ATPlive Interview with Harada & Murray at FR18

ATPlive Interview with Harada & Murray at FR18
Grey 2015-03-24 12:25 3
Last weekend was Final Round 18 in Atlanta and showed some pretty great matches  some great TTT2. Katsuhiro Harada and Michael Murray also dropped by and brought along Tekken 7 allowing North American players a chance to play the game which was recently released in Japanese Arcades. Some time before TTT2 top 8, Aris had a chance to do an interview with Katsuhiro Harada and Michael Murray concerning many important details about Tekken 7. This is a great interview and very informative about the decisions of the Tekken team and their reasoning behind them.

I took the time to transcribe the interview so that it can be searchable for future reference. Do note however, that I did not transcribe the interview word for word. I excluded some filler words and edited the sentences for grammar purposes. I followed what they said for the most part but it's best to refer to the video interview to hear the tone of voice of the speakers which is lost in the transcription.

Aris: Mr. Harada and Mr. Michael Murray. Thank you so much for taking your time out of such an amazing event to spend some time here and answer some questions. I appreciate it, thanks for being on.

Murray: No problem man.

Harada: No Problem.

Aris: You guys doing alright so far? Having a good time?

Murray: Yeah. This is our first time at Final Round. We were suppose to go a few years ago but we couldn’t because of the earthquake. The enthusiasm here towards Tekken. The people are so cool. The tournament is really well run. I’m really glad we came and I hope we can make it an annual thing.

[Harada speaks]

Murray: He’s saying he largely agrees with me. Not just the tournament itself but just going around to some of the restaurants and stuff. I think this is his first time in the south, well he’s comparing it to the west coast-east coast but I think more so it’s the south. They were really hospitable and people are friendly. We went to the gas station place you recommended and they’re like hey have some brownies have some other stuff just free, it’s crazy. I forget, I’m from the south originally but that’s just how it is down here.

Aris: People forget you’re not Japanese. You do it so well now you wear those furry jackets and all that Final Fantasy stuff. That’s awesome man. I agree with you it’s my first time here too and everyone’s so nice and hospitable. I’m super happy to be here.

Aris: So let’s get down to business. Enough small talk. First things first, the whole internet’s up in arms. There was recently….a leak. That’s the word. The L word.

Murray: On your site? [laugh]

Aris: It happened to be on my site though it was not our doing. We have a man out there, Flying Wonkey, he’s an investigative journalist of Tekken. So what I’m wondering is, I’m not even going to ask details. What can you say about what happened. How you feel about what happened and anything about it. What can you say?

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: He was saying that leaks happen all the time. Like the Street Fighter one is a pretty big one. That was directly Capcom apparently so there’s no one to be really angry at in that instance. For us we’ve had a few as well, the one you just mentioned. Even if you think back like Evo when we announced, that was a big premiere and that wasn’t even us that was someone else. We won’t name them. The GDC trailer had that one thing, that again wasn’t us. That was someone else so we’ve been kind of unlucky. If it was our fault we can get it but we’ve had bad luck in those instances. This time it was, I don’t know how familiar people are with it, the Korean operation of the arcade is done by an outside company and they were the ones that leaked it this time unfortunately so it was kind of out of our personal control. He’s not very happy to say the least.

Aris: I would imagine so.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: There are a lot of people that are kind of happy about some of the details that were leaked like ‘oh my god my favorite character is in whatever’. He’s just saying it’s a little bit too early to decide because back in Tekken 3 for example, you can see on Youtube even now the names for Jun and Kazuya and people who weren’t actually in the game at the end. [The Insect and Sake.] We had that kind of stuff that was leaked but they weren’t in the game. It’s kinda too early to tell. We don’t want people to be happy prematurely.

Aris: That’s really interesting because the way you’re making it sound is like maybe let’s say one of the characters that were shown isn’t going to be in the game and that could be a reverse type of a thing where people are excited and they may be let down.

Murray: Exactly. They’ll get pissed off at us.

Aris: That kind of leads me into the future of the game. So at this point, what about some kind of story mode or advancement, it’s possible that these are assets that are going to be used in something like that. Let’s say because it was there, Devil Jin, we saw Devil Jin pictures but it could be that Devil Jin is part of a cinematic in the future or something like that. I could see where you’re coming from with that.

Aris: Anything else you can say about it though? There were some pictures shown, the big guy-red guy. I have to ask cause if I don’t people are gonna get butthurt. So big red guy with tubes coming out of him. Filipino girl?

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Harada-Murray: Our artists they draw concepts and stuff all the time. You could tell the quality wasn’t even that great. It’s hard to say because we go through a lot of exploration before we actually develop some of the characters. We’ve actually seen some of these different assets on the way [like] Shaheen and others characters in Comic-con. Just because they’re sketched doesn’t mean they’re going to make it in the game. It’s hard to say and like you said either way we’re kind of screwed.

Aris: Well you guys are handling it well. As you know and you said it yourself, it happens. It’s part of the development of games and obviously you guys know that. In that regard, I have to ask more about the development of games. Things are changing for game developers as you guys obviously know there’s such a connection with the community and now they have all these things like early access where the game is not necessarily complete but it’s available to purchase or play in an incomplete form. You guys obviously know about that. Recently you’ve been doing stuff with Rise of the Incarnates and stuff like that. What I’m wondering is, is there any plan to perhaps release a version of Tekken 7 for PC but furthermore one that’s maybe in an alpha form or a beta form. Not like a complete release but maybe an early access for the western world who doesn’t have access to arcade. Any idea about that?

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: Harada-san is actually a pretty avid Steam player so he’s pretty familiar with the feature itself. He has concerns that perhaps fighting games don’t lend themselves well to early access because there’s balancing, adding characters perhaps and such and it’s a versus type of game so it’s not a one person/player experience. Something similar you can kind of draw a conclusion from is the arcade that when you announce that you’re going to balance/have some kind of update where you balance or whatever, you see the income drop quite a bit because people are like ‘I’ll just wait til the patch is released’. He does have some concerns that maybe early access isn’t great place to do a fighting game. For Rise of the Incarnates, personally it’s a different experience because it’s a live operation title so it’s continually updated with stuff anyways.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: He was saying Tekken is still based in the arcades and that since it goes to that process of working out all the bugs and issues and such in the arcade that when it gets to the console the level is very high compared to other fightings games that don’t do that. I brought up your question was actually that that’s not the problem but the western players can’t play it while it’s in the arcades and he said that yeah that is something that needs to be considered but he thinks there’s probably a better solution than early access.

Aris: May you share what some ideas are for the solution?

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: His best answer is to release it for console as soon as possible because if you’re doing something else like early access then you have the development time that would push the console off a little bit so rather than [do] that do the console right away and try to get it out as soon as possible.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: He feels so strongly about this.

Aris: I’m glad I asked a good question.

Murray-Harada: Obviously everyone wants to play it right away so it always comes down to why you still doing an arcade title, why not do console like Capcom? People just don’t realize they’re actually benefitting from it. They have to wait, which sucks, but they do get a much better game. For example Street Fighter, the line between 3 and 4 that was like 10 years and they don’t do the arcade as strongly as we do. What this means is that by releasing an arcade version, we make about as much as we do in the console just off the bat from the arcade. What this allows us to do is that the main gameplay itself is built there and then we recoup the money a bit so we are able to then put all the extra modes and goodies that Tekken is famous for. Which we probably couldn’t do if we just went to console straight off the bat because it is quite expensive to make a game of that scope and quality. It is really important that people think that it’s outdated because it’s not in their particular country but it is very viable still in Japan and Asia and it does help us convince the company to let us make such a scope of a game.

Aris: That is a really good answer. Sounds like an honest one too, I think. That’s true, if you look back in history, every Tekken gets the arcade release then a really cleaned up good version comes out in the end. That’s really a good point, a lot of people do mention that and I was about to ask you about Capcom. Quickly, let me ask how do you feel about the Capcom model. They keep selling the same game over and over with revisions. That’s totally different from you guys. You guys, one product that is good enough, clean enough and well-made enough to last long/long-lasting. How do you feel about the difference in business model there? What are your thoughts?

Murray: Good question because he does talk to Ono a lot about this.

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: That’s a very good example of the difference between Tekken and Street Fighter and it’s not just Street Fighter. Going back to talk about Street Fighter 3, they were absent from the arcades for 10 years so when they come back it’s much more difficult. It’s not Street Fighter but other fighting games you might know. It’s much more difficult to continue to develop installments because if you just put a game out and leave it in the arcade without updating it much then the pie shrinks and it’s harder to make the next installment. Where Tekken the numbers are so much different because we have a strong presence in the arcade and we’ve continued that throughout the franchise rather than take a break or whatever for whatever reason. The numbers, people probably don’t realize, say Street Fighter has several hundred machines in the arcades in Japan, you add more than a zero on to any of that it’s like several thousand for Tekken and because we are able to do that, that provides the funds for developing the new installment. When Ono-san took over, he kind of re-established 4 after such a long blank. They didn’t have the option per se I guess because the presence is no longer as strong as it was at one point at the arcade. They used to do that model up to 3 so his choice then was to put out 4 and he can’t just leave it for several years like Tekken. He had to update it with something else frequently to generate more funds to put into the next installment of the game. That’s one way of doing it and it couldn’t be helped because they didn’t have the arcade presence like we still have/maintain for Tekken. He sees that as one more way to stay relevant and to survive in a market like fighting games.

Harada: One more thing. [Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: The audience is quite different between Street Fighter and Tekken. For Street Fighter it’s mainly competitive-based and North America is their main core audience. For Tekken, it’s more Europe, Asia also North America but more casual. It’s not as many tournament-going, I mean there’s obviously a big crowd for that [pointing at ongoing tournament], but there’s also a huge audience that just wants to see the ending movies, they want to play against their friends, they like the characters or whatever. It’s not like they want to be top tier at the game. That kind of audience isn’t looking for a new update frequently with just minor tweaks or character costumes or whatever. That’s not what they want from us so the way we deliver Tekken is different from Street Fighter.

Aris: That’s a very clear answer, thank you. There’s two more I know you guys are in a hurry. The time release characters. We just had the official release of the game in Japan. People were hoping you would maybe have one time release with that but nothing yet. Can you say anything about your plans for time release, is it gonna be scheduled maybe once a week or I know now that we have online patching you could anytime release one if you want. Can you share some light on when we’ll see our first time release. Also, will you do the random select thing again where you can pick the next one.

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: He wanted to go into why time release first because it kind of leads into the answer. You might remember for 6 he said we’re not doing time release anymore and that’s because everyone’s telling us we don’t want that, put everyone out at the start and then we saw for Tag 2 we did the same method. People were kind of overwhelmed because the characters have been polished enough so that they had quite different strategies than they had in past Tekkens. What we saw was we had almost 60 characters and people had a hard time, not necessarily you competitive players but your average person trying to learn how to play against all of these different characters. Time release kind of helps give people time to adjust to the characters that are out before you had new ones.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: So the first one [character] you can look forward to will be the 29th. It’s about a week off. They’re going to do a live event from the main office in Japan so it’s mainly geared towards Japanese audience but then you’ll see the announcement of the first one. As far as further releases, he can’t go into a specific schedule but just so you can get a rough idea, maybe a month is too long for people to wait for one character so maybe like two weeks or so but it might vary depending on the character is and the timing and such but that’s roughly the feeling of it.

Aris: That is extremely cool, thank you for answering that one. I know you guys are in little bit of a hurry. We haven’t had dinner yet and everything but I want to ask one last question. We’re seeing Chloe here on the screen. After this question and I’ll give you an opportunity to think about it now but it is a tradition to call someone a bitch on this show. I have to ask. He’s [Harada] holding in a smile. Both of you have the opportunity to have an independent bitch calling. Before we get to that, Chloe came out and a lot of people were really butthurt about Chloe. They were not happy about it. They were complaining. It was really empty complaints because once the character was shown in game, everyone changed their tune and many many people were like wow she looks really cool. Firstly, I’d like to ask how are your feelings about Chloe now that she’s been out, people have seen how she moves and her availability in the west. Secondly, what are your plans in terms of revealing characters in the future. Will you be revealing characters in any…basically I want to know how you feel about the experience of Chloe and the release of Chloe.

[Murray and Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: There’s different ways to announce the characters and for Lucky Chloe, it was what it was and he did that intentionally. From the start it wasn’t really geared towards the North American audience and he knew that was gonna happen. The character was geared towards Asia because we knew it was going to be very well received there and to some part Europe as well. Everything was expected when he got all the bashing. One thing that was kind of interesting though is, he kind of got pissed actually. You can tell right? [Harada] Announced ‘don’t worry we’ll delete her from the American version or whatever’. What happened then was people came out saying: ‘hey you guys suck’, ‘it’s a cool character’, ‘why you bashing her?’. You have people defending her which was kind of cool. When it’s all said and done, everyone now knows the character name and he succeeded in promoting her. I guess there’s different ways of doing it for each character but that was what happened in the end.

Aris: Definitely true. No such thing as bad publicity right.
Murray: Exactly.

Aris: Everyone knows Lucky Chloe now.

Murray: This is a good case of that.

Murray-Harada: There’s even someone here cosplaying as her.

Aris: Trust me I noticed.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: Shaheen is good example of another way to do it. We wanted to do an Arabic character for a while but we didn’t really have such a clear idea of what should be done like we did with Chloe. We took the approach of announcing the concept art first and giving the fans a chance to help us fix stuff that might be off ? the character because we weren’t as confident with that one about what we should do for an Arabic character. We believe that was a good way to do it, looking back as well. There’s many to do it, it depends on the character.

Aris: Different strategies. Cool. There’s so much action, you guys want dinner. Just go ahead, call your bitch calling. I’ll let you go first Michael and then afterwards we’ll get Mark and Rip on and we’ll let you guys have some fun. Go head. Who’s a bitch?

Murray: I’m a pretty chill guy so it’s kinda hard but I’ll pick one just in jest today. Anakin. Anakin you’re a bitch. He’s not in the tournament. It’s in Atlanta and it’s our first time here. I’m like what?

Aris: He’s doing commentary though.

Murray: He said there’s a young guy, he’s like 18 or something. Very smart.

Aris: Speedkicks.

Murray: It’s like his prodigy...protoge.

Aris: Pupil.

Murray: He said he wanted to focus on helping him but he’s a young guy I mean c’mon, Anakin that is. He’s a little bit too late to be saying….

Aris: A little early you mean.

Murray: A little early so. Anakin you’re a bitch man.

Aris: Okay. Mr. Harada, you have the floor.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray: This is a very easy choice for him.

Murray-Harada: The people who are recently again sending ‘I made this character, you need to put this in the game’ and they’re spamming the shit out of like the illustrations that they drew.

Aris: Oh their ideas?

Murray-Harada: Yeah. We could never do that. If we for one reason even thought it was a decent character design and we borrow it then oh you know ‘I thought of it, give me money’ blah blah blah. Then to create multiple accounts and spam is a totally bitch thing to do. It’s funny cause then they were even tweeting me ‘Harada is a fucking asshole’ ‘destroying the Tekken franchise’ blah blah blah. I don’t want to hear it….

Harada: YOU fucking asshole.

Aris: Yeah you heard him. You heard it here internet, leave him alone. Just cause you can communicate with him doesn’t mean you should.

Murray: Good point.

Aris: Just cause you can, you have to treat it like a luxury.

[Harada in Japanese]

Murray-Harada: He feels very strongly about this. People at a tournament would never come up and do something like that but because it’s anonymous it’s like ‘fuck you’’....

Aris: Are you serious? Duhhh that’s how the internet is man they talk so much shit and then they come here and they’re like little bitches. They don’t even say anything rude, they’re so….the internet gives people strength.

Murray: It’s not just Harada and myself, it’s everyone who’s reading the timeline. Even like Markman, it’s wasn’t our game it was another game and someone was spamming the developer and MarkMan got caught up in it and he got blocked.

Aris: I got to tell you guys, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. This really means a lot to me and if sometime in the future maybe closer to console release we could do a little more traditional interview. I really really appreciate it guys thank you so much.

Featured in video are:
Katsuhiro Harada
Michael Murray


  1. Welcome guys. It did take a while but I had some free time and it actually felt pretty enlightening. Felt like the information on this interview is very relevant and it would be easier to find in text form rather than going through the whole interview.

    2015-04-02 01:57
  2.  I agree, thank you for the effort Grey! That had to have taken a long time to transcribe and it made it very interesting. I watched this live but missed plenty of things due to being in the moment, chatting, etc. It was really cool to read and I appreciate the work good sir! 

    2015-04-01 02:57
  3. Thumbs up for post the last interview in text form, that must have taken a lot of time *_* 

    2015-03-30 10:28

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