We have been steadily revealing the roster for Tekken 8, and the excitement each reveal has generated with fans has been amazing. At EVO 2023, we announced that Azucena, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from Peru, and Raven, a secret intelligence agent specializing in ‘ninjutsu,’ will join Tekken 8 coming to PlayStation 5. Azucena is an all-new character in the series, while Raven returns from Tekken 6. In this article, we will dive into the design of Azucena and Raven, as well as a behind-the-scenes look.
Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo
Also known as the Coffee Queen, Azucena is the only daughter of the family running the Ortiz Farm, a Peruvian coffee plantation. She breaks into the world of MMA to serve as the poster child for her family’s farm, where she becomes an MMA champion beloved by her fans for her cheerful personality and fearless fighting style. She decides to compete in The King of Iron Fist Tournament to promote further and boost recognition of the family farm.
An MMA fighter who dodges attacks with a special stance
Azucena fights with sly and unconventional movements that are based on MMA techniques. Her signature move is the Libertador, a pose that provokes the opponent. She shifts into a stance where she can no longer block but instead instinctively detects and dodges her opponent’s high and low attacks. This special stance and her movements allow her to keep opponents from gaining momentum. The Libertador pose becomes even more powerful in Heat state, where Azucena automatically launches a counterattack after dodging an attack, putting more pressure on her opponent.
Azucena’s primary aim to advertise her family’s coffee and represent the Ortiz Farm as their only daughter is highlighted by her actions throughout her fights. For example, when she K.O.’s her opponent with her Rage Art, a special cinematic scene is shown that looks like a TV commercial advertising her coffee.
Her ancient martial art style elements and coffee farm roots represent her Peruvian origin
While many characters in the Tekken series specialize in authentic martial arts, we wanted to introduce an MMA fighter who is especially adept at striking. We brainstormed around key characteristics embodying a carefree and exuberant attitude that symbolizes South America, and envisioned creating a character who always has fun fighting. This led to Azucena’s birth. We chose Peru as her home because they carry the ancient Incan martial arts tradition, Rumi Maki (martial arts centered around boxing). Peru was also a perfect fit for her backstory, which revolves around her background as not only a martial artist, but also a model and dancer, as well as her ambition to promote her family’s coffee farm to the world.
A character design that embraces upbeat attitude and unique MMA moves
With Azucena’s character design, we found it challenging to balance MMA striking techniques with a distinctive Peruvian flair. We incorporated detailed and colorful patterns inspired by traditional Peruvian garments into her look. We designed her costume to emphasize her unique fighting style by featuring a shorter jacket and sleeves with swinging fringe decorations. We also mixed modern, sporty elements, like her unique hairstyle and sneakers, to create a character full of life who radiates youth.
Raven is a secret intelligence agent, part of an independent unit under the UN who has engaged in multiple missions to prevent conflicts worldwide, and he is a master of espionage that utilizes ninjutsu. He ventured into training to prepare for his increasingly dangerous duties, where he mastered the art of shadow cloning. That is when he received an order summoning him to a new battle.
A much-anticipated return to the series, where his evolved ‘ninjutsu’ establishes his enigmatic fighting style
Following his time in Tekken 6, Raven underwent intense training to achieve an even greater physique, allowing him to utilize a more advanced form of shadow cloning. By using his special stance, Soul Field, he can use a range of versatile attacks, such as mid-range surprise tactics or attacks leveraging his ability to clone and teleport. His clone attacks are enhanced when in Heat state, and Raven can launch seamless wave attacks. He is recommended for players who enjoy tricky move sets that toy with their opponents or those who enjoy controlling the pace of the battle.
A return marked by technological advancements and an essential role in the Tekken story
Since his first appearance in Tekken 5, Raven has represented a fusion of the East and West at a high level in his fighting style, featuring tricky ninjutsu and powerful strikes that bely his lean physique. We wanted him in Tekken 8 because we knew the hardware performance of current consoles and the power of Unreal Engine 5 would allow us to showcase a more evolved form of Raven. He also has a much more significant role in the overall storyline this time. Previously, efforts carried out by the UN have not been portrayed much in the Tekken storyline. Raven and his organization will play a larger role in Tekken 8, including the UN’s decision to sanction G Corp, a relentless conglomerate led by Kazuya Mishima.
A character design that retains iconic elements while becoming more Ninja-like and with a more impressive physique
Raven’s character design was based on a concept that shows off his profound and massive physique. We wanted to upgrade his overall design without compromising his iconic elements. His silhouette highlights his arms and legs so players can easily recognize his acrobatic ‘ninjutsu’ movements. For the costume, we were conscious of the contrast between his chest armor resembling his muscles and leather pants while incorporating elements that portray the passage of time and events that may have occurred when he was absent from the canonical story. For example, we replaced his kunai with a short sword. You’ll also see that he has new tattoos on his arms, which are even more muscular now. There are also new visual effects, like ink splashes, during his fight sequences.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know these two new characters, with Azucena’s debut, and Raven’s return. We hope you’ll look forward to more Tekken 8 news in the future before the game launches on PlayStation 5.