Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is out, and while its original incarnation can be best described as "Tekken 6 with a tag button," the game has evolved greatly beyond its original arcade release to become something more. In addition to introducing the ability to play as a single character instead of a tag team, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for consoles has unveiled a number of new characters, making its roster the largest roster in Tekken history. Add to this a number of balance changes and move additions to the original arcade version, and this is the most complete version of Tekken yet.
However, the purchased version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is not the final version that we will all be getting. Many of us have pre-ordered the game and thus have already received the codes we need to activate some of the four day-one DLC characters. These include Ancient Ogre, Michelle Chang, Kunimitsu, and Angel. Only GameStop pre-orders will get all four characters, while other retailers will grant you access to two.
However, even though these characters are DLC, they will not be available for purchase. Katsuhiro Harada, director for TTT2, said that you would never be required to pay for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 DLC characters. So we can only conclude that these DLC characters will eventually be made available for everyone to play. After a certain amount of time has passed, these characters will simply be unlocked. In fact, the only reason they are locked in the first place was to use them as a pre-order incentive. Most likely, they are all already on the disc.
And speaking of on-disc DLC, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is following in the footsteps of Street Fighter X Tekken by including a host of characters already locked on the disc but not available to unlock in any way. These characters include Unknown, the boss of the first Tekken Tag Tournament; Dr. Boskonovich, who was originally playable in Tekken 3; Sebastian, Lili's butler; Violet, a more flamboyant version of Lee; Miharu, Xiaoyu's friend; and Slim Bob, or Bob from his Tekken 6 ending after he lost a whole lot of weight. All of these characters have full art, graphics, character models, and more right on the disc. Likely, they will all be made playable at a later date.
On-disc DLC has always made fighting game fans go crazy, to the extent that many blame the on-disc DLC scandal for killing the Street Fighter X Tekken community. Does prior knowledge that you won't actually have to pay for any of these characters make it any better? Is it okay for certain characters to be behind a time-locked door, or should all characters simply be available from the start if their data is on the disk?
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Is just the beginning of Tekken's future, though. The Tekken side of the Tekken X Street Fighter project has yet to come out. Harada has some wildly differing ideas on how to program Street Fighter characters into the Tekken engine. For example, he said that Tekken characters will likely have four buttons while Street Fighter characters will have six. He said that Tekken characters will likely not have any resources to manage while Street Fighter characters will have their iconic super meter. Street Fighter characters will likely activate their iconic super moves through hit-strings, rather than through normal button inputs. It's a weird mish-mash of mechanics whose end gameplay we can only begin to speculate on.
Harada has also said that he probably won't include tag mechanics in Tekken X Street Fighter. Instead, he wants the game to be a pure 1v1 experience so he can focus on character balance, character move-sets, and even the character models of Street Fighter characters in the Tekken engine. However, Harada has also said that he hasn't had a lot of time to work on Tekken X Street Fighter due to the amount of time he has spent on Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Looking at Tekken Tag Tournament 2 shows us exactly what NAMCO Bandai wants to do with the Tekken franchise in the future. They are dedicated to a fighting system with few resources to manage and lots of moves to master. Tekken has always been about fighting first, and while it has included some interesting external systems (like rage and tagging) over the years, it's always going to come down to which player has the better mastery over their character. So even Tekken X Street Fighter will likely follow this model of putting smart fighting at the forefront of the game.
If you are a Tekken fan, be sure to pick up Tekken Tag Tournament 2. We will bring you more information on the Tekken X Street Fighter project when it becomes available.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: September 12, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*