Tekken 7 has a substantial cheating problem, and it’s been a major blemish on an otherwise excellent fighter ever since it was released back in 2015. With the tease of a new Tekken project shown off during Evo, and the transition from this fan-favourite 3D brawler to something fresh in the foreseeable future, there’s a substantial worry that Tekken 7 will be left in the lurch forever.
To find out as much about the cheating situation in Tekken 7, we reached out to professional players, content creators, and ordinary Tekken enthusiasts to learn their experiences with the online experience, what forms of cheating are present, and how they hope future instalments of Tekken will battle these issues.
To start, it’s important to break down what ‘cheating’ actually means in the context of Tekken 7. When most people think of cheats in modern multiplayer titles, they think of exterior programs that provide a distinct advantage over other players with the most infamous examples being aimbots and wall hacks in FPS titles.
Similar software does exist in Tekken 7, allowing players to adjust settings that force your character to automatically block certain attacks, always break out of throws that would usually require hasty reaction times or some guesswork, or even automatically parry low attacks which in turn allow the cheater to follow up with a devastating combo for free.
“As a competitor, I usually see some tendencies in the players I face. But if I see some unusual habit, I can’t see if it’s a human-based reaction or software-based.” says Sephi Black over a Discord call. As the best German Tekken player in the world, and easily one of the best in Europe, they expressed their frustrations with the online experience, and the uncertainty that’s ever present whenever fighting skilled players online.
Like aimbots, cheat software used in Tekken 7 can be adjusted to be less obvious, allowing you to select how often you block, parry, etc. As such, Sephi expressed they sometimes “can’t feel confident” that their online games were legitimate, placing a downer sense of paranoia into what should be tense, enjoyable matches.
This affects your average player too, not just pros and influencers. TheLongShanks, a Tekken player I reached out to on Discord in order to gauge the average-enthusiast’s experience, expressed the difficulty of finding cheaters. “It’s perfectly possible that someone is an execution monster but has no game sense. It’s highly unlikely but I just can’t know for sure.”
To Bandai Namco’s credit, some more egregious cheaters and rank boosters have been dealt with in the past (thanks GameSpot), even if auto blocks and parries remain present. K-Wiss, a British Tekken content creator and streamer, expressed the depths of how bad it got back at the start of the game’s Season 4.
“I remember a big issue for a while was this training tool, where if they hit you once, they’ve won the match. On your screen you desync, and on their screen they’ve won. I’ve not ran into the training tool for a very long time, so I assume it’s not a problem anymore.” In addition, K-Wiss remembers a time where they’d run into a cheater “every single day” – be it someone using aforementioned cheat software or save scumming, a whole other point of frustration altogether.
For example, players who, within a certain time frame, had many matches against the same opponent, finishing the match in an extremely short amount of time each time. Over 400 players were banned for infractions, and players found cheating will be banned moving forward.
— Michael Murray (@mykeryu) August 4, 2021
In Tekken 7, your online rank progress is stored locally on your system. This means players can pull their save with their peak rank into a folder on the side, and simply swap it out with their current lower rank post-loss streak no problem. This isn’t cheating in the same way as installing dodgy software is, but has also remained ever present since release. According to TheLongShanks, this has become “ almost accepted at this point” and posts on the Steam forums indicate this perspective is shared among a decent number of the player base.
As for online tournaments, these – at least – seem to have remained largely unaffected by cheating. However, there have been a few moments in which cheating allegations have been raised during ICFC (the largest online Tekken circuit right now). K-Wiss shared one anecdote where a player qualified to top eight through off-stream matches, beating some of the region’s best players, before ducking out and DQing from the tournament. While he describes this as “very suspicious”, he also believes it characterised the problem perfectly: “He hasn’t made it to top eight since then, but that’s the problem with cheating in Tekken. You can only speculate about it until you see the inputs, otherwise it’s just a guess.”
We reached out to Tenno Media, the organisers behind ICFC, to learn their thoughts on the problem and what they can even do about it, but they refused to comment. However, Sephi Black shares the sensible belief that it shouldn’t be their problem to solve in the first place. “From the tournament organisers themselves it’s impossible to recognise it, to see if someone’s a cheater or not. It’s the responsibility of the game developers to create an anti-cheat engine or something like that to punish people using this kind of stuff.”
As it stands right now, the presence of cheating alongside other issues has online Tekken being taken “less seriously” according to TheLongShanks, who can’t go to traditionally important local in-person events like “working adults who aren’t driving to locals because of lack of time or other priorities”. As for hope that Tekken 7 will finally get that squeaky clean online experience people want, it’s not looking too good either.
“I’ve pretty much given up on hoping that Tekken 7 will get a good anti-cheat or whatever,” states K-Wiss, dejectedly. “It’s been years now, and there have been attempts where patches have come out announcing improvements… In the next game, if they don’t put some effort into tackling cheaters, fixing save scumming so you can’t have saves be held locally anymore, there’s going to be a serious problem.”
We reached out to Bandai Namco to comment on the ongoing cheating save-file rank boosting and cheating in Tekken 7, and they refused to comment.
This isn’t a problem unique to Tekken by any means, just see the on-going battle between Warzone’s Ricochet anti-cheat and cheaters, but it’s one that must be addressed for future titles. Tekken 7, as brilliant as it is, is flawed due to these issues – and as much as the good folk at Bandai Namco are surely aware of the problems, clear action must be taken to ease the worries of players who may be expecting a similar situation in upcoming titles.
If Tekken 8 wants to live up to Tekken 7’s legacy and equal its 9 million-plus sales, Bandai Namco needs to do knock this problem out – sooner, rather than later.