Tekken 8 is a gorgeous game visually. Bandai Namco have really outdone themselves with the latest entry in the long-running fighting game franchise, with character models and back drops looking more detailed and more stunning than ever.
Comparing Tekken 8 to its predecessor, Tekken 7, is already a good enough exercise to show just how good the latest game looks, but taking a side-by-side look at Tekken 8 and the first Tekken game ever made is mind blowing. The glow up is not surprising in the slightest considering the advancements in technology that have taken place over the years, but taking some time to compare the two really illustrates just how far the Tekken franchise’s visuals have come since 1994.
Tekken 1 first saw its release in Japanese arcades back on September 21, 1994. Developed by Bandai Namco, this fighter was one of the earliest 3D fighting games ever released, following Virtua Fighter’s launch in 1993.
What’s interesting about a 3D fighting game like the Tekken franchise is that its roots are planted in the 3D space, meaning the earlier games didn’t look quite as slick as some of the 2D fighters of the era that used sprites. The technology for 3D models was primitive back then, and while it was certainly cutting edge at the time, that visual style took many years before it really began to bloom.
With all of that having been said, the original 1994 Tekken character models were jagged and crude (by today’s standards), and while they were certainly ambitious for their time, seeing them through the lens of today is fairly jarring.
Starting with more average human characters like Kazuya and Nina, the original Tekken polygons for these fighters actually translated pretty darn well for the time. You could tell that they were a male and female fighter, respectively, and trademark features like Kazuya’s pants and gloves are all very clear.
Now jump back over to Tekken 8 and we can see unbelievably detailed faces, hair, and clothing, with texture like the bumps on Kazuya’s leather jacket really adding more depth and realism to these 3D character models. Comparing the first entry in the franchise to the latest is in no way meant to knock the 1994 game or its visuals, but serves more as a means of truly putting into perspective just how good Tekken 8 actually looks.
One of the best examples that shows how strong this evolution has been is Kuma’s character model in both titles. Back in Tekken 1, Kuma was a flat textured mess that you could… kind of tell was a bear. (Again, no shade thrown here as these models were certainly revolutionary for their time).
In Tekken 8, there is no doubt that Kuma is indeed a ferocious fighting bear, with everything from his anatomy and posture to his intricately developed tufts of hair looking absolutely fantastic.
The Tekken franchise will be celebrating its 30-year anniversary here in 2024, and this legendary fighting game series has truly come a long way over the course of the last three decades. To really appreciate just how damn good Tekken 8 looks, check out the comparison images below for a handful of characters found on both the Tekken 1 and Tekken 8 playable rosters.
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