Should Tekken characters rotate in and out with each new title, or join later as additional content?
How can Tekken make everyone happy with its vast roster?
A lot of people have been asking for more characters to be featured in Tekken 7. Julia Chang, Anna Williams, Lei Wulong and Zafina are the most recurring, a sign that they are beloved by many fans. However, I would like to discuss if it would be better to keep the rotation of the roster from chapter to chapter as a principle.
First of all, this doesn’t compromise the fruition of the game and it doesn’t ruin its quality. Take as an example Tekken 3. Initially the arcade version of the game featured a quite different roster compared to Tekken 2, and many characters, such as the bosses, were also temporarily locked. This didn’t stopped players from enjoying it even when it was clear that many fan-favorite fighters were excluded from the third chapter. What made the difference was the great polishing put in every aspect of the title. The charisma and the refined gameplay of the new challengers was enough to help the fanbase shift for a moment from Kazuya and Jun, to Hwoarang, Xiaoyu or Eddie.
So, is it really important to have the same characters every time a new Tekken releases? In my opinion, to keep the roster rotating could help to maintain a strong identity for each. It helps give more value to every story-arc and a special place for some characters in the Tekken’s continuity. This way the player doesn’t always find the same characters in every episode, and it avoids the repetitiveness of always facing the same opponents too.
Two Jin Kazama characters have been in Tekken for quite some time, with one of them highly considered top-tier. So it could be the right moment to return to one single Jin. Maybe, we can keep the regular-Jin a fresh character by merging the two fighting styles into his new version for the next episode. Two versions of the same fighter in the same roster? It has become too much.
There is also a more practical reason for rotating the roster from title to title. One of the frequent complaints from players is that there are too many characters. That means studying far too many matchups just for fully learn a single character. Tekken 7 has already reached the respectful dimension of a 37 fighters roster (39 if we count Geese and Noctis from the season pass). That’s enough to entertain the players for years and I’m finding many interesting challenges to learn the gameplay of the newcomers. So, I don’t think that’s a real problem if Lei or Anna are skipping a turn and it will be cool to see them in Tekken 8.
If more characters should make their way into Tekken 7 it would be better to focus on guest-fighters instead. To keep the iconic figures as part of the base game and offering guests as DLC, it could be an opportunity to mix up different styles to expand the traditional Tekken experience without removing what’s considered a core part.
Since many players don’t like to see “sold separately” for what things considered a core part of the base game, the idea to introducing guest characters only in a season pass perfectly fits the definition of “additional content.”