Tekken 7 has enjoyed a long and successful career as one of the fighting game scene's premier esports (Knee's victory at EVO last year was a joy to see). The Tekken World Tour 2023 has just kicked off with EVO Japan yesterday. But after nearly a decade, it's time to move on to a new challenger: Tekken 8. And the hype is real.
Initially announced six months ago at State of Play September 2022 with a trailer featuring father and son Kazuya and Jin, Bandai Namco has spent the last few months slowly revealing the game's roster of characters.
- 1 Tekken Talk
- 2 Here Comes A New Challenger: Feng Wei
- 3 Here Comes A New Challenger: Azucena Ortiz
- 4 Here Comes A New Challenger: Raven
- 5 Here Comes A New Challenger: Claudio Serafino
- 6 Here Comes A New Challenger: Bryan Fury
- 7 Here Comes A New Challenger: Hwoarang
- 8 Here Comes A New Challenger: Lili
- 9 Here Comes A New Challenger: Asuka Kazama
- 10 Here Comes A New Challenger: Leroy Smith
- 11 Here Comes A New Challenger: Ling Xiaoyu
- 12 Here Comes A New Challenger: Jun Kazama
- 13 Here Comes A New Challenger: Jack-8
- 14 Here Comes A New Challenger: Lars Alexandersson
- 15 Here Comes A New Challenger: King
- 16 Here Comes A New Challenger: Marshall Law
- 17 Here Comes A New Challenger: Paul Phoenix
- 18 Here Comes A New Challenger: Jin Kazama
- 19 Here Comes A New Challenger: Kazuya Mishima
- 20 Here Comes A New Challenger: Nina Williams
Let's talk #TEKKEN8.
— TEKKEN (@TEKKEN) March 30, 2023
The first episode of Tekken Talk was released yesterday, as well. Hosted by Sumichu, Tekken Talk featured guests Maximilian Dood, Rip, and producer Michael Murray. Fans can tune into episodes of Tekken Talk to get more details on Tekken 8 leading up to its 2024 release.
Now for the moment, we've been waiting for; Tekken 8's roster.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Feng Wei
Bandai teased a few fighters in last month's exclusive content reveal trailer, including Shaheen, Yoshimitsu, Steve, Leo, and Kuma, but we finally have a new official character trailer. Tekken 8's latest revealed character is Feng Wei.
Think of Feng as Dragonball Z's Goku if Goku followed Jade Empire's Way of the Closed Fist. Self-interested, caring only about fighting, and holding contempt for those he views as weaklings, Feng has a one-track mind: to prove himself the strongest fighter in the world.
Feng is pretty removed from Tekken's plot, as expected of a guy who only wants to prove he's the strongest fighter in the world. He suffered a sound defeat in the previous King of Iron Fist tournament at the hands of Leroy Smith, who echoes Feng's former master's martial arts beliefs.
Angered at his defeat from someone whose beliefs align with those of his “weak” former master, Feng has trained harder than ever to avenge his loss. He has allied himself with G Corp as they promise to give him the chance to even the score with Leroy, so long as he supports them.
Feng's primary legacy comes from the competitive scene. Feng had a rough start in Tekken 7 and wasn't very viable. But after a few buffs and a legendary EVO 2022 victory by Tekken legend Knee, Feng saw a surge in competitive use. As we draw closer to the end of Tekken 7's life cycle, Feng comfortably sits as one of Tekken 7's S-tier characters.
Time will tell if Feng maintains that status in Tekken 8.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Azucena Ortiz
The latest character revealed for Tekken 8's roster takes on the New Challenger part quite literally: Introducing the franchise newbie, Azucena Ortiz.
Azucena Ortiz is the first new character Bandai has revealed for Tekken 8. A happy-go-lucky MMA fighter and sole daughter and heiress to the Ortiz Farm, the Coffee Queen is a refreshing change of pace and tone. This far into the Tekken story, the narrative took an understandably bleak turn years ago. From Jin starting a world war to rid the world of Azazael and his Devil Gene to Heihachi and Kazuya doing typical Mishima family things, Tekken's earth has seen better days. But the Coffee Queen doesn't seem to let the world's craziness affect her too much.
The Peruvian Azucena Ortiz isn't here at the King of Iron Fist tournament to stop Kazuya's plans of world domination or anything like that. She's just here to promote her family's Coffee Farm. And to let everyone know that coffee is the greatest beverage in the world. This opinion seems to be setting up a playfully childish rivalry between her and Lilli Who believes in tea superiority).
Do your best, Azucena Ortiz, and welcome to King of Iron Fist!
Here Comes A New Challenger: Raven
EVO 2023 has come and gone, but not before revealing two new characters for the Tekken 8 roster, the first of which is Raven.
One part United Nations intelligence agent and one part ninja, the mysterious Raven, debuted in Tekken 5. Almost strictly professional and nonpersonal, Raven's only objective is stopping international threats. With the conflict between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corp consuming the world, Raven felt the need to train to prepare himself to help avert the looming crisis.
After this temporary absence in favor of his Master in Tekken 7, Raven's back with a new technique: the Shadow Clone. Naruto's got some competition.
Raven's new and improved move set heavily incorporates his mastery over his new Jutsu into his moves. In that way, he has become pretty similar to Mortal Kombat's Noob Saibot with how his Shadow Clones function in combat.
Forever dedicated to combating threats to the world, with Kazuya Mishima still at large, Raven's mission is far from over. He'll likely find himself coming at odds with Heihachi's eldest son during the events of Tekken 8. And maybe even Sergei Dragunov, one of the few people capable of genuinely pissing Raven off.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Claudio Serafino
It's been over a month since our last Tekken 8 character reveal, but Bandai has ended that drought with the reveal of Claudio Serafino.
A franchise newcomer having made his debut in Tekken 7, Claudio has already returned. The Italian Quincy, as Bleach fans like to call him, is the leader of the Archers of Sirius. They're a group of exorcists who use magical bows to rid the world of supernatural threats (See the Quincy similiarities now?).
Claudio reluctantly joined the Mishima Zaibatsu has Heihachi defeated him in combat to gain his aid in riding himself of Devil Kazuya. Heihachi would soon release Claudio from his service after thinking he finally bested Kazuya for good.
That didn't end well for Heihachi, but with Devil Kazuya and Devil Jin still around, Claudio's mission is far from over, and the supernatural archer is sticking around.
Claudio initially got close to Ling Xiaoyu in an attempt to use her attachment to Jin to find and kill him. Xiaoyu's undying loyalty to her friend sparked a change of heart in Claudio, and he now swears to help Xiaoyu save her friend. But he will put down Devil Jin if he has to.
Despite being an archer, playable Claudio didn't have arrows are staples in his basic moveset. That has thankfully now changed, allowing the Archer of Sirius leader to show his full power. He's also gained an additional form of Starburst as well.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Bryan Fury
Tekken 8's next unveiled fighter is the cyborg zombie Bryan Fury!
The psychotic and immoral Bryan Fury became an instant fan favorite after making his debut in Tekken 3. Revealed to be a former detective who met his end after a shootout in Hong Kong, Bryan earned a second chance thanks to a man named Doctor Abel.
Abel is an intellectual rival of Doctor Bosconovitch, famous for his work on Yoshimitsu and, most recently, his creation of an android version of his daughter, Alisa. Abel brought Fury back from the dead in an attempt to create a cyborg army that surpassed the work of Bosconovitch. But to do so, he needed Fury to obtain Bosconovitch's research, so he sent Fury after Yoshimitsu in King of Iron Fist 3.
Fury failed in this mission, and Abel subsequently abandoned him. That left Fury with little time left to live in his imperfect body. That was a mistake on Abel's part, as Fury would attack and presumably kill the doctor while the doctor was working for the Mishima Zaibatsu.
Fury's attack on Mishima Zaibatsu put him on Death's Door, only for him to be saved by Yoshimitsu. Yoshimitsu brought Fury back to Bosconovitch, who couldn't perfect Fury's body (Yet) but provided Fury with a workaround that would keep him from dying.
Fury repaid Yoshimitsu and Bosconovitch by attacking them both and has since been on a maniacal rampage around the world, testing the full extent of his body's capabilities.
Bryan's Tekken 8 reveal trailer features his trademark pure power style of combat and even pays homage to the Opening Cinematic scene with Paul Phoenix. Yoshimitsu is still looking for revenge against Bryan for his betrayal, so I'm sure fans can't wait to see his reveal next.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Hwoarang
Jin Kazama's rival is back, and it looks like he's grown up a bit.
Introduced in Tekken 3, Hwoarang is an impulsive street fighter who became Jin Kazama's rival after the two fought to a draw. It was the first time Hwoarang failed to defeat anyone in a fight.
Hwoarang joined King of Iron Fist 3 to seek revenge on Ogre, who attacked Hwoarang's master Baek Doo San (Who Hwoarang believed was killed in the assault) and to settle his score with Jin. Throughout the Tekken series, Hwoarang has not only been able to best Jin in combat, but even Devil Jin, establishing himself as one of the strongest fighters in the Tekken series.
Tekken 8 Hwoarang has gone back to his routes a bit, embracing the biker in him that we all know and love. He's ditched the eyepatch and is now sporting a Dobok like his master Baek.
His outfit isn't the only thing about Hwoarang in Tekken 8 that gives off Baek Doo San vibes, but some of his move set seems to incorporate some of his master's moves as well. But the biggest change to hot-headed Hwoarang is that he seems to have matured quite a bit. He's still confident in his abilities, but he doesn't come off as impulsive anymore.
Well-known for his high damage output and high skill ceiling, Hwoarang looks like he will be a potent fighter in the next-generation Tekken game.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Lili
After several weeks of waiting, Bandai has finally released the next character trailer. With the last character trailer being Asuka Kazama, we shouldn't have been surprised by this one; it's Lili De Rochefort.
Born Emilie De Rochefort, Lili was your average spoiled rich girl until some kidnappers held her for ransom. She managed to fight off one of the kidnappers and escape, and since then, she has taken a strong interest in fighting.
Lili eventually found herself a competitor in King of Iron Fist 5, where Asuka Kazama defeated her. After this loss, Lili took it upon herself to become Asuka's rival (Similar to how Hwoarang did the same with Jin in Tekken 3). And while Bandai has woven in some side plots of Lili trying to help her father's business (Which was being disrupted by Mishima Zaibatsu), she's mainly focused on her rivalry with Asuka. And based on her Tekken 8 trailer, that's not changing.
What has changed, however, are Lili's lines and battle grunts which have received re-recording treatment. Lili's moves have changed a bit too. Her move set has added in some ballerina-style attacks. It's fitting, given her elegant attire and status.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Asuka Kazama
April Fools just passed, but Bandai isn't joking around. They delivered not one but two new fighter trailers today. The first is Leroy Smith, and joining him is Asuka Kazama.
As you may have guessed from her last name, Asuka is a relative of franchise protagonist Jin Kazama. Initially, Asuka joined King of Iron Fist in Tekken 5 to get revenge on the man who destroyed her family's dojo, Feng Wei. Asuka never managed to do so but gained a rival in the form of Lili De Rochefort.
Asuka returned to the King of Iron Fist in Tekken 6 to stop the destruction caused by her relative Jin, but like in the last tournament, she never achieved her primary goal. Since then, Asuka has mostly been wrapped up in the more one-sided rivalry Lili shares with her.
Tekken 8 is shaping up to be a clash of the Kazamas. With each having their own unique playstyle, it'll be interesting to see who stands atop the meta. Asuka seems to combine her Kazama-style martial arts with some pure power street brawling/haymakers (Unsurprisingly, given her tendency to go around picking fights with street gangs). Paul Phoenix would like her.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Leroy Smith
The Grandmaster of Drip returns to the King of Iron Fist.
Leroy Smith comes as a bit of a shocking return. As a DLC character from Tekken 7, fans didn't expect to see Leroy back already and not this early in the launch roster reveal.
Orphaned at an early age due to gang violence in New York, Leroy became a martial arts master after learning Wing Chun in Hong Kong. He would return to his home in New York and personally take down gangs still causing havoc.
Learning that Mishima Zaibatsu was pulling the strings behind the neighborhood violence in his childhood, Leroy joined the King of Iron Fist to get revenge.
With Heihaichi dead and Kazuya bringing the pain to Mishima Zaibatsu himself, will Leroy turn his focus to Kazuya and G Corp? Whatever his purpose for joining the tournament, he'll look going doing it.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Ling Xiaoyu
Pseudo granddaughter of Heihachi Mishima and loyal friend of Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, has joined the fight.
Sporting a gorgeous new costume, Ling Xiaoyu has stood out for her near-dance-like style of combat that is beautiful to watch and has high combo potential. Fans have noted that Tekken 8 Ling Xiaoyu appears to have incorporated more of her teacher Wang Jinrei's fighting style into her moveset.
More than anything, Xiaoyu needs more story relevance. She has been around since Tekken 3, and gameplay-wise has been a fan-favorite. Story-wise, she's sort of just been around. Bandai has long since abandoned her childish desire to build a theme park and shifted Xiaoyu's narrative to trying to keep up with the craziness surrounding the Mishima Zaibatsu and clan members. Most recently, she's been intent on saving her friend Jin Kazama (Largely from himself).
Paul Phoenix is the only confirmed playable character yet to receive a trailer, so it stands to reason his reveal will be next.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Jun Kazama
Proving that no character of significance related to the Mishima family stays dead or “dead” for long, Jun Kazama is back.
Former lover of Kazuya Mishima and mother of Jin Kazama, the world believed Jun Kazama to be dead after Ogre attacked her and Jin before the events of Tekken 3.
While numerous characters have mentioned her, Jun Kazama has not been a playable character in a mainline Tekken game in over 20 years since Tekken 2. Tekken 8 marks her first appearance as a playable character in more than a decade since Tekken Revolution.
Light of Hope Jun Kazama has some explaining to do on where's she been the past 20+years, what with Kazuya and Jin wreaking havoc around the world, but she's finally back.
Jun spent Tekken 2 trying and failing to save Kazuya from the Devil Gene's corruption and her time as Jin's mother attempting to protect him from evil. With Heihachi finally out of the picture and Kazuya and Jin on a collision course, it makes sense for Jun to reemerge during this conflict.
After so much time being absent on a playable roster, Jun has a chance to start fresh in the Tekken meta. With her trailer accruing over a million views in a day, it's clear this is a return fans have wanted.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Jack-8
To no one's surprise, Jack is back.
The iconic weapon of G-Corporation, Jack, has undergone an interesting evolution. In appearance, Jack-8 is significantly more robotic than his Tekken 7 counterpart, but Jack also seems more human (Most notably, his eyes).
Gameplay-wise, Jack mains will feel right at home. Despite his visual upgrades, his moveset looks to be very similar to Tekken 7. Given his low status on most Tekken 7 tier lists, that might not be a good thing, but we won't know how meta-viable Jack-8 is until we play him.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Lars Alexandersson
The bastard son of Heihachi Mishima, Lars Alexandersson, is back in the fray.
Initially a solider of Tekken Force that led a coup d'etat when he believed the Mishima Zaibatsu lost its way and rebel leader against Kazuya's G Corporation, Lars has spent the past few years fighting against his paternal family.
Lars appears to be embracing his Mishima bloodline in Tekken 8, with the Mishima Clan's trademark lightning appearing in much of Lars' moveset. It also looks like Lars has been spending time with Kakashi and Sasuke, given his new Rage Arts.
Having put aside his differences with his half-nephew Jin in Tekken 7, it will be interesting to see what role Lars plays in the conflict between father and son.
Here Comes A New Challenger: King
It wouldn't be a Tekken game without King, now would it?
Keeping his streak of appearing in every Tekken game in the series alive, the most iconic pro wrestler not a part of the WWE, King II, is back in the King of the Iron Fist tournament.
King II looks to have a heightened taste for the theatrics in his Tekken 8 trailer, and his moveset has also gone full-blown pro wrestling. From Clotheslines from Hell to running powerbombs and even Triple H's iconic Pedigree and Randy Orton's RKO, King is a pro wrestler through and through. His moveset now has some much-needed flair.
King II's story in Tekken 7 involved his attempts to prevent Craig Marduk and Armor King II from killing each other and to pay for their medical bills (Along with managing the orphanage, of course). With Armor King II and Marduck agreeing to one final match after they recover, the overarching King storyline appears to be approaching its climax. But I suspect the King will always be around. And Tekken 8 is looking like his best appearance yet.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Marshall Law
Fighting games and Bruce Lee clones go together like peanut butter and jelly. And Tekken's Law has been one of the better Bruce Lee clones out there.
Fresh off the reveal trailer of his drinking buddy and best friend Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law is returning to the King of the Iron Fist.
After Marshall failed to pay his son Forest's debts due to his motorcycle accident, Marshall fell on hard times and even lost his dojo. With only his martial arts skills and a strong desire to make money left, Marshall is back with Paul, hoping to secure the prize money and get his life back together.
Marshall Law looks pretty good and moves pretty fast for a 49-year-old man who has lost nearly everything. Fully embracing his Bruce Lee influence, the Legendary Dragon's Rage Arts ends with Bruce Lee's iconic chest stomp from Enter the Dragon. Marshall is truly one of the best homages to martial arts' most famous fighter.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Paul Phoenix
Tekken's iconic carefree biker, Paul Phoenix, is back for another wrong.
Few fighters in the Tekken franchise have had as much bad luck as Paul Phoenix. He first appears as a rival to Kazuya Mishima, having fought one of Tekken's most formidable fighters to a draw. Paul technically won the third King of Iron Fist Tournament but unfortunately left after defeating Ogre, not knowing Ogre transformed and returned.
Due to overconfidence, Paul would suffer an embarrassing loss in the fourth King of Iron Fist to Kuma, an actual bear. He would avenge that loss in the fifth King of Iron Fist but be too exhausted to continue in the tournament. Since then, he has spent his time in a series of rivalries with multiple bears and continued to fail to earn big at the King of Iron Fist.
Despite his constant failures, Paul Phoenix has infectious optimism and is back for the latest King of Iron Fist with his best friend, Marshall Law. His moveset seems relatively unchanged, with Paul largely relying on his meaty punches to defeat foes. In a series with people with god-like powers, an American biker delivers blows that feel the most powerful.
Time will tell if Tekken 8 will allow Paul Phoenix to show he's the strongest in the universe.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Jin Kazama
The main protagonist of Tekken, Jin Kazama, is back. And he's learned a thing or two.
Jin has gone from a young man who believed power was everything to thinking there's more to life than strength alone. He has spent many years despising himself and his Devil Gene but has progressed to using his curse for good.
Jin's moveset has been relatively static over the years. His Tekken 8 trailer shows that Jin now incorporates moves from his Devil Jin persona into his standard moveset, breathing new life into the character. Both Jin and Devil Jin are top-tier characters in Tekken 7. Could Jin's new and improved moveset make him Tekken 8's number one?
Jin has defeated his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, ogres, and demons, all in an attempt to end the evil of the Mishima bloodline. With Kazuya defeating and presumably killing Heihachi in Tekken 7, the conflict between father and son, devil versus devil, is back on. How will it end?
Here Comes A New Challenger: Kazuya Mishima
The first hero of the Tekken franchise and now one of its greatest antagonists, Kazuya Mishima, is back.
Tekken 7 ended on a high note for Kazuya. He finally killed his father, Heihachi Mishima. A final battle between Kazuya and Akuma ended without revealing a victor, but Kazuya clearly isn't dead.
In the wake of Heihachi's demise, Kazuya took the opportunity to take down the now-leaderless Mishima Zaibatsu with G Corporation. With his father's company dealt with, Kazuya has shifted his attention to world domination. The biggest threat still standing in Kazuya's way is his son Jin.
Thanks to his efforts and various experiments inside G Corporation, Kazuya has increased control over his Devil Gene. Lore-wise, his increased mastery has allowed him to perform feats such as bringing down an entire satellite. Gameplay-wise moves from Devil Kazuya's moveset have leaked into Kazuya's. He even seems to have borrowed a few moves from his deceased father. Kazuya looks stronger than ever, as he should.
After many years, Kazuya is finally the main antagonist of the series.
Here Comes A New Challenger: Nina Williams
One of Tekken's deadliest assassins, Nina Williams, has a new contract.
With Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima taking center stage in the Tekken 8 reveal, many expected Jin or Kazuya to be the first character to receive a trailer. Instead, it is Tekken's silent assassin, Nina Williams.
After spending years with the Tekken Force under both Jin and Heihachi, Nina Williams has gone freelance, with assassination seemingly the only way she knows how to live.
Nina has seen a significant overhaul in Tekken 8, with a fresh femme fatale design, new battle voice clips, and get this: her guns are no longer just for show. It took over two decades, but Nina has finally incorporated her guns with her combos.
With a significantly different combat style, it will be interesting to see how Nina ranks on the day 1 tier list.