Tekken storyline recap, from Tekken 1 to Tekken 8

Tekken storyline recap, from Tekken 1 to Tekken 8
Images via Bandai Namco

Written by 

Dave McAdam

Last updated 

30th Jan 2024 14:44

Fighting games are known for convoluted stories, and the Tekken story so far is a big part of why. Tekken 8 brings the fight between Jin and Kazuya to an epic finale, but there have been many trials and tribulations leading up to this point.

The storyline is so convoluted that even a recap by Brian Cox himself struggled to make sense of it all. So, we are here to break down the game's story from the first Tekken until now.

SPOILER WARNING: There is a summary of the plot of Tekken 8 at the end of this article, be sure to stop after Tekken 7 if you have not yet played the new game and don't want to be spoiled.

Before Tekken 1

Heihachi and Kazumi with an infant Kazuya
Click to enlarge

In the mid-20th Century, Heihachi Mishima, heir to the powerful and influential Mishima Zaibatsu, marries Kazumi and they have a son. Later he learns that Kazumi is an assassin sent by the Hachijo Clan, with the mission to assassinate Heihachi, as they believe his power will grow too large and he will become a tyrant and a danger to the world.

This is the work that the Hachijo Clan has carried out for centuries, using the power of their innate Devil Gene to gain the strength to defeat these potentially powerful people. However, Kazumi falls in love with Heihachi, and they have a child, Kazuya.

After five years, the clan exerts pressure on Kazumi, telling her that her husband and son both pose a serious threat to the safety of the world. She relents and attempts to murder Heihachi. However, Heihachi overpowers Kazumi and kills her in the fight.

After Kazumi's death, Heihachi raises the young Kazuya with a watchful, scornful eye. He learns about the Devil Gene and recognises it is present in Kazuya. While training his son, Heihachi throws him over a large cliff. The pretense is that Heihachi wants to help the boy grow stronger, but in truth, he knows that the Devil Gene is a threat to him, and wants the boy dead.

Tekken 1 story

Kazuya throwing Heihachi off a cliff in Tekken 1
Click to enlarge

Several years later, Heihachi held the first King of Iron Fist Tournament to test himself against the strongest warriors in the world. Kazuya, having survived the cliff fall, has trained for years and seizes the tournament as his moment for revenge.

The tournament is attended by martial artists from around the world, all vying for the massive monetary prize for winning the competition. Kazuya defeats everyone put before him and faces off against his father in the final match.

After defeating his father, Kazuya throws his unconscious body off a cliff. With Heihachi presumed dead, Kazuya takes over as the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu.

Tekken 2 story

Heihachi on a helicopter ladder after throwing Kazuya in a volcano
Click to enlarge

Two years after the tournament, Kazuya has taken full control of the Mishima Zaibatsu, and seeks further power. He announces a second King of Iron Fist Tournament to test himself, and like before he finds himself almost unmatched.

During the tournament, he meets a young woman named Jun Kazama. She catches Kazuya's attention through her lack of fear, and the two begin a relationship. However, it is cut short as Heihachi re-emerges to face Kazuya.

The two clash again, but this time the older Misihima is the victor. This time, Heihachi throws Kazuya into an active volcano, killing him. Unbeknownst to either man, Jun Kazama carries Kazuya's child. After the tournament and the death of her beloved, Jun returns to the island of Yakushima, her family's ancestral home.

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Tekken 3 story

Devil Jin awakening in Tekken 3
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Years after the second tournament, Heihachi learns of a legendary fighting god that lies dormant in South America. He attempts to revive it so he can defeat it and gain ultimate power. Instead, the entity known as Ogre travels to Yakushima. There it finds Jun Kazama and her young son, Jin.

Jun sacrifices herself to defeat the Ogre and instructs Jin to seek out Heihachi. He does so, and under his grandfather, he learns the Mishima fighting style. A few years later, Heihachi hosts a third tournament, with the secret goal of drawing out Ogre yet again.

Jin enters the tournament and defeats all other opponents until Ogre appears again. At the sight of his mother's killer, the Devil Gene awakens in Jin, and Devil Jin is born. He defeats Ogre, only for Heihachi to shoot Jin in the head.

However, in his new form, Jin shrugs off the bullet, attacks Heihachi, and then flees into the night.

Tekken 4 story

Kazuya reappearing at the start of Tekken 4
Click to enlarge

Two years on, Heihachi is searching the globe for Jin. In his search, Heihachi learns that a new company called the G-Corporation has found Kazuya's remains and they are attempting to revive him. Heihachi storms the building, only to discover that Kazuya is indeed still alive, and back to full strength.

To draw out his son, and hopefully his grandson in the process, Heihachi announces the next King of Iron Fist Tournament. Until now, the prize for winning was a colossal amount of money. For this tournament, the prize is the Mishima Zaibatsu itself.

Sure enough, both Kazuya and Jin enter the tournament, with Jin coming out on top. After Jin defeats his father, Heihachi again attempts to kill him. However, Jin promptly overpowers Heihachi with his Devil form and flees into the night.

Tekken 5 story

Heihachi pinned down by Jacks in Tekken 5
Click to enlarge

In the aftermath of the clash between Jin, Kazuya, and Heihachi, the father and grandfather remain in the Hon-Maru temple. Before they have time to think, they are attacked by a horde of Jacks.

The Mishima father and son fight the robots together until Kazuya turns on his father, allowing the Jacks to pin Heihachi down before self-destructing. With Heihachi presumed dead and Kazuya heading G-Corporation, the Mishima Zaibatsu is left without a leader.

Despite this, another King of Iron Fist Tournament is announced. Jin enters the tournament to learn who is behind it and discovers that person to be his great-grandfather, Jinpachi Mishima.

Jinpachi was succeeded by Heihachi 50 years previous when Jinpachi was taken over by some malicious entity. Rather than kill his father, Heihachi imprisoned him beneath Hon-Maru.

The destruction of the temple released Jinpachi, and with the last vestiges of his salient mind, he announces the tournament in the hopes that someone strong enough will enter and defeat him before he is taken over completely.

Jin defeats his great-grandfather, and in doing so becomes the new president of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Having lost control of himself to the Devil Gene several times now, Jin vows to find the root of the evil power and destroy it.

Tekken 6 story

Jin saluting the Tekken Force in Tekken 6
Click to enlarge

As the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jin declares the corporation an independent state and declares war on every other nation of the world. This move shocks the world and begins a global conflict. The near-endless resources of the Mishima Zaibatsu make it likely that Jin's quest for world domination will come true, only for two things.

The first is the opposition of the G-Corporation. Kazuya's company nearly rivals the Mishima Zaibatsu in size, and the two mega-corporations go to war. The second is a rebellion started by Lars, a commander in the Tekken Force. Nearly half of the Zaibatsu's army turned against Jin and sought an end to the war.

The rebels track Jin to a ruined temple in the Middle East, where they discover the truth. By starting a global conflict, Jin fed power to an ancient demon called Azazel. This demon was the source of the Devil Gene and much of the evil done in the world. Those who held the Devil Gene were Azazel's servants, however, Jin had an ulterior motive.

Azazel could only be destroyed by someone with the Devil Gene, so Jin ignited a global conflict to resurrect the demon, so he could destroy it himself. The demon was likely to return anyway, so in doing this he could prevent a greater conflict and give humanity hope for the future. Although unsure if his methods were truly right, Jin defeats Azazel and seemingly dies in the process.

Tekken 7 story

Kazuya and Heihachi fighting in a volcano in Tekken 7
Click to enlarge

In the wake of Jin's disappearance, Heihachi chooses this moment to reveal his survival to the world. He reclaims control over the Mishima Zaibatsu, and heats up the war against the G-Corporation. The conflicts escalate, and soon it becomes clear that one of these two companies will soon rule the world.

Sure enough, Heihachi announces a new King of Iron Fist Tournament, looking to settle the score with his son. Kazuya enters the tournament and the two battle in a volcano. Kazuya comes out on top yet again and throws his father's body into the lava.

With this act, Kazuya becomes the head of both corporations and the de facto ruler of the world, which does little to end the war. However, elsewhere Lars and the resistance are gearing up to strike back, and to that end, they are working to help Jin recover from his battle with the demon.

Tekken 8 story

Jin and Kazuya clash fists in Tekken 8
Click to enlarge

As soon as Jin recovers from his injuries, he sets off to fight his father. With the Mishima Zaibatsu under Kazuya's control, the world is his for the taking. Before Kazuya can fully establish his dominance, Jin tracks him down to New York and confronts him.

Here, Kazuya handily defeats Jin before declaring himself the new ruler of the world. To that end, he announces a new King of Iron Fist Tournament in which countries will compete for a place in his new world order. Jin enters the tournament in a weakened state, but through fighting with friends and rivals he learns a lot and recovers his inner strength.

The tournament turns out to be a ruse, as Kazuya uses it to draw out Zafina and enough fighting energy to force Azazel out of her captivity. Kazuya then handily defeats the progenitor of the Devil Gene and takes his power, becoming a full-powered Devil himself. Zafina sends Jin to Yakushima, while the others stay and hold Kazuya at bay.

In Yakushima, Jin confronts his own Devil side and defeats it to gain control of its power. All the while, the rebels, the UN, and many of the other fighters on their side do battle with Kazuya's forces to protect Jin. Kazuya arrives in his new all-powerful form but soon discovers that Jin has also grown more powerful.

Jin and Kazuya headbutt each other in Tekken 8
Click to enlarge

The two clash and Jin awakens an angelic power passed down by his mother, which he uses to fight Kazuya and eventually expel the Devil Gene from both of them. With their supernatural powers removed, Jin and Kazuya fight one last time for the fate of the world.

What happens next depends on which ending you get, but as we explain in our in-depth ending guide, the more likely cannon ending has Jin win the final fight. After he wins, we see Jin standing on a cliff, soaking in the peaceful moment before heading off to meet with Xiaoyu. Then, we see Kazuya unconscious, before he is approached by Jun.

 During the credits, we cut back to Reina, who survived the battle. She reveals that she is the daughter of Heihachi Mishima and that she intends to honour him, likely by taking down Kazuya and/or Jin. Then, she transforms into what appears to be her own Devil form.

That is it for the story of Tekken up until Tekken 8, where Jin and Kazuya will clash for the final time. For more, head to our Tekken homepage where we have guides on the Tekken 8 roster, PC system requirements, and the various editions you can buy.

Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.

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