A new character Arabic named Shaheen has been announced as the latest cast member to upcoming title Tekken 7.
As with previous character reveals for the latest instalment of the classic beat’em’up title, Tekken director Katushiro Harada introduced the new male character via twitter.
NEW CHARACTER for TEKKEN 7. "Shaheen" from Saudi Arabia. 鉄拳7新キャラ(のひとり）「シャヒーン（サウジアラビア）」公開。 We've more new characters. http://t.co/cPggBVY6hy— Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) January 1, 2015
Dressed in a flowing cape and traditional keffiyeh headscarf, Shaheen’s reveal has sparked a great deal less controversy than the announcement of Lucky Chloe - a breakdancing, cat-themed character clad in black corset and tutu.
The J-Pop-inspired Lucky Chloe drew a large amount of criticism from Western gamers when she was revealed in December 2014, drawing a response from Harada: "Calm down and don't worry. That character [is] East Asia and Europe 'Exclusive.' And I'll say again, we've more new characters in [Tekken 7]. She is JUST one of them, and she will be country exclusive (or region exclusive). We [won't] include her for your region. That's why I said 'calm down and don't worry.'"
What's striking between the creation of Lucky Chloe and Shaheen is the contrasting levels of fan engagement the Tekken development team sought when designing the characters. The initial design of Shaheen was proposed by Harada back in 2008, taking to Tekken’s Facebook page to share the design concept of an “Arab character”.
“To be honest, we did have an idea of an Arab fighter since 2008, but since most of the development team members are Japanese and do not know much about the Middle Eastern culture or clothes, we were not able to fully design it back then,” wrote Harada.
“But in recent years I (Harada) have been visiting places such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and many of the development staff members have been learning about Middle Eastern culture and designs. The development team likes this design and think that this character is a cool Arab fighter, but if there is something in particular to mention, please do let us know. We would like it if you all do like the character as well.”
Apparently buoyed by the design's positive response, Harada pursued the Arabic design, with Shaheen becoming the first Saudi Arabian character to appear in the Tekken series - usually dominated by Western and Asian character builds. Lucky Chloe received no such fan consultation period.
Tekken 7 is yet to receive a console release date, with an arcade release slated for March 2015.