anibee Features: Tekken Producer Katsuhiro Harada!
Having begun on the original Playstation in 1994, the fighting game series, TEKKEN, has since grown into a massive franchise with 6 main titles and 3 spin-off games. Let's not forget the recent release of Street Fighter X Tekken and the upcoming console release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2!
anibee had the awesome privilege to sit down and chat with none other than the series' Producer, Katsuhiro Harada, himself!
Welcome to Singapore! How do you find our country?
This is actually my second time here, and it's still as beautiful, and HOT, as ever!
What are your thoughts on the success of Street Fighter X Tekken so far?
I think it's been really excellent so far. I enjoy working with other people, and being able to work do this kind of a collaboration; crossing over characters from a 2D-based fighting game with a 3D-based one; has been really exciting and I am very satisfied with how the final product's turned out.
How do you feel about the way the Tekken characters have been adapted in Street Fighter X Tekken, and is there anything you would change?
Since the game was developed by Capcom, we entirely expected them to do the changes they did, and I am actually rather happy with how the Tekken cast has been adapted. I would have probably liked to see what the game would have been like with a 1-on-1 mode (as the game is entirely a tag battle).
What can we expect from the newly released Tekken Tag Tournament 2, especially from the home console front?
Definitely all your favourite characters will be back together in this "dream-match"! We have prepared a lot of download content for the console release of the game as well. Fans can look forward to getting new backgrounds, music, outfits and characters - and all of this will be absolutely free!
What do you personally feel makes Tekken unique amongst its competitors?
I personally feel that Tekken has a play-style that favours aggressive play much more than most other fighting games. I also feel that we've struck a good balance of making something that's accessible to new players, as well as being challenging for experienced players. Finally, Tekken also has a heavy focus on story elements; from character bios to proper opening and ending movies. We take the presentation and story elements in Tekken very seriously, and I think that the fans have come to know and appreciate this!
Androids, robotic samurai, devil-powered fighters - and even a giant panda! Tekken has quite an eclectic mix of characters! Was there any specific reason for this, or was it just a coincidence?
IMAGE SOURCE: TEKKEN.COM
This was very much a deliberate decision for the direction we wanted to have for the series from the beginning. Much like how there are actual hit-effects for blows that are traded in-game, we decided on this wide variety of character types to further enhance this comic-type aesthetic we wanted. We want to appeal to everyone; from the serious fighter, to the kid who thinks it's cool to breathe fire on his opponents!
There are a lot of fans of Tekken here in Southeast Asia. Would you ever consider doing a character with a fighting-style from this region e.g. a Silat-styled fighter?
I have a huge interest in all kinds of fighting styles from all over the world and would love to feature as many as possible! However, due to the flashy, comic-styled presentation of Tekken, this makes the adaptation of some fighting styles rather difficult, both aesthetically and gameplay wise.
For instance, with Silat, there isn't a huge focus on high kicks and moves like that. This makes it difficult to portray it in a way that would both blend well with the Tekken gameplay, while making sure that the fighting style is faithfully represented. We are still looking into adapting more various fighting styles so we'll keep trying!
How do you feel about fans that cosplay as your characters?
I think that's totally awesome! I do not actually get to see such things very often, and it must take a lot of effort to do!
Who is your favourite character?
I normally like Heihachi, but I've grown fond of Ganryu too. He needs more love, I think!
What do you see for the future of the Tekken series?
I would like to take Tekken to more different kinds of platforms and make it more accessible to all kinds of audiences. Fighting games are about fun and pick-up-and-play goodness, and I would definitely like to share that with everyone!
Special thanks to Katshiro Harada for taking the time to speak to us, and Namco for arranging the interview!