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Tekken 8 to Confirm the Real Death of Franchise Staple Character this Time

At its core, the super cool, incredibly stylized, high-impact, and iconic fighting series Tekken is a huge family drama. Over the years, we’ve partaken in scraps between just about everyone in the Mishima-Kazama family and anyone who happens to stray close enough to the family or the Iron Fist Tournament. We’ve fought from the side of Kazuya, Jin, and Heihachi, as well as family-tied fighters Jun Kazama, Jinpachi Mishima, and Lars Alexandersson.

Now, as we gear up to the launch of Tekken 8, which we now know will have cross-play and rollback netcode, we’ve learned that one of these pivotal characters is dead – for real, this time. For such a long-running and legendary game series – regardless of genre – it’s a huge move, but the franchise has become so vast and influential now that Tekken 8 still looks set to build on the record sales of its predecessor.

Building the series without a core character

As far as the main story goes through the Tekken games, it’s always been about Kazuya, Heihachi, and Jin, but after the events of Tekken 7, we can expect to not see one of those three in the Tekken 8 story – and perhaps not the final roster. We’ve become accustomed to seeing these three throw each other from great heights or into certain peril but come back to fight once more. The grand finale to Tekken 7’s story has been confirmed as conclusive.

As reported by The Gamer, alongside his trusted translator to relay what was said in Japanese, executive producer Katsuhiro Harada has confirmed that, when Kazuya threw Heihachi’s body into the lava after their epic fight in the volcano, it marked the end of Mr. Mishima. As he could never convert the Devil Gene or attain immortality from Ogre’s blood in earlier games, Heihachi can’t revive as Kazuya and Jin can, making his Tekken 7 death quite final.

Not only did the story of Tekken 7 go down well with fans and critics, but the gameplay and long support for the title helped to make it the biggest game in the series so far. In fact, it clocked in a new record for Tekken by surpassing 9 million, and then 10 million, copies sold worldwide to pump the series to beyond 53 million, according to the report from Eurogamer.

Still, many will miss Heihachi’s dominant presence in Tekken 8, but in his place, the story gets to circle back to the mother of Jin, Jun Kazama, who returns to the mainline series of games for the first time since Tekken 2. Along with Jun’s long-awaited return, regular gameplay trailers put out by the team have also showcased Lars, Ling Xiaoyu, Kazuya, Jin, Asuka, King, Paul Phoenix, Leroy Smith, Marshall Law, Nina, and Jack 8.

The creator of the series has taken to Twitter in the ramping up of Tekken 8 promotion to confirm that the launch roster will be larger than Capcom’s upcoming Street Fighter 6. As listed above 12 characters have already been revealed, and SF6 will reportedly feature 18 when it launches this summer.

Becoming an even more influential game

Tekken 8 looks to enter a competitive field when it launches, with both Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 12 earmarked for releases this year. SF6 will be the first to hit consoles, being released on June 2, while MK12 was confirmed in an investor call as a 2023 launch. Tekken 8 is yet to receive an official release date, but with the amount of legacy and momentum that it has, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Tekken’s influence can even be seen beyond console gaming and into the world of online entertainment. The prime example comes in the form of a game called Reel Fighters. Those who play online casino games in Canada and fighting games, specifically, will instantly recognize the inspiration for the characters. The four-armed one is very much like Yoshimitsu, while the female fighter with the cat ears is drawn from Lucky Chloe. Although wearing glasses in the slot, the chap with slicked-back blue hair and a high lapel jacket is Claudio, and the purple demon-like is akin to Unknown.

The franchise has also, finally, enjoyed a successful jump from video games to video entertainment. Two movies were released to severe disappointment in 2009 and 2014, while even the animated flick of 1998 received mixed reviews at best. The breakthrough came in 2022 with Tekken Bloodline. Netflix isn’t exactly known for pumping out much quality content from its Originals arm, but Bloodline was a decent foray into the story of Jin Kazama.

While the second season of Bloodline is yet to be announced, we do know that the team at Bandai is ramping up to the launch of Tekken 8. Regardless of when its competitors launch, and even without Heihachi, it’s bound to be a top seller with so much momentum behind the series right now.