Tekken 8 Director Explains Why Kuma And Panda Joined The Series

Tekken 8 Director Explains Why Kuma And Panda Joined The Series

Date: December 29, 2023

By Hanna Rose

Tekken 8’s director, Katsuhiro Harada, has explained why a semi-realistic fighting game lets you play as a bear and a panda.

Tekken 8’s director, Katsuhiro Harada, clarified that the inclusion of characters like Kuma and Panda in the series stemmed from his desire to inject an element of enjoyment into the game.

Despite Tekken being recognized for its realistic fighting game visuals, it embraces a degree of absurdity, featuring martial artists transforming into devils and cyborgs dismantling their limbs at will. Among the peculiarities in Tekken are its array of animal characters, such as Kuma the bear, Panda the panda, and Roger the kangaroo.

The tradition of having animals as playable fighters has been a longstanding feature of the Tekken series. However, newcomers may find it odd to witness lifelike human characters engaging in combat with creatures proficient in martial arts. One Twitter user, Luuny69, expressed bewilderment over Kuma and Panda’s presence in Tekken 8 and directly queried the game’s director on Twitter about the reasoning behind their inclusion. Little did they know about the impending appearance of a velociraptor…

Responding to the inquiry, series director Katsuhiro Harada provided a straightforward explanation. He stated that Kuma, Panda, and the other animal fighters were incorporated into the game simply because he found the idea “fun.” Harada emphasized that the essence of video games lies in the ability to undertake actions that are challenging or impossible in real life, whether it’s pummeling a bear or engaging in combat as a martial arts-proficient panda.

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Harada further hinted that Tekken’s inclusion of a bear as a playable character might have originated from a desire some martial artists had in the past to face a bear at least once. While the exact meaning behind this suggestion is unclear, Harada’s overarching point is that the inclusion of these characters is driven by the fundamental concept of making the game entertaining and allowing players to experience the unconventional.

In essence, Harada’s explanation revolves around the simple notion that these characters were added because it adds an enjoyable and unconventional dimension to the game, aligning with the core principle that video games enable players to explore scenarios and actions beyond the bounds of reality.

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