Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thoughts on the TEKKEN 7 Announce Trailer

Om nom nom.

Well that took longer than it had any bloody right to.

But yes, for those who missed the news, on the last day of this year's EVO tourney, Katsuhiro Harada officially announced the next entry in the Tekken series, Tekken 7.  Yes, Tekken 7, not Tekken X Street Fighter, Tekken Square-Goals Virtua Fighter, Tekken Invites Battle Arena Toshinden to Come And Have A Go, or indeed Craig's Idealised and Completely Imaginary Tekken RPG.  (dang)  Even so, it's a new, full-fledged 'core' Tekken title, so maybe that'll be enough to shut up everyone who's been whinging about the devs spending too much effort on Revolution?

...no, of course not.  It's the internet.  But, while we wait for Comic-Con and hopefully some actual gameplay, here's my brilliant, senses-staggering insight into what this trailer tells me about the game.

We're due a bunch of Ret-cons!
Tekken is no stranger to changing its own established history on a whim; witness how basically everyone who was claimed as a victim of Ogre in Tekken 3 has since returned to the games, with increasingly dumb or flimsy excuses for their absence.  (Baek takes the cake, with Tekken 5 claiming he essentially fell over and bumped his head, then spent about a decade in a coma)  And that's with the series consciously moving forwards, only stopping to acknowledge its past when it needs to bulldoze it forcefully out of the way...with all the flickery film-reel effects, not to mention clips of archive footage from past games, Tekken 7 looks set to be actively mining for something in the series' legacy, and whatever it is I'm willing to bet it wasn't there to start with.

The mystery lady is Heihachi's Wife!
Okay, this should be friggin' obvious to anyone, but I've seen a bunch of forum-talk claiming the lady narrating this trailer, whose face remains obscured throughout, is actually Jun Kazama.  The logic here is based on her voice sounding familiar and her hairpin being shaped like a heron, which does tie in with the imagery of Jun's main TTT2 costume.
Why do I think they're wrong?  Well, for one thing, there's almost no Jin in this trailer, and prior to now the existence of Jin is the only reason Jun is regarded as important.  Not to mention the woman's words speak of 'passing her power on', but at that point it doesn't show us Jin...it shows us Kazuya.  Then there's the little names carved in the wooden floor - it looks fresh, and it's the sort of affectation favoured by young couples, so we are more than likely seeing a scene from decades earlier.  And of course, you've got pissy Kazuya shouting "You killed my mother!" at Heihachi, something I don't believe was ever previously established (see what I mean about ret-cons?).  There's also the simple fact that nobody's mentioned Kazumi Mishima in any context in aaaaaaaages - why would her name be featured here if that's not her in the Honmaru?

The mystery dude is Young Heihachi!
Hey, they probably put a lot of effort into filling in Heihachi's bald spot and giving him a 'stache that looked like it was drawn on with a dry-marker in TTT2, so they've got to find some way of keeping that character model/design in use, right?

...unless it's Jinpachi!
I guess?  I doubt it.  Jinpachi, via Kazuya and Wang's story journeys in Tekken 5, has been characterised as a nice bloke before he became a purple stegosaurus.  And there is a definite sense of evil buggery coming from mister silhouette here.  Still, every option on the table.

Kazumi will be the final boss!
Alright, I'm jumping to conclusions here.  Obviously, Kazumi is long dead at present time.  Even so, her words imply that her attempts to 'stop' Heihachi would be physical, she's apparently the font of the Devil Gene, and hey, Jinpachi was very dead too and it didn't stop him.  Also, unlike a certain other fighting game series *coughDOAcough* Tekken isn't prone to making its key story players exist in cutscenes only.  I just can't see the devs putting this much emphasis on a character and not at least making her a boss (presumably as some uber-devil beasty rather than a dainty dame in a kimono).  I would, of course, prefer her to be part of the playable roster but I'll take what I can get.

Jin is (kinda sorta) dead!
Until something comes along that completely screws it up, I'm counting the Scenario Campaign of Tekken 6 as its true 'canon' story.  It's unfathomable to me why Harada-san and co. would put so much effort into writing, mo-cap and voice acting for all those extra talky scenes if they weren't convinced this was how the narrative had to go.  So, based on that, we know T6 ended in typically shambolic non-tournament-related fashion, with Jin doing his best "I am a MAN!!!!" punch on Azazel, ending the beast in a blaze of occult fire and seemingly killing himself...only for his body to be found miles away in the desert by Raven.
The odds of the series' younger, prettier posterboy being outright dead are tiny, of course.  He'll no doubt still be on the roster somewhere.  However, remember back when Heihachi died in Tekken 5's intro?  Yeah, he didn't even stay dead for THAT ONE GAME, but the 'death' angle took him out of the main storyline.  With the exception of that one level at his holiday home where Lars learns he's his dad, Heihachi had nothing to do in Tekken 6, and it's only now in T7 he's returned to the fore.  With the focus very clearly on Heihachi vs Kazuya again, what are the odds Jin takes his turn on the bench for this one, with most of his story elements being less about progression and more about returning to where he was before?

With Jin gone, Nina takes his job, decisively beats G-Corporation, takes over the planet, mocks Anna for good measure, and rules the new single-government dystopian earth as a sexy Irish Lex Luthor analogue!
Wait, nevermind, that's my fan fiction.

Yoshimitsu probably isn't going to be an unstoppable demon monster this time!
I really thought I was onto something with the Yoshi-as-final-boss theory, but that's the kind of thing they'd push hard from the get-go.  Oh well.  I guess 'dark soul-searching Yoshi' will continue until morale improves.

Ogre is back!
Yeah!  Ogre!  Y'know, 'cause there's fire everywhere while Kazuya and Heihachi are having their showdown....and Ogre breathes fire...I mean, it's the only logical explanation, right?

Uh, Gon is back?
He...he also breathes fire...look, I know what we're all thinking, but I am trying really hard not to go with, 'Heihachi and Kazuya have their final duel inside the volcano Kazuya got dropped into back in T2 because drama takes precedence over common sense'.

One Mishima is going for good (at least) !
'THE FINAL BATTLE' is a terribly melodramatic tagline, and will almost certainly turn out to be nonsense; unless T7 makes absolutely no money, the Tekken series will continue in some shape or form.  What the tag might mean pertains directly to this trailer; namely, this is the final battle of Heihachi and Kazuya.
And it might well be true.  Even with one of them gone, there's another 2 Mishimas on the roster, not counting occasional halfspawns like Angel in TTT2.  That's overkill to rival the Shotos in Street Fighter (but not quite the ninjas in Mortal Kombat, granted).  Sure, there will be complaints if one of these guys vanishes 'til the net Tag game, but there are always complaints whenever any single thing changes in a series like this...and hell, I was saying back in T6 that I had no idea where Heihachi could go next, so yeah, my money's on the old man being the one for the chop.  Kazuya still has to settle up properly with Jin.

Nobody will care about the state of the world after Tekken 6!
I may be letting my cynicism take hold here, but first, let's accept that - with the exception of Mortal Kombat and its many realms - fighting games do not give a damn about worldbuilding.  A complaint I have stressed on this blog before.  They focus on the characters, and quite rightly too, but the reality they inhabit is thinly sketched at best.  The only concrete thing we know about Tekken's version of Earth is that there are a select few corporations so massive in size and influence that they can employ vast armies and operate on a global scale seemingly without answering to any government, and we only confirmed that in the last numbered game.
So, basically, I'm not expecting there to be a detailed rundown of what sort of damage the Mishima Zaibatsu/G-Corp war did to the nations it engulfed, much though I'd like that.  In fact, I half expect the war to not be mentioned in any but the vaguest of details, and everyone will just have gone back to their regular lives between games as if nothing happened.  And then I will make this face:  >:(

Bound is back!
I have no evidence to back this up, admittedly.  But since the absence of bound was the one thing everyone seemed to agree was a definite plus in Revolution, I can totally see the devs sticking their tongues out and putting it back in here out of spite.



  1. Great read. You always put so much effort into these.

    So what are the odds that Nina indeed became leader of the M Zaibatsu, to fill in as long as Jin is absent. Or do you reckon they'll have Heihachi back at the top of the empire. Sounds more likely I guess, with Tekken 7's focus on Hei's and Kazuya's final battle, but will Nina be working for Heihachi then? Awkward.
    What are the possibilities Jin is already back up and well and, when learning that Heihachi took back control over the MZ, forms some kind of splinter group faction with Nina as the head of his forces?
    I guess you're right in your assessment though, that Jin is likely to sit this one out in one way or another, but that must have some consequences for Nina's part in the overall plot.
    Well, suffice to say, I totally nerded out over that little fan fiction part. If this was Tekken 5 I could totally see them going with Nina taking over the world (and mocking Anna big time) for her comedy story ending cinematic. With the serious tone they set with the teaser trailer I have hopes Namco dials it back a little with their wacky shenanigans.
    Ultimately, watch them go: "With Jin missing and the Mishima Zaibatsu in shambles Nina is bored out of her mind and once again turns her attention towards her sister, to set the record straight once and for all, in the final battle for sibling supremacy" :-( Oh god, just hire the Tekken 4 writer already, Namco!
    Imagine seeing Nina in the SDCC trailer tomorrow. This is like being 12 and it's the night before Christmas /Boxing Day in your case I guess.

    1. I think I answered this same question ages ago (like, pre-TTT2 ago) on a Fanfiction.net forum, and I don't think the answer's changed since then: I'd put the likelihood of Nina assuming any sort of command position in the Zaibatsu at somewhere south of 0%, because that would require her to go under an intentional bit of character growth, and I'm pretty sure the devs are allergic to that. I don't see Nina willingly working for Heihachi either, but I could, at a stretch, see her throwing in with whatever force Lars assumedly still commands (Yggdrasil?). She doesn't seem to like the guy much personally but he's the least objectionable Mishima in Jin's absence and has yet to do anything to personally screw her over, while Heihachi and Kazuya both had a hand in her cryo-freeze/test tube baby adventures.

      I'd imagine that, if Jin is already active again, he's not going to be terribly bothered about taking control of the Zaibatsu back. Ruling it in the first place was only ever a means to an end; he needed their resources to set the world into chaos and awaken Azazel so he could megapunchsplode it. Now that's done, he'll probably revert to Tekken 4 woe is me loner Jin and I'll hate him again.

      So basically, until I see something that proves otherwise, I'm going to resign myself to believing that the Williams sister rivalry will also continue until morale improves. :-( But, hey, maybe we'll know tomorrow.

    2. I feel like a stupid delusional fanboy for saying this, but this might be a chance and a good point in the storyline for the developers to have Nina's and Steve's T4 story evolve. Arrgh, it's almost painful to bring up haha, and I know it probably won't happen, so I won't even get my hopes up, but you've got to admit, the time feels right. Do it Namco! NOW THERE'S something for me to pester Harada with via Twitter while Tekken 7 is being developed for AC, tested and adjusted for about a year while a part of the team works on the story bits for the home release.
      Good idea/bad idea?

  2. Theoretically a good idea. It was, and still is, a very underdeveloped story thread - and while I can kinda understand that the devs might've felt awkward trying to write a storyline with a strong undercurrent of rape, I still think it'd be better to at least give Nina some chance to come to terms with the situation and put her own capstone on it, rather than just blithely ignore the whole thing (especially since that itself does not erase the rape-y business). And as I've probably mentioned before, Steve needs SOMETHING to do before he slips forever into the pointless comedy abyss with Paul and Marshall.

    That said, I don't know if this is a good time for it as such, at least insofar as I'm unclear how you get from where Nina was in T6 to this. I dunno, maybe having unrestrained access to Zaibatsu computers lets her find out some new info on the project and sparks her curiousity, or maybe it's something Leo does since she's involved according to her TTT2 ending.

    Basically, it could work, but again, not holding my breath.