Tekken 8’s New Battle System to Set the Bandai Namco Staple Apart from the Competition


Sandeep Singh

Tekken 7 was a monstrous success in the once relatively neglected fighter genre of video games. Released in June 2017 to consoles outside of Japan, a thriving competitive scene, superb graphics, and refined gameplay helped to power the game to franchise-beating sales. In June 2022, reports relayed that the Heihachi Mishima-led game sold over 9 million copies to take the series to over 53 million. In December 2022, that figure eclipsed 10 million.

It was an expansive game with a sprawling story through the Story Mode, a mix of difficulties, a haul of unlockables through Treasure Battle, and a decent-sized roster of popular characters from the series. Some new and leaned-on elements rubbed a group of long-time fans the wrong way, though, such as the influx of characters from other games that didn’t fit the series – like Akuma from Street Fighter and Noctis Lucis Caelum from FFXV – or the overpowered Rage mechanics.

Still, the success of Tekken 7 appears to have inspired a much greater presence for fighting games in the world of video gaming. As of September 2022, its main competitor, Street Fight V, moved to 6.8 million in sales to become the best-selling title in the series. Then, there are numerous other fighting games rising to prominence by drawing from different properties. So, does the upcoming Tekken 8 have what it takes to beat the competition this time?

Tekken 8’s new battle system to advance the experience

At the Game Awards, in the EVO teaser, and in Sony’s State of Play video, we got to see some of the incredible new graphics and gameplay in action. If nothing else, Tekken 8 already looks to be the most graphically stunning of the series, if not of all games in its genre. A release date wasn’t forthcoming with these reveals towards the end of 2022, but most rumors and “insider” reveals point to a 2023 release for Tekken 8.

Importantly, Tekken 8 is being built on the Unreal Engine 5. Maximizing its potential, the classic arcade series won’t be compatible with the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, being a purely new-gen experience. This means that it’ll have the best graphics and gameplay elements possible, even to the extent that you can see Tekken character muscles twitch as they move.

Tekken 7 introduced the Rage system, with which players on low health could press an easy button combination to unleash a hyper-powerful move that would cut more than half of the health bar of the opponent with ease. Rage Art and Rage Drives differed per character, but all of them were tremendously destructive if not blocked in a timely manner, making them as much as game-breaking in casual play. While Rage may remain, Heat looks to be the focus battle system in Tekken 8.

By using certain moves, which differ per character, Tekken 8 will see its fighters gain Heat. With enough Heat, a greater variety of moves will become accessible to the fighter, rather than the set moves of the Rage mechanics, it appears. Rather than the passiveness of Rage, which awards players taking a lot of damage to “level the playing field,” Heat would empower the more aggressive and clinical fighter.

Tekken 8 will have a lot of competition

Tekken 7 loaded up on crossover or “guest” characters that would bring mechanics to the Tekken series that were distinctly different from characters made for the series. Some would say that it added a different challenge to the game, while others would say that it disrupted the Tekken experience. Either way, it helped spur on fighting games like MultiVersus and Brawlhalla, both of which have been successes on the back of multi-property character rosters.

Tekken 8 will also have to contest with other entertainment genres piling in on the new fighting game craze. Beyond the realms of button-mashing on arcade machines or game controllers, the best online casino Canada boasts its own fighting game. Reel Fighters draws on the classic arcade aesthetic, with the fighters on the reels battling for an Iron Fist Tournament-like top prize.

The characters in Reel Fighters are billed as “superhuman ninja warriors” who all compete to help players land wild symbols and scatters to trigger free spins. It would appear to draw more from Mortal Kombat than Tekken, but Tekken 8’s biggest rival will be Street Fighter 6. It, too, has had a major graphics upgrade, looks to be a high-octane fighter, and will be available on previous consoles (PS4), making it more accessible when it launches on June 2, 2023.

Tekken 8 looks absurdly impressive in its trailers and footage, but it enters a space that’s got a lot of classy competitors. Only time will tell if the new Heat system and mighty visuals will make Tekken a genre-topping title once again.