Update: Read on for full transcript
At E3 last week I had the opportunity to interview Katsuhiro Harada and Michael Murray about all things Tekken! Steven from TekkenLive.com sat in and got some awesome questions in as well. Tekken for Wii U, Tekken for 3DS, Tekken Tag 1 HD, Tekken:Blood Vengeance, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 USA arcade release and more are all covered. A HUGE thanks to Harada/Michael Murray for the interview and to FilthieRich for getting the community involved with E3 for once. Sorry for the audio quality, the room had big fan noise and a bunch of general E3 noise. I filtered out as much of the noise as possible.
Read on for the full transcript
Rip: Hey guys, we’re live here at E3 2011 and we’re here with Harada-san and Michael Murray:. I’m Rip from levelupyourgame and this is Steven from…
Rip: Lets get on with the interview
Steven: So it actually does run 60fps on the 3DS?
Murray: Yeah, they dont have any games that do that. Since its just a tech demo, you can’t play it.
Rip: So do you have any plans for the game, I mean its going to be a fighting game right? Its not going to be an rpg or anything like that?
Rip: And is the game going to follow the Tekken 6 storyline, or is it going to be its own thing?
Harada: Well you know, we just announced this at the Nintendo conference this time at E3 so we can’t really go into many details. Still thinking about a lot of it, even the whole package itself, what are we going to do with it? Obviously we’re going to have Tekken in 3D, but theres other cool things that we want to do with it as well
Rip: You guys have also announced Tekken on the Wii U. That game, do you guys plan to have these games tied together as far as story goes? Same kind of game on both devices or will they be separate entities?
Harada: Yes, totally different.
Rip: I watched the Nintendo video where you guys demo’d the practice mode and stage creation. I really liked the stage creation stuff, I thought it was very cool, but the graphics looked very cartoony and I was wondering if you guys plan to have it look more like Tekken graphics in that create a stage mode?
Harada: Yea, if thats what people want to see that can be done. This was a Nintendo conference and announcement, so we did that on purpose to kind of make it feel..
Tekken HYBRID / Tekken:Blood Vengeance / Tekken Tag 1 HD
Rip: Okay, so Tekken Hybrid, Tekken Tag 1 HD, When Street Fighter released HD Remix they updated move properties. Are you guys doing that or will this be the exact TTT1 that we got on PS2?
Murray: Ah, they did didn’t they.
Harada: No, same gameplay.
Murray: Look at Ao, a lot of our players are teenagers. They never played the original.
Harada: It even has bowling.
Rip: I noticed, I saw that, its just like the PS2 game, but widescreen right?
Murray: We want to show them why everyone thought it was so cool back in the day
Rip: The game, as far as I can tell from the trailer, its a PS3 exclusive, its on the bluray disc with the movie. Do you guys plan to release it as a downloadable game for PSN/XBL?
Harada: Its not like we made the game, Tekken Tag HD as a business decision to make money off of it. The main thing is this one (Tekken:Blood Vengeance). We just wanted to add something to sweeten the deal. And also, since its based on the PS2 game, its a lot of work involved in trying to port that to other platforms.
Rip: So its safe to say then that there won’t be netplay in it either?
Murray: No netplay. As far as selling it separately, he said that wasn’t the plan, but if everyone says ‘hey we want you to make it available on PSN’ maybe we’ll think about it.
Rip: So you guys announced the bluray. Is it also going to be a DVD?
Harada: Yeah, uhm, probably not. The reason its on the Bluray is because you can have the movie with it, you can have the game with it, you can also have some other stuff we haven’t announced yet all on that same disc. It wouldn’t match other platforms.
Steven: I’m actually kind of interested in the movie. You guys signed up a really hardcore cast. Its basically some of the biggest names in Japan for voice acting, directing, art production. Is this something you want to move forward with? Make multiple movies if this catches on?
Harada: Not really, because if we’re thinking about sequels or whatever at this point then we don’t really come up with the best product. The reason why we chose these people for the project is not just because we want to go out and get a bunch of these people. We were looking at people who understood Tekken and were very good at what they do, who were interested in working with us and it turned up being those talented people that came and worked with us. You guys probably don’t know but Dai Sato (screenplay writer of the movie) actually used to play Tekken in the arcades
Rip: Really quick question about the movie, I’ve heard people online saying “In the trailer, I only see this many characters.” Are the other characters from the game in the movie?
Harada: I just want everyone to understand, obviously, there are some characters included that haven’t been announced yet. But, having said that, its not like we’re going to have almost 40 some characters in there. Obviously, I love every character to make them, but even to have everyone in the movie, even if they had 1 minute each, thats 40 something minutes already
Rip: Right, story would get all crazy
Harada: Wouldn’t make sense. So, I just hope that everyone understands that. That it has to be a good movie.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Rip: So moving on then about Tekken Tag Tournament 2. There have been rumors lately. So I’m just going to ask one question. Will America have a Tekken Tag 2 machine that we can play on?
Murray: Haha, here we go! [Points outside the room to the TTT2 machine in E3] Outside.
Rip: ..in the arcade, after release?
Murray: You can tell how strongly he feels about the subject.
Harada: Everyone just focuses on if we’re going to sell the game or if we’re not going to sell the game. But we didn’t cause the decline of the arcade scene in America so we don’t decide whether we’re going to sell it or not. If there’s no arcades to sell it to it doesn’t matter how much we want to sell the game, we can’t. Obviously we would love to make money off the American market. So to everyone saying that, go make an arcade, we’ll sell you the game.
Obviously we want to find another way to get the game in your hands if it doesn’t work out. I’ve just heard so many people say “Oh, I’m so disappointed that the game won’t be sold” wherever their particular country is, but I’m just disappointed that there’s no arcades there to sell it to. So its kind of frustrating.
Rip: You guys I feel are in this really awkward position because you have this arcade business that does very well in Asia, but then you have America and Europe where there is no arcade scene, we only have mainly console players. So for you guys to have Tekken Tag 2, you announce it, you hype it up, you have all these trailers, it builds all this hype for the game, but half the world can’t play it. Then maybe a year and a half later you release the console version, and its kind of like the hype that you built up before doesn’t really apply anymore. How do you guys address that and what are your plans for that going forward?
Harada: Its very difficult because a lot of it is out of our control like we just said. The way I look at it, its not like its a boom. A lot of people say ‘oh fighting games are in’ or ‘fighting games are on the decline’ but thats not really the case, at least not with Tekken. People who really like fighting games, it isn’t about if someone else is playing it or not, they enjoy playing the game and seeing the progression of their skills as they get better, at the game, or that particular installment, or a character or what have you. So people who are really interested in it, it shouldn’t be as important if its ‘hot’ or not.
That being said, we do try to put as much into the console version as we can to make them as attractive as possible. And it is difficult. We have an arcade version we have to release because arcades are very profitable and they take off in various areas of the world too. But if we put out a console version right away it kills that whole market. So first we need an arcade version. We have to have a suitable amount of time after that before releasing console. So that when we do that we try to put in a lot for the fans to keep them happy with the console versions.
And of course, we do want to make the wait as short as possible to please everyone.
Murray: And also, I just mentioned to Harada-san that we hired FilthyRich as the community manager to help out the Tekken scene, to make everyone aware of what we’re doing. But not only that, we hope to have him plan some events to help get the game in your hands as well. The situation isn’t always ideal, but we’re doing the best we can, and we have a lot of ideas to improve the situation.
Rip: So you guys are working on it in someway, behind the scenes?
Murray: Yea, I mean I’m not saying we can make the whole arcade scene revive, but we do have a lot of plans. I feel very passionate about it, and I talk to Harada-san, and a lot of my ideas are a lot of his ideas, so its like ‘Lets do this.’ Whether we can or not, I don’t know but we are trying. The fans are important, but the game’s are most important. We don’t want to screw you guys over just to screw you over you know [laughs]
Steven: I noticed the game obviously looks a lot better. Is that because of the Havok engine, or is it more technical?
Harada: Not really much to do with Havok. We use Havok for some of the cloth animations, Feng Wei’s uniform and how it flows, the ship and the flags on that stage that flap in the wind. So some of those are using Havok. The game looks good because our programmers are really starting to understand the Playstation hardware a lot more since Tekken 6 so they were able to pull a lot more out of it this time. You’re right the graphics are improved. You probably noticed that the character models get dirty or wet, and on top of that you can have 4 characters on screen at once which you couldn’t do before.
Rip: Right, thats amazing.
Harada: Normally you would need twice the processing power and twice the memory to accomplish what we’ve done, to make the graphics better, with 4 characters on screen at once but our programmers were able to work their magic to do what they can with current hardware.
Rip: Do you guys know if there is anti-aliasing in this arcade version?
Harada: Maybe not the exact anti-aliasing that you’re used to, but there are various different methods to achieve the same effect. So we have used different methods to achieve similar results.
Steven: We’ve been playing the game a lot the last few days. How many more changes do you think you’ll make to the game system?
Harada: Not really that this is a location test, but naturally there is a lot of stuff thats not in the game that we are going to change depending on feedback. There is one feature that we’re thinking of, having your partner jump in to save you from an aerial juggle. At the moment its once per match, not per round, but once a match. Currently within the team we’re trying it out and it seems like a feature that might make it. Also, the balancing guys are still working on it, fine tuning it. A lot of the properties are going to change, so dont get too uptight about it.
Steven: Yeah, Namco’s balancing team is top notch
Murray: Yeah, we’ll you’ve heard of most of them
Once more, a huge thank you to Harada-san and Michael Murray: for taking the time out of their busy schedule to bring us this interview. Glad to know that there will be tons of new Tekken content in the next few years!