These figures almost made it into the Tekken fighting game series, but just didn’t make it.
Before a figure is finished and sent out into the world, it’s hard to know how people will react to them. These sketches of ideas for the game aren’t just extras for the menu screen. They help the developers tweak who the player will be able to control and connect with until they are sure that at least some people will be interested.
For instance, Tekken started out as a copy of Virtua Fighter made by most of the old Virtua Fighter team. But their karate guy turned out to be the cruel Kazuya Mishima, and the guy who looked like Jacky Bryant became the funny force Paul Phoenix. But not every character that gets picked ends up in the game, as these Tekken figures did not make it.
Not too many characters from the early games were lost. In Tekken 1, there was something called a “Wild Card” that could be a character or a chance choice. They also considered adding a regular old man. Not a fighting beast like Heihachi or a kung fu master like Wang Jinrei. Just someone’s regular father or grandfather. In Tekken 3, the old guard was replaced by new characters with more recognizable names, like Jin Kazama and Hwoarang.
But it was also going to have Sake, a fish that does nothing but flounder around and lay eggs. It was going to be a joke choice until the developers realized that people would feel ripped off if they had to pay credit for a figure that couldn’t do anything. Sake kind of made it into Tekken 7 because Kuma uses a fish in his Rage Art, which is made of sake. If you don’t use its T3 data, Yoshimitsu with Jin’s moves will come up when you use it.
Giant Praying Mantis
There is similar information for Jun Kazama, who, when chosen, makes Nina use Jin’s move set and Jun’s voice from Tekken 2. There’s also a character slot with no name that shows up as Paul and has the moves that the Tekken Force troops would use in the console port. This information was strangely meant for a big praying mantis.
During development, a bug caused the character’s joints to move backward, making them move like a praying mantis. This gave rise to the idea. The only thing that stopped it from happening was a lack of time to work on it. At this point in the series, there were already three fighting bears, a boxing kangaroo, and a dinosaur. A big insect wouldn’t have been too out of place.
Even if a character isn’t in one game, that doesn’t mean they won’t be in another. Bruce and Lei Wulong were first planned for T1, but they made it into T2. Then, the developers wanted a Capoeira girl for Tekken 2, but she became Eddy Gordo in Tekken 3, and Christie Monteiro in Tekken 4.
A zombie woman in a wedding dress was an idea that just wouldn’t die. During the development of T3, the idea was first brought up, but director Katsuhiro Harada and his team had trouble figuring out how she would fight. Then it was suggested again for Tekken 6, where she would have been Miguel’s dead sister Mia, who died at the beginning of the game. Then she tried again for Tekken Revolution, but she still wasn’t chosen.
“Zoey” the Tekken Force Soldier
In T3, the idea that the Mishima Zaibatsu had its own army of low-level soldiers in the Tekken Force was established. They are mostly hired help for cutscenes and the different beat ’em up modes in the game. But none of them were playable outside of T3 hacks. But the idea wasn’t impossible either.
Tekken 5 considered making a female Tekken Force member a fighter first. Though her dress would be much skimpier than the lady grunts in T4’s Force Mode. Harada said that she would be a Crow-ranked soldier from Texas named Zoey, and that she would probably need more clothes to get on the squad. She didn’t make it into the game in the end, and Lars Alexandersson was made the first playable Tekken Force fighter instead.
Bandai-Namco thought it would be fun to have a vote for Tekken Revolution, which is a free-to-play version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 without tags. Eventually, whoever came first would be playable. On the vote ballot were Zoey, Sake, the Mantis, the boring old man, and a female Paul Phoenix. Shin Kamiya, one of the main characters in the movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance, was also there.
He was Jin’s old school friend who lived through a test to make people live forever. Alisa and Xiaoyu were told to watch over him and find out if he was really eternal. Heihachi had to go through a lot of trouble to show that he wasn’t. Still, he did well in the polls and got on the stage by coming in third. But only the first-place winner could play, so Shin was left out of the show.
Ganmi-chan was made for TTT2, if you want to be kind. She is a doodle of a girl in a one-piece with her name written in kanji on the chest. It looks like it could be from Idolmaster. It’s also more of a nickname, since she would have been a sumo wrestling beauty ( “mi”) who likes Ganryu ( “gan” from “ganryu”, which means “rock dragon”).
Her design was turned down 5 seconds after she pitched it because it didn’t pay enough attention to Ganryu’s popularity (or lack of recognition). Harada posted her sketch on Twitter and said that if it got 1,000 retweets, he’d show it to the development team again. Which either didn’t work, didn’t convince the team, or was a joke from Harada. She was later put in the character poll for Tekken Revolution, where she got 4th place.
Tekken Revolution had a better life than Tekken Mobile, even though it wasn’t perfect. It was made by Bandai-Namco Vancouver and was basically a Tekken game for iOS and Android phones. It had its own story mode and personalities, but in 2019 it was shut down after less than a year. It turned out that most people couldn’t play it because it was too buggy and purchases were too expensive.
But Landon Nguyen, who was in charge of making the movie, wanted it to have 100 personalities. One of them would have been this mystery girl who only saw a few images before the power went out. Fans call her “Shuwawei,” even though she doesn’t have a real name. We only know that she knows Taekwondo and that she might have been Korean.
So, who won that poll about Tekken Revolution? A female vampire got there before Zoey and Shin. She is now called Eliza, and she was asked to join as early as T3, but she never did. But Harada noticed that whenever she was asked to join the team, she brought luck in some way. For example, she came back for T7, but now she could do 2D jumps and had a super meter like Akuma and Geese Howard.
Why are they in T7 when she didn’t have them in Revolution? Bandai-Namco probably wanted to add Morrigan from Darkstalkers to Snake Game at first. Harada said that she was a “prime candidate” for being included. But they weren’t sure if they could do her gameplay right, so Eliza’s 2D fighter features saved the day instead. Still, Tekken 8 is coming out soon, so maybe Morrigan will show up as a guest. Or Ganmi-chan, Zoey, or that really big praying mantis.