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Nina Williams returns in Tekken 8 as playable character

Bandai Namco has confirmed the return of Nina Williams as a playable character in Tekken 8. The publisher also announced a new gameplay mechanic and a closed alpha test phase alongside her comeback.

Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada teased this development in December, which was confirmed during the recent Tekken World Tour 2022 Global Finals.

Since her introduction in the first game, Nina has become a fan favorite. Her assassination history has brought her multiple times to the Iron Fist tournament, where she often fights with her sister, Anna Williams.

She has an icy demeanor and detached attitude, making her an ideal enforcer and bodyguard for the big multinational conglomerate Mishima Zaibatsu.

The teaser for Nina’s revelation begins with a new Tekken 8-inspired opener showing Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima delivering a punch in homage to the Tekken 7 opening.

For this entrance, the iconic Irish assassin will no longer be wearing the bridal dress she wears in Tekken 7, opting instead for a stylish purple dress, black sunglasses and a leather jacket while brandishing two handguns with a new bob cut.

Later, the trailer demonstrates her fighting style. Using a mix of martial arts and pistols, she can stay on the offensive to deliver multiple combos. It also shows her countering at strategic times and executing stylish grapples.

Her Rage Art special move is also revealed in the trailer. Here she hits her opponent, flips, uses her handguns to ventilate them and kills them with a final palm strike blow.

According to the Tekken 8 description, this latest epic picks up where the previous title left off, with the globe engulfed in a terrible battle between Kazuya and Jin.

Jin meets his fate after what appears to be a loss at the hands of Kazuya. Jun Kazama, his mother, reappears from her hiatus from the Tekken franchise to try to alter the tide in this blood feud.

New gameplay mechanics introduction

A 37-minute “New Gameplay Mechanics Introduction” trailer for Tekken 8 also aired before Nina’s news.

Kohei “Nakatsu” Ikeda, the game’s director, and Harada presented a keynote presentation detailing the gameplay mechanics of Tekken 8.

During the presentation, Nakatsu and Harada said that the word “aggressive” was the driving force behind every change they made for Tekken 8.

They focused on four features that have been altered or added for Tekken 8 – the Rage System, the Recoverable Gauge, the Heat System and the Controller Style.

Rage first appeared in Tekken 6. It increases damage output when a character is critically low in life. Rage Drives are enhanced variations of ordinary attacks, and Rage Arts are special moves that can only be used while Raging. Both were first introduced in Tekken 7.

Despite removing Rage Drives in Tekken 8, the mechanism remains, and the damage dealt by Rage Arts increases in proportion to the player’s current health bar. The most notable adjustment is that the Rage Art activation process is universal across all characters.

Tekken 8’s “Heat” system was also explained in great detail. This status can be entered using either a Heat Burst or Heat Engager. Invoking a Heat Burst is less hassle, but using a Heat Engager yields significantly better results.

When used against an opponent, Heat Burst gives the user a bonus to hit and block. A Heat Burst can also be triggered without really attacking.

Each character typically possesses five or so Heat Engagers. While the Heat Burst and the Heat Engager put the target in the Heat status upon being hit, the Heat Engager grants access to two bars of 8 energy.

Using 8 energy allows players to do either the Heat Dash or the Heat Smash. If a character uses Heat Dash, they can cancel an attack into a dash. It only takes one 8 energy to complete this task. Any remaining 8 energy will be depleted once one uses the Heat Smash attack.

Closed Alpha test

In the same trailer, Bandai Namco also revealed that a closed alpha test would be held in specific regions around the world.

The purpose of these tests is to collect data on the gameplay and combat systems to improve their performance.

Players interested in trying it out for the first time must register for the Tekken 7 tournament and fill out an application on a dedicated website.

Both will be made available later this month in preparation for the first event at EVO Japan 2023, which will be held from March 31 through April 2, 2023.