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Tekken 7

Katsuhiro Harada talks Tekken, Switch, and his career

We had an opportunity to ask questions to the legendary producer of the Tekken series.

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Katsuhiro Harada has been producer of the Tekken series for a long time now, and recently we caught up with the man himself to talk about the recently released Tekken 7, which has garnered a lot of success worldwide.

What has been your favourite thing about the community's reaction to Tekken 7?

The slow-motion effect was something that I had envisioned thinking how the community would react. We envisioned that we were playing and the instant of feeling very excited because you don't know that outcome of the match. People watching would also feel the same thing at the same time too. This was implemented from the arcade version and was shown at Evo so we got to see the reaction. From the console version, we were pleased with the reaction from the story mode. Within the story mode you could play it seamlessly from cinematics to the actual gameplay sequences. This was something quite new for a fighting game maybe a hint of what you can do with games in the future. We were very pleased by the community's reaction to it.

With Pokken Tournament DX having just been released on Switch, what are your thoughts on the game and this new version of it?

I was involved more in the original Pokken, not necessarily that much with the Switch but it is quite exciting for the development team as well as for everyone involved in the industry that the switch turned out to be a big hit. It was quite a surprise, a pleasant surprise. The timing of releasing Pokken on this platform is really good and I am really looking forward to it. If you look really close, a lot of the characters have some kind of technique taken from Tekken characters. You will also be able to find these different fighting styles, so check it out if you have the game

What are your thoughts on the Switch in general? What are the biggest challenges of developing for the platform in your opinion, and can you think of any other ways the genre might evolve in terms of new control methods?

Pokken was a case where it was developed first for the arcade which have pretty decent graphics boards and capabilities. Porting that in itself was quite difficult for the Wii U because of the difference in specs. This is a problem that's quite interesting and often occurred quite some time ago, as you have a very powerful arcade architecture and then have to port to console. In recent years, the power of consoles has become much better so this is a problem that is happening less and less. However, for the first time in a while, the team ran into this problem wishing that we had more memory in the console.

We learned about the Switch earlier than the public so there was an idea from the director that he would really love to take Pokken to the Switch. We knew the concept but didn't know the exact specs of the hardware. You can imagine we were thinking it could be quite difficult having to take this arcade game running on pretty decent hardware and port it to a mobile platform. At the time the team wanted to use the splitscreen feature of the Switch. That posed even more of a challenge due to keeping the graphical quality at a certain level with the arcade version. The team did a very good job in providing these features for the Switch and we hope that you look forward to it.

Tekken 7

You're obviously best known for your fighting games, but you've worked on other types of games as well. Looking beyond your own genre, what are your favourite games to play?

In recent years it would probably be the FPS genre which I play the most. The concept of pointing and shooting hasn't changed but with each different franchise, there is a new take on it providing a new experience to the player. There is also a lot to experience like the campaign, online versus and online co-op. There's a very rich experience with the genre in general.

What is the most important lesson you've learned on your journey as a game maker?

This is not necessarily limited to video games but learning what the people want. It may seem easy to say what you want and they will tell you but that may not necessarily be exactly what they want. Many people think if you do everything they say to improve the game, it will end up in a form that's perfect but that's not the case. A lot of the time they are saying things that are contradicting each other and in order to achieve what they think they want, you need a totally different idea. The biggest thing I learned I guess you could say is to notice this.

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