Where does that leave Namco Bandai with Tekken Tag Tournament? After all, the developer had its own acrid taste of sales disappointment when it brought Tekken Prime 3D Edition to the Nintendo 3DS, even with Nintendo helping on the distribution and marketing side in Europe. Could that be seen as a misstep that may have damaged the brand?
The important factor in rebooting a flagging series is to almost pretend like the last faux pas never existed. Look at Tecmo Koei with Dead or Alive 5, and how the company has swiftly moved on from Dead or Alive: Dimensions on 3DS in the hope that it can be quietly swept under the rug in advance of the next main entry into the breast-jiggling beat'em-up line. The hope is that consumers are fickle, forgetful, and even those bitten once, are not actually twice shy as some may believe.
It certainly helps that Namco has taken an all-encompassing tact for the sequel to an off-shoot that first appeared more than a decade ago. What better way to aim for achieving a much-needed boost in popularity than pumping Tekken Tag Tournament 2 full of features that will appeal to a wider demographic and then churning out campaigns to ensure the mainstream have the pertinent facts drilled into their minds. Think being 'gangsta' is what it's all about? Then try a little Snoop 'Dee Oh Double-Gee' on for size in the form of a specially-themed stage. Hoping to see plenty of scantily-clad women gyrating around the various Tekken arenas? Then brace yourself for a bevy of beauties. All bases are indeed truly covered (or uncovered in the case of the bikini babes!). What more could possibly be done to bring Tekken Tag's sequel to as wide an audience as possible?
Say hello to the Wii U. Anyone wondering if Nintendo will be receiving a stripped down, childish Mii-filled 'entry level' TTT2 can rest easy as Namco Bandai has reiterated that everything from the updated arcade version that landed in Japan in March 2012 and was transferred to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 last month will also be totally present and correct on Wii U at launch day. The surprisingly superb special secret (don't you love alliteration?) is that there will be an added Nintendo-flavoured twist to entice gamers still on the fence to hold off for a short while to pick up Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition. In fact, that's a lie: there are two Nintendo twists to the formula that will help make it almost like a special edition, and one bonus to also draw in fans of portable fighting.
First up is the Mushroom Battle, where players can chomp down on fungi, as well as devour another elite treat, the famous Star, providing a means of having temporary invincibility. Care must be taken to avoid the purple mushrooms, though, as they are poisonous and result in the character being shrunken down to a tiny size, as well as taking a hefty knock to send them flying. However, skilful players will undoubtedly love the tininess as they become more nimble, dodging attacks swiftly. On the flipside, there are regular red and whites to increase your size slightly, plus the yellow(ish) Mega Mushroom to turn players into giants that literally fill the screen, thus becoming almost unstoppable. There is also a golden variety, as seen in the Mario Kart series where they give infinite boost for a short period, but apparently this is something Namco wants to remain silent on for now to keep people guessing. After all, it wouldn't be fun if we knew everything right off the bat, would it?
Next up is how Nintendo crossover costumes are also implemented, with inspiration taken from the likes of Super Mario Bros., Star Fox, Metroid and The Legend of Zelda. Whilst the curtain has yet to be pulled back on the final list of attire included, the highly enjoyable trailers seen have already revealed Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Zelda, Ganondorf and Link outfits for the regular Tekken crew to don, making Nintendo fans eagerly awaiting a new Smash Bros. start salivating and tripping over their words in excitement. Whether or not the costumes will be open to all characters is also something the development team is supposedly keeping close to its chest, with the present situation being set apparel for specific characters…or so the team had been telling certain members of the media. Close inspection of the initial Wii U trailer showed the Star Fox, Mario, Bowser and Zelda get-ups on more than one character, and this has since been confirmed in subsequent trailers. Weapons are also included, with Link's Master Sword not merely there for show, but being unsheathed for some hack and slash action.
There is a cornucopia of fan-service that does not mask the original characters so much as to alienate the long-term supporters of the fighting series, yet tickles the fancy of those itching for more Nintendo-battling goodness in the absence of the most wanted Capcom vs. Nintendo that was talked about by Capcom's Yoshinori Ono-san at the Nintendo 3DS pre-launch event in Amsterdam back in early 2011.
To top everything off, as if Namco Bandai wasn't offering enough alluring aspects, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 can be taken into the portable realm thanks to the Wii U GamePad. Although there is no specific 'Off-TV' mode, the gameplay currently spans both TV sets and GamePads simultaneously, meaning that should anyone want to hog the television to catch the latest episode of The X Factor, then off you merrily go with the hectic fighting action on the smaller HD-screen in your hands.