Tekken 7‘s netplay has come under constant criticism over its run on consoles and PC. While many of the complaints focused on the netcode itself, the popular fighting game’s fanbase remains fractured due to the notable absence of a highly-requested feature. With such a wide amount of players spread through its three retail releases, the notable absence of crossplay stands out as a sore spot for fans of Bandai-Namco’s long-running franchise.
Crossplay has served to extend the life of games across multiple platforms by allowing players from different platforms to play with or against each other over their chosen game’s online netplay. By opening the door to allow players this freedom, it proliferates the game’s fanbase, giving players more opponents to compete against while also encouraging interaction amongst the community as a whole without the segregation based on platforms. While fighting games certainly can benefit from crossplay, this extends to games of all genres as well.
As the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generation of consoles got underway, the prospect of crossplay seemed like a pipe-dream for players. As the generation marched on, however, more and more games began supporting the feature for their online, enabling players to reach out to their communities beyond the restrictions of their particular, chosen platform. With games like Mortal Kombat 11 and Street Fighter 5 offering crossplay (the former extending to cross-gen as well), the absence of crossplay in Tekken 7 begins to stand out.
In an interview with GameSpot during the initial release of Tekken 7 into the retail market, the director of Tekken 7 at the time, Katsuhiro Harada, mentioned the difficulties of bringing crossplay functionality into the title, with the team having to factor in three different platforms for the feature. Harada mentioned that since fighting games are a peer-to-peer connection, it’s a lot more difficult to handle cross-play across three platforms.
In the interview, Harada went into detail regarding the security protocols in play, indicating that trying to match User IDs between PSN, Xbox Live, and Steam was proving to be “quite difficult” to do as a result. Harada would go on to state, “Until there is some kind of progress between the first-parties adapting their security policies and just policy in general regarding online, to allow that, it’s not going to be viable at this time.”
Tekken 7 enters its fourth season now without crossplay, and it stands to reason that players waiting for the eventual arrival of this feature are left disappointed. As fighting games institute crossplay between two platform families, Harada’s ambitious goal for Tekken 7 of connecting each platform family has left it unable to proceed beyond the stage of discussion. Until the security protocols between the first-party platform developers change for the better, fans will just have to make due with Tekken 7‘s lack of crossplay, and at a time where the gaming world looks to be more connected than ever, it’s truly a shame.