- Tekken 8’s director explained that Kuma and Panda were added to the series simply because fighting a bear in a video game is fun.
- Kuma and Panda have been staple characters in the Tekken franchise since their introduction in previous games.
- Tekken 8 will introduce new characters like Victor Chevalier, Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo, and Reina, but none of them will be bears.
Tekken 8 director Katsuhiro Harada has recently revealed the main reason why Kuma was introduced in the franchise: fighting a bear is fun. Both Kuma and Panda will be playable in Tekken 8, and now the long-time developer of the series has finally given fans a proper explanation of why these characters were added.
The first Tekken was released in 1994, and it had 17 playable characters in its console version, including the first Kuma. Panda, on the other hand, appeared for the first time in Tekken 3 as a palette swap character for Kuma 2. The new Kuma was the son of the previous one, who had died of old age, and both bears have been staples of the franchise since then, despite Kuma often being considered one of weakest Tekken characters due to his slow speed and short reach.
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Now, Tekken 8’s director Katsuhiro Harada has explained the reasoning for introducing Kuma to the franchise, as well as Panda later on. The developer explained their decision when a player asked him why the team decided to put a bear and a panda in a fighting game. According to Harada, video games allow people to do things that are difficult in real life, and fighting a bear is simply a fun idea. He also cited that “a long time ago,” folks would often want to face bears in martial combat, which is probably where the idea came from. Considering that people like the famous UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomevod have fought a bear in real life, it’s not such a far-fetched idea.
This week, Kuma had his gameplay reveal for Tekken 8. In a hilarious video, Kuma appears equipped with a salmon, which he uses to beat up enemies, including poor Panda when she declines his marriage proposal. Kuma will have a new visual in Tekken 8, using a red bandana and a denim jacket, and also some new moves, such as a funny salmon missile attack.
As usual, the upcoming Tekken 8 will bring new characters to the franchise, but none of them will be bears. When the game is released in January 2024, players will be able to try out Victor Chevalier, Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo, and Reina. Chevalier is a French Navy soldier who descends from a lineage of distinguished knights, while Azucena is the so-called “Coffee Queen,” a rich MMA fighter who comes from a family of rich coffee farmers. The most mysterious new character is Reina, who uses the Mishima fighting style and is rumored to be a secret child of Heihachi.
Bandai Namco’s Tekken 8 will be the franchise’s debut entry on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and the fighting game is built in Unreal Engine 5. The story revolves around Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama’s relationship.
- January 26, 2024