sponsored bannersponsored banner

The Obscure Spin-offs and Crossovers of Tekken

18 min

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron
The Obscure Spin-offs and Crossovers of Tekken
A deep dive into the lesser known titles related to Tekken

When it comes to fighting games, the mainline series is often the only thing that people care about. And it’s completely justified. The new big game is always where companies allocate the proper time and money.

Even though we all know about the seven main Tekken games and the massive Tag spin-offs, there are so many other things that escape our attention. While we can hardly call some of them good, it’s always interesting to see how familiar gameplay and characters can be shaped into something entirely different yet still recognizable.

This is why today we want to take a look at some of the video games that either directly branched off from Tekken or featured the series as a guest.

Street Fighter X Tekken

Let’s start with what is probably the most well-known game on this list, Street Fighter X Tekken. Crossovers are nothing new for fighting games, but X Tekken was a crazy idea that sought to transition a massive chunk of Tekken characters into a completely different fighting system.

Much like how the Tekken 7 developers put an astounding amount of care into creating faithful versions of Akuma and Geese, the Street Fighter devs did their best to make Tekken characters fit into the SF system while preserving their movesets and unique mechanics. For example, Kazuya’s Wind God Fist still has the electric version, which could be done by spending meter or doing the precise input for even higher benefits with no meter loss.

Unfortunately, the game itself and many things surrounding it turned out to be a disaster on launch. The exclusivity deals and on-disk DLC left many players frustrated. Meanwhile, the gem system quite literally offered you to buy more power for real money and stalled matches when players had to select their loadout. This led to gems being banned at any notable tournament.

The gameplay at launch was rough, but the 2013 update lifted the game to a point where if you ignore the gems, it turns into quite a decent fighter that combines two wildly different series and gives us a unique showcase of how Tekken characters would operate in a 2D world.

Following a similar premise, we were supposed to see Tekken X Street Fighter at some point, but the development of that game stopped many years ago. While not outright canceled (and we saw Harada gauge the interest on Twitter in 2019), the odds of that game ever getting released are not looking great.

Tekken Revolution

As many of you know, when Tekken Tag Tournament 2 came out, it failed to garner the same success as the previous titles, including the original Tag game. Less than a year after the release of Tag 2 on home consoles, Bandai Namco put out Tekken Revolution. The game was a free-to-play title available only through PSN and was, by and large, a complete reuse of the Tekken Tag 2 assets.

While it’s hard to say for sure, it felt like the game was an attempt to recoup some of the losses by creating a more traditional Tekken game that would also appeal to the casual players. A layer of the audience that was completely alienated by Tag 2’s complexity.

Free-to-play removed the initial barrier of entry, but what about the gameplay? Well, Revolution featured a bizarre system where every character had three stats that you could upgrade by leveling up and earning skill points. Power made you hit like a truck, Endurance made you tough like a truck, and Vigor had nothing to do with trucks. Instead, it increased your chance of entering rage and scoring critical hits.

As if that wasn’t enough, Revolution also added invincible moves. Think Power Crush, but instead of armor, you got invincibility from frame one and can do serious damage on top of that.

Going back to the F2P model, the game wasn’t actually as free as one might expect. The game operated similarly to an arcade machine. You had a few free coins that would regenerate over time, but if you lost a few games, you’d have to either wait or buy golden tickets to keep playing. 

Imagine the frustration that comes from losing a match on a bad connection, or worse yet, to a cheater, and then having to wait.

Even though the game was a different experience from Tag 2, it also didn’t achieve success and was completely shut down less than four years after release.

Death by Degrees

By far the most ambitious Tekken spin-off. Death by Degrees is an action-adventure game starring the Williams sisters. On the surface, it might be hard to see why this game is so disliked. It had an intense soundtrack, a good amount of gameplay variety, nice looking levels, and it took some cues from both DMC and Metal Gear Solid for its combat and presentation

However, once you actually start playing, the issues instantly become clear. Death by Degrees combat had very gimmicky controls where instead of usual attack and block buttons, all your fighting was done by flicking or tapping the right and left sticks. What’s even better is that attack and block are done by doing the exact same thing. Because of this, combat usually comes down to moving away and spamming combos from start to finish.

While the game was certainly unique and had many great and creative ideas, the amount of jank is simply too much to bother for most players. Even among diehard Tekken fans, you will not find too many people who tried Death by Degrees, let alone beat it.

Urban Reign

When Death by Degrees came out, people were excited that it would bring smooth Tekken combat to an action game, similar to how the Tekken Force turned out. Weirdly enough, it took a completely unrelated game to do just that.

Urban Reign was developed by Namco during the better days for the 3D brawlers. You can tell they wanted to make a solid take on the genre when they brought over some of the Tekken and SoulCalibur developers. Any Tekken fan will also instantly recognize the familiar mechanics and borrowed attack animation, making it oddly endearing.

Even though it wasn’t received well at the time, the reception to it warmed up over the years, and these days it’s usually known as a challenging but rewarding beat-em-up with more character variety and depth than one would expect. It even had a chaotic PvP mode that was similar to what we now call arena fighters.

However, it’s not on our list just because of that. Tekken had a full-on crossover with Urban Reign, bringing over two of the classic characters, Law and Paul. Naturally, both of them had their iconic moves, which made it even more fun to punch and kick your way through the game’s levels. And, of course, with the game having PvP, you could pit them against each other, resulting in the weirdest feeling match of Tekken.

Tekken Advance

Moving on to the world of small Tekken, we have an ambitious little game by the name of Tekken Advance. A game that tried to fit a 3D title onto a handheld console that was in no way designed to handle 3D.

While some developers resorted to black magic and occult rituals to make 3D work on very limited hardware, Namco chose to adapt to 2D instead. Choosing Tekken Tag as the base, they brought over almost a dozen characters and several stages by turning 3D models into 2D sprites, a method similar to Donkey Kong Country on SNES.

In spite of technical limitations, Advance managed to retain most of the “big” Tekken’s identity. Characters had big movesets, the Korean backdash and wavedashing were preserved, and you could still do the crunchy electrics with tight execution. Sidesteps were way less useful, but the fact that they were still a part of the game is a testament to how much care went into this title. It even managed to expand the Tag feature by allowing you to do 3v3 fights instead of the original 2v2.

Following Advance, Tekken would continue to try and bring the experience over to the handhelds with varying success. The PSP ports of Tekken 5 DR and Tekken 6 were extremely faithful to their home console counterparts, while Tekken 3D for the 3DS felt like a watered-down experience. In 2010, they even tried to bring Tekken to the old mobile phones, but it barely resembled the real thing.

These days, thanks to powerful handhelds like Steam Deck, you can easily play a normal version of Tekken 7 on the go. It’s not exactly optimal for doing online matches, but it does enable easy access to practicing or playing local versus mode wherever you are. Perhaps, with enough support from the developers, the same could be true for Tekken 8.

Namco x Capcom

When gaming companies do various crossovers, it’s rarely treated as anything too serious. Guest characters are generally not acknowledged in the plot, and bigger crossovers seldom bother to come up with a story to explain it all. While there are some notable exceptions like Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite or MK vs DC, Namco X Capcom takes it a step further.

This game is a tactical RPG in the style of the Super Robot Wars series. However, the gameplay element is fairly simple and takes a backseat to the real meat and bones of crossovers like this - the story and fanservice. Namco x Capcom didn’t simply feature dozens of both iconic and lesser-known characters from their respective publishers. It tried to create a large-scale narrative that would tie them all together and facilitate more interesting interactions.

Even though it obviously includes more than just Tekken, characters like King, Jin, Kazuya, Heihachi, and others have a major presence in the story. It even covers some of the familiar topics, like the Devil Gene. However, the main attraction is obviously in seeing the Tekken cast blend in and interact with the diverse roster of characters from so many different games.

After a long break, this concept came back as a slightly more well-known Project X Zone in 2012. As the title suggests, it’s now way more than just Namco and Capcom. Everything else, however, remained largely the same. Combat is still only notable for the flashy combination attacks, and the main appeal is in seeing all the interesting interactions between characters that would otherwise never meet each other.

Tekken Card Challenge and Tekken Card Tournament

When you think about fighting game spin-offs, you probably imagine action games and beat-em-ups like the aforementioned Death by Degrees or Mortal Kombat’s Shaolin Monks. However, when Namco made their first ever Tekken spin-off for the WonderSwan, they said “to hell with that” and made a wild decision to turn Tekken into a card game.

The game is simple. You have four cards that you can use during your turn. Block cards will block attacks, and attack cards will deal damage if their value is higher than the opponent’s card. Some attacks even inflict a juggle state, allowing for combos, during which the opponent can’t do anything. What’s especially interesting is that outside of fighting against CPU, you could also connect with another WonderSwan to play versus other people.

It’s not exactly a fantastic game, but it’s genuinely cool to see the creativity that went into reinterpreting a fighting game into an extremely different genre.

Namco would even attempt to give it another shot with Tekken Card Tournament, a 2013 game that was available through browsers and smartphones. The gameplay was much more fleshed out this time around. Instead of constantly drawing cards, players had to build their decks and then use a mix of strategy and intuition to win.

Once the fighting started, you had 3 options. Focus would draw a card, Strike would attack the enemy with all available cards, and Block would nullify your opponent's first two attack cards. If you get hit during focus, you’d also lose whichever card you just drew, making it a riskier option.

Much like Tekken Revolution, Card Tournament didn’t gain much traction among the players and was shut down in 2017.

Tekken Mobile

Tekken’s next outing on mobile devices would still use cards and decks. Yet, instead of that being the main form of gameplay, it was a supplementary system alongside touch-controlled combat. 

This time around, players could tap the right side of the screen to do a quick combo, hold to do an unblockable attack, hold the left side to block, and swipe left or fight to move around. Meanwhile, the cards were used for attacks with special properties, such as launchers, stuns, throws, guard breaks, and powerful strikes that had priority over other moves.

On top of a much more advanced fighting system, the game was generally more ambitious than previous mobile titles, featuring a story mode and even adding original characters like Rodeo, Tiger Miyagi, and Revenant. Most newcomers are fairly generic, but you might still find an occasional fan asking for Rodeo to show up in the main series.

Unfortunately, while they managed to offer more compelling gameplay, the monetization system wasn’t nearly as appealing. The game failed to attract players or revenue, leading to it getting shut down roughly a year after its worldwide release.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

When Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. came out in 1999, it immediately became a success and only picked up more momentum over time. An intuitive and accessible iteration of the fighting game genre with dozens of iconic characters was bound to be a hit.

It’s only natural that other gaming companies would eventually try to create an ultimate crossover of their own. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was one such attempt from Sony. It gathered many of the classic and recognizable characters from games that came out on PS consoles throughout the years.

The developers chose Heihachi to represent the Tekken roster, and it’s fair to say they did him justice. From story mode that was completely in line with Heihachi’s character, to the smallest things, like his level 3 super being a reference to the Tekken 5 ending where he straps the rest of Mishima family to a rocket and launches them into space.

The game set itself apart from the competition in an interesting way. Instead of stocks and health, players hit each other to gain meter, and instead of knocking opponents off of the stage, you had to use the meter to hit opponents with super attacks. 

This decision, while unique, was rather polarizing and would be cited as one of the major criticisms against the game, alongside the lack of content and the overall character choice. It’s hard to call the game a flop, but according to Shuhei Yoshida, its performance did not warrant a sequel or extra content in the form of DLCs.

Also when it comes to Heihach making appearances in other fighting games, we have to give a shout-out to Soul Calibur 2, but we’ll cover that more in depth in another video.


Our last title is not a spin-off or a crossover in any direct way but more of an honorable mention. Almost ten years after Urban Reign, Tekken and SoulCalibur developers would come together once again. Although this time, they would be working on something much more unexpected than a beat-em-up game.

Pokken Tournament was the first attempt to make a Pokémon fighting game, and who could’ve done it better? On the surface, it might look similar to other arena fighters, but the game actually has two phases. One where players freely run around the stage and use their abilities, and one that is much closer to fighting games, where players move relative to their opponent.

That’s the part we want to bring the most attention to, as it is where you’ll find many of the similarities between Pokken and Tekken. From Pikachu doing electrics (who could’ve seen that coming?) to Mewtwo mixing people with the hellsweep.

Since the game did quite well for what it was, in the future, we might see a sequel and find even more connections between the Pokémon and the martial artists from Tekken.

That concludes our list of the obscure and sometimes weird Tekken spin-offs and crossovers. There are still more examples out there, such as the Japan-only Tekken typing game for the ancient mobile phones or the Smash Court Tennis games that saw Tekken characters get into sports, but perhaps it’s a story for another day.

For now, thank you for watching, and see you next time, bye-bye!

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron