With every new entry in any fighting game series, the players are left wondering about the launch roster. We all know that certain characters are always guaranteed a slot. For example, it’s hard to imagine a Street Fighter game without any of the World Warriors. How could they miss such classic characters like Ryu, Ken, or Chun-Li.
However, for every character whose slot is carved into the game’s foundation, there are many more who stand on shakier grounds.
For our speculations, we want to focus specifically on the cast of Tekken 7 and try to figure out which characters will make it to Tekken 8 based on things like their involvement in the story, their potential for growth, or even their legacy.
Kazuya and Jin
Even before the release of Tekken 8 trailers, we all knew that Kazuya and Jin were bound to be in the next installment. With Heihachi dead (or is he?) and the Mishima saga seemingly closing in on its finale, the conflict between the father and son will likely put an end to the storyline that started nearly three decades ago.
Only a few things remain ambiguous. After Jin showed a partial awakening of the Devil Jin form in the gameplay trailer, it opened up a lot of questions. Such as, will the two characters merge, or perhaps Jin would have a way to access Devil Jin's moves under certain conditions? Something like this already happened in the Tag games with the Omen stance. It’s too early to tell, but the possibilities are certainly intriguing.
Lastly, we now have two more canonically dead characters with Kazumi and Heihachi. Usually, when someone dies in Tekken, you will only see them again in the spin-off games or through their descendants, but with Heihachi being such an iconic character, it will be interesting to see whether or not death can prevent him from securing a spot in the roster.
Let’s kick this off with the elephant in the room. After Tekken 7, Akuma is canon to the Mishima saga. To repay his debt to Kazumi, Akuma swore to kill both Heihachi and Kazuya, and as we know, this quest is far from over. Not only that, but it would be very much in character for Akuma to seek a fight with opponents of unimaginable power.
Now, those who hate Akuma might be happy to know that he and Kazuya do eventually have a proper, uninterrupted fight in the special chapter of the story mode. Despite Kazuya seemingly overcoming the demonic warrior, the finale of their battle is intentionally left ambiguous.
While it could mean that he’s very much alive and will come back, and I mean, come on, they’re not gonna kill off a character from another IP, it’s just as or if not more likely that developers chose this outcome to gracefully end Akuma’s involvement in the plot without outright showing his defeat.
The most powerful exorcist in Europe and the leader of the Marksmen of Sirius. Despite such an impressive title, Claudio didn’t really get to show off what he or his group is truly capable of. After all, Heihachi only used Claudio to gather information under the false premise of working together to bring down Kazuya.
While his service to Heihachi has been dismissed, as an exorcist, Claudio still has a lot of work to be done, especially now that he’s aware that Jin’s power might be even more dangerous than that of his father.
With the two devils on the roam and the potential calamity that they could cause, Claudio has every reason in the world to join the fight and attempt to put an end to this.
As some of you might remember, Zafina’s entire origin is directly tied to the Mishima bloodline and the Devil Gene that it carries. Her group of warriors guarded the Azazel’s tomb for centuries, but the rising of two evil stars, representing Kazuya and Jin, had awakened the demon.
Jin and Lars would go on to later defeat Azazel, but that wasn’t the end of it. To prevent Azazel from appearing again, Zafina had to seal him away inside her own body, but in Tekken 7, we know that slowly but surely, Azazel’s power kept increasing.
With the threat of Azazel eventually taking over her body and possibly causing the end of the world, Zafina has no other choice but to try and put an end to the devil’s bloodline.
You might be seeing a trend here that Kazuya and Jin have created quite a few good reasons for various characters to go after them. Shaheen is also one of them. When a friend of his died under mysterious circumstances, Shaheen set out to investigate, finding the ties to G Corporation and Kazuya specifically.
However, once Kazuya revealed his devil form to Shaheen, his mission for closure and revenge turned into something more. While he never was a part of the main story for Tekken 7, it’s not unlikely for Shaheen to show up again to possibly work with the other characters. His connections with a private military group and personal expertise could always come in handy.
Miguel is a very interesting character in the sense that his story reminds us that Jin has more problems going on outside of the Devil Gene. When Azazel influenced his mind, it led to Jin using his position as the leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu to start an all-out world war. The results were disastrous, and Miguel’s sister was just one of many victims.
His quest for revenge continued in Tekken 7, and he almost succeeded, but seeing Jin dejected and indifferent to his defeat, Miguel let him go so that he could exact revenge at a better time.
Now that Jin is dead set on his path to make things right, it would be interesting to see if the conflict between him and Miguel could ever be settled in a satisfying manner.
In our recent video about neglected Tekken characters, we pointed out how, despite her overall importance, Jun had very little presence in the roster. A slightly similar fate befell her niece Asuka. Despite having a strong connection to the main storyline, she rarely gets into the action.
However, those who paid attention to Tekken lore might remember that both Asuka and her aunt have a certain healing touch ability that was shown to have some effect on the devil gene. Even though it’s yet to happen in the canon, in Tekken Tag 1 we see Jun undo Jin’s devil transformation, while in Tekken 5, we see Asuka seemingly remove it from Jin’s body entirely.
Maybe in Tekken 8, this special power can finally play a bigger role. It certainly opens up more opportunities to explore the Kazama bloodline and paves the way for Jun’s possible comeback.
Alisa, Lars, and Lee
That’s right, all three of them at once. Both Lars and Alisa debuted back in Tekken 6 and were immediately assigned a crucial role in the overarching plot. Lars, in particular, has some interesting connections with the existing cast as Heihachi’s son, making him a relative of Lee, Kazuya, and Jin.
Even though Lars started off as a Tekken Force soldier, he would eventually stage a coup, forming the rebel army known as Yggdrasil, which dealt a massive blow to the Mishima Zaibatsu and gave G Corporation some significant opposition. It is during those campaigns that he would meet Alisa, who immediately became a loyal companion.
Originally, the two of them were hoping to take down Jin and end the war, but when it was revealed that Azazel was the real threat, they all joined forces and were once again separated once the battle was won.
Tekken 7 began as a direct continuation of the storyline and made Lee more involved in the conflict as the CEO of Violet Systems and a capable fighter. Now acting as a trio, they constantly aided Jin on his path, remaining by his side when they received the news of Heihachi’s death.
Because of all this, it’s extremely likely that they will continue their quest in Tekken 8, using both their power and influence to rid the world of Devil Gene once and for all.
Gigas and Katarina
Moving on to characters that don’t have too many stakes in the story but have lots of potential, we have Gigas and Katarina. While their side stories in Tekken 7 are extremely brief, it’s strongly implied that Gigas is Katarina’s adoptive father who underwent brutal experiments that turned him into a monstrous weapon. It would be a shame if their story ended before it could even begin.
Not only that, but it feels like over time, Gigas went from an ignored Tekken 7 newcomer to a bit of a fan favorite. A lovable low-tier character with one of the most distinct designs in Tekken and a unique playstyle that sets him apart even from Marduk, from whom Gigas inherited a decent amount of moves.
While Kat didn’t receive the same amount of affection, she is a more commonly played character who represents savate. The martial art that wasn’t previously seen in Tekken outside of a few of Lee’s attacks.
After Akuma, Leroy might be one of the most polarizing characters in Tekken’s history. It’s hard to forget the hype when his trailer was released. Everyone was commenting about the new and cool Wing Chun fighter with a sick design.
The tune quickly changed when the character was released in a wildly overtuned state, giving us the Leroy 7 memes and ruining his image for a big portion of the community. However, after several waves of nerfs, Leroy is left in a pretty reasonable state and serves as a great addition to the roster.
Many people were also surprised to see him appear in the Tekken Bloodline animated series, since it takes place between Tekken 2 and 3. This could just be because the character left a big impression on the creators, but maybe it’s a sign that we could expect to see more from Leroy going forward.
The last DLC character of Tekken 7. Despite joining somewhat late, Lidia still left quite a big impression. It’s hard to believe that despite such a long history and love for martial arts, it took so long for Tekken to feature a character who represents traditional karate, and that the one representing it would be a Polish prime minister, no less.
Even her introduction was fittingly unusual, with Heihachi sending out a hand-written letter, inviting her to the King of the Iron First tournament in the interest of her country. Even though Heihachi is no longer around, the feud between Kazuya and Jin still leaves a threat that she seeks to eliminate.
And, of course, we all know that certain iconic characters will make it in no matter what. Characters like Yoshi, King, Jack, Nina, Paul, Law, and many others. Just like Street Fighter’s World Warriors, Tekken has its own cast of classic characters who helped to define the series in one way or another and have become a staple.
Not only that but Tekken is known for its massive rosters at this point. While not every character makes it to the next entry, it’s remarkable that even the most obscure fighters have a decent chance of returning. However, Tekken 7 is also only behind Tekken 3 when it comes to the sheer amount of newcomers, which would make maintaining this tempo ever so challenging, but let’s hope that no one is left wanting by the new entry.