Namco Bandai recently gave CVG readers the chance to field their Tekken questions to series director Katsuhiro Harada.
You quizzed enthusiastically, and after picking the most hardcore queries - and sieving through the liberal costume-related ones - Harada kindly got back to us.
A simple one really, Who's your favourite Tekken character? (and why?) - Flash501
Harada: It'd have to be Jin Kazama and Heihachi Mishima.
Jin has served as a main "hero" character for the longest period of time in the series; it wouldn't be going overboard to say that the tale of Tekken is written from his perspective.
His story -- a young, innocent kid gradually corrupted by the evils of society, the pursuit of power, and his own desires, eventually becoming one of the greatest villains the world has ever seen -- is something I've been crafting over the past ten years or so.
With Heihachi, meanwhile, a lot of focus has been placed on his unique look, but personally I'm more fascinated by his life philosophy. He plays a villain role in the series, but he's a very human character. I think he's a perfect portrayal of the evil that lurks in mens' hearts, a uniquely human type of evil that's far more hideous than any made-up monster or demon.
Do you study a lot of martial art videos and martial artists? - GinSin
Harada: I've studied a great deal of martial artists, and videos of them in action, as I've worked on the series. I've also attended a lot of competitions myself, and I often get a chance to speak with competitors and listen to their stories. Of course, we also go pretty far beyond what real martial arts and its practitioners are capable of within the games; in that aspect much of the series is fictional.
How do you feel Tekken will do up against games like Modern Warfare 2 over here in the west? Do you think fighting games have a future in this part of the world? - Wiikii007
Harada: Before I answer that, let me say first that I personally love the Call of Duty series. I've been a PC gamer since the very early years of that scene, and even today I have a super high-end PC -- liquid-cooled, the whole bit -- that I play games on.
I do think the fact that Tekken is an established franchise that sells X million copies worldwide with each release puts it in the same echelon as a lot of Western games. The Japan game industry had a "golden age" in the past, but even back then, starting around 12 years ago, I had been sounding alarm bells because I saw that Western developers were going to overtake us someday.
We all know now that Japan was late in the high-end PC market, the online-game era, and the whole concept of reusable game engines. Since the Xbox 360's launch, things have sadly turned out pretty much how I predicted they would.
Still, despite the fact that people claim the fighting genre will disappear or gradually fade away, my impression is that it's actually doing pretty well for itself. How else to explain the successes we've seen with Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat and Soulcalibur on the PS3 and 360, after all?
The Tekken series has sold over 34 million copies up to Tekken 5, but it's astounding how much sales have risen in Europe over the years. At this point, Europe accounts for over 50% of total sales. It's hard to say what the future holds, of course, but I think it's safe to say that no matter what era we're in, we're always going to need a genre of competitive, man-to-man games.