Tekken 8's Kuma gets a new trailer, and no one questions why they have to fight a bear

Bandai Namco Games
(Image credit: Bandai Namco Games)

As one of the longest-running gaming storylines ever, the Tekken series has seen a whole assortment of oddball events and fierce fighters surrounding the over-the-top King of the Iron Fight tournament. While Tekken has had space ninjas, large robots, and demons join its roster, no other character -- in my view -- is weirder than Kuma, the fighting bear.

And the latest character trailer that Bandai Namco just dropped proves how much of an oddball character Kuma is and that he's somehow even more of a dorky character in Tekken 8. And I personally wouldn't have it any other way.

The latest trailer for Kuma showcases his weird yet still fierce fighting style. Along with his familiar grabs and swipes, Kuma also brings a large salmon he uses to pummel his foes with. However, this salmon is not an ordinary fish because if Kuma enters his Rage mode, it will turn into a full-on missile and launch itself at his opponent. Along with Kuma, we also see the appearance of Panda -- Kuma's counterpart in the roster and his love interest in the Tekken storyline.

It's a trailer that plays into the ridiculous of the character, who has a long history of being something of a running gag throughout the series. Starting as a joke character in the original Tekken -- unlocked by beating the arcade mode with Paul Pheonix -- Kuma is a large bear trained in a specialized martial arts style by the series' big villain, Heihachi Mishima. Kuma would become one of his most prized animal fighters, and after the end of Tekken 1, the fighting bear would chart his path in the world.

With every entry, Kuma gains a bit more personality -- and clothing in some cases. He's not a full-fledged character with a critical part in the plot, and the Tekken series developers seem totally OK with that. One of the great things about Tekken is that even the oddest fighters on the roster can still stand toe-to-toe against the game's fiercest characters and stand out in the hearts of fans. Given that Kuma is still battling other fighters who don't question why a fighting bear wants to win a global fighting tournament, Kuma will likely remain a key fixture in the Tekken series for a bit longer

I recently got a preview of a few hours of Tekken 8, which focused on the two parallel single-player modes. Along with the story campaign, which plays similarly to Mortal Kombat 1, there's the new Arcade Quest, which is a fun tribute to fighting games and the friends we make within the community. 

Set for release on January 26, Tekken 8 is shaping up to be a great package that celebrates the weirdest and fierce action that the series is known for. And given the success of Tekken 7, the developers also plan to keep support for the game going post-launch.

If you're looking for fighting games to check out ahead of Tekken 8's launch, then check out our list of the 25 best fighting games you can play right now.

Alessandro Fillari

Alessandro is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area who has covered the games, tech, and entertainment industries for more than 13 years. Having previously worked at GameSpot, CNET, and various other outlets writing features and coordinating event coverage, Alessandro enjoys playing games on PC, but also gives plenty of time to his Nintendo Switch. You can find him on various socials at @afillari.