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Tekken 8’s unexpected introduction of paid cosmetics is splitting fans, while producer says players should ‘update their thinking to the current environment of game development’

After a few weeks of a quiet microtransaction-less existence, Bandai Namco has revealed that a cash shop is in the works for Tekken 8. It’ll sell things like classic character costumes, avatar skins and single-use cosmetic items, and the whole thing has fans’ opinions pretty split right now.

The addition of a Tekken Shop was quietly revealed last week, as part of an announcement for a Tekken Talk intended to go into detail about the game’s post-release roadmap. That livestream happened yesterday, and it gave us a better look at how the shop will work and how much we can expect to fork out for all this new customisation.

It’ll be added in an update sometime in February or March, with new items being added to the shop once or twice a month. Translating for the livestream, Tekken 8 producer Michael Murray said it’ll include “some iconic, legendary costumes” such as Jun’s Tekken Tag Tournament 2 outfit and Jin’s Tekken 4 hoodie getup. It looks like the costumes will cost around 400 Tekken Coins—the game’s new premium currency—which Murray said should translate to “$3.99 USD roughly.”

The one thing that isn’t mentioned is how these Tekken Coins will be bundled. Take Street Fighter 6’s paid costumes: The skins Capcom added back in December cost 300 Fighter Coins, which is around $6 each. Except you can’t buy bundles of 300 Fighter Coins. The minimum is 250, meaning you’d have to spend around $10 just to secure one costume. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tekken 8 takes a similar approach, meaning that the actual money required to procure cosmetics is higher.

Initial reaction to the Tekken Shop pre-livestream wasn’t exactly stellar, something Murray and the Tekken 8 team seem to be aware of. “We hear some people have some kind of allergic reaction when they hear ‘shop’ etcetera, but it’s more of trying to update the game and keep it fresh with new customisation items,” he said. Murray likened the intention to the ways the team tried to improve Tekken 7, adding “we’re trying to make it a better game and this is just one of the ways we’re trying to do that.”

The news has fans split. Despite over a year of marketing and the game being out for almost four weeks, no mention of the Tekken Shop had been made until around five days ago. As someone who reviewed the game and has invested a healthy chunk of time since its release, I was also none the wiser until last week. The pursed lips on Tekken Shop’s existence during the game’s launch period has some fans raising their eyebrows.

One of the top posts over on Tekken’s subreddit accuses Bandai Namco of keeping silent to keep reviews higher, while negative reviews have started to trickle through on Steam. “Adding microtransactions a couple of weeks after release should be classed as a scam with no excuses. No wonder ingame cosmetics was so bad before hand,” one review read. Another called the move a “rugpull” with “Capcom-esque microtransactions post-launch after reviews have come out and everyone has had their hands on the game.”

Not everyone is feeling so sour, though. Pro Tekken player Ghirlanda tweeted “I am all for microtransactions as long as they are just [aesthetic] I don’t mind at all, I just hope they will be used to support the game and the TWT scene as well”. Fellow Tekken player and streamer Fergus called the store “an amazing idea,” adding “the prices are pretty reasonable and it helps support the game’s longevity and future content. If you don’t want it, then simply don’t buy it, it doesn’t affect gameplay.”

Despite the anger from a portion of the community, Murray wanted to offer some insight into the existence of a cash shop in the first place. “We would like to ask a favour of everyone that they kind of update their thinking to the current environment of game development and how games are sold, how they’re consumed etcetera,” he said during the livestream.

“Games to create now are just so much more expensive than even Tekken 7 was … So when we take some of these legacy costumes that a lot of people have been asking for, there is a certain group out there that says ‘Oh, you’re just taking it and copy-and-pasting it into the game.’ But that’s not how it works, you can’t just take those old assets from Tekken 4 and paste them into the current generation of hardware and make it look fine. All of these obviously have been recreated for Tekken 8, and it’s not like we’re charging an outrageous price.”

Murray also tried to assure fans that adding the paid cosmetics isn’t a matter of being greedy. “The point we’re really trying to make though is that it’s not like it’s going into the coffers of Bandai Namco,” he said. “We want to improve the game with these updates that we’re providing for free … to be able to do that we have a large development team that we have to pay for. So this is how we’re using those funds to try to make the game better, rather than just trying to make money for the sake of making money.”

It’s definitely one I’m feeling a little split about myself. While I don’t have an issue with paid cosmetics—especially if, as Murray says, profits are poured back into the game and the community—but it sure would’ve been nice to have known about them sooner. Though I gotta say, I’ll take this over having to pay for frame data any day of the week.

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