How to play the Tekken series games in chronological order

The recent announcement of Tekken 8 at Sony’s State of Play presentation has fans of the fighting game franchise eager to get back in the ring with favorites like Heihachi and Jin. Bandai Namco’s last entry in the series hit home platforms 7 years ago, making it prime time for the next King of Iron Fist tournament to make its way onto players’ fightsticks and controllers.

With seven main entries and a multitude of spinoff titles, it can be a bit difficult to keep track of each Tekken title and where to find them all. Here’s a quick crash course.

Image via Bandai Namco

Players who want to follow the saga of the Mishima and Kazama family don’t need to worry too much about the narrative order. The series’ timeline begins with the original Tekken and continues through the seven main games in release order. Barring the occasional flashback, each game follows the next in chronological order:

  • Tekken (1995)
  • Tekken 2 (1996)
  • Tekken 3 (1998)
  • Tekken 4 (2002)
  • Tekken 5 (2005)
  • Tekken 6 (2009)
  • Tekken 7 (2015)

Gamers who just want to follow the canon entries in the franchise can ignore spinoff titles like the Tekken Tag Tournament games for story reasons, although both Tag Tournament entries are some of the best in the series at a gameplay level.

Each game follows a different era in the never-ending conflict between the Mishimas, along with the King of Iron Fist fighting competition centered around the drama. The first two games focus squarely on the original protagonist, Kazuya Mishima, and his bitter rivalry with his father, Heihachi Mishima, while later entries feature Jin Kazama, Kazuya’s son. As the franchise progresses, other members of the family tree such as Asuka, Jinpachi, and Lars come into play, but most of the narrative follows the Core Three as they struggle for control of the Mishima Zaibatsu and deal punches to one another.

It’s currently not possible to play every Tekken game on modern platforms like PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, although they are becoming easier to find with each release that gets closer to the present. Tekken 1, 3, Tag Tournament, 4 and 5 are currently only officially playable via the home versions of each game on PS One and PS2, along with ports of the arcade versions of the first three games included in the PS2 version of Tekken 5.

The most notable exception to this, however, is Tekken 2. The second entry in the series is included as an on-demand game in the PlayStation Plus Premium tier library, making it playable on PS4 and PS5 with up-rendering for modern TVs.

Tekken 6 and Tag Tournament 2, the series’ PS3 and Xbox 360 era releases, are playable on Xbox One and Series X/S via the Xbox Backwards Compatibility Program. Tekken 7, originally released on PS4 and Xbox One, works on both PS5 and Xbox series consoles. Fans looking for the easiest jumping point for the series will want to check out these three games, 7 in particular, because they represent the series with the latest technology and some of the best gameplay offered in Tekken games to date. How to play the Tekken series games in chronological order

Curtis Crabtree

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