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Katsuhiro Harada (原田 勝弘 Harada Katsuhiro?, born June 10, 1970) is a producer with Bandai Namco. He is best known for his work on the Tekken fighting games series of which he is the director and chief producer of. He was also a member of Project Soul (the team behind Namco's Soul Calibur franchise).

History

Early Life

Harada was born in Osaka, Japan and grew up in Nara Prefecture, the youngest of three children. He has two older sisters and his parents were civil servants. His parents saw him as the hope of the family and to act as a role model, he was not allowed to play video games. It was, however, something that interested him. He often went to play his favorite video games in arcades.

He attended Waseda University in the late 1980s, along with Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki.[1] He holds a degree in psychology.[2]

During this time, he spent most of his time playing video games and was convinced that his future lied there. He finds work in an arcade owned by Namco, located in Shinjuku in Tokyo. He mainly organized Street Fighter II tournaments. Through his studies in psychology, Harada studied the behavior of players in the arcade. He then made changes to the premises in order to observe the reactions of the people. He spoke with them and collected feedback. Namco's president at the time, commended Harada's work. Harada then encouraged Namco to work on producing video games for home consoles, having acquired some knowledge in that field. He later moved to Tokyo after completing his university studies there and eventually became a game designer.[3]

Career

Harada started as the advisory consultant of the first Tekken. For Harada, the fighting game needed to reach not only Japanese arcade players but also the general public, so that everyone could play it. Harada wanted Namco to make Tekken an console game for everyone. Although now, Harada somewhat regrets it because the game was not balanced enough (some characters were more powerful than others).

In 1995, a year after the release of the first Tekken, Tekken 2 was released on the arcade. Harada still works as a consulting advisor. He appears present in the credits of the game.

Tekken 3 was released on the arcade in 1997. Harada worked as a co-director this time with Masahiro Kimoto. He was involved with three other people in creating the console game mode Tekken Ball.

Harada was already working on Tekken 4 but Namco wanted to release a Tekken game for the arrival of the PlayStation 2. That's when he came up with the idea of a Tag game, which became Tekken Tag Tournament. Tekken Bowl was also thought of by Harada for the console version.

Tekken 5 was released in 2005 on console. Upon revealing his job to his parents, they were "devastated and burst into tears."[4] He tried to persuade to them of the merits of his professional orientation but with no result.

By Tekken 6, he is seen as the face of Tekken. He answers questions on social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. With Tekken 6 comes Michael Murray as the game designer. He accompanies Harada and serving as his translator during various events.

In 2008, Harada was a co-director on the SoulCalibur IV game. This is the only game in the series where he has such a role. He was only advisor on the other projects.

In 2015, he was promoted to general manager at Namco. He helps on new licenses such as Lost Reavers and Summer Lesson. The Pokémon Company offers Harada to do a mix with Pokémon and the Tekken style for Kazuya Mishima. Harada was unfamiliar with the Pokémon universe but devoted himself to the game Pokkén Tournament by helping the development team.

In December 2018, Harada was named director and supervisor of esports strategy.[5]

In May 2019, Harada became general producer and therefore the leader of all Bandai Namco's major franchise such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Time Crisis, Digimon, Ace Combat, Dark Souls, Tales of and SoulCalibur. Michael Murray then becomes the producer of the Tekken series. Harada continues as Bandai Namco's esports strategy supervisor.

In March, 2021, Harada made a variety show known as Harada's Bar that has him speak with personalities, developers, players and other important people.

Trivia

  • Harada voiced Marshall Law, Forest Law and Yoshimitsu in all releases prior to Tekken 4 until Tekken 5 and its updates where he reuses Forest's grunts for Marshall's appearance in the game. He also voices Kunimitsu in the very first Tekken.
  • His favorite Tekken character is Heihachi Mishima but sometimes he'll answer Ganryu because he is the least popular character in the series.
  • Harada appeared in Soul Calibur V as a playable character, his fighting style is Mishima Style Fighting Karate (Devil Jin's version) and his special outfit is Heihachi's Tiger Gi.
  • In Tekken 7, Harada's appearance, shades, and coat are used as the base for the "Bearded Man" customizations.
  • Harada makes a cameo appearance in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 during a loading screen in the Fight Lab mode where he can be seen sitting by the pool being sketched by Violet whilst Combot sits at his feet like a dog.
  • His BGM is called "Antares" which is also used in the Tekken 5 stage Cathedral.
  • He has studied Judo, Karate and a little bit of Taekwondo in the past.[6]
  • During his university studies, he took a few Chinese language courses. Although, he found it very difficult.[7]
  • He is known to have a great sense of humor.
  • Among his fans and colleagues, he is well known to enjoy tequila.
  • On June 4, 2013, he was reported missing for a week by the Tekken Project team via his Twitter account.[8]
  • Dead or Alive's creator Tomonobu Itagaki was known for trash talking the Tekken series, naming the first five games as his most hated as well as criticizing Death by Degrees.[9] This is mainly due to his grudge against the company for its insulting radio commercial on the first Dead or Alive game.[10] However when Itagaki left Team Ninja, Harada said he missed the trash talk from the fellow competitor.[11]
    • Despite what some fans believe, the two are on good terms and are actually friends.[12]
  • He is good friends with former Street Fighter Director, Yoshinori Ono.
  • In Project X Zone 2, Harada is also mentioned by Segata Sanshiro when he thanked the Tekken Team from their success in their main games during his encounter with both Jin and Kazuya as Kazuya is totally confused about both of his role for being a game director and chief producer of their game, while Jin appears to remember his name elsewhere, but cannot remember when he met him.
  • After the release of Tekken 7, Harada is mostly seen within the release of the DLC trailers of the game such as Ultimate Tekken Bowl, and the guest appearances of both SNK's Geese Howard and Negan from AMC's The Walking Dead.
  • Harada owns a Shiba Inu named "Heihachi-kun".[13]

Gallery

Art

In-Game

External Links

References

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