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Harada: We are currently working on an update to improve Tekken 7's online experience

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • January 14, 2021 at 7:10 p.m. PST • Comments: 29

Fighting game culture emerged in a very different setting than where it primarily exists today. Players were initially restricted to the in-person arcade environment and eventually were able to enjoy competition with friends at home, but online play has taken off in more recent years and has become all but a non-negotiable for users.

This heightened standard for online experience rocked many fighting game developers who, until fairly recently, were not prioritizing it. Bandai Namco's General Manager and the main face of the Tekken franchise, Katsuhiro Harada, has been making efforts to make network play as smooth as possible in Tekken 7, and according to a recent interview with 876TV, those efforts are not over with.

Given the level of accuracy in response fighting games tend to demand, even the slightest delays and hiccups in the action can make a round feel invalid in terms of determining the better player. Because of this relatively high standard for fluidity, much of the FGC has looked at online play as a more casual endeavor.

That's been slowly changing over the last decade or so with the rise of eSports, but the evolution of expectations was expedited in 2020 thanks to the extremely restricting effects of COVID-19. We've seen developers rush to ensure their titles check the right boxes and feature rollback netcode with as little latency as possible. Harada spoke to this a bit in the aforementioned interview with 876TV.

"With the rise of eSports, COVID-19 shifted player attention toward the online aspect of [Tekken 7]," he says. "I think players weren't necessarily forced to move to online play, but rather is just something that comes naturally with the frequency of eSports done online. Which is why we are currently working on an update to improve the online experience, and liven up the scene in a different way than usual."

Indeed, Harada and his team rolled out an update to T7's network play back in November of last year. Two of our writers, DarkHorse and MajinTenshinhan, tested this new netcode from the United States to Sweden with surprisingly strong results.

We have no further information on what exactly the team at Bandai Namco is planning for Tekken 7's online, but hearing that one of the biggest dogs in town is continuing to prioritize this facet of fighting games is very encouraging. You can view the full interview via the embed below, though the bit discussed here comes about around the 11:15 mark.

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