Fighting games released these days are guaranteed to have DLC characters, but Tekken 7 veered in a slightly different direction, though embraced a phenomenon not unheard of for the franchise. Instead of adding characters from previous installments somewhat conspicuous in their absence like some vocal fans wanted, they pursued more guest characters. The franchise has a history with them, as Gon’s appearance in Tekken 3 is still one of the most well-known guest characters in fighting game history, a character who originated from the titular manga series.
In fact, Street Fighter’s Akuma was added to Tekken 7 with the updated Fated Retribution arcade version, and was included in the home version. His addition resulted in a separate group of fans hoping more Street Fighter characters would follow as DLC, especially after it was discovered that the first DLC character would have a meter. This could have been a way to further acknowledge how they announced Tekken x Street Fighter at one point, but put the game on hold after it encountered supposed development woes.
Bandai Namco had a different franchise in mind for their first post-game character when they added Geese Howard, known for appearing in several SNK fighting game franchises like Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and The King of Fighters. It was suspected that he wouldn’t release until early next year after a “winter” timeframe was given with the introductory trailer, but he surprisingly arrived this week.
Like Akuma, Geese has many of his normal and special techniques from the SNK titles, though some have been slightly adjusted to fit Tekken’s mechanics. Since he’s from franchises where most of the installments have been 2D, some of his techniques are unique compared to other 3D-centric Tekken characters. Geese can use the Reppu Ken and Shippu Ken projectiles, for example, despite most other characters not having projectiles at all. It’s not the kind of technique that will break the game, though, as it can be avoided through a sidestep. He can also use the Jaei Ken in the middle of a lengthy combo, which is quite effective when the opponent is in the corner.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Geese if he didn’t have his counters, and he exclaims his trademark “PREDICTABO” (caps necessary) upon using the most powerful version. He can also use EX versions of his special attacks for a temporary time while his MAX Mode is activated, a feature right out of The King of Fighters XIV.
Geese also has several super techniques from prior appearances, like the Raigou Reppu Ken, an enhanced version of the Reppu Ken. He also retains the Raging Storm and Deadly Rave, both of which also retain the complicated inputs needed to trigger them. His Rage Art is the “Rashomon,” another technique used in several previous titles, though it looks far more dramatic here thanks to Tekken 7’s detailed animation system. It’s too early to tell how formidable he is, which will take at least a month of use from tournament-level players to determine, but he looks fun to use.
Bandai Namco released Geese with a couple of alternate outfits. There’s a special original outfit combo with the Phoenix Kimono and Phoenix Bottoms, and he has his retro suit from his younger appearance as the final boss in Art of Fighting 2 and other titles. It’s a pity he doesn’t have the longer hair that came with that outfit, but that could be a hair option. There are other customization options, though they’re mostly the same ones available for every other character. That includes goofy options like making him look like John Cena.
The goofier options, in fairness, can accompany his use in the Ultimate Tekken Bowl mode. But in honesty, every character looks hilariously out of place bowling with those outfits. Note that Geese won’t be usable in Story Mode, despite the first trailer showing him having a tussle with Heihachi Mishima.
Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada discussed how difficult it was to choose and implement guest characters in an interview with Gamespot. He discussed how the Tekken development team wanted to take a different approach compared to other fighting games when it came to DLC, so as not to make the franchise look stale. The team also had a tough time choosing guest characters not only due to fan demand, but some that couldn’t be used thanks to licensing issues. Balancing the move sets so they fit within the confines of the Tekken series was also rough. Akuma, for instance, was incredibly formidable when he was first made available in the Fated Retribution version, but was toned down after a balance patch was released. But they fortunately have no regrets in taking this approach.
It’s a pity that interview was done before Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis was announced as the next guest character, but they won’t elaborate on how easy or (more likely) difficult it was to implement him until he arrives. He’s scheduled to arrive in spring 2018, though given how Geese came earlier than expected, don’t be surprised if he’s available in March.