IGN TEKKEN BLOG: Harada On Unlockables

On the TEKKEN 6 IGN Blog, series producer Katsuhiro Harada shared his thoughts on unlockable characters and content.  Check out the post by following the link below.

Katsuhiro Harada
Game Director/Producer,
NAMCO BANDAI Games

Hi everyone. I apologize for not updating the blog for a while.

The development schedule has been very tight, and I’ve been on several press tours and arcade tournaments abroad. The press tour schedule in Europe was particularly tight with stops in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. One day I woke up in Italy, went to Spain that morning, and then had to be in France that evening. I thought I was going to keel over. I actually got sick after returning to Japan.

Speaking of the European press tour, one comment I made there seems to be getting a lot of coverage. I think it was “unlocking characters is outdated.”

I think this was blown a little out of proportion. I said “in the arcade mode or online VS, not being able to use all the characters from the start is something that’s not appropriate these days.” The main body of the articles seems to follow this, but everyone was using the first comment mentioned above in their headlines from what I heard. I’m not saying that unlocking as a system doesn’t have its place in any game. I feel I should explain this a little.

Let’s go back a bit. Younger players might not relate, but over 10 years ago the arcade scene for fighting games was much more alive than on consoles. The competition in the arcade business was rough. The operators, or arcade owners desired games that brought in a lot of income, especially over the long term. Of course new games brought in a lot of income at first but it was hard to maintain that income on a long term basis.

At the time, new fighting games appeared often and the competition was intense. The life span of a new game wasn’t long.

From a game manufacturer’s standpoint, it’s better to have arcade operators buying the latest machines. But the arcade operators want to keep earning money on the machines they’ve already purchased. Of course, that’s perfectly understandable, right? That’s where the time release (character unlock) spec came into the game.

Tekken was a prime example of this as it took several months until all of the characters were available. So of course, events and tournaments held soon after release had fewer selectable characters. After several weeks or months, new characters appeared, increasing the attention the game received. Naturally, the overall game balance and character balance diagrams changed as new characters were unlocked. Players had to adapt their strategy.

From the arcade operator’s perspective, the game received more attention every time a new character appeared and maintained their income as players returned to the game repeatedly. So this system was very favorable to them.

From a manufacturer’s standpoint, it was beneficial for us that our machines were well received so that the arcade operators continued to buy our products.

Now let’s look at this from a player’s perspective. Even at that time, there was player feedback that all characters should be available from the start to ensure the game balance was good so that the competitive element of the game was established.

In an RPG, it’s acceptable that party members or playable characters increase. However in a fighting game, all characters should be playable from the start as it is a tool for competition. This was the feeling of many players at the time and a valid point.

Let’s now return to the present. The fighting game scene is not what it once was in the U.S. and European arcades. Friends often play against each other at home, via the internet, or in tournaments. In the advent of networked home consoles, I think it is necessary to rethink the merit of the character unlock system. Up until TEKKEN 5 for the PS2, many characters had to be unlocked before they could be played. I hope this puts the character unlocking system in perspective and why it’s somewhat archaic. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say there won’t be any unlockable elements in TEKKEN 6. I never said that unlocking content in general for Tekken, or any other game, is outdated. It’s case-by-case. It would be pretty unthinkable if all of the elements of an RPG or action game were unlocked from the start, right? Lol.

In features other than VS fighting, I think there should be unlockable content or other rewards to look forward to. In RPGs and other games, completing objectives rewards you with new equipment, new party members, or a new chapter in the story. The Scenario Campaign mode in TEKKEN 6 is a lot like that. As you progress through the mode, you unlock new stages and routes, demo scenes, and gain customization items. If all of this were available from the start, there would be nothing to surprise the player with as they progressed through the game!

Ultimately, it is important that all characters are selectable when fighting a friend or opponents online or at tournaments so that competition is fair. This is the point that was made during my interviews that perhaps got lost in some of the headlines.

On a different note, we’re really getting into crunch time now. But we’re doing our best!

Oh, I almost forgot. I sometimes have the opportunity to hang out or chat with different fighting game teams from other companies. Also, I’ve played a lot fighting games from other companies over the past 15 years and have often wondered if there wasn’t something interesting we could work on.

You guys aren’t interested in something like that? I wonder if it’s just me. I would love to hear your opinions on the subject, personally.

Source: TEKKEN 6 IGN Blog

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95 thoughts on “IGN TEKKEN BLOG: Harada On Unlockables

  1. I still cannot see a big problem in unlocking characters. You could preset the set of default characters to be chosen in ONLINE mode, while hide them (and possibly any bonus characters) in ghost battle/arcade etc modes.

    It won’t take long. Setting options to one round and easiest level would grant any button smashers to beat ‘story mode’ and unlock new default characters.

    Does Namco milk those competiters while ignore those causal players? This is console version after all right?

    1. Yeah, I still have the greatest memories of popping Tekken 3 into my PSX for the first time and working my way through the roster unlocking every character and then basking in glory of each newly unlocked character’s amazing CGI ending video.

      It’s a shame kids of today won’t be able to experience stuff like that…especially because Tekken 6 won’t have individual character epilogue clips.

  2. Well think about it. Let’s say you go to your friends house and you bring your copy of Tekken because they don’t have the game. Your char or their char isn’t one of the default so instead of jumping right into fighting each other you spend some time playing chars you don’t even play just to unlock yours. Yeah it’s not hard but that would be an annoying setback really.

    It makes more sense to have all the chars unlocked in the beginning so that players can jump into their preferred chars automatically. Every single char in Tekken is unique so I think all the characters should have an equal chance to be chosen rather than certain chars being favored more just because they are playable by default.

  3. Well Said Grey, very well said.

    and as a reply to Harada san, Yes i do want something similar to what you are thinking.

    TEKKEN v.s VIRTUA FIGHTER.

    plzzz harada-san. make it happen.

    and plz markman let the word out,Harada-san is practically asking us if we want it or not.

  4. Does he mean unlockable stages in the campaign mode or do he mean unlockable stages in Arcade or VS mode!? I’m still confused and not sure. He might mean both.

    1. hell yeah Tekken Vs Virtua fighter would definitely be a first as far as I know. First 3D Multicompany fighter.
      Giving Capcom a run for their money.

  5. Make modes and everything else unlockable. Make the characters selectable. Unlike other fighters Tekkens characters are so unique that once you pick them, especially in the arcade if your serious about that character it would irritating to have to fight to get your character unlocked. The higher level you play at the more this is true. Granted if they did that on console people wouldn’t be up in arms. But that time release on arcade. Thats killer.

  6. Tekken and Street fighter would be an interesting cross, but I don’t doubt that Street Fighter’s 2.5-D interface would pose some problems with Tekken’s 3-D interface, but it should be taken into consideration. But of course, the obvious other choice would be Soul Caliber.

    1. what !?!?!? SF v.s TEKKEN ???? your not from around here are you ?????

      uhhhh…you know, its just too easy, im not gonna even try to make fun.

  7. I look forward to unlocking characters in a new Tekken. Oh well. Does anyone for sure know if there will be a story mode with cg endings for everyone?
    This whole Tekken vs Virtua Fighter thing,why not. Not a fan of VF but I’d love to kick the shit out of Jacky with Hwoarang,break Wolf in half with King, bust Jeffery up with Marduk, and…you get the picture. The only problem is how would the engine work?

    1. OHHHH man im salivating just at the thought.

      GOH HINOGAMI V.S DRAGUNOV

      LAW v.s JACKY BRIANT ” both practice Jeet-kun-do”

      NINA v.s SARAH BRYANT

      ASUKA v.s AOI

      LEO v.s Akira Yuki

      LEI v.s Shun Di

      RAVEN v.s KAGE MARU ” But raven would wipe the floor

      with Kage Maru”

      Ganryu v.s TAKE-ARASHI ” who’s the better Sumo

      wrestler ”

      FENG Wei v.s LEI FEI

      Brad Burns V.s Bruce Irving

      Marduk V.s Vanessa ” lol Thats rape right there ”

      and Finally

      KING + ARMOR KING v.s EL BLAZE + WOLF HAWKFIELD

      Other mismatches would be

      Eileen V.s Ling Xiaoyu

      Lau chan v.s Heihachi

      Jin v.s Jean Kujo

      That Would be so sweet. Markman Make it happen, Don’t bullshit me ,i know you have connections NAMCO BANDAI.

      Get the Word out man, let him know we want this game.

      1. about the engine i think they should go for a groove type system like CVS did. to plz both the Vf fans and the TEKKEN FANS.

        let just hope they dont nerf the tekken character like

        CAPCOM!!!!! NERFED THE SNK CHARACTERS IN CVS !!!!!!!

    2. Yeah, can someone confirm whether or not there’ll be cg endings. The only Tekken game not to have cg endings was Tekken 4 and we all know how that turned out :(

  8. I have had fun unlocking characters in the past but now I definitely agree that all characters should be unlocked from the start in competitive fighting games. Leave the unlockables for customization items and perhaps stages. I went to a tourney recently and one of the consoles running SF4 didn’t even have all the characters unlocked.

    1. i think if you were planning to have characters locked at the beginning you would need a small number of them locked because when you consider the size of the roster (biggest in tekken hstory)i don’t think many are going to want to playthrpugh that many times in order to find their either favourite or the character they have developed a deep strategy in from playing the previous installments

      1. i agree to this! so much!

        i use lars… and since lars is a new charac… its common sense that he has to be unlocked >.<

        been using him since the start of BR release in NZ..

        i dont use any other charac and it would take me a while to learn another strategy of another charac just so i can finally unlock ONE charac to play with

    1. LOL, retarded, but you know DOA v.s tekken will never happen, cause itagaki….oh wait hes fired..never mind that could happen.

  9. good well said

    i mean most of the tekken games u had to unlock the char n stuff

    but i did like the fact that it is all ready unlockable
    so if u r playing 2 polayer u can get stuck in having a bash up instaed of waiting time to unluck ppl
    :)

  10. I really like unlocking all the characters, when ever I’ve bought a tekken game the first thing I’ve done is set down and play until everyone is unlocked after that just play VS or Team Battle. So to me, for arcades to have everyone unlocked makes sense same with online play the fact that it took the game this long to come out everyone knows everything. If by some chance there is one unknown character or thing we don’t already know about that should be the unlockable stuff

    and Hell yeah I want a cross over game TekkenXSoulCalibur, you change between the fighting styles since tekken characters would be way to fast and kick ass. Like weapon mode and dual mode. For both the PS3 and 360 if it can handle everything plus a character creation and customization. That would be awesome

    or just VF, I’m sure everyone wants to prove that tekken fighters are the best ^_^ anyone else remember that TTT commerical they made.

  11. I think that you should definatly have to unlock characters. I mean i love lee choalan as my favourite but I would love to have to play as other characters to unlock him as it gives me the insentive to play as other people and maybe even prefer a different character.

    As far as a cross over game goes, i would love to see a Tekken Vs Street Fighter game. I did read in an issue of Play Magazine that there were talks about that, but im not 100% sure if thats true. Hope it is though XD

    1. I guess unlocking character extends the life of the game but jin’s my favourite character and if he’s the new king of iron fist how many characters are we gonna have to complete the game as just to unlock him? that was what i didn’t like about Kazuya in tekken 2 and heihachi in tekken 3. I think having the characters at the beginning is a great way to help new and experienced players alike get used to the feel of the new tekken

    2. a cross over would be good however street fighter has a strange control system (for me anyway) perhaaps virtua fighter might be better to cross with tekken.

    1. you seriously asking this ??

      a weapon based game v.s a game that is strictly

      hand – to – hand combat ????

      can you say retarded ???

      1. and can you say YO-SHI-MI-TSU

        It’s not strictly anything anymore with the weapon moves.You must be like 14 or something because older people can have a civilized conversation without calling people names. plus you should read Killzones post that system could work, and remember Harada didn’t say what do you think Blind Ghost he was asking everyones opinion no ones right and now ones wrong.

  12. unlockable characters is something that goes hand in hand with the tekken franchise, without it i really wouldn’t enjoy using heihachi or devil jin as much as i do, but i also understand the frustration of having to play through story mode just so you can use your character on a different console, so how about letting players choose to unlock all characters from the start, like in the options menu or maybe go old school, like in mortal kombat, with cheats “kool stuff”…

    the crossover idea is great, but it wouldn’t work with just any franchise,street fighter characters don’t really look good in 3d, and don’t even think of taking tekken 2d!…maybe virtua fighter and DOA would be better… maybe even soul calibur,it would be fun seeing yoshimitsu vs yoshimitsu namunamunamu!

  13. I think They should officially make a Tekken Vs. virtua Fighter. I want this to be in Motion control style where you can actually use your body as a human controller. Cool huh?

      1. ya, i know , i know…its best if we dont aks why e thought of this.

        i say just leave it alone and it will quietly go away.

  14. A Tekken vs V.F would be awesome. I’ve never been too crazy for V.F, but I have enough respect for it to be crossed over with Tekken. I think that if they made that game, which if I remember correctly they once had talks about it but between themselves, I could be wrong it could’ve been D.O.A, anyway, if they made it I personally would like both fighting systems to remain the same. I know you need to find a balance but I would rather have Tekken has its juggles and straight up kick assism, and V.F have its stall combos or however you call them, I know they have juggles too. So that this way, we can truly see which fighting game is more kick ass, and i say Tekken all day baby!!!

  15. I think in the West, I can’t speak for America but I can for the UK, the arcade scene was never too huge. I know of a fair few video game arcades that no longer exist.

    I was only a kid when I got into the series and I loved playing through and unlocking all the different characters. I definetly think this feature shouldn’t be removed, but hey that’s not my decision and I don’t really mind too much.

    I’ve always wanted to get into Tekken competetively, but that’s difficult over online when you consider the lag. Regardless, Tekken is more competetive to me now than it ever was so, yeah.

    Crossover with any game except Soul Calibur will be a horrible failure. If you do,please make it a non-canon game like Tekken Tag Tournament, or I will cry!

  16. yu cant do cross over wiht SC, why dont people get that.

    the only viable options would be DOA or VF and i rather have VF cause that game at least has respect.

    1. they dont get the fact that tekken is a fist fighting game with yoshi being the only one who actually uses a weapon without having to buy it

      1. I kind of see what you’re talking about, but anyone remember Heihachi in SC2. He was the yoshimitsu of that the odd man out even with that it’s work and SC2 is known as one of the greatest fighting games. I’m sure with Item costomizatons you’ve notice things that would be really cool if it did anything. Lei’s handcuffs would be nice stop the enemy for 3 seconds then it breaks. Just saying a SC crossover isn’t out of the question.

        I personally hate VF and would love to just beat the crap out of everyone with Heihachi.

  17. does anyone know how many character customization slots will be available in the console version? It would be create to have at least four.

    1. @ the thinker

      uhhh heihachi was just 1 of like 32 characters. care to explain to me how your gonna take half the TEKKEN roster and pit them agaisnt SC characters.

      you gonna give each and everyone of them TEKKEN ARMBANDS !!!!

      Look man, if your not gonna say it ill say. Its a DUMB fucking Idea. its because of peole like at MIDWAY that Probably ended up suggested making

      MK v.s DC.

      seriousy Imagination and Logic is not your thing just give up.

      you dont know the First thing about 3d fighting games if that’s the idea you want for a fighting game.

      no i gotta better idea give everybody a laser, that’ll fucking balance them out.

      the only viable and logical other game they can pit tekken against is VF or DOA, hand to hand combat.

      if they wannt throw in Maki or voldo in there just for kicks, fine, fuck it !. They can be bonus characters, but half the roster with no weapons……!?!?!? your on crack.

      1. You hate VF means nothing, thats an opinion if anything. at least me and Garfield are using logic.

        Hand-to Hand v.s Hand-to-Hand

        what you want is for both companies to blow a shit load of money on some fucking gimmic game that will entertain people for like 2 weeks. then they turn that shit in to gamestop.

        you know like MK v.s DC or SCIV and that piece of shit CREAT A SOUL MODE.

        that shit was tacky and retarded. If tekken Did that i wouldnt even pick up the fucking game NO JOKE !!! and I LOVE TEKKEN TO DEATH ! Been playing it since i was 13 and im 27 now.

        Just the thought of seeing some dumbasses online. make perfectly good looking characters look like shit is a fucking nightmare. at least TEKKEN HAS Standards when it comes to Customizing.

        that CREAT A SOUL SHIT is for fucking 5 year olds.

        Hey Guys wanna see my POKEMON CAS !!?!?

        WANNA SEE MY FFVII CAS !?!?!

        WHATS A GOOD FORMULA FOR SEPHIROTH !?!?

        that shit was just….i dont know man. that was straight up garbage.

        what happend to SC man. 1 and 2 were the shit. then 3 came out and the downward spiral started.

        now its just a quick way for NAMCO to rank in the cash from suckers worldwide.

        FUCKING NOOBS.

  18. I think they should just do what Midway did and pick a franchise that isn’t a fighting game already. That way they can leave the engine as is and gameplay will be the same. Something like Tekken vs. Square Enix or Tekken Vs. [some anime with characters that would look good in 3-d]

    1. SC got a demo before month release date i wich next week i open the psn and fund tekken demo with 4 player or even 2 dont care how many i cant imagine my reaction lool

  19. I think Tekken vs VF is a great Idea and also i think you should have a slot system similar to Soul calibur where you can make several customised costumes for each character also DLC guest characters may be a good idea (please consider making Azazel and Nancy M-187J DLC to play as)

  20. I think personnally the most gripping feature of the Tekken series is its story I hope story mode has been kept for the console version.

  21. I think a great idea would be to make DLC that includes a super ultimate move much like soul calibur 4’s critical finishes for each individual character that can be performed under certain circumstances maybe some sort of gauge needs to be filled

  22. Please could you make Azazel playable??i wanna play as him and Nancy robot in offline mod…so just i was sad when you didnt put Jinpachi unlockable for ps 2 so pleaseeeeeee make them playable thanks many people want play as them offline so pleaseee make them playable…thanks again because i wanna buy this game but i wanna feel power and play as bosses so thanks

  23. i still want to know about the online section of tekken… yes it will lag… but has there been a dramatic improvement from TK5DR?

    someone inform me please

    1. oh hell yeah , of course it improved.

      TKDR was thier first try, then they also worked on SOUL CALIBUR ONLINE as well, so that was thier second try and they did make improvments with that one.

      so now this is their third try with TEKKEN 6.

      This one will undoubtly be better than SC online. so dont worry it will be a huge improvment from TEKKEN DR.

  24. just gota throw this out in the air

    ummm… why dont we get to choose who we want to unlock everytime we finish the story mode with a charac..

    that way i wouldnt be a complainer, wanting all charac unlocked etc.

    just an idea… doesnt sound too bad does it?

  25. NO IT DOESNT SOUND BAD. I HATE GOIN THRU THE GAME TO UNLOCK A CHARACTER HOPIN THAT ITS ONE OF MY FAVS AND ONE THAT I DONT PLAY WITH IS UNLOCKED INSTEAD. WELL IT DOESNT REALLY BOTHER ME ALL THAT MUCH. LIKE GARFIELD SAID, I’D BE COOL IF YOU COULD PICK WHO YOU WANT TO UNLOCK.

  26. Dear Harada-san

    As a big fan of the Tekken series, I wish that there were a SF crossover game. However due to the complication ( 2.5 vs 3 D and different gameplays) of these game, my best bet would be a VF crossover because of the character’s similarities between these 2 games. Also, DOA would have been another good choice, but i believe that people are more acquainted with the VF series. A “mano a mano” gameplay would be better for this gameplay instead of a “tag team”, as people are more acquainted with the traditional system, though Co-Op might be a possibility for the Tag team system. With that said, I thank you Harada-san for reading this out.

  27. what happened to kunimitsu perhaps if you were to makeanother tekken she cud cum back as a descendant or the original (depending on how you want the story to go) with a moveset completely different from yoshimitsu

    1. they still havnt anounced their surprise, you know that right !?!?

      a lot of people are betting thats what it is, a CLAN

      BATTLE MODE. Can you imagine how badass that shit Would be. if you cna make your own Emblems and stuff !??!?!

      ohhh GAAAAAWWWWDDD !!

      ” ala GAROU MARK OF THE WOLVES “

  28. for future posters of a Tk vs Sc merge!

    please

    use your head

    who in their right mind would want hand-to-hand vs lets say kilik!

    OMFG

    braindead much?!

    kilik staff will be able to keep them away for lets say a good half the game!

    anyone thinking of posting another tk vs sc… should go and play some other game… leave tk alone as is..

    if you want it to merge with another fighting either vf or doa.. more likely vf since its a bit more related to tk!

    sc vs tk WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

  29. These are the people that Will shape the FUTURE of MIDWAY.

    first it as MK v.s DC and next is

    KILLER INSTINCT v.s HALO !! can you say triple AAA title !?!?!?!?

  30. I know Blind Ghost if they had tag or clan battle mode that would be so ill. I want to know what it is NOW.I have been watching Tekken Crash an love the 3 on 3 clan battles.I am happy with either one if that is the surprise….cross my fingers lol.

  31. Man , im crossing my fingers for Clan Battle as well.

    That would just be mad crazy, but honestly high hopes for that mode because that been crazy recently.

    MGO did it, then KOF did it, and obviously tekken crash does it, and Tekken crash is big in korea, and im sure namco notices that and they already gave us a hint that said. it concernes online play. for those looking for more than just 1 on one.

    so high hopes that thats the surprise.

  32. Another good idea would be the ability to make a completely new character from scratch based on other character pieces in character customisation, set their motivation for entering the tournament and their fighting style etc.

  33. pour tekken 7 j’aimerais vous faire part de mes idées et que si vous le pouviez les transmettiez à harada.Pour commencer j’aimerais que tous les personnages de tekken 6 soient présents,j’aimerais bien que certains personnages soient réssuscités par exemple Jun Kazama,Michelle Chang et Jinpachi Mishima.D’autres parts j’aimerais aussi que Bob perde du poids.

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