Jul 12 //
With so many global players to please, Harada’s noticed a few differences between Japanese fans and Western fans. "There's the numbers firstly, as the Western fan base, both for Tekken and Street Fighter, is so much bigger than the fan base in Japan. This is true even more so for Europe, as that's where the majority of fans are. Not just that, the points they seem interested about are different. For example, the Japanese are more into their game mechanics and the fine details, characters and such, whereas the foreign audience seems to be more interested in what’s going on with the story and storylines."
The fighting game community is very vocal about their thoughts, and at times the general consensus can get things wrong. One area Harada felt that happened is with the latest feature added to Tag 2.
"One decision, for example, was implementation of the latest gameplay mechanic. This was implemented in the arcade version but you could play 2 on 2, 1 on 1, and 1 on 2. Tag was very popular with its 2-on-2 gameplay, but following that we reverted back to 1-on-1 fights with Tekken 4 onwards. This time when TTT2 came out, it was only 2 on 2 at first, then we implemented the gameplay mechanics of 2 on 1, and 1 on 1. A lot of people told me at first 'Hey, why are you going to do that? That’s not a good idea at all' but once they got their hands on it, and even now with the console version as well, everyone seems to be pretty happy with it, so that is one decision I stuck by."
In terms of release, each entry in the series always hits arcades months before the consoles, and with many arcades unfortunately closing down globally, you might think that the future of Tekken will involve less of a relationship with arcades in the future. Though Harada partially agrees about arcades closing down, he's got his own argument against that idea.
"Well, you know, like you said, arcades are in decline in the West -- even in Japan the numbers are decreasing. On the other hand, there is a rise in arcades and that market in some of the more developing countries, for example China or Brazil. It seems mostly in the Eastern hemisphere, we’ve seen a great jump in arcade activity there. So no, regarding Tekken's [arcade life] will continue, however depending on the title it may make more sense just to have a console release so it really depends on the particular title that we’re working on."
To close my interview I had two questions left which I needed answered: who Harada’s dream tag team partner is and who his dream tag team opponents would be. The answers were as cool as Harada’s demeanor.
“It depends on who the opponent is, like if it were zombies, then I’d really like to form a team with Bruce Campbell. If it were making a new business, like a travel agency or something, then Ono-San may be whom I would choose to pair with. As far as who I would like to fight against, maybe a team of Ed Boon and Itagaki-San."
There you have it; hopefully one day those words will turn into a real match that we'll get to see!
Tekken producer Katsushiro Harada has been making headlines recently, partially due to his thoughts on whining fans of the series as well as the release of free Tekken Tag Tournament 2 character content. Though Street Figh...
Jul 11 //
“I feel the European fan base is very similar to the Japanese fan base" Baba told Destructoid at a recent press event. "They like the worlds in the Tales series, and the characters as well, so I definitely feel there is love and passion from the European fans as well. I feel that the EU fan base is becoming bigger and bigger, especially as of more recently.”
Western Tales fans have been neglected in the past, with a plethora of Tales media not reaching our shores, but this is something Namco Bandai is looking to change. As reported a few days ago, both Tales of Xillia and the next game in the series will be coming to the West. Baba sees the various types of media the Tales series has been released on as a way to bring more people in, especially in the West.
“I think there is [still a place for JRPGs] in Europe. Just as an example, broadcasting can be used, so animation in Tales can help more and more people recognize the series and franchise. Someone watching one of the anime adaptations might think 'Oh, it’s originally a game? I want to play it!,' so that’s just an example but we need to make our efforts to increase the series’ recognition.”
One of the games that the West missed out on is the well-received DS title Tales of Innocence, which recently received a PlayStation Vita remake. When I asked if it’s possible that the game will come to the West, Baba remains optimistic. “If it’s possible, I will bring it to Europe, but the market for the Vita isn’t that big there and localization costs are expensive, so I would like to bring it to consoles where as many players as possible can enjoy the game. Hence why this time [Tales of Graces f] is on the PS3.”
Since the game is about friendship -- with Baba having such a friendly demeanor -- and also because Tekken producer Katsushiro Harada jokingly demanded that all of the attendees report that Baba is single (and prefers men, women, cats, and dogs), I figured I’d close my interview with a question on what his favorite activity to do with his friends is.
He replied that Tales of Graces f is part of both his working and private life as he plays it when he’s at home, though he enjoys skiing in the winter and used to enjoy surfing when he was younger.
To say the Tales series is a pretty big franchise would probably be seen as a gross understatement. Since its creation in 1994, the series has sold over 14 million copies despite many of the games not getting released ou...
[Justice recently represented Destructoid at a Namco and Capcom event in London, and his experience turned into this epic blog. Give it a look! - Kauza]
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