing about the huge number of Xbox 360 owners who are Tekken fans, especially in North America, definitely played a huge part in influencing us to bring the game to that system.

As for the Wii, the standard controller lacks the right number of buttons and the placement is awkward, so… I suppose the classic controller could handle it!

Also, Namco Bandai has mentioned that many attack animations have been recreated for Tekken 6. How does this impact the gameplay and overall experience? What kinds of moves did you re-create the animations for?

Katsuhiro Harada: There are several different reasons for animation revisions. Depending on the reason, the results are different.

(1) Fans wanted better or cooler-looking animation.

(2) The look and flow of the animation seems weaker or more powerful than the actual move’s damage or properties.

(3) We want to add a new purpose to the move to open up more possibilities.

There are some finer details, but most animation fixes and re-makes are done for one of these three reasons.

In the first two cases, we hope the new animation will fix these issues. In the third case, the re-animated move may be used to lead into some new combo, or it may affect a character’s effective range, making it easier to fight at certain distances that were difficult before. Elements like this change the strategy and make it easier for the player’s actions to have a more direct impact on gameplay.

In earlier Tekkens, you could play an old Namco game when you first started the game up. Do you have any plans to introduce a “Loading Screen” mini-game to Tekken 6? If so, what might it be?

Katsuhiro Harada: We are currently looking into that possibility.

What can you tell us about the new Tekken 6 characters Alisa Boskonovitch and Lars Alexanderson? They seem to have very different fighting styles than the other characters. Are they aimed at newcomer players? Are they similar to other characters in any way?

Katsuhiro Harada: With Tekken 6, four new characters were added: Bob, Miguel, Zafina, and Leo. These four characters are loosely based on Tekken fan suggestions from around the world. Different approaches were taken in developing these four characters; some are made with experts in mind while others are for older Tekken fans or beginners.

For the two new characters in Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, we took a different approach. In terms of Alisa, we purposefully decided on a character design that would be totally new to the series in the hopes of attracting new fans. We also made her relatively straightforward and easy to control.

As for Lars, we decided to make a character that would feel new to long-time players who have already grasped the feel of most of the older characters. His motions (character animations), moves, and controls are all quite new and add new strategic possibilities to the series.

Can you offer any details on the storyline, and what’s at stake in the new tournament?

Katsuhiro Harada: In the last King of Iron Fist Tournament 5, Jin Kazama defeated his great grandfather Jinpachi and took control of the Mishima Zaibatsu. The powerful Mishima Zaibatsu, controlled by Jin, then utilized the military might of the Tekken Force to incite conflict and to cause turmoil for the entire world.

The Zaibatsu then declared independence from, and fought against the rest of the world. It appeared the Mishima Zaibatsu would soon take control of the world, when suddenly Kazuya Mishima, taking control of the mysterious military organization known as the G Corporation, stood against them. Taking on the Mishima Zaibatsu forces, the G Corporation gained in popularity and support grew among the citizens of the world. The G Corporation then announced that it would give a substantial bounty for anyone who could capture Jin Kazama alive. Jin decided to purposefully play into Kazuya’s hands and opened The King of Iron Fist Tournament 6 amidst the current global conflict. Jin and Kazuya’s rivalry heated up.

It was then that Lars Alexanderson, a young officer in the Tekken Force, turned on the Mishima Zaibatsu with many of the soldiers under him and rebelled against the Zaibatsu.

Who is Lars? What were his motives? And most importantly, why did Jin Kazama, after immediately taking control of the Mishima Zaibatsu, become such an evil and frightening force to the entire world? These questions will be answered in the console version of Tekken 6.

Among the new characters in the game, some have lost family in the chaos caused by Jin Kazama. Some are intertwined with Kazuya Mishima. The older characters from the series come into play as well. We think users will have a lot of fun seeing this new chapter of the story.

What is your personal favorite addition to the gameplay in Tekken 6? It could be the way the new animations feel while you play, or re-tuned combos, or anything like that. In short, why is this “THE” version of Tekken 6 to play?

Katsuhiro Harada: For these ten-some years producing the Tekken series, we have pursued certain concepts consistently. Tekken is an aggressive, destructive, and brutal game with an edge; and its gameplay is very thrilling and fulfilling for the player. This is how we always envision the series and I believe Tekken 6 is the closest it has come to these ideals.

Read the Original Gamepro article (with new pics) here.

GODDAMN. I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT FOR THIS GAME!!!! AWESOME!!!!

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