The director of [Tekken 6, Katsuhiro Harada, recently discussed the practice of locked characters in fighters such as BlazBlu and Steet Fighter, and had a few choice words to say about the practice, calling the idea “outdated”.
“That’s kind of outdated now though, especially with online play. If we were to have locked characters it would irritate a lot of people, to be playing against others online and to not have all the characters available. So I think it’s no longer useful.”
His reasoning for such claims simply lies in the growing popularity of console fighters over arcade fighters.
“Why we locked the characters originally was that in the arcades, it was kind of to extend the life of the game by gradually unlocking characters. And also with the home versions as well, because you can rent games or whatever, it was to protect us against that.”
While having unlockable characters does force consumers to buy the game and take their time, Harada does have a point about the growing popularity of console fighters. It doesn’t make sense anymore to not allow access to all the characters upfront due to online multiplayer. When the opponent has a character that the other hasn’t unlocked yet, the playing field becomes very one-sided.
Tekken 6, along with its collector’s edition, will release later this year with every character unlocked straight out of the box.