Can Tekken 7 become one of the leading fighting game titles in esports?

Tekken 7 is due out in the first half of 2017, but can it match other well-established titles in the competitive fighting game genre, such as Street Fighter and Smash Bros? Zoë Ainscough offers her opinion.
When it comes to fighting games and esports, the main games that usually come to mind are the likes of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Smash Bros.
Although a huge name, and arguably one of the biggest in its genre, Tekken has always seemed to lag behind its counterparts in the world of esports. There are a number of reasons why the game’s exposure in esports is lacking, one of which being that the last major release was over five years ago now.
So with fresh new content from competitors, especially on the latest generation of consoles, Tekken was expected to fall behind.
With Tekken 7: Fated Retribution’s long awaited console and PC release date just around the corner, and lead director Katsuhiro Harada stating the ‘2017 will be the year of Tekken’, it’s no wonder people are starting to talk about how the game could make an big impact on the esports scene.
The game was featured at numerous events around the world in 2016, including EVO, and Bandai Namco says the game will be coming out in early 2017. An official release date will be announced later this month.
Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend a considerable amount of time with versions of Tekken 7 on the PS4, and as I played the game it became clear that it was developed with competitive gaming in mind.

“Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend a considerable amount of time with versions of Tekken 7 on the PS4, and as I played the game it became clear that it was developed with competitive gaming in mind.”

One of the elements that makes playing Tekken so enjoyable is the exciting fighting mechanics and diverse character selection, and Tekken 7 is staying true to form with a large roster which consists of unique characters, old and new, each with their own backstory.
However, when it comes to gameplay, Tekken 7 is taking the combat system even further with new features such as ‘Rage Arts’. This is something we haven’t seen in a Tekken game before.
Rage Arts are a powerful theatrical attack which a player can execute when low on health, giving them an opportunity to completely turn the game around. These attacks, which are unique to each character, are able to be blocked, however players will need to stay on the ball and watch their opponent’s every move.

Now Tekken has always steered clear of the over-the-top spectacles that are usually seen in rival titles (supers and brutalities for example), but these elements are what helps the likes of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat offer a fun experience for both the player and the spectator. This is one of the many key reasons these games are more popular overall on the competitive scene.
The introduction of Rage Arts allows Tekken to add a brand new level of competitive play and excitement to the game, which will certainly help the title when it comes to entering the esports space.
In my opinion these elements will make Tekken 7 more fun to watch as a spectator, as they also add an element of unpredictability. Feedback from both casual and hardcore players suggest that the new gameplay features are a positive addition to game.
Tekken 7 will be the much needed revival the series needs, and the game certainly has the potential to send Tekken back to the forefront of the fighting game genre. Will you be playing Tekken 7 once the game is released on console and PC? Do you think it has what it takes to become a leading fighting game title in esports?

Second opinion: ENUK’s Dom Sacco

Street Fighter and Smash Bros are streets ahead in the FGC, and as Zoë points out, Tekken is flagging behind them in the esports space.
It’s hard to say whether Tekken will become the leading competitive fighting game title – I think that’s unlikely, especially given the cult following Smash Bros has and the infrastructure and weight Capcom has thrown behind Street Fighter.
There are plenty of other fighting games around, such as Mortal Kombat and even the lesser-played Killer Instinct, but as with any game, if Bandai Namco can get the gameplay right, and provide a good series of tournaments, then there’s no reason why Tekken can’t prosper in the esports space.
Whatever happens, a new Tekken game will be good competition for the likes of Street Fighter, and this can only help to improve fighting games and the esports side of the titles in the long run.
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