Tekken 8’s Katsuhiro Harada calls player reaction so far ‘overwhelmingly positive’ | Comic-Con 2023

At San Diego Comic-Con 2023, we had the chance to chat with Tekken 8 director Katsuhiro Harada and producer Michael Murray and learn the latest details about the highly anticipated next entry in the legendary fighting franchise.

During the interview, we covered a wide variety of topics, including how the team handles player feedback, how that feedback makes them a little nervous because it’s been “overwhelmingly positive”, who is the best-dressed fighter in the Tekken universe, what move would hurt the most in real life, and much more.

Tekken 8 currently doesn’t have a release date, but a closed network test for PlayStation 5 only is currently running until today, July 24, and all platforms (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC) will have one from July 28-31. Unfortunately, registrations are already closed for these tests.

In our hands-on preview of Tekken 8, we said, “Tekken 8 looks phenomenal, its hits are more impactful than ever, and its cast of iconic characters are even more unique thanks to the new Heat system. We still have a lot to see, but as far as first impressions go, Tekken 8 is a knockout.

You can read more about Tekken 8 below, and also be sure to check out details on crossplay and restore netcode, as well as our first exclusive interview with Harada about the game.

IGN: What’s up everyone? Stella Chung here. I’m outside the Tekken 8 area and I’m so excited because we’re going to be talking to the devs, Katsuhiro Harada and Michael Murray. Let’s go inside and see what they can tell us. So with unique introductory dialogue between specific characters before a match begins, do you have any specific favorite pairings or banter between two characters?

Katsuhiro Harada/Michael Murray: It’s something we’ve done in previous entries, like Tag or sometimes Tekken 5. So it depends on the character pairing and what they say. So if they have a special relationship, good or bad, that changes. And Harada said his favorite was Jun and Kazuya.

How will the new special control type help bring new characters and players to not just Tekken, but to fighting games as a whole?

KH/MM: The system you mentioned is brand new for Tekken 8. We had something similar as a predecessor in Tekken 7, where you press a button and you can perform certain commands simply. But it’s even more advanced this time around. But one of the cool things is, obviously, like you said, it’s good for attracting new players, which you’ve noticed they like. But also, even if you’re a veteran player, if you’re trying to choose a new character you’re not used to, it’s much easier if you use the special control systems. So it’s actually beneficial for a wide variety of different players. And so far it’s been a great response.

What feedback have you received on the game over the past month since we spoke during Summer of Gaming?

KH/MM: First of all, we had a lot of different people playing the game. We have it on hand here and elsewhere as well. We announced it, then people saw it and had time to play it a bit now. So we expected that at some point people would get used to it and then give us a variety of feedback. Some of them may not be positive. That’s how it works. And then we fix it and everything is fine. For us, it makes us a little nervous that the reaction is so overwhelmingly positive. And last time we spoke to IGN, we were just showing the game off at an earlier stage, but right now we have the closed network test running in the background and we were able to get even more feedback from people. Obviously they love the new game mechanics but also the crisp code and online experience so far this is their first time trying this.

You have 16 playable characters here at San Diego Comic Con.

KH/MM: Yes No ?

For us, it makes us a little nervous that the reaction is so overwhelmingly positive.

Yes. So who has been the most popular character so far?

KH/MM: We have 16 characters in the playable version. We haven’t had a chance to look at the game data, so we can’t speak from an empirical point of view, but just being able to see everyone playing the game. Kazuya, a lot of people are dropping out, King too. So those are probably the two most popular so far.

Could you detail some of the changes you made for this closed test, what people are going through right now?

KH/MM: Well, it’s not been that long since we last spoke, so there haven’t been any drastic gameplay changes, just tweaks and so on. The biggest difference is probably the online game since everyone saw it for the first time. Although we said few people notice, there is crossplay in the game and people can try it. Not this week, but when we open it to other platforms as well. So that’s where people can see the correspondence and also see some of the other elements of the game.

Tekken contains some of the most eccentric and stylish characters in modern fighting games. Among the current list presented, who is the best dressed, in your opinion?

KH/MM: It’s tough, because all the characters are so unique this time around as well. But especially Lili, because there’s a certain designer he’s been watching for quite some time, and this is the first time we’ve really worked with her. Her name is Jasmine, I believe, from New Zealand. And we actually asked him to design Lili this time around. And so it’s a whole new costume for her, based on the artist he’s wanted to work with for a while. So that’s probably his favorite.

Earlier today you were on a panel that I watched and you were fantastic. You were talking about real moves and how they are represented in Tekken. So, of all the moves in the game, which do you think hurts the most?

KH/MM: That’s a really tough question, but maybe King’s. All of his throws are pretty dangerous if you were going to do them in real life. But one thing that might not stand out at first glance is low kicks to the shins or other low kick areas. This is because it hurts a little for people who are not used to it. Someone like me who does Muay Thai, you get used to it because your shins get harder, but he said it must really sting if you get a low kick and you’re not used to it.

These are good answers. For me, I’m just like, “I’m fine. I won’t take any.” Thank you so much. It was so much fun. Thank you very much for taking the time for us.

KH/MM: Our pleasure.

Stella is a video producer, host and editor at IGN. Her gameplay focuses on competitive FPS games and she has already reviewed Apex Legends, Hyper Scape, Halo Infinite Multiplayer, and Battlefield 2042. She regularly hosts and streams competitive Apex Legends and Halo Infinite tournaments when she’s not streaming on her Twitch channel after practices. You can follow her on Twitter @ParallaxStella.

Adam Bankhurst is a reporter for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Tic.

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