How Bryan Fury’s Infamous Laugh Kicked Off Dialogue in the Tekken Games

How Bryan Fury’s Infamous Laugh Kicked Off Dialogue in the Tekken Games


Katsuhiro Harada, chief developer of the Tekken series, has offered a fascinating insight into the making of the fighting game franchise’s characters, specifically their dialogue — and in the process revealed why one Tekken character in particular became popular despite saying nothing at all.

Harada tweeted in response to one user who asked about a line of dialogue spoken by the character Reina in the recently released Tekken 8, but the answer went on to describe the process of adding dialogue to Tekken characters, kicking off with Bryan and Yoshimitsu in 1997’s Tekken 3. Before that game, Tekken characters did not speak, but it was felt that with the demise of the arcade scene in the West and a shift toward consoles, there was a need to strengthen characterization.

This is when Bryan’s famous “Muwahaha!” laugh comes in, but only when the camera was not pointed at the character’s face as much as possible due to hardware limitations.

“So I decided to include dialogue such as laughter or yes!! in the throwing scene where Bryan turns his back to the camera’s gaze and in the scene where Bryan is down (and Nina stomps),” Harada said. “I also wanted to express Bryan’s character as both a sadist and a masochist.”

“I also wanted to express Bryan’s character as both a sadist and a masochist.

Subsequent Tekken games released on more powerful hardware added more characterization, although, as Harada points out, there’s an irony in Bryan becoming a character known for not speaking much at all. Another Tekken character who does not speak is Dragunov, and Harada offered an insight into how that came to be — and revealed his surprise at the character’s popularity despite his silence.

In short, Dragunov was designed as the “negative” to Lili’s “positive”, with the expectation that Dragunov would not be a popular character, whereas Lili would be. Indeed, Harada asked the developers to “keep his personality down, keep him plain, and he doesn’t need to be so popular.”

And so, Dragunov does not speak in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, the 2005 update to Tekken 5 in which he was introduced. This also helped lighten the load on the development team, as Dragunov had few facial animations, very little lip-sync, and no more dialogue to localize.

Harada said he was nervous about Dragunov because he had become “soooo plain and brooding.” But then something unexpected happened: “the sober Dragunov, who did not speak at all, on the contrary, became popular among Tekken players because he was unique.”

The conclusion: times have changes, Harada suggested.

“In the 90s, if you didn’t have characters speaking dialogue as soon as possible, ‘they wouldn’t have any characterization!’ I thought.

“But I see, in a world where it is normal for game characters to speak after a generational change, I learned the opposite, that not speaking is also a matter of individuality.

“And even today, it is rare to find a fighting game character who does not say a word at all while fighting, at the start of a round, or throughout the entire win-pose (even Kuma and Panda communicate). Is there any other fighting game character that doesn’t talk as much as Dragunov?”

This is not “iisou” but “iizo” (like “iizoou!” a little stronger than “iizo!”). The nuance is NOT JUST “That’s good,” but includes a “Good! Go ahead, I dare you!”.

Originally, this specification was developed by me during the development of TEKKEN3, when Nina made a specific…

— Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) June 5, 2024

So there you have it! Harada just dropped Tekken deep lore, delighting veteran fans of the series. But this isn’t the only hot topic Harada has discussed on social media recently. This week, months after he was made painfully aware of fans’ grassroots movement to get an official Waffle House stage in the long-running fighting game series, and having received tons of information about the American Southern diner chain via memes, viral videos, and earnest replies from fans, Harada said he was still baffled at the “culture” of Waffle House.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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