Many fighting games feature intricate backstories that get more and more complex with every passing installment, and the long running Tekken series is no exception. To get players ready for the console and PC release of Tekken 7 next month, Namco has offered up a unique retrospective on the franchise's ongoing storyline.
When Tekken was released in 1994 it was notable for its use of 3D graphics, as the fighting game genre was largely populated by 2D games inspired by the mammoth success of Street Fighter II. However, the retrospective video released yesterday reimagines the series' cast of characters as superdeformed 2D sprites.
From the very beginning, Tekken has been about the conflict between various generations of the Mishima clan. The series' big bad Heihachi has never really got on too well with any of the Mishimas that came before or after him, and those disputes have often led to violent battles over the family business, that frequently end with someone being thrown from a cliff or into a volcano.
Namco is billing Tekken 7 as the "epic conclusion" of the Mishima saga, so it makes sense that the studio would want to fill players in on all the events that have led up to the game. The first part of the retrospective cover the first three mainline games in the series, and an as-yet-unreleased second part will bring us completely up to date.
It will be interesting to see just how conclusive Tekken 7 turns out to be. It's one of the most popular fighting games on the planet, so it seems unlikely that Namco would bring it to an end completely, but there seems to be an indication that the Mishima clan will play a less central role going forward.
The Tekken franchise has always maintained a balance between the drama of the Mishima storyline, and less serious elements like its more ridiculous characters. Tekken 7 may turn out to be the end of an era — or the promise of an "epic conclusion" might turn out to be no more than marketing bluster.
Tekken 7 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 2, 2017.