What We Know: At this point, Tekken's no stranger to handhelds. 2006's Tekken: Dark Resurrection did an amazing job of porting the button-mashing action to the small screen. And if you're super-nostalgic, Sony's had Tekken 2 in the PlayStation Store for a long time. That said, Namco Bandai's been awfully gun-shy about showing off the handheld version of its arcade hit until Tokyo. Up until now, the gaming media has only gotten glimpses of Tekken 6 either at arcades (my first playthrough was during TGS last year) or at Namco Bandai's various events. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are right around the corner -- October 27 is the magic date -- but the handheld version will come roughly a month later. There's a huge push behind PSP this fall, and alongside several other franchises that have been evergreen PlayStation franchises, this is a huge one.
What's New at TGS: Everything, actually. Namco-Bandai has been rather coy about the details regarding the handheld version of Tekken 6 until today. I couldn't go hands-on with it, but I got a good idea of what the team is aspiring to deliver.
It retains the main ideas of the arcade game. That means that the core concepts, including combos and environmental damage, have been adapted to the platform. I asked one of the producers for some details on what's been sliced and diced to make room for a UMD -- and for now, it's only on a UMD; sorry potential PSP Go owners -- and the elements are few. Unsurprisingly, the platform's visual horsepower isn't on par with a PS3 game -- the image above is in place until Namco-Bandai sends out new PSP-specific screens. Tekken 6's unique quirks like the rage system and wall/floor breaks had to be adapted to the PSP. As a result, there will be platform-exclusive stages that are designed to give you all of the impact of the other games, but within the confines of the hardware's abilities.
Although the dev team wasn't ready to reveal much during the demo (they're waiting to unveil PSP-specific modes after TGS), I discovered a few choice nuggets. Tekken 6 won't support online multiplayer (fear of lag and performance were cited as issues), but it'll have some online interactivity. The game will support ghost data, which enables you to either upload your best playthrough or put up your worst techniques for all to see. Unless the translation was slightly off, it seems that you can download ghost characters of either yourself or friends and use the data to learn styles and techniques.
What I Want to See: How it plays. Namco-Bandai hasn't set a firm date yet, but I don't believe the handheld version is trailing too far behind the other renditions of Tekken 6 regarding release. I was hoping for some hands-on time during today's presentation, but unfortunately, I couldn't play it myself. It's gorgeous-looking, from its cut-scenes to the in-game fighting, and I expect a level of quality that's more like Tekken: Dark Resurrection than Tekken Advance. Keep an eye out for this one.