One of Tekken's more unusual characters, Roger the boxing kangaroo, is notably absent from the latest instalment of the game. Tekken’s executive producer Katsuhiro Harada put the move down to a viral video and animal activists.
"There was a video of a man’s dog being headlocked by a kangaroo, and he punched it in the face," Harada told VG247. "It turned into a big problem. People were complaining about him punching a kangaroo. It seems that in the last few years there’s a lot more animal activists – even though they probably wouldn’t play our game they would still hear about that, about a kangaroo in our game being punched, and would complain about it."
We reached out to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for their take on the on the decision.
"PETA trusts in players' ability to understand that the kangaroo in Tekken 7 wasn't real, so no animal was in danger—but the outcry over even virtual violence toward a kangaroo shows that today's public is opposed to cruelty to animals," says PETA Vice President of Marketing Joel Bartlett. "When real-life kangaroos and bears are still being dragged from town to town and bullied into performing circus tricks, video games can help move us toward a kinder future by celebrating animals instead of depicting harm to them. Just as Jun Kazama and the WWWC [Tekken's in-game wildlife protection organization] fight for animals in the world of Tekken, we ask that people join PETA in standing up for animals in the real world."
There are actually three boxing kangaroos called Roger that have appeared in the Tekken series. In Tekken 2 Roger appeared as an unlockable character, a genetically engineered creature who was ultimately rescued by Jun Kazama, a member of the WWWC. In Tekken 5 Roger's son and nameless mate appear.
Other animals that have appeared in the series include Kuma the bear, Alex the genetically modified lizard, Panda and dinosaur Gon. Kuma has been confirmed for Tekken 7, with Harada explaining he was "obviously stronger than a human being."