Fighting game fanatics got their first real look at Bandai Namco’s newest entry in its long-running Tekken series during last year’s PlayStation State Of Play. Now a bunch of hands-on previews for Tekken 8 have dropped, and among the revelations is the fact that Tekken is taking a page out of its rival Street Fighter’s playbook by adding special character interactions before fights start.
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Tekken commentator and YouTuber Spag is among those who’s had hands-on time with the game’s alpha build, and he’s made a video compiling every included Tekken 8 character’s intros, outros, and rage art (think super moves), which you can watch here. But for the sake of this article, we’ll be looking at the special intros (edited down by online publication and podcast ArcadePress) and diving into why these interactions are so meaningful to folks who play fighting games for the story like me.
The first special interaction is between series’ protagonist Jin Kazama and coup instigator Lars Alexandersson. While this interaction leaves much to be desired in terms of trash-talking, that very lack of fire-spitting is significant, reflecting that these two are among those in the Mishima family with the least amount of animosity toward each other. The Mishima family tree is the epitome of volatility, but these two even do a little fist-bump like SF’s Ryu and Ken. We love a healthy relationship between a nephew and his uncle where the latter doesn’t randomly punch the former in an effort to “toughen him up.” That’s what life is for.
Next is Jin’s little interaction with Chinese martial artist Ling Xiaoyu. If you couldn’t tell by Ling’s desperate line about “an exchange of blows” being “revealing” before their fight, she’s got one-sided feelings for the stoic hero. Going off his non-committal reply, she’s better off without him.
The spiciest special Tekken 8 interaction, however, goes to Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama. For those not keeping track of Mishima BS, these two were married and gave birth to Jin. “Were” being the operative word, because Jun was believed to have been killed. Depending on the continuity, Jun’s untimely demise happens because of a house explosion or at the hands of Ancient Ogre. Not unlike Kazuya’s terrible father Heihachi being shocked at how binding wedding vows were with the “return” (gameplay-wise) of his deceased wife Kazumi Mishima in Tekken 7, Kazuya will have a lot to hash out with his beloved as well. Heavy is the head that tosses their father into a pit of lava.
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For the past couple of months, Bandai Namco has intermittently been shadow-dropping character trailers for new and returning fighters in Tekken 8. These brief trailers work to showcase each fighter’s new or updated character design and move list to help newcomers and series veterans alike decide which characters they’ll main upon the game’s release. I’ll probably main King by virtue of him being a professional wrestler that has Jushin Thunder Liger’s Liger Bomb in his move set. King, you’re the coolest. For posterity, here are all the confirmed characters in Tekken 8 (so far):
If these special character intros are anything to go off of, I pray Bandai Namco confirms Steve Fox for Tekken 8 so we can witness him call out the series’ worst mom, Nina Williams, for being a deadbeat mother. Give the boxing lad some retribution.