Tekken 8 has added two more characters to its roster, announced with a duo of trailers that debuted during EVO Japan 2023, the regional version of the prestigious fighting game tournament, the Evolution Championship Series (EVO).
The upcoming fighting game had already confirmed 10 characters that many would consider to be a core roster of series staples and popular favourites, in the lead up to a series of hands-on media previews of the Tekken 8. But the announcement of Asuka Kazama and Leroy Smith feels like it kicks off a new group of reveals where newer, lesser-known, and possibly brand-new characters will be introduced.
Asuka Kazama was first introduced in Tekken 5, as a supposed blood relative to one of the leading families of the main narrative. She’s a high schooler who spends part of her time as a vigilante, and her fighting style is somewhat reminiscent of Jun Kazama, who also returns for Tekken 8. Asuka is known for her brash attitude and her cool mountain bike.
Like all the other characters, she has a fresh look this go around: a baggy school uniform-inspired costume with a floppy bike messenger hat, several unnecessary buckles, and a dishevelled, casual look. Series director Katsuhiro Harada has confirmed that her existing costumes will be available as alternative outfits.
Leroy Smith is one of the newest characters to come to grace the Tekken series, after being introduced as a downloadable character for Tekken 7 at the end of 2019. He’s a gang-crusading New Yorker, who also happens to be a master of Chinese Wing Chun, a martial art most recently popularised in the West by Donnie Yen in the Ip Man series of films.
His Tekken 8 trailer introduces him as the ‘Grandmaster of Drip,’ and he sports a far more eye-catching, gold-adorned martial arts uniform, compared to his relatively humble outfit in Tekken 7. His pit bull, Sugar, also makes a grand return in this sequel.
In our hands-on preview of Tekken 8, we remarked that ‘even though the soul of the game feels nice and familiar, the game’s presentation looks sharper and fresher, and it feels like the huge generational leap forward that this series deserves … Tekken 8 is Tekken rebuilt from the ground up. It’s faster and more explosive – even compared to other Tekken games, and a lot of fun to watch in motion.’