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292 Comments

You Should Read This Rant By a Tekken Producer

What happens when a creator gets fed up with endless fan demands.

The term “entitled” is tossed around a little too easily, and I’m certainly guilty of that, too.

With BioWare delivering downloadable content to address fan complaints about Mass Effect 3’s ending today, it’s especially timely that Katsuhiro Harada, creative director and chief producer of fighting games at Namco Bandai, has unleashed what one would definitely characterize as a rant on Twitter this week.

As someone who has been working on the Tekken series for nearly two decades, Harada knows what it’s like to constantly interact with a legion of dedicated fans. The Tekken series may be less relevant these days, but there are plenty of players who still love the series, and have a deep sense of nostalgia for what Tekken means.

Straddling the line between appreciating that nostalgia and coming to grips with how technology evolves, how games evolve, and how creative approaches evolve can be its own challenge. Harada seems a bit fed up explaining that.

I’m just going to embed the whole text below, rather than pull out a few selections.

“I have something I want to say to the people who spam me with requests to "switch back(or Bring back) to the voice actors used previously".

I believe that, before whining and complaining about everything, you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.

First, the voice you were listening to was 16 years ago, during the PlayStation period. The current generation of consoles are totally different in how they play back sound; both software-wise, and the internal circuitry

The playback program is different, as well as the sound effects added; reverb and 5.1 are examples of this. The comrpression rate, as well as the sound rate, is different today. Are you playing games on the same TV you used 16 years ago? What about your speakers? Headphones? They are all the same as 16 years ago? I wonder if it will sound like the same voice as 16 years ago, even with that data..
Also, you are assuming the voice actors themselves can reproduce the voice the recorded 16 years ago? Many voice actors decline work because their voice has changed since the original role, some have even retired. Sometimes they won't accept, even if we ask.

The recording studio and the equipment they use is also different. With all of this in mind, you still thing it is possible to recreate these voices?

Some might say "just pay them to reuse the voice data".

But, often the voice actors decline this, or their agency declines.

For example, Brian's laugh is the actual data from Tekken 3. As fans have requested, we've kept using the original, adapting the data recorded 16 years ago to be used on the PS2, and then PS3.

Even so, some people said it is a different voice in Tekken 6 than the original.

It can't be helped they might think that. As explained above, even though the master data is the same, all of the equipment used in adapting it has completely changed. That said, it isn't a good idea to try to reccreate the older recording environment because then the data sounds heavily compressed, with noise. More than that, it would sound out of place next to the voice data of the newer characters.

WHAT? You say some of the voices sound like they haven't changed at all?
I guess you didn't notice that the development team has re-recorded them, but made efforts for it to sound as close as possible to the original. And you probably didn't even notice.

Do you know that all of the voice work for a character is not always done by just one voice actor? Using Brian as an example, the laugh you guys love so much uses the original data from Tekken 3, but the short kiai voice uses a different voice actor, and the "come on!" voice also uses a different voice actor. A lot of other characters also use different voice actors for the spoken lines and for the shouts.

I did the voice work for Marshal and Forest for 15 years.

However, I can no longer produce that voice after Tekken 5, so we had a different voice actor for Tekken 6.

The Tekken series has continued for 17 years. The development environment, as well as the environment in which you all play games, has changed.

There are so many characters, and we can't keep using he same voice actors every time, for a variety of reasons.

I have even complied to the requests of you all spamming me to "bring back characters" from previous installments. You often say, "let's show the dev team how sincere we are by buying 2 copies if they bring back character X", but did you really go through with it? Expecting you to at least pre-order the game, I was met with more spam, after you apparently didn't notice that Jun and Michelle actually return.

I still have some characters left to be revealed that comply with some of your requests, even "bringing back" several others. Even so, none of them are paid DLC. I will continue to sincerely comply with fan requests.

However, I can't continue to engage the negative ones that, without knowing what you are talking about, or even thinking about what you are saying, blindly repeat "bring back, bring back, bring back..."

After this lengthy explanation, I will be quite surprised if there are still people who still don't get it.

Thanks for understanding or not understanding. Whatever.”

That last line is unbelievable, by the way.

292 Comments
Posted by patrickklepek

The term “entitled” is tossed around a little too easily, and I’m certainly guilty of that, too.

With BioWare delivering downloadable content to address fan complaints about Mass Effect 3’s ending today, it’s especially timely that Katsuhiro Harada, creative director and chief producer of fighting games at Namco Bandai, has unleashed what one would definitely characterize as a rant on Twitter this week.

As someone who has been working on the Tekken series for nearly two decades, Harada knows what it’s like to constantly interact with a legion of dedicated fans. The Tekken series may be less relevant these days, but there are plenty of players who still love the series, and have a deep sense of nostalgia for what Tekken means.

Straddling the line between appreciating that nostalgia and coming to grips with how technology evolves, how games evolve, and how creative approaches evolve can be its own challenge. Harada seems a bit fed up explaining that.

I’m just going to embed the whole text below, rather than pull out a few selections.

“I have something I want to say to the people who spam me with requests to "switch back(or Bring back) to the voice actors used previously".

I believe that, before whining and complaining about everything, you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.

First, the voice you were listening to was 16 years ago, during the PlayStation period. The current generation of consoles are totally different in how they play back sound; both software-wise, and the internal circuitry

The playback program is different, as well as the sound effects added; reverb and 5.1 are examples of this. The comrpression rate, as well as the sound rate, is different today. Are you playing games on the same TV you used 16 years ago? What about your speakers? Headphones? They are all the same as 16 years ago? I wonder if it will sound like the same voice as 16 years ago, even with that data..
Also, you are assuming the voice actors themselves can reproduce the voice the recorded 16 years ago? Many voice actors decline work because their voice has changed since the original role, some have even retired. Sometimes they won't accept, even if we ask.

The recording studio and the equipment they use is also different. With all of this in mind, you still thing it is possible to recreate these voices?

Some might say "just pay them to reuse the voice data".

But, often the voice actors decline this, or their agency declines.

For example, Brian's laugh is the actual data from Tekken 3. As fans have requested, we've kept using the original, adapting the data recorded 16 years ago to be used on the PS2, and then PS3.

Even so, some people said it is a different voice in Tekken 6 than the original.

It can't be helped they might think that. As explained above, even though the master data is the same, all of the equipment used in adapting it has completely changed. That said, it isn't a good idea to try to reccreate the older recording environment because then the data sounds heavily compressed, with noise. More than that, it would sound out of place next to the voice data of the newer characters.

WHAT? You say some of the voices sound like they haven't changed at all?
I guess you didn't notice that the development team has re-recorded them, but made efforts for it to sound as close as possible to the original. And you probably didn't even notice.

Do you know that all of the voice work for a character is not always done by just one voice actor? Using Brian as an example, the laugh you guys love so much uses the original data from Tekken 3, but the short kiai voice uses a different voice actor, and the "come on!" voice also uses a different voice actor. A lot of other characters also use different voice actors for the spoken lines and for the shouts.

I did the voice work for Marshal and Forest for 15 years.

However, I can no longer produce that voice after Tekken 5, so we had a different voice actor for Tekken 6.

The Tekken series has continued for 17 years. The development environment, as well as the environment in which you all play games, has changed.

There are so many characters, and we can't keep using he same voice actors every time, for a variety of reasons.

I have even complied to the requests of you all spamming me to "bring back characters" from previous installments. You often say, "let's show the dev team how sincere we are by buying 2 copies if they bring back character X", but did you really go through with it? Expecting you to at least pre-order the game, I was met with more spam, after you apparently didn't notice that Jun and Michelle actually return.

I still have some characters left to be revealed that comply with some of your requests, even "bringing back" several others. Even so, none of them are paid DLC. I will continue to sincerely comply with fan requests.

However, I can't continue to engage the negative ones that, without knowing what you are talking about, or even thinking about what you are saying, blindly repeat "bring back, bring back, bring back..."

After this lengthy explanation, I will be quite surprised if there are still people who still don't get it.

Thanks for understanding or not understanding. Whatever.”

That last line is unbelievable, by the way.

Posted by Chibi_Kaji

interesting

Edited by ajamafalous
@Alamun said:

Wow, I never thought I'd get this.

Was it under News but not on the front page yet? 
 
EDIT: Nevermind, looks like it's just that the post times aren't local time.
Edited by dekkadekkadekka
you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.

This quote, albeit out of context but as a standalone statement, goes for consumers and members of the press.

Posted by King_Bonzo

Sounds like a well reasoned argument

Edited by SnakeSDR

It can be a bummer to have a different voice actor for a character in a game, but honestly I think it ranks pretty low on changes I'd rather not see in a fighting game. When thinking about Tekken characters I think of their appearance and their moves. The sound of their voice? Not so much. But hey, that's me.

Posted by EquitasInvictus

Wow, it seems as if a bunch of developers have been dealing with a lot of unnecessary issues lately.

I kind of feel bad for these guys, considering they put in so much work and there are barely ever any guarantees as to their success or continued existence in the industry. Was it always like this? I feel like developers didn't have to put up with this, say, a decade ago.

Posted by leejunfan83

I love Harada and Tekken fuck Crapcom

Online
Posted by mariussmit

He is just tired from making the same game over and over again for the last two decades. I would be too.

Posted by theodacourt

Man, he's not wrong!

Posted by Swick

You know what, I wish more video game producers would speak candidly like that.

Posted by mrfluke

the mass effect one was justified fans pushing on bioware cause that ending was bullshit, and now they have done good cause that extended ending is satisfying,

but this seems like stupid fans harassing a creator

Posted by Bolt3

Good for him to be honest!

Posted by Haimster

Sure it is annoying but getting requests means having people who care enough to make them. I would ask the PR department to come up with a form letter that more or less denotes, hey we appreciate your passion and that is why we makes games... but, suck our balls!!!!

Posted by Arc209

This is pretty great. Also good to think before bitching about stuff.

Posted by jesterroyal

@Alamun said:

f

Thanks for your input. After reading this article carefully and mulling over it for about three seconds I also thought the same thing. f. Aside from that

Dude cares about his product but you wont ever please people like that. I know he knows that but I bet it felt good just to rant about it. There's so many means of classic emulation that I don't see why people cant just play the 15 year old source and nostalgia bomb. I would hope that the games of today are different than the games of yesteryear.

Posted by Grimluck343

I would imagine he isn't the only person in the industry who feels this way.

Posted by squeamish

After that, he went back to work on the next idolmaster game

Posted by jking47

This guy sounds pretty damn reasonable. I like him!

Posted by DrRandle

That last line is completely believable, Patrick. Your attitude towards it, however, is not.

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

I support this man in all his endeavors.

Posted by Volgin13

Excuse me guys I need to guy follow someone on Twitter.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Yea fuckers, stop moaning

Posted by MadLaughter

@DrRandle: I don't think he was insulting the guy. Seemed more impressed than angered.

Posted by Packie

Harada-San is laying the smack down on their candy asses. But seriously I wish more developers were as open and honest as this guy.

Posted by musicman1024

I don't understand the consumer's need to control everything that comes their way. I personally look forward to anything new from games, music, books, etc. Will I like the directions some writers/game designers/musicians take their new creative endeavors to? Not always, there's certainly been times where my favorite musicians do a complete 180, and I find myself not so impressed, but the consumer should ALWAYS respect the creator's ability to create. The product they make is a reflection of what they want to share with the world, what they have spent weeks and months pouring over. I hold endless respect for people who can create on such an incredible level, and any consumer should as well. There should never be cries for changes to the way something is produced, but a level of respect for these people being gracious enough to take the time to bring their vision to life and share it with the world.

Edited by Nevi

After reading I don't see this as a "rant" as much as it is a good explanation and reasoning for the way the Tekken's developers are having to deal with voice work. Persona 4 fans take note of the stuff about original actors declining work.

Posted by Groundings

It's like reading an extract from a "making of" Tekken interview before handed to PR.

Posted by WarlordPayne

Characters voices seem like the last thing anyone should be complaining about in a fighting game.

Posted by Hampe

Haha, wow, that last line is so hilarious. Fucking awesome man!

Posted by Ghostin

Can we go back to the days when game makers didn't have voice.

Edited by Portis

I wish more developers would speak their mind like this, but I understand why they don't. It's just like any other job.

Posted by AjayRaz

harada is so awesome

Posted by Little_Socrates

Thank you, Harada-san. This community problem is endemic of the kind of products we receive today. Hmm...interesting.

Posted by LiquidSwords

“Consumers Are Idiots. 99% Of Them”-Some guy

Posted by AuthenticM

Mad props to the guy for speaking from the heart.

Posted by BryanDaGimp

Ha, this is awesome. Good for him. I haven't enjoyed a Tekken game since 3, but I might grab a copy of the next one to support Harada-san.

Posted by aquacadet

This story just went from yellow to orange.

Posted by Scrawnto

@Ghostin said:

Can we go back to the days when game makers didn't have voice.

What? That's a ridiculous sentiment.

This seems like a pretty level headed description of the issues they face when trying to meet the demands of fans. Wasn't really much of a rant.

Posted by GalacticPunt

@theodacourt said:

Man, he's not wrong!

Harada is totally right. We need more developer smackdowns of 30-year-old manchildren who demand their teenage memories be slavishly recreated, then don't actually buy the game.

Posted by Daniel_Newton

Caught this on twitter when he posted it and I absolutely agree. The guy works hard to get as much fan-requested stuff in the Tekken games (particularly Tag 2) as possible and he's open to listening to what the fans want, but there's a point where it gets ridiculous and some fans demand things that are really unreasonable.

Harada's a champ if you ask me.

Posted by theimmortalbum

So, don't disagree with a thing he said. People are WAY too entitled about their games.

Posted by Pr1mus

I like this. He's pretty reasonable. Respect.

He's an idealist though for asking people to be adults and think on the internet.

And that last line was perfectly believable. The guy knows that some idiots still won't get it anyway.

Online
Posted by AngelN7

Harada has my full support and Patrick you can use entitled all you want because a very vocal group of gamers are just that whiny and completetly oblivious as to how the gaming business works but every dumbass with internet access feel like they word is worth something.

Posted by Xer0Signal

This is pretty great. I imagine this might have been what everyone at Bioware was thinking once all of that hullabaloo started happening.

It's refreshing to see a developer not go the usual PR route ("we understand your concerns and will take them into consideration") and speak his mind. People can only take so much shit before they eventually crack.

Posted by BigStupidFace

Seems fair enough to me. it wasn't just "you guys don't know what you're asking for" it was "you don't know what you are asking for because......and this why we can't do it, even though we have tried for years"

Edited by Sanj

I love this man.

Favourite quote:

I believe that, before whining and complaining about everything, you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.
Posted by cmblasko

I like how clear and concise his response is. Educational and not TOO condescending. I did not realize that VO work was such a large issue with the Tekken crowd.

Posted by Shaanyboi

That was great :P

Posted by AngelN7

@Ghostin said:

Can we go back to the days when game makers didn't have voice.

Can we go back to the days the likes of you didn't have a voice?