March 5, 2007

Bringing Tekken 5 to PS3: GamingPolo Chats with the Development Team
by Louis Bedigian

“We felt that we were able to present graphics that far surpassed the PS2's graphic levels.”

When I look back on my youth, I think of the times I spent with family and friends. The picnics, the parties, the family gatherings... Aw who am I kidding, there was none of that. I had bailed on the "gatherings" to fulfill my addiction to one of the most prominent fighting franchises: Tekken.

It was strange to see PS3's launch come and go without The King of Iron Fist Tournament. After all, PSone launched with the first Tekken, and PS2 launched with Tekken Tag.

Fortunately the void left by Tekken’s absence didn’t go unfilled for very long. Last week Namco Bandai launched Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection for PlayStation 3, available via Sony’s PlayStation Store.

To celebrate the game’s release, GamingPolo sat down with Haruki Suzaki (Director), Shinobu Kiriyama (Programmer), and Tomokazu Matsumaru (Programmer) to discuss the game’s progression from arcade and PS2 to PS3.

GamingPolo: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Interview

Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection is a port of the PSP game, which was partially ported over from the previous PS2 and arcade versions. Technologically, what did it take to shift the game to so many different platforms with very different architectures?

Namco Bandai: First, please let me clarify, Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection is not a port of the PSP game. Utilizing the experience we’ve gained from working on the PSP version, we were able to apply this in creating the port this time. The port in question this time involves data taken from the program of the arcade version as well as the PS2 version of Tekken 5.

Even though these are technically different platforms, a large half of the program was done in C or C++, allowing us to run this on any platform with very little adjustments. In addition, since the disc and pad inputs are abstract, we were able to work with this without actually noticing the actual difference between the different platforms to a great extent. Sound and graphics though were a problem for us. The sound and graphics components of the Tekken series are actually created separately from everything else. Also, the graphics and sound were first created for Tekken 6, etc. The team working on the port had to implement that into the program.

Since we can’t use the same binary data for different platforms, we had to convert the data used for the arcade version for the PS3. With the hardware of the PS3 being more powerful, we did not have to make any extreme changes to the program this time. The only thing we had to create from scratch was the shading program.

Are the graphics being optimized for PS3 technology? If so, what does this mean for the game's visual presentation?

Namco Bandai: No, the graphics are exactly the same as the arcade version. First of all, the number of particles is much less than what the PS3 is capable of. We didn’t create any new data for the normal map so it can be assumed that we didn’t utilize the full powers of the PS3’s fragment shaders. If you want to see the Tekken that utilizes the full powers of the PS3 graphically, it will be after with Tekken 6. Even then, this title utilizes MSAA to draw graphics that have a higher resolution than the 1080p spec. In addition, self shadows were added to this version as well.

Although we weren’t able to do everything we wanted in the extremely short development time that we had, we felt that we were able to present graphics that far surpassed the PS2’s graphic levels.

What's the most significant difference between the PS3 version of Tekken 5 and all others available?

Namco Bandai: While being a complete port of the arcade version, this is the first time that graphics of a console version will look significantly better than the arcade version. The concept this time is to be able to enjoy the fun of Tekken on graphics surpassing that of the arcade version all for an affordable price.

Has it been a challenge working with PS3, even though the base part of the game had already been finished and perfected on other platforms?

Namco Bandai: We did not run into any particular problems since the PS3 was such a well-equipped piece of hardware. However, since this was our first time working with the PS3, it was a challenge for us to work under an environment where we did not have a verification period. We were finally able to achieve something that was fully high definition, 60fps based on the arcade version and yet worthy of the PS3.

As for the other parts, not only did we develop for the HD screens, but we also needed to develop for the SD screens for the PS3. Adjustments made to the layout took twice as much time. Creating a 16:9 aspect ratio for a standard SD screen was simple, but we also prepared a 4:3 SD specific layout this time. If possible, we would like for you to enjoy the game on a HD screen, but it will look just as nice on an SD screen.

Does the game support any motion control functions? It probably wouldn't make sense for the hand-to-hand combat, but maybe for a mini-game...

Namco Bandai: Unfortunately, it will not have any support for motion control functions. As you had pointed out, it would be difficult to implement this for the main part of the game. This is not available for mini-games either.

How many modes of play will this version have? Are any exclusive to PS3?

Namco Bandai: There are mainly three combat modes: the Arcade Battle mode, Ghost Battle mode, and VS Battle mode. As the name implies, the Arcade Battle mode is the same mode as from the arcade. The player will clear it after defeating the boss at the very end.

In the Ghost Battle mode, the player will have to fight against and defeat ghosts after ghosts in order to rise above in rank. This mode was also in Tekken 5 (PS2 version) and Tekken Dark Resurrection (PSP version), but the point this time is not only about winning or losing. A brand new scoring system has been added this time, which changes the amount of fight money the player receives depending on various conditions of the fight.

VS Battle allows you to battle against your friends. Players can set their handicap as well as select from various stages. In addition, the player can watch in-game movies or artwork from the Tekken series they have downloaded from the Gallery mode, as well as an Options mode where players can adjust various settings.

Can you tell us about the fighter lineup?

Namco Bandai: Compared to the PS2 version of Tekken 5, Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection is the only place where the characters Lily, Dragunov and Armor King appear. For the PS3 version this time, players will have a chance to play as the strongest boss character in the series, Jinpachi Mishima, for a total of 35 characters (if you separate Kumapanda, it will be 36 characters). Players can enjoy Tekken with the largest number of playable character in the series.

Are any new attacks / special moves introduced?

Namco Bandai: There are no new attacks or special moves introduced in the PS3 version since this is the port of the arcade. However, due to restrictions of the PSP hardware, parts that were removed or changed in the PSP version have been fully implemented this time. On top of this, it is also fully high-def.

Tekken is a series known for cool unlockables, from characters to bonus games. What kind of "extras" are being planned for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection on PS3?

Namco Bandai: Actually, players will not be able to use Jinpachi from the very beginning of the game. Also, stages from Tekken 5 that were cut from the PSP version for various reasons are now in this version. This may be slightly different from unlockables, but we are considering adding various contents in the Gallery mode.

Is the game going to feature any new story details?

Namco Bandai: There will not be a story mode this time. The story, setting, time frame and character settings are the same as the arcade version of Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection.

The PSP version had an amazing collection of CG endings for most of the playable characters. I assume they'll be in this version as well... My question is – will they be in high-def?

Namco Bandai: Unfortunately, there will not be a separate ending movie for each character since there is no story mode this time. In its place, however, you will be able to watch the ending movies of the characters specific to the PSP version of Dark Resurrection via Gallery mode. The actual resolution is higher than the PSP version, but it is in only standard definition at this time. We would like to have all the ending movies in high definition in the future, but please enjoy the rest of Tekken in high-def until then.

Thank you for your time.

For More Product Information

Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection (PS3)