Fight Lab is a new feature for the Tekken series - a tutorial that's intended to teach players the game via the use of training exercises, disguised as mini-games. In a nutshell, it's Tekken's equivalent to the wax on/wax off bit in Karate Kid.
Here's what was revealed at Namco's Gamers Day:
- Harada's brief to his development team: "We want a tutorial, but we don't want it to be called a tutorial. It has to be a series of mini-games where the player doesn't realise that they're learning Tekken - they're enjoying the mini-games as they go along. But then they look back and realise they've gotten better, too."
- Fight Lab finds you taking control of Combot - a fighting robot designed by Violet (who is actually Lee Chaolan in disguise). The idea is that you train up the Combot by helping it to complete exercises.
- As you progress through Fight Lab's challenges you'll be able to learn iconic special moves that belong to other Tekken characters. "Essentially what this means is you can customise the moveset of your Combot," says director Katsuhiro Harada. "You can have Nina's Blonde Bomb, Paul's Phoenix Smasher and Heihachi's Wind God Fist all in one character." You'll also unlock items that change the look of your bot.
- You'll be able to pit your customised Combot against other players online. "Currently we hope to be able to use them in Arcade mode and online play," says Harada. "Obviously there's a problem with ranked matches, but other than that we hope to have other modes available."
- One of the first minigames lets you to pull of complex attacks and combos by tapping any button successively; the aim here is to teach players the importance of basic timing. After this prologue sequence, Violet/Lee accidentally destroys the Combot, and you start again with a new unit - and full controls.
- The next challenge requires players to perform high, medium and low attacks against incoming henchmen. Initially, this simply demands that you respond to icons that appear over the opponent, and perform the relevant attack. In the subsequent challenge, hitting the incorrect target will result in an explosion that damages the Combot.
- These targeting exercises round off with a boss fight against Jack, where the only way to prevent a damaging counter attack is to hit specific parts of his body.
- Aside from what was shown, Harada discussed two other mini-game concepts that may show up in the final release. The first is a side-stepping trainer where the player must avoid (or collect) either incoming sushi, or small pandas which roll towards the Combot.
- Another suggested idea is a Juggling tutorial where players must hit Gon up into the air and then keep him afloat with successive strikes. With each successful hit Gon expands like a beachball, until he eventually pops.
- Overall, Fight Lab is designed to train beginners and advanced players alike. Challenges are graded based upon time and efficiency, so skilled players will acquire rewards faster.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be released September 2012 on PS3 and Xbox 360.