Despite their differences, there’s one thing that Street Fighter 6 and TEKKEN 8 have in common – their flagship American characters both seem to be going through a mid-life crisis. Both sporting uncharacteristically ragged outfits and unkempt hairstyles, it’s easy to see why players have been poking fun at the new designs. After being dealt a relatively bad hand narratively over the last few entries, this change seems obvious in retrospect when it comes to Paul Phoenix.
When asked about the changes to Paul’s design, Harada maintained that Paul is not going through a mid-life crisis despite his dishevelled appearance, “There’s many older characters in TEKKEN that we still want to portray as viable and cool. Not necessarily going through a mid-life crisis, but if we have an older character in the game, how can we make them into a character people will want to play?”
“As far as Paul’s hairstyle, it’s a different way to make it feel like an evolution of the character. He had a different hairstyle in TEKKEN 4 if you recall. It’s not that he’s going through a mid-life crisis, it’s more that element of time having changed in the game and we need to find ways to portray that in the characters. How do we make an older, but still cool looking iteration of themselves? If people love the old hairstyle, you can change that in the customization as well.”.
Harada also goes onto mention as a side topic that Paul’s hair has been down every 4th entry into the franchise. First with TEKKEN 4, now with TEKKEN 8, and probably with TEKKEN 12 as well. If that isn’t confirmation on TEKKEN 9 through 12, I don’t know what is. He also states that the team understands how important these characters are to fans, and that they’re always looking for ways to make them even more appealing with new designs while still retaining their core identities.
The two hours of hands-on time we got with the game didn’t include any of the story mode, the only narrative tidbits we got were the pre and post fight interactions between characters. Still, though, I’m not convinced Paul isn’t in a bad place after his conclusion in TEKKEN 7. I suppose only time will tell.
You can read more about our two hours of hands-on in more extensive detail right here.
The author travelled to Singapore as a guest of Bandai Namco Entertainment for the purposes of this preview and interview content.