Harada talks Tekken’s humble beginnings

By Stace Harman, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:54 GMT

Speaking to Gamasutra, Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada has described the small ideas from which the mighty Tekken series grew.

Katsuhiro Harada was present at Namco way back when the original Tekken hit Sony’s new-kid-on-the-block-PlayStation in 1994. Now, 17 years later and with the spotlight currently shining on Namco and Capcom’s “hands-off collaborative” projects Tekken X Street Fighter and Street Fighter X Tekken, Harada has talked about how some of the design decisions came to be made for the iconic brawler.

“…Namco had been conducting a lot of R&D into polygon-based graphics, and the consensus we had was that true-to-life animation was going to become a huge aspect of game graphics going into the future. That turned out to be very true, of course,” Harada told Gamasutra. “The limb-based control scheme sort of grew from that, but the scheme also felt really good for a fighter — you could execute these one-two punch combos really quickly and intuitively.”

Harada acknowledged that whilst the more traditional three-strength attack system – as seen in Street Fighter – is a good system it “wasn’t really appropriate for a game trying to encompass a really large variety of martial arts like what we were aiming for.”

In talking of blurring fantasy and reality within the Tekken universe, Harada explained that the key concept was not to recreate bouts that could take place in the real-world, but to keep a consistent feeling of what was realistic within the game world.

“We certainly realize that “realism,” as defined within the bounds of this game, can be a very different thing from what would happen in real life,” he said. “Rocky, for example, is a film that a lot of people liked — but that was a work of fiction, and real-life boxers would never use really flashy moves like that in an actual match. It’s not “real” realism so much as “wouldn’t it be nice if things were like this” realism. That’s what we aim for here, this manga or movie-like atmosphere that has impact upon the observer. We try to portray what people expect of the reality they see within games.”

To close, Harada had a stab at trying to succinctly sum up the Tekken story line.

“Basically, there’re these three generations of father and son that don’t get along, and two of them have this Devil Gene, so their dad wants to know what the Devil Gene is, and so they argue with each other about it for a bunch of years. All the other characters just sort of get caught up in it.”

The full interview is over on Gamasutra.

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Katsuhiro Harada

Street Fighter