Tekken 8’s Special Style control method has been one of the hot topics (among others) ever since it was unveiled during a lengthy gameplay introduction video, but Tekken Project Director Katsuhiro Harada and Producer Michael Murray have revealed more details about it during an exclusive hands-on preview session with select media from Southeast Asia which we were lucky to participate in.
*Interview answers by Harada and Murray have been slightly edited for clarity.
The Special Style control method in Tekken 8 is basically an evolution of how Easy Combos and Assists was initially implemented in Tekken 7, allowing players to string multiple moves across the controller’s buttons. Whereas you only had one recipe to use in Tekken 7, you’ll get more in Tekken 8, and that doesn’t even count the Heat System moves that get activated in between.
During matches, any player across any mode can access the Special Style menu by simply pressing L1, bringing up a dynamic move list that can show different strings depending on factors like Heat Energy available or whether the Heat Gauge is activated or not.
Murray emphasizes that while it is designed for newcomers to make the game more accessible, it is also aimed at intermediate and advanced players as well.
“Where a beginner may not know the controls so they pick that up, intermediate or advanced players may know their character but not another,” says Murray. “Harada was saying that he plays Heihachi, but he also used to play Marduk or others, and if he tried them after a while, he isn’t as good anymore because he doesn’t go into the move list or study again. This cuts out the work that’s necessary to try out other characters.”
It certainly is tempting to use Special Style control in Tekken 8, giving newcomers a chance to be somewhat competitive against a seasoned player, but it should be treated as a stepping board rather than be dependent on it due to the low ceiling it provides.
“You’ll be strong at first because all of the good moves are selected, but it’s also inevitable that once you see different tournaments and different people playing, you’re going to get bored of doing the same thing over and over,” says Murray. “You’re going to want to add just one more move or combination which will prompt you to go back to the more traditional moveset.”
“We’re trying to make it easier for people to overcome that first step with this control scheme.”
There’s a noticeably low ceiling when using the Special Style controls, especially since there’s only a certain number of moves available to players, limiting their potential to reach a higher proficiency level. There’s definitely an urge to be dependent on it, but Harada and Murray have cautioned against it because it results in doing the same moves over and over, thus becoming very predictable.
When asked about whether the moves are customizable, both Harada and Murray shared a brief statement.
“There are several problems with doing that (making it customizable),” says Murray. “If you’re able to program what moves are in the palette, then it’s pretty much the same as those controllers where you can program like a Dragon Fist or whatever, and those are all banned in esport tourneys for a reason.”
“Having that on the software side, where you program things like that, is probably not a very good idea, at least not open to all the modes. No plans currently for that.”
Tekken 8 is currently in development for the PS5, Xbox Series, and PC.