Tekken, an elaborate and fluid 3D fighting game series, has been going steadily since its 1994 arcade launch. As Namco’s premier fighting franchise, it’s quite impressive that 30 years later we are just days away from Tekken 8, at least if you’re playing on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series or PC. Nintendo Switch has, surprisingly, not seen an entry in the Tekken franchise. Today we want to ask one simple question: Why?
Has Tekken ever been playable on a Nintendo console?
From the beginnings of Tekken, the game series was exclusive to Sony PlayStation consoles up until Tekken 6 which also made it onto Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
There is a technicality here, however. In 2001, Tekken hit Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance with the aptly named Tekken Advance. Though Tekken Advance wasn’t a mainline numbered entry and was heavily based off a combination of Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament’s gameplay mechanics, it marked the first time the series was seen on a non-Sony gaming system. Even more surprisingly, Tekken Advance emulated the 3D gameplay the series is known for. The sprites were still 2D but emulating the 3D appearance and movement options made popular in Tekken 3.
Does Nintendo have a good relationship with Bandai Namco?
Bandai Namco tends to work in tandem with Nintendo nowadays. As far back as the Nintendo GameCube, Bandai Namco developed Mario Superstar Baseball for instance. The Tekken Company also teamed up with Nintendo for the Pokèmon fighting game Pokkén Tournament for arcades and a Wii U home console port. The gameplay heavily resembled that of Tekken’s combined with a phase shift mechanic that would switch the fighting from a 2D plane to a 3D open arena. Most notably, Bandai Namco did significant work on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a game that features Tekken’s Kazuya Mishima as a playable DLC fighter, for Nintendo Switch.
Did Tekken make it to any other Nintendo systems?
Tekken and Nintendo have an interesting history in that a Nintendo console has never received a mainline Tekken entry like Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. Instead, Nintendo receives spinoffs that are made specifically to take advantage of one of their innovative handhelds or consoles. The best example of this was 2012’s Tekken 3D: Prime Edition on the Nintendo 3DS. The game was created to take advantage of the, at the time, two year-old stereoscopic 3D technology of the handheld. Modeled this time after Tekken 6, it’s staggering to think that a Tekken game, with all of its bells and whistles, was able to fit onto a Nintendo 3DS.
What about a Nintendo home console version of Tekken?
Tekken made its way to Nintendo’s Wii U as a launch title with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 in November 2012, just two months after the game launched on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Hilariously, Bandai Namco worked closely with Nintendo to develop exclusive cosmetics that resembled those of Link’s tunic, Peach’s dress or Mario’s overalls and could be equipped on any one of Tekken’s roster of already colorful characters. It also included a mushroom battle variant of fights which saw the addition of Super and Poison mushrooms that made the fighters big or small on the fly (much better than Mario Tennis Ultra Smash’s version of this might I add). These additions made the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 more noteworthy and a standout in Tekken’s various iterations over the years.
Will Tekken ever make it to Nintendo Switch?
It’s frankly baffling that Nintendo Switch hasn’t received a Tekken game in any form. Even if the system’s hardware isn’t quite powerful enough to handle Tekken 7 or Tekken 8, a port or compilation of older Tekken titles would certainly generate interest. Bandai Namco isn’t hurting for a new Tekken playerbase, but it’s never a bad thing to introduce more players to a popular franchise so they can see what the hype is all about.
If Tekken 3, for instance, made it to Nintendo Switch in a nostalgic compilation featuring older entries in the series, it would not only appeal to gamers who grew up playing the original Tekken games on PlayStation; It would get a new generation of fighting game players checking them out. Maybe that would also get those same new Tekken players interested in Tekken 8, the newest entry in the franchise. Either way, it couldn’t hurt to bring the Tekken name to Nintendo Switch. And with the variety of control options, gamers would be nicely accommodated in playing exactly how they want to.
Perhaps with the release of Pokkén Tournament DX in 2017, Bandai Namco views this as Nintendo’s “answer” to a Tekken entry. If this is the case, it would make sense why Tekken is a no-show on Nintendo Switch. Nintendo fans can also boot up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and fight as Kazuya Mishima on the Mishima Dojo stage. But we hope to see a game from the legendary fighting game franchise make it to Nintendo Switch, or even the next Nintendo console, sooner rather than later.
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