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.
GET READY FOR THE NEXT MISINFORMATION!!
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.