A couple days ago Katsuhiro Harada mentioned that he would be introducing a brand new Middle Eastern character into the Tekken 7 roster. However, the inclusion of this character gave him some pause. As you know, anything related to the Middle East right now has the potential to spark outrage and anger with the politically charged masses. So Harada thought, “What better way to see if this character is acceptable than to ask the fans themselves?"
Below you can see an image of the character. He carries a sword, a dagger, and several throwing knives, but it’s not quite clear yet whether or not he fights with them. He wears a Keffiyeh, has kind of pointy shoes and baggy pants. Before I even go forward, what do you think about the character design?
A lot of Middle Eastern Tekken fans have come forward on Harada’s Facebook page with some helpful criticism. Many said not to include the pointy shoes because that’s not really applicable to any Middle Eastern culture. Others have said not to include the knives and sword if he doesn’t actually use them to fight. The “Arabian warrior wielding a scimitar” is just too stereotypical. Another very good piece of advice is “DO NOT MAKE HIM A VILLAIN!” We have rarely seen Middle Eastern people portrayed as heroes in our games and that needs to change.
There are a lot of other suggestions that were made as well. His cloak has been criticized as not being particularly Middle Eastern in origin. Many fans said that adding falcon imagery would actually be a plus to the character, and would make the shoulder pad more interesting. Many have asked that the headscarf be removed, as that only represents Saudi Arabia, and only one portion of Saudi Arabia, and there are many other cultures in the Middle East. Another huge request is to make the character to be brought away from the rather obvious Assassin’s Creed style of dress he is wearing, as that too makes the character seem rather stereotypical.
Of course, this has caused a bit of controversy among the Tekken community as well. There are plenty of people who are posting troll posts on the original Facebook image. Several racial slurs have been slung around. Luckily, Harada and Bandai Namco have been very vigilant about deleting every single inflammatory post on the comment thread.
What do you think? What changes would you make to this character model? How should he fight? Let us know in the comments, and if you are of Middle Eastern descent, tell us how you feel about this new character being included in the Tekken franchise.
Senior Contributing Writer