Interviews// Tekken: Katsuhiro Harada

Posted 23 Jun 2011 17:43 by
Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Tekken Hybrid - a PS3 release that contains an HD remake of the first Tekken Tag Tournament and a copy of animated movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance. Tekken 3DS. Street Fighter X Tekken. The Tekken Wii U project. Katsuhiro Harada has got a hell of a lot of work ahead of him - a worksheet that he admits will cost him three years of development time to clear.

But the Namco Bandai producer is upbeat at E3, happy to show off all of his wares to the press. In particular, the technical feats pulled off on the Nintendo 3DS demo - running a full 60 frames per second even with the 3D slider up - and the near-completion of Tag Tournament 2 were enough to get the room even more excited about the fighting franchise than they were when they entered.

After showing off a brief movie promoting Tekken Hybrid, I was able to sit down and ask Harada-san some questions about the future of the series, his work with Capcom and what he thinks of the Wii U.

Tekken Tag Tournament
Tekken Tag Tournament
SPOnG: What are your thoughts on the arcade market? There has been talk of it being in decline for the last couple of years. You?re developing Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for the arcade - is that a sign that you feel the market is getting healthier in Japan?

Katsuhiro Harada: Tekken?s never really had any problems in the arcade in Japan. The series has maintained the top income slot every month consecutively for the past five years. There are still a lot of arcades in Japan - it?s nothing like the West. There?s still a pretty sizeable market in Asia as well, whether that?s Korea or Indonesia or the Phillipines... as well as Oceania, which includes Australia and Singapore.

There?s not really a decline in the arcade market in Japan, but maybe the tastes are slightly fluctuating. There seems to be more prize machines, photo booths and things like that, so perhaps it?s the trends that are shifting. I wouldn?t say it?s a decline per se.

SPOnG: What was your involvement in the Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie?

Tekken Tag Tournament
Tekken Tag Tournament
Katsuhiro Harada: When the project began, I originally wanted all the characters to make an appearance. The problem is, even if you only gave each character a minute of screen time, you?d have suddenly used up 40 minutes! Naturally that wouldn?t make for a very cohesive movie.

I did have some input into a lot of the action sequences, sound and music. But aside from that, I pretty much left the plot and the character appearances up to the screenplay writer, Dai Sato, and the director (Youichi) Mouri-san. We wanted them to be very creative so I didn?t want to tell Dai Sato too much about what to do. I gave them a lot of freedom, but I?m very confident that they can portray the series accurately because Dai Sato is actually quite a serious Tekken player!

SPOnG: What do you think about the Wii U in terms of the console features and what you can do with it for Tekken?

Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken
Katsuhiro Harada: As the hardware itself is so unique, naturally when you create a title for it, it might be quite different from the same title that you might create on other platforms. That?s because the controller and its characteristics are so far out there. However, making use of a particular feature just to make use of that controller is probably not a good idea, because it might not be something that the player wants. So the key I think to making a good game in this regard, is to think about what players want to see in Tekken that we haven?t been able to do previously, and tailor it to that hardware.

Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken
Some examples you could think of for Tekken Wii U could be perhaps something akin to a strategy guide. Before now you perhaps would have to go into a specific Practice mode in order to learn about your moves and your enemy?s statistics. Now, you could pull up that data on the controller?s screen while you?re fighting an opponent. There are many possibilities for Tekken right now on Wii U.

SPOnG: What are your future plans for the Tekken franchise?

Katsuhiro Harada: With all the games that we announced at E3 and previously, we?re going to be busy working on those for perhaps the next three years! Though I do have stuff in the roadmap that we haven?t announced yet, so... there are a few surprises to look forward to. But some people say the world is going to end in 2012, so maybe we don?t need to think that far ahead (laughs)!
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