Bandai Namco surprised everyone when they announced that none other than Noctis, from Final Fantasy 15, would be joining the roster of Tekken 7. For some reason. Really, it made no sense, as even as a crossover, it was completely out of the left field and random.
But hey, it also sounds more and more awesome, the more we think about it, so we are complaining. But if you are expecting more crossovers, with Noctis having opened the floodgates… well, it might be best to slow down there with your expectations, there. In an interview with GameSpot, one held before Noctis was announced for Tekken 7, Tekken producer and director Katsuhiro Harada has admitted the difficulties of crossover characters, citing licensing problems, as well as appropriateness of the character existing in the Tekken universe.
“After doing two collaborations so far in Tekken 7, one thing we found is it’s a lot more difficult than we’ve originally come to vision,” Harada said. “First off, there might be a certain character that we would want to do that maybe the person on the other end, the other company and their licensors, might not be on board. Or it could be something that the fighting game community would really like to see, but that particular IP owner wouldn’t sign off on being in Tekken.
“Even a lot of times, the point is not to try to take the fans from the respective IP and bring them into Tekken. It’s more, by adding that IP if fighting games as a whole kind of become more exciting, and you attract a newer audience that wouldn’t have bought either game in the first place because it’s so exciting, and that’s really what we’re trying to achieve from a marketing goal, especially. So when you look at these kind of collaborations, there might be some that the fighting game community just go crazy about, so some of the marketing people in charge might be in the mind that “Okay, that might be really cool for the hardcore fans, but it wouldn’t bring a new audience.” Collaboration is really, we’ve found, quite difficult. It’s just that in certain cases, we think, “Yeah, this is awesome.” The IP owner then thinks, “Yeah, this is cool. Let’s do it.” And the marketing guys as well say, “Yeah, that’s a good opportunity.” And then it’s finally able to come together. It is a lot more difficult than we originally imagined.”
It does make sense- after all, IP rights issues and licensing are a quagmire and a nightmare- it is actually one of the reasons that I am always in awe at the sheer spectrum of cross franchise characters Nintendo is able to license for Super Smash Bros. However, with Tekken 7‘s crossovers being received decidedly well, who knows? Maybe the player reception and feedback will be positive enough that Bandai Namco will deem it worth it to invest in more crossovers.