The team behind Tekken has said implementing a storyline has contributed to the series’s success, allowing the fighting game to remain relevant since its inception in 1994.
Speaking to Gematsu, series producer Katsuhiro Harada said the team “doesn’t care about finding a niche” for Tekken to fit into considering the varied interest of the game’s fan base, with some solely interested in either the game’s story or fighting elements. Regardless, Harada said the team deeply values Tekken’s story: “We always try to keep this in mind when working on Tekken; before it is a fighting game, it is a character-based action game.” He also addressed concerns regarding the game’s convoluted story, saying the series “is all just about three generations of Mishimas trying to kill each other, with everyone else just being pulled into this fight.”
Harada explained that the developers initially “wanted to make a pure fighting game” that was geared towards competitive play. Eventually, the team realized that Tekken’s audience was varied. “We realized the audience was quite segmented. There were the hardcore players who liked the competitive elements, but also a very casual audience as well. Some players were only interested in the story.” Harada adds that the common interest the game’s fan base had was “to beat a friend” or “a specific opponent at that time,” not to become the best player.
Harada acknowledged that players had wildly conflicting ideas about the series. For instance, some fans debate whether Tekken has a complex fighting mechanic or is a simple button-masher that requires no strategy. “So it was quite interesting how conflicting these views of the game were,” said Harada. Ultimately, he believes this instance proves that Bandai Namco successfully appealed to all groups it was trying to reach. “We also spent a lot of development resources on long CG opening movie sequences, Story Modes, or other bonus features – things you didn’t exactly expect from a fighting game.”
At present, Bandai Namco is working on several pieces of post-release content for Tekken 7. Last month, the series also nabbed two Guiness World Records: longest-running video game storyline and longest-running consistent video game universe.