Why Tekken 7 Players Are Divided Over Paid Frame Data DLC

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Tekken players is getting a host of new features, but one particularly useful one is paywalled behind the season pass, leading some to feel frustrated with what Bandai Namco is offering versus other fighting games. Tekken 7 is getting frame data for its moves, but its currently set to only be available to season pass owners or those who buy it separately.

The rollout is part of Tekken 7’s third season, and producer Michael Murray confirmed via Twitter that everyone who has Season Pass 3 will get the feature for free. Others who want to access the database will need to pay $4.

If you’re not familiar with what frame data entails, it’s essentially in-depth information about each move a fighting game character can throw out. Think of a fighter’s punch like a pitcher throwing a ball: there’s the wind-up, throw, and follow-through. When you hit punch as Jin or King, the same applies: it has a start-up, time when it is active, and recovery time before you can throw out the next punch—all measured in frames of animation.

This data can be crucial for players trying to understand a game like Tekken at a higher level. Say a character has a 10-frame start-up on a very crucial move, one they can segue into a longer combo if it lands. Knowing how fast it starts up, and whether you can stuff it with a faster jab or react in time, is the sort of mindgame that happens at high levels of fighting game play. It’s also a very helpful resource for players to get more comfortable with their character of choice and elevate the overall level of play. And it gives content creators the data they need to produce onboarding materials for newcomers.

Several games, like Mortal Kombat 11 and Skullgirls, offer this data up front. Others have patched it in over time or after significant demand, and thanks to both the rising popularity of fighting games and the growing interest in the scene at large, these features are becoming more commonplace than they were years ago. It’s also important to note that while frame data is part of the season pass, other training elements—like an overhaul of the in-game sample combos and a really interesting mode that teaches you how to punish various moves—are free updates for all Tekken 7 players.

It’s sparked up an interesting debate among Tekken players: should this data be part of a free update? Some are making the case that it should be an update for everyone, regardless of whether they’ve bought only the base game or the season pass as well. Others don’t see an issue in giving Bandai Namco more of their money, or they don’t care because they see this as a feature intended for those who would buy the pass anyways.

Tekken 7 has been one of the most successful and steadily growing fighting games of this console generation, gradually building up year-over-year into one of, if not arguably the best, fighting games currently around. It’s understandable that at the height of so much popularity, players would get frustrated with what feels like basic accessibility options being locked behind a price tag. But for a game running for three seasons long rather than your typical annualized entry, that price tag makes a little more sense. If anything, it can be a way for Bandai Namco to entice players into engaging with the season pass content.

Of course, large amounts of this data can be found already. The benefit is that it’s in-game and more readily available than a second monitor or a notepad. Whether players end up engaging with this or not, it’s a pretty valuable resource, even if just for the higher echelon of Tekken players.

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