Tekken 7 gets just that little bit weirder on February 28th, as live-streaming pugilist Julia Chang gets extremely online in the ring. Baseball-bat swinging warlord Negan from The Walking Dead makes the leap along with her. Together, they wrap up the second season of the Bandai Namco arcade fighter's DLC. In any other fighter these two would probably seem like oddballs, but Tekken 7's cast is plenty weird already, so they fit right in, or at least don't stand out. Take a peek at some of their moves (and Negan menacing Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada) in the trailer below.
Julia has been a Tekken staple since the third game - an archaeologist, master of Chinese martial arts and occasional Luchadora, she has worn many hats, and kicked many faces. This time round, she's running a kickstarter to fund a reforestation project, and the best way to up her internet clout is obvious; punch people and stream it on whatever Tekken's Twitch-equivalent is. As you do. She's in many ways an archetypal Tekken character - larger than life, but vaguely grounded in reality.
If you've watched any of The Walking Dead on TV recently, Negan needs little introduction. He's a post-apocalyptic warlord and ever-cheerful sadist who likes to hit people with his barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille. While Tekken may not have blood effects, the cuts to first-person when he's brutalising another fighter are intense. I personally reckon he's a little dark for Tekken (he even does swears!), but Bandai Namco love them some weird and wacky crossovers.
Negan in particular seems to be moving a lot less stiffly now, compared to his original debut trailer. Despite the bat's added reach, he seems to be more about pressure than poking, fitting his relentless persona. Julia, on the other hand looks as graceful as ever, with plenty of high-low mix-ups, but perhaps a little more straightforward than other more agile fighters - sidesteps were always her weakness.
I'm genuinely overjoyed to see how successful Tekken 7 has become on PC. A fighting game lives or dies on the strength of its online competition, and Steam Charts says that at any given moment, you'll have around 2000 opponents available. A drop in the ocean for a battle royale shooter, perhaps, but for a one-on-one fighter, that's more than enough. Here's hoping it stays strong well into 2020.
Both Julia and Negan hit Tekken 7 next week on Thursday, February 28th. You can fight against either for free, but to play as them, you need either the £25/€30/$30 second season pass, or buy them individually for £5/€6/$6. You can find both on Steam and Humble.