Recently, Katsuhiro Harada, the producer and director of Tekken 7 said some very questionable comments. For example, when asked about if the swimwear costumes in the game will be in the western version of the game via Twitter, he responded, “ask your country’s SJWs” and then later adding “This message is not for females.”
Tekken is one of my favourite game franchises and my second favourite fighting game series behind Soul Edge/Calibur. Anna Williams looks amazing as she is both classy, funny, her crimson dress makes me so jealous and her Tag 2 ending shows off everything that make her great for me.
Plus, Lili is elegant, Paul and Law are funny duo and Alex is a Raptor with boxing gloves… That is awesome.
And then there is Leo. A more recent character in the series but one that means a lot for me for how the character helped me. Leo helped me realise that I was gender fluid in a time I was confused and unsure about my own gender and sexuality.
It was subtle things like how the way the game never use gendered terms with them, allowed them to wear both male and female clothing and just there general personality and look helped me understand my own better.
And in a world where non-binary characters don’t get much representation, Leo is a welcoming change. As much as I love Life is Strange, I do wish we were told Chloe was gender fluid in game rather than finding out via an interview with her voice actor and there is a nasty trend in fiction where gender neutral characters are evil magical beings that can change their appearance at will (such as Loki or the Master). So having an openly gender fluid character who kicks arse and is taken seriously is very cool and welcoming.
So finding out about the attitudes of the people in charge of the series just feels like a slap in the face and I don’t know how to think about the series now.
Not helped is that the community is not exactly the best itself. As much as many in that group might believe, the Competitive crowd does not represent the entirety of the community and are only a small part of it. But even still, it’s not a part that should be ignored, especially as it’s a group that is being catered to by developers more and more as we have seen with Street Fighter V.
While community leaders have tried to clean up the competitive scene and have begun punishing those who assault and harass, it’s still very, very early steps. Like it says something that Aris Bakhtanians, someone who infamously harassed fellow competitive women gamers during an Street Fighter X Tekken event and said:
“You can’t. You can’t because they’re one and the same thing. This is a community that’s, you know, 15 or 20 years old, and the sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community—it’s StarCraft. There’s nothing wrong with StarCraft if you enjoy it, and there’s nothing wrong with anything about eSports, but why would you want just one flavor of ice cream, you know? There’s eSports for people who like eSports, and there’s fighting games for people who like spicy food and like to have fun. There’s no reason to turn them into the same thing, you know?”
Was still allowed to be one of the two commentators at the Mortal Kombat XL tournament at EVO this year.
That and the community really does have an issue when it comes to gender and sexuality. From the attitudes of women characters and women players, to the attitudes of trans and non-binary people such as the treatment of Poison. Hell, the words of Katsuhiro Harada are exactly those I could see being said on Gamefaq or Neogaf thread.
Ultimately, this whole situation makes me feel confused and just sad. I still like Leo, but at the same time I feel saddened knowing the attitudes of those behind there creation. I just don’t know if I can buy and play Tekken 7 knowing that. This isn’t a judgement on anyone else who is looking forward to it. It’s just until things change, I just don’t think I can support Tekken anymore.