Home Tekken director remains intrigued by Waffle House as a fight stage

Tekken director remains intrigued by Waffle House as a fight stage


  • Tekken 8’s director is still mulling adding a Waffle House, or similar diner, as a venue for the fighting game.
  • Katsuhiro Harada says he can’t understand why the U.S. diner chain would be a scene of such violence.
  • ”I need to learn more about American society,” the longtime Bandai Namco developer said.

Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada is no stranger to zany, ironic humor in an over-the-top fighting game. The director gave us Street Fighter X Tekken and Pokkén Tournament, after all. Yet still he cannot fathom why American fans would want a Waffle House stage in Tekken 8 — but the fact he’s continuing to ask these questions on social media implies he’s at least considering the request.

To recap, earlier this spring Tekken fans swarmed social media to beg Harada and Bandai Namco to introduce a Waffle House stage in the game, which launched Jan. 26 on PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X.

The request references a kind of Internet meme/video whereby some patron — “tired and emotional” as the British say — gets rowdy inside the 24-hour breakfast joint, a staple of U.S. Interstate culture, and they catch the hands from its overworked, pissed-off, underpaid staff. To wit:

“I need to learn more about American society,.” Harada said. Waffle House was founded in 1955, about 120 years after Alexis de Tocqueville toured and documented the nascent American republic.

To answer Harada’s question, I frequently dine at Waffle House and I’ve never seen someone get out of hand and then scattered, smothered, and covered like a side of hashbrowns. These fights are largely one-off phenomena that get repeatedly played on social media and WorldStarHipHop.com. The vast majority of Waffle House patrons are a peaceable, hungry, and sleep-deprived people: truckers, postal service letter carriers, and college students.

Unless they’re on Saturday Night Live:

Why Waffle House is a perfect setting for a fighting game

But if someone decides it’s time to play the Feud, Waffle House employees do not mess around. This is a restaurant that the Federal Emergency Management Agency literally relies on as a marker for how bad a disaster is when a hurricane or other extreme weather event blows through. If the Waffle House ain’t open, son, it is officially BAD. They fight to save their restaurant, in other words.

That’s why Tekken 8 needs to include a Waffle House, or at least something that looks like it, in the game. I get that there would be licensing, lawyers, and a big discussion with the chain’s corporate leadership, brand managers, and PR staff to literally put that restaurant in the game.

But nothing prevents Harada and Bandai Namco from at least setting up a generic-looking diner, with cooks behind the counter rolling up their sleeves and tossing dishes at King, Heihachi, Kazumi et al. Make it happen, Harada!

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

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