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Tekken director reveals how the series' most popular costume came to be

Everyone loves King's Tekken 3 alternative costume, but how did it come to be?

Tekken 3 King player 2 costume
Image credit: Bandai Namco

Director of Tekken Katsuhiro Harada has spilled the beans on the creation of one of Tekken's most beloved costumes, including internal discussions around the concept and whether or not it would be understood by overseas players.

This information came via Twitter, in response to a cosplay of King's beloved alternative Tekken 3 costume. This costume features the wrestler in a grey mask, with a t-shirt, dark blue bottoms, and white sneakers. Harada explained the background of its design in a lengthy post.

"This costume started with my concept in the 90's that 2P should wear the Armor King mask and be a Heel wrestler. Then... The artist assigned to the project uploaded texture data with the kanji for "悪 (Heel / Evil / Villain)" as a joke at first. One day, when I launched the development test build and saw "Evil" written on the back of the KING, I laughed out loud."

Harada continues: "The artist grinned and said, "See, now that's Heel, right?" He said. And this was very popular with all the development team members, so we officially adopted it. I felt it was a little sad to use only one kanji character, so I asked the artist, I asked the artist to put "Mishima Heavy Industries" in the design, and this design was completed."

Following this, Harada elaborates on internal concerns when it came to overseas appreciate of this design, specifically the Kanji on the back. "However, The question of whether this 'kanji for evil' would be understood in countries other than Japan crossed my mind for a moment. In the 90's, the awareness of language localization was still very limited, so I left it as it was. At that time, arcade cabinets were still in operation worldwide and TEKKEN 3 was released in arcades all over the world, but one of the most common questions among the letters (real letters, not e-mails) we received was 'What does the King's back say?' was the question. At the time, Namco's sales team pointed out that this would be difficult for people overseas to read, but conversely, I believe that it was because it was written in kanji that it became an iconic costume (or so I like to think)."

It's a nice bit of retro info on some cool Tekken history. Ultimately Harada was proven right, as this costume is among one of the most cosplayed outfits from the series. In fact, you can even buy full outfits inspired by it online!

Is this the sort of info you'd like to see revealed more by developers? Let us know below!

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