First impressions of the Heat System from the community leaned towards favoring a more offensive style of play based on the Tekken 8 gameplay introduction video that made the rounds a month ago. With features such as the Recoverable Gauge and the highly aggressive Heat Smash and Heat Dash, defensive-minded players seemed to be at a disadvantage.
During our short Q&A session with them, Tekken Project Director Katsuhiro Harada and Producer Michael Murray spoke about an interesting point of view and explained how they’ve even dialed back defense in Tekken 8 to level it out with the numerous offensive options that the Heat System provides.
*Interview answers by Harada and Murray have been slightly edited for clarity.
During a hands-on preview session with select media from Southeast Asia, Michael Murray explained how fighting games are unique compared to other genres. Whereas in shooters, for example, you generally cannot block or guard against bullets, fighting games give players the capability to block and not even take damage, sometimes even resulting in a win if you’re defensive enough.
“If you’re successful in defending, you can win the game by not doing anything but blocking which you can’t do with other games,” Murray says. “So, it can be said, that for fighting games, defense has always been very strong. In some instances, maybe too strong because the timer runs out or whatever.”
In fact, this focus on defense leads to the possibility that it doesn’t look exciting to people watching the game, which is something that the team also wants to consider. It may not even be fun for the players in that instance where the defensive tactics of one side may be too discouraging.
In efforts to make Tekken 8 a more exciting watch for spectators and a more thrilling experience for players, the team takes on the philosophy that instead of making the offense oppressively strong, they’ve dialed back the inherently strong aspect of defense by a little bit to level it out with the newly added offensive options.
“You have to think of it uniquely compared to other genres,” shares Murray. “It’s not like we have to make defense options stronger because we did Heat and other things, but defensive options were already strong.”
It would certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out, especially in extremely high-level matches that involve a lot of mind games and advanced techniques. Professional matches in Tekken 7 have somewhat put a premium on defense, so seeing how the Heat System balances that out is something that a lot of players are looking forward to.
Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for it!
Tekken 8 is currently in development for the PS5, Xbox Series, and PC.