Tekken 7 is a bloody good fighting game -- one of the best on PlayStation 4, as far as we're concerned -- but its lack of an introductory tutorial has always seemed like an oversight. Without one, newcomers are all but forced to look up guides and videos online in order to fully understand the fundamentals of the combat system. Considering Tekken 7 comes with a full practice mode, complete with massive move lists, it's pretty crazy that it doesn't properly explain the basics.
However, according to director Katsuhiro Harada, most players don't even bother with tutorials to begin with. Speaking to PCGamesN, the Tekken boss claims "We can tell with most of our games which modes players are spending time in. We have that data in our company. You hear a lot of people say this game is great because it has a tutorial but when we look at the data, not many people play these tutorial modes."
Harada continues: "This is the same when you buy something new, you take it home and you don’t read the manual. It’s a positive for your product if you can say you have a tutorial but when you take a closer look you notice that people aren’t really playing it."
Okay, so maybe a lot of players don't bother with tutorials, but surely there's no harm in having a basic one in there? Harada counters this trail of thought by pointing to Tekken 7's story mode: "As you’re playing through the story mode, you naturally learn things like, ‘oh, this can be side stepped’ or ‘this character has this powerful special move if I learn how to use it properly.’ In the story mode, you can perform these with a simplified command so once you know about it, you can practice to perform this with the normal command."
Now, we're big fans of Harada, but we certainly don't think Tekken 7's story mode does a good job of easing new players into the experience. It's got cheap bosses that don't represent the system present in the rest of the game, fights with one-off mechanics, and it barely gives you any direction to begin with.
Tutorials may not get touched by everyone, but we don't think there's any decent reason not to have one -- particularly in a fighting game. Jonny Casual may get by mashing a few buttons at the lower ranks, but as soon as he comes up against someone who knows what they're doing, there's always a chance that he's going to get mad and put the game back on the shelf. That may not happen if Jonny has a basic understanding of the game's core mechanics.