King Tekken 3
Image: Namco

When it comes to Player Two costumes in the Tekken series, few outfits have seemed to resonate with fans as much as King's alternative clothing in Tekken 3.

The design in question saw the series regular sporting Armor King's mask, as well as a blue-ish t-shirt, black and white trainers, and a pair of dark sweatpants with a grey leopard print design running down the sides. In the past, this look has been described online as "iconic", "badass", and "the coolest any fighting game character has ever looked", and also inspired a bunch of merchandise from the fashion brand Prix in 2023.

It probably goes without saying, then, that when one of Tekken 3's directors Katsuhiro Harada shared some cool titbits about how the design came about, on Twitter recently, Tekken fans (including ourselves) were excited to find out more about it (thanks VG247!).

Harada posted the story in response to @Sharkpartyqq, a fighting game cosplayer with over 206k followers who styled their own amazing rendition of the character.

In the reply, Harada observed how the costume was still popular a quarter of a century later and went on to explain that the design was the result of wanting the player two version of the character to "wear the Armor King mask and be a Heel wrestler". He continued:

"The artist assigned to the project uploaded texture data with the kanji for "悪 (Heel / Evil / Villain)" as a joke at first. One day, when I launched the development test build and saw "Evil" written on the back of the KING, I laughed out loud. The artist grinned and said, "See, now that's Heel, right?" And this was very popular with all the development team members, so we officially adopted it. I felt it was a little sad to use only one kanji character, so I asked the artist, I asked the artist to put "Mishima Heavy Industries" in the design, and this design was completed."

As Harada explains, there was a tiny bit of concern (particularly among the Namco sales team) about whether the Kanji for evil would be understood in other countries, but "the awareness of language localization was still very limited" at the time, so it was left as it was:

"At that time, arcade cabinets were still in operation worldwide and TEKKEN3 was released in arcades all over the world, but one of the most common questions among the letters (real letters, not e-mails) we received was 'What does the King's back say?'...I believe that it was because it was written in kanji that it became an iconic costume (or so I like to think)."

What do you think? Do you think the lack of localization helped it become more popular? Comment below and share your thoughts!

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