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Tekken producer sends Yakuza speculation into overdrive

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Is Kiryu finally coming to Tekken 7?

Kiryu punches a street thug in a screenshot from Yakuza Kiwami 2 Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega

Tekken fans have been hoping for Kiryu Kazuma, star of Sega’s Yakuza series, to appear as a guest character in Tekken 7 for months. Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada publicly responded to those requests back in February, but his statement about Kiryu possibly coming to the fighting game was vague at best.

A more recent tweet from Harada, however, has ignited speculation that the Yakuza and Tekken franchises may indeed collide.

On Tuesday, Harada posted a photo “from the development room” on Twitter. That photo included four images (clockwise from top left): an amusing close-up shot of Alisa Bosconovitch, Lee standing in front of a restaurant, a shower of sparks and debris, and Street Fighter’s Akuma uppercutting Tekken’s Eliza. It’s the Lee image that caught fans’ eyes.

Lee is standing in front of what appears to be a Matsuya Foods location, a Japanese restaurant chain that has appeared in multiple Yakuza games (but has not appeared in the Tekken franchise to date). It is an unusual inclusion. It could also be a bit of trolling on Harada’s part; he’s wont to push back on guest character requests, and somewhat famously wears a “Don’t ask me for shit” T-shirt during on-camera appearances. It would also present an extra layer of licensing for Tekken publisher Bandai Namco beyond any agreement to include a Yakuza character in Tekken 7.

Tekken 7 has already brought together a diverse group of guest characters, including Noctis from Final Fantasy 15, Geese Howard from SNK’s Fatal Fury, and Negan from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Kiryu (or even Goro Majima from Yakuza) would fit right in.

We’ve reached out to Bandai Namco to see what the publisher has to say, but will expect that an official announcement will likely come from Harada himself.