In the world of virtual fighting, Bandai Namco, the creators of the legendary Tekken series, has been stoking the fires of anticipation for the upcoming Tekken 8. The gradual revelation of the game’s roster has been met with extraordinary excitement from dedicated fans worldwide.
During EVO 2023, two more characters were announced: Azucena, an innovative character introduced as a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from Peru, and Raven, the mysterious intelligence agent versed in the art of ‘ninjutsu,’ marking his return from Tekken 6. This article will provide a detailed exploration of the design concepts for both Azucena and Raven and offer a sneak peek behind the scenes.
Spotlight on Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo
Azucena, fondly known as the Coffee Queen, hails from Peru and is the sole heir to the Ortiz Farm, renowned for its coffee production. Breaking away from the conventional lifestyle of a coffee heiress, Azucena chose a path less trodden and ventured into the world of MMA.
The charismatic champion quickly became a fan favorite due to her ebullient personality and audacious fighting style. As the face of her family’s farm, she joins The King of Iron Fist Tournament to amplify the recognition of their coffee plantation.
Azucena: A Unique Blend of Unconventional Moves
As an MMA fighter, Azucena’s combat style features unexpected and clever moves derived from traditional MMA techniques. Her iconic move, the Libertador, is a provocative pose that baits her opponents. In this stance, she relinquishes the ability to block, instead employing her keen senses to evade high and low attacks.
This particular stance enables her to prevent opponents from building momentum. During her Heat state, the Libertador pose morphs into a more formidable tool, allowing Azucena to retaliate instantly after dodging an attack.
Azucena’s commitment to promoting her family’s coffee business and standing as the Ortiz Farm representative is evident in her fighting performance. When she K.O.’s her opponent using her Rage Art, a cinematic scene unfolds, cleverly mimicking a TV commercial for her coffee.
Azucena’s Design: An Ode to Her Peruvian Roots
While Tekken’s roster boasts a myriad of characters specialized in authentic martial arts, the idea of introducing an MMA fighter who excels at striking was appealing. As a nod to the vibrant South American spirit, Azucena was designed as a character who genuinely enjoys fighting.
Her Peruvian origin was a natural fit due to the country’s rich Incan martial arts tradition, Rumi Maki (a form of martial arts centered around boxing). Her backstory also integrates her dual role as a martial artist and a promoter of her family’s coffee farm, perfectly harmonizing with Peru’s cultural landscape.
Azucena’s character design posed a challenge as it sought to blend MMA striking techniques with unique Peruvian features. Inspired by traditional Peruvian attire, colorful and intricate patterns were incorporated into her costume. The costume design accentuates her distinctive fighting style with a short jacket and swinging fringe decorations, complemented by modern, sporty elements like her unique hairstyle and sneakers.
The Resurgence of Raven
Raven, a covert intelligence agent attached to an independent UN unit, specializes in conflict prevention. He is a ninjutsu master adept at espionage. After rigorous training that involved mastering shadow cloning, he is now beckoned into a new battle.
Raven’s Return: Enhanced Ninjutsu Skills and Storyline Significance
After his stint in Tekken 6, Raven took a break to upgrade his abilities and physique, returning with a more advanced form of shadow cloning. With his special stance, the Soul Field, he has a variety of attack strategies at his disposal, from mid-range surprise attacks to clone and teleportation assaults. Players who love to outmaneuver their opponents or control the pace of a battle would enjoy playing Raven.
Raven’s return is also significant for the overall Tekken storyline. He represents a blend of Eastern and Western styles in his fighting, and his advanced form of ninjutsu is better showcased with the current consoles’ hardware performance and the power of Unreal Engine 5.
His role in the plot is much more substantial this time around. Raven and his organization will significantly influence the Tekken 8 storyline, including the UN’s decision to sanction G Corp, a powerful conglomerate led by Kazuya Mishima.
Raven’s Design: Retaining Iconic Features with a Ninja Twist
Raven’s design concept aimed to emphasize his enhanced physique while preserving his iconic elements. His silhouette highlights his limbs for easy recognition of his acrobatic ninjutsu moves. The costume design features a balance of his muscular chest armor and leather pants, reflecting the passage of time and events that occurred during his absence from the canonical story.
Notably, his kunai has been replaced with a short sword. His arms, now more muscular, sport new tattoos, and visually stunning effects like ink splashes have been added to his fight sequences.
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