Tekken Project Game Director and Chief Producer, Katsuhiro Harada, posted a piece of concept art for Hamad, a new Arab character that may appear in Tekken 7 today on the Tekken Facebook page. The Tekken team is asking for feedback on the new fighter, especially from Tekken fans of Arab descent.

While the concept art shows a decidedly cool looking new fighter, it’s not a sure thing that Hamad will even make it into the final game. The team states that the new fighter will need a push from the Tekken community, and that if the Middle Eastern contingent of the community does not like Hamad, he will not be included. The team is hoping, however, for constructive criticism on what they call “a cool Arab fighter,” but only in his appearance; his move set is still entirely undecided.

The combination of a white top and a headpiece that hides the fighter’s eyes makes Hamad, at first glance, look a bit like a new Assassin’s Creed protagonist, but his shoes and pants, as well as the pattern on his headwear are authentically Arabian, giving him a unique and interesting look that would fit perfectly in the Tekken universe. Based on the comments on the Facebook post, the team did a pretty good job of representing Arab and Gulf culture in a fighting character, though many feel the armor on his shoulder should be in the shape of a falcon, an animal traditionally associated with the region and its people, instead of a dragon.

While fighting games have always had an international flair, many early examples of ethnic characters are cartoonish and somewhat racist (think Dhalsim, Zangief... pretty much everyone who isn’t American or Japanese in Street Fighter.) It’s nice to see that Bandai Namco is not only trying to include an Arabian fighter, a traditionally under-represented ethnic group in fighting games, but also making sure the character’s aesthetic is respectful to and well-received by the fans he is meant to represent.

Bandai Namco

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