Publisher Bandai Namco revealed Yoshimitsu’s character design for Tekken 7. As sort of a mascot for the series, the fighter’s look has been drastically altered through the ages. This iteration, however, things have gone beyond what anyone could really expect. Ditching the feudal-era armor altogether, Tekken’s ninja now seems to worship Cthulhu, so we decided to go into the past to show the signs that led to this madness. For a quick glance, we’ve made an infographic:
As the start of a franchise, the characters are more conceptual than anything. As such, the immediate imagery conveys what it needs to. Yoshimitsu uses the standard Japanese demon or “oni” look, no other such frills required. It’s basic, but that’s pretty much due to the 90s’ budding 3D technology still coming into its own.
With the game’s sequel, the designers knock it out the park early. Keeping the metallic demon look from the prior release, Yoshimitsu is now fleshed out for a more venerable look, donning a humble, flat hat and wearing some stylish pants to offset the grey monstrosity inside. Even ninjas need to accessorize. Tekken 2 Yoshimitsu is the best Yoshimitsu.
With the series now established, Tekken needs to start finding a more mature audience and so it turns to decking out the warrior with tons of frills. Yoshimitsu’s hat is incorporated into the dark, bony design of the armor. There is still a venerable soul inside, but it is one that shouldn’t be trifled with. This design also happens to be the one most used as a mold for certain spinoffs in the franchise.
This is the turning point right here; blame this one. Tekken 4 is the first release on a new, revolutionary line of consoles and with all that augmented power, character designs can no longer stick to just a few frills. Wings are the most prominent addition to the bony fighter, now going for a more bestial or feral appearance. Why wings? Why not, is likely the thought here.
Ok, the bug version looked a little silly, so here’s a retry that cuts back to basics, but by tacking on as many polygonal edges as it can. Piñata Yoshimitsu now just has long strands, sticks to the skeletal appearance and is decked out in ribs and ribs and ribs.
Hopping over to the Playstation 3 era, a weary franchise now meets excessive technology to portray its straightforward brawler. A wider, even edgier audience can only be swayed one way and that’s by visual stimulation cacophony. The result is turning strands into Scorpion-like chains, even adding a second blade to Yoshimitsu’s standard sword-fighting repertoire. Demon is back in session, but not as it once was; not at all.
Our current consoles are making Tekken’s problem increasingly worse, as it seems backed into a corner. It can’t possibly add any more pointy ends without becoming a puffer fish. Wait, fish? That brings us to an idea: Squids. The tentacles are already there, we just need to connect the dots.