While Bandai Namco's promotion of the latest in its long standing fighting game series has been less than stellar, the questionable business practices from Tekken's major rivals may actually help it.
With EVO 2016 just a little over a month away, I should take this time to talk about one of the most highly anticipated games to be at the event: Tekken 7: Fated Retribution.
In the fighting game genre, there are three major games: Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat. While other franchises, such as Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive, and Super Smash Bros. have certainly made names for themselves, those three franchises are guaranteed spots in the Mount Rushmore of fighting games.
In 2015, NetherRealm Studios released Mortal Kombat X. This past February, Capcom released Street Fighter V. Following this trend, Tekken 7: Fated Retribution should be released by 2017. There are many reasons to be hype about the new Tekken game: the improved graphics and character models, the introduction of Mishima family matriarch Kazumi Mishima and Street Fighter mainstay Akuma playing a role in what is probably the genre’s most consistent, albeit confusing, storyline.
Unfortunately, for many people, including myself, Bandai Namco has not done a spectacular job at getting people hype for this game. The last bit of major news was in January, when series mainstay Nina Williams was finally added to the roster, with a new outfit that produced fan speculation. And while producer Katsuhiro Harada’s assertion that the game will 30 - 40 character roster has led to fan speculation over who exactly will fill out those spots, it still isn’t enough to get people ready for the next battle. This is where Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat come in. For me, the poor business practices of these two major games.
Now, it started with Mortal Kombat X and the Kombat pack. $30 for four new characters and some skins is absolutely ridiculous and there’s no possible way to defend something like that. This was in addition to other downloadable content that the game had offered. There was also the Rain, Sindel, and Baraka fiasco, where you can face these characters in story mode, but none of them are playable. Obviously, stuff like this leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Here comes Street Fighter, with the earn as you play DLC. Instead of paying extra money for a character, or a new version of the game, you earn in-game fight money. That money can then be used to purchase content such as new costumes, characters, and places. This seemed like a radically different approach than the one taken in the Street Fighter IV series, as well as Street Fighter x Tekken. With there being a lack of an Arcade Mode, the entire Story Mode being completed within an hour, and what would say is an over reliance on a decent internet connection to earn fight money, Street Fighter V has yet to prove that it has learned from the mistakes of its predecessors.
Enter Tekken. Based on what Bandai Namco has shown, it’s safe to say that Tekken 7: Fated Retribution is about as complete as Street Fighter V was on February 16th. Unlike NetherRealm Studios and Capcom, Bandai Namco (in its Tekken series) does not have a history of paid character DLC. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had DLC characters, but these characters were free. So far, Katsuhiro Harada and Tekken team have given no indication that they plan to do away with the business model from Tekken Tag 2 in favor of the one preferred by NetherRealm and Capcom.
Mortal Kombat X and Street Fighter V are both great games that I enjoyed playing a lot. Unfortunately, both those games were soured by the practices of the companies that made them. And it’s also made me more hype for the eventual release of Tekken 7: Fated Retribution. Because it’s not like Bandai Namco is going to do it themselves.