Tekken 6 Will Have More Than 40 Characters

It seems that an era is ending in the history of fighting-oriented videogames, that of unlockable characters. At least, that's what Katsuhiro Harada, one of the long time developers working on the genre, believes and that's what his company, Namco Bandai, is doing with its latest offering.

Harada, who is now working as the director behind Tekken 6, which is set to arrive on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 on October 27, talked to VideoGamer about the origins of unlockable characters and about their bleak future.

He said that “Why we locked the characters originally was that in the arcades, it was kind of to extend the life of the game by gradually unlocking characters. And also with the home versions as well, because you can rent games or whatever, it was to protect us against that.”

The practice is now less interesting to developers because online play needs a level playing field. Players would not be too happy to see that characters which are more powerful than others can only be used after a certain amount of time is invested in the game. For example, Street Fighter IV, a huge commercial success for Capcom, shipped with 25 playable characters but nine of them needed to be unlocked. It's very probable that only hardcore players have gotten them all.

By contrast, Tekken 6 from Namco Bandai is offering gamers a chance to play around with 40 characters, the largest selection for the series yet, and all of them will be usable from the start. All online games will be more balanced and, if the game is successful, we might very well see the number of unlockable characters diminish, if not disappear outright. Of course, more practical options, like unlockable characters that can be obtained by paying a small fee, are also a possibility.


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