Tekken 8 removes Rage Drive, adds new Heat System and Nina Williams
The next installment of Bandai Namco’s storied Tekken franchise will change how the series’ more controversial mechanics work. Specifically, Tekken 8 will remove the Rage Drive mechanic from Tekken 7, having players instead focus on its new Heat System.
The rage mechanic has been controversial since its introduction in Tekken 6. The system gives players a damage boost once their characters are close to being knocked out for the round. While it ostensibly enables closer matches, competitive players didn’t like it, seeing it as straight-up rewarding the losing players with a chance at a comeback.
Tekken 7 added to this system with two new mechanics—Rage Art was an all-or-nothing super move that dealt massive damage but could only be used once, after Rage was activated; Rage Drive, a powered-up move that dealt less damage than a Rage Art, but was arguably more useful and often much harder to punish.
At the Tekken World Tour finals in Amsterdam, Bandai Namco dropped a new trailer that confirmed that Tekken 8 will not have Rage Drives—though Rage Arts will remain, now with a universal command for all characters). Instead, the game would have a new subsystem called the Heat System.
The system is effectively an install—a powered-up state that installs extra power and properties to a character. This state can be activated by either a “Heat Burst” or a “Heat Exchanger.” The former activates whether the player hits an opponent or gets blocked. In both cases, the player activating gains frame advantage, meaning that they’re able to move before the opposing player, allowing for combos and pressure. In addition, players can also use the move from full screen away, without having to connect with their opponent. (Read: Fighting in the time of COVID: the problems of online play and how the community has adapted)
“Heat Exchanger,” on the other hand, requires that the player activating land a hit on their opponent. When they do, this enables access to the new “Heat Dashes” and “Heat Smash” mechanics.
In either case, activating Heat Mode will start draining the new meter below the players’ health bar, with the mode ending when the bar empties out. However, attacking will pause the drain on the meter, encouraging players to be aggressive.
In addition, another set of new mechanics designed to encourage aggression are chip damage on block and life recovery. Unlike previous Tekken games, attacks in Tekken 8 will deal a small amount of recoverable damage. To recover this lost life, players will have to be aggressive and have their attacks connect with their opponent—both on hit or on block.
The idea is that players will continue to attack their opponent, either to pile on chip damage or to recover any recoverable damage that they’ve taken. With this, it seems that Bandai Namco is hoping that players don’t just back off and play defensively, even if they’re low on life, especially since Tekken 8 still has the traditional Rage damage buff.
Beyond this, Bandai Namco confirmed that Tekken 8, will have two new control schemes—similar to Street Fighter 6. Arcade Style is the traditional four-button control scheme that veterans will recognize. Special Style, on the other hand, is meant for casual play and will feature the Easy Combos and Easy Assist systems first introduced in Tekken 7.
Finally, on top of all the new mechanics, Bandai Namco also revealed that fan-favorite character Nina Williams would be returning in Tekken 8. While her popularity almost always guarantees her inclusion in any Tekken game, it’s nice to see official confirmation this early on in the game’s pre-release cycle.
Tekken 8 is currently in development for PlayStation 5, PC, and Xbox Series consoles.
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