Namco Bandai’s Katsuhiro Harada has some firm principles on running the Tekken franchise, some of his stances running so deep that he would consider quitting his high-paying executive job before bowing to corporate pressure. One such issue that constantly comes up for Mr. Tekken is downloadable content, and why he hates charging for it.
Eurogamer has a fantastic profile and interview piece up on their site, where they cover a lot of topics and frequent headaches that come with the job for Harada. And don’t think it’s just the business end of game development, either—all of you fans are no Florence nightingales yourselves:
“Maybe 99 per cent of the fanbase I interact with on a daily basis are very normal and straightforward in their opinions. ‘We like this, we don’t like this.’ It’s very simple and easy to understand, and it’s good feedback. I didn’t let it get to me at first, and if it was just me they were spamming it wouldn’t be an issue.
“But they started spamming different game producers, other people I follow on Twitter, non-games related people, even friends, telling them ‘Please tell Harada to do this or that’. It was quite embarrassing they were doing this, so I really wanted to stop it. And at the same time, I explained the reasons why the voice actors had changed.”
Undoubtedly, developers and producers like Harada have it tough in the social media era, where large masses of fans have the means and access to badger him through mass mob mentality. Even something as simple as switching up the voice actors in the Tekken roster leads to a sizeable degree of outcry, and Harada thinks that’s pretty childish.
However, despite his frustration with un-pleaseable gamers, that almost takes a backseat to Harada’s other pet peeve: DLC.
Simply put, Harada doesn’t like the idea of charging fighting game fans for extra characters, stages, and movesets. In his interview with Eurogamer, he even hinted at the push-and-pull fighting he has to do with Namco’s higher-ups in order to keep that content free, stating that he would rather quit or let someone else deal with that headache:
“Actually this is something my bosses have been asking me for quite a while now – what are our plans for DLC? How much money can we make? They are a company, obviously, in it to make money. So it’s something I’m continually asked even now. But I haven’t changed my stance. If you’re making a fighting game, all of the elements necessary to enjoy it should be on the disc, or should at least be available for free.”
“If I was given the choice to include paid DLC or quit Namco, I would maybe quit… Or maybe I would just say ‘get someone else to deal with this.”
Bold words. With more and more triple-A franchises seeking to raise the amount of revenue they can get with paid DLC, it puts Harada at ends with a changing industry to have his franchise stick to such a stiff standard.