Tekken 8 is on the horizon, though little is known about the differences from its predecessor. Several fans were worried about how the new game looked copied and pasted from Tekken 7.
Bandai Namco has graciously revealed more of Tekken 8 in a gameplay showcase with the Executive Director, Katsuhiro Harada, and Game Director, Kohei Ikeda (Nakastu). A lot has changed for the new entry to support what the developers envisioned, AGGRESSIVE. The main role of Tekken 8 is to “provide both players and audiences the most exhilarating experience yet within the series through a new battle system and evolved visual expressions.”
The Feel of Rage in Tekken 8
Rage Art returns in the new Tekken, along with rage state. Its requirements and effects are unchanged: the user must have only 30% remaining health to activate automatically. Once the rage state activates, the user’s attack power is increased, and the option to use rage art is available.
Rage art can be performed during rage state as a one-shot reversal, similar to an invincible dragon punch in Street Fighter. It will be armored, so the user will still take damage when unleashing the rage super.
The use for rage is the same, though its appearance has been improved for visual clarity. During the rage state, the user and his health bar are burning in clear red flames. The command to use rage art is unified for all characters with the much simpler input of pressing one button.
A familiar feature has been ingrained within the health system in Tekken 8 called Chip damage. This was implemented in the Tekken tag series as red health. It’s been tweaked to fit within the Tekken 8 system. When blocking certain big, heavy moves, the defender’s health will separate from a white bar. Chip damage can also be received when getting hit in an aerial combo.
Of course, there’s a way to heal chip damage, but not from waiting. “Since the keyword ‘aggressive’ is settled in the game development, we thought that the more aggressive moves a player takes, the more one’s health will be restored” (Nakatsu). Chip damage can only be recovered by throwing out attacks, whether on hit or block. The yellow bar will slowly fill the white health as the user continues his offense.
There are a few ways to erase chip damage from the opponent to avoid their attempts to recover. Using low attacks will diminish chip damage on the opponent. The most effective method to diminish all chip damage is using a rage art.
Different fighting games, like Skullgirls, allow players to be KOed through chip damage, even when blocking attacks. In Tekken 8, it won’t be possible for players to be defeated through chip damage. If the player doesn’t get hit, they can block the opponent’s offense and live with a sliver of health.
The U.I. looks simple and clear for the audience to grasp the scenario. There are lines within the fighters’ health bars to show their rage activations. Each fighter has a blue bar under his health bar, which wasn’t explained yet. The most exciting detail is the chains wrapped around the character portraits, holding some potential back. That will be explained shortly.
Successor to Rage Drive
Rage Drive will not transfer into Tekken 8, leaving it to remain in its original entry, Tekken 7. Only its partial features will be considered for Tekken’s new mechanic, the Heat system. When getting in heat, it will provide specific benefits for the user:
- “Period of time that is overwhelmingly beneficial to an attacker, featuring the concept of being ‘Aggressive’”
- “The user enters a state of enhancement and awakening for a certain period of time and can create a starting point for tactics and offensive actions”
When awakening the heat, the user will be surrounded by blue flames with enhanced moves for about 10 seconds. The awakened fighter can use ANY attack to cause more chip damage to the opponent rather than using big, risky moves. Different effects will be added to the fighter depending on their personality. For example, Paul’s moves will be enhanced with guard crush while King gains super armor with his attacks. It only takes a simple button press to break into the awakened state.
Heat can only be activated once per round before the heat gauge disappears entirely. During heat activation, the chains around the fighter’s health will break to symbolize unlocking the beast. Time is short when using heat, though it can be delayed when attacking the enemy. Attacking the opponent on hit or block will stop the timer, prolonging the awakened state. If heat is used correctly, it can be effective for more extended use.
Two Types of “Rage Drives” in Tekken 8
Activating heat is one thing, though how to break the chains is another. There are two ways to activate heat: Heat Burst and Heat Engager. Both activations offer different small bonuses, though they give similar great positive frames when used properly.
Heat Burst allows the fighter to activate heat while standing. After the activation, the fighter will throw out a safe slamming attack. The option to cancel the burst attack makes the activation similar to KOF 15 max mode. When the attack connects, the opponent is forced to the ground in a bounce-like effect. The attacker can continue the string to do more damage. Activating Heat Burst will give the fighter one heat energy.
Heat Engager allows the fighter to activate heat before approaching. Heat engager will be set to each fighter’s characteristic moves, having about 5 Heat Engagers. When the opponent gets hit with Heat Engager, he will be blown across the stage before getting up in a short stunned state. The Heat Engager attack isn’t safe on block, leaving the user vulnerable. Activating Heat Engager will give the fighter two heat energy.
Heat energy is a resource for special actions, Heat Smash and Heat Dash. Heat Smash does more damage while gaining advantage on hit. This is most familiar with the use of rage drive. It will consume all heat energy when used. Heat Dash lets the fighter gain the advantage and approach the opponent, making their moves much safer on block or easier to combo. It will require one heat energy per heat dash.
The heat system was properly configured to reward players for keeping on the offensive. Defending for too long would risk losing the advantage to the opponent. “You have to insert your hands where you can insert them properly and you can’t just wait and see what happens” (Harada). There’s no time to wait in the new Tekken, only time for action.
There are two major control types in Tekken 8, Arcade Style and Special Style. Arcade Style offers traditional Tekken controls with complex inputs. Arcade Style is recommended for intermediate/pro players. Special Style simplifies the controls with easy combos and assists, similar to Tekken 7. Special Style is recommended for beginning players or anyone playing with unfamiliar characters.
Unlike other fighting games that must have set controls before matches, Tekken 8 can change controls during matches. It only takes one button press to switch between Arcade and Special Style. When using Special Style, a list of moves will help players memorize them. This system “doesn’t require you to memorize or practice commands in advance, allowing players to easily play each character, switching between special and arcade style gameplay in each mode, while keeping its thrill and exciting experience”
When the Heat Rises
The game is still in development with no definite release date. However, the developers are very intrigued to have gameplay feedback from the audience. Later, they will have certain on-site tests for a closed alpha game. There are two requirements to enter the Closed Alpha Test application:
- Register for the tournament of Tekken 7 at EVO Japan 2023
- Apply via a special website that will be opened later in February. (if there is a larger number of applicants, a raffle will be used to select the testers)
Tekken 8 still has a lot of development time before its initial release for the gaming industry. Bandai Namco is excited to have the game out as soon as possible for the audience. The devs, especially Nakatsu, “want the newest Tekken to be the most enjoyable Tekken ever” (Nakatsu). For those still playing Tekken 7, there seem to be more plans for support in the later future.
Tekken 8 will be released on the PS5, Xbox Series S/X, and Steam.