Switch fans have had to wait a little longer than their PS4 and Xbox One-owning pals when it comes to SNK's Samurai Shodown reboot, but the important thing is that the game has made it to Nintendo's hybrid console intact – and it's really quite an achievement.
We were fortunate enough to get the chance to speak with the game's director Nobuyuki Kuroki prior to its release. Kuroki began his career with SNK as an artist working on the Fatal Fury series, and would also contribute to games such as Real Bout Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting 3, Samurai Shodown 64 and the legendary Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
When SNK went bankrupt, Kuroki would team up with fellow SNK alumni Takashi Nishiyama at Dimps, where he worked on several Sonic titles, including Sonic Rush and Sonic Unleashed. He returned to SNK in 2014 and worked on SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy and The King of Fighters XIV before assuming the role of Game Director on the Samurai Shodown reboot.
Nintendo Life: Before we speak more specifically about the Switch version of Samurai Shodown, are you pleased with how the game has been received on other platforms?
For sure we are very pleased. As a unique game, we’ve heard a lot of opinions from our fans, and it seems that they are quite satisfied with it.
Kuroki-san, your history with the series goes all the way back to Samurai Shodown 64. How valuable has that experience been when it comes to creating a new entry?
The Samurai Shodown team at that time all cherished our characters. They prepared tons of detailed profiles and illustrations for each one. Above all, their passion and love towards this game were astonishing. As a young and new guy back in the day, I was impressed by how amazing they were. 20 years have passed, and I’m still surprised by the fact that I myself am working on this title. The stories and experiences I learnt from the team definitely helped us when creating this new Samurai Shodown. In particular, the experience of colour design that is usually not heard of in other game designs was helpful in the development.
What was it like stepping into the role of game director for this entry?
As I mentioned above, I have been working with the staff who first made Samurai Shodown. Can this game developed in 2019 surpass the old one created by the staff at that time? Can we develop something that will satisfy those fans who have been playing this game for over 20 years? These questions really put pressure on me. But there is no answer during the development, and we won’t know if any decision is wrong. Therefore, when we found out that our fans are satisfied after the release, and when we were praised by those who first made the title, we were absolutely elated. I felt a great sense of relief when our work had been accepted.
You've used Unreal Engine to create Samurai Shodown. What benefits do you get from using a middleware engine as opposed to creating your own in-house engine and tools?
In particular, it helps us a lot when designing the graphics. We couldn’t make the illustrations we wanted when developing KOF14, but with Unreal Engine, we can now reach the goal. Of course, it was not easy. Unreal Engine is good at realistic expressions, while Samurai Shodown is more like manga, so it was hard for the team to make it less realistic. For programmers, it seems difficult, but for our artists, the engine is easy to use.
How challenging was it to port the game to Switch? What concessions have been made?
The most challenging point was developing the Switch version to run at 60FPS and to make the graphics not inferior to other platforms. I think game developers will understand how difficult it is to increase the frame rate without changing the style of the graphics. Our goal is to optimize the graphics for the Switch without being noticed by our fans. If fans cannot tell the difference, that means Safari Games who worked on the porting process did a great job.
Your colleague, Yasuyuki Oda, has previously mentioned that he is open to the idea of 'guest' fighters appearing in the game. Are there any plans for this?
Sorry that we cannot disclose anything yet at this moment.
Sticking with that topic, Terry Bogard has recently made his Super Smash Bros. debut. Could we see any characters from Samurai Shodown appear in that game, too?
Sakurai-san would be the best person to ask.
What direction will the Samurai Shodown series take now? Will we see a full-blown sequel, or is the plan to perhaps focus on reviving other SNK properties, such as Art of Fighting, for example?
We cannot disclose anything concerning the future plans for Samurai Shodown at this moment. What I can say is that the development team is working on King of Fighters 15 as well as DLC characters for Samurai Shodown. Please look forward to our upcoming 2nd season of Samurai Shodown and KOF15. Personally, I wish that we can revive Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
Finally, do you have a message for Switch-owning SNK fans out there who are looking forward to playing Samurai Shodown?
When I saw how Samurai Shodown looked on the Switch, I couldn’t help but cry out in surprise. The amazing graphics moving on the Switch’s screen really touched me. Players can now enjoy the game on a smaller screen with the same excitement as on other platforms. This is something I think everyone will enjoy. We really want players to experience that feeling of exhilaration and tension only Samurai Shodown can provide. Please pick it up and give it a try!
We'd like to thank Kuroki-san for his time. Samurai Shodown launches on Switch on February 25th.
I would have liked a review in time (there's still time, you know, but it's February 21st already). Anyway, I hope this game will become cheaper down the line, and that it will get a fighters pass or something whenever they stop being released.
I know they don't make ultimate editions with Switch games (Mario + Rabbids was an exception), but on disc-based systems, especially with fighting games, there are complete editions sooner or later. In Switch's case it would be nice at least some pack (and for it to be on sale at some point, but I guess it's too much asking).
And please someone confirm the release date of Samurai Shodown Neogeo Collection by Digital Eclipse. That I'll be getting for sure.
Garou is a classic so another entry would be brilliant.
Looking forward to this! Looks great and will be on my switch for sure
The game looks awesome. But it seems a bit shallow compared to a game like Mortal Kombat 11 on the Switch. For a single player it seems like there is not enough to do in this game.
Can’t wait for my unlock! Holding off playing this until the Switch version came out has been painful. Could only play in my Fighting game group and watch on youtube. Soon. Sooooon.
Can't wait to finally play it. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. I was hoping my friend would get it on PS4 but he's waiting for the PC version.
Isn't this game 720p docked? I'd cry too.
I've got this on preorder and if there were a Garou reboot, I would dive straight into the deep end.
I’m totally getting this. Was tempted by Fantasy Strike when it looked like this wasn’t coming to Switch. So glad I waited. Will absolutely be picking this up soon.
Lovely! I really want to see this running on Switch. What an excellent device.
I think he's on the right track with a Garou/Fatal Fury revival, they should never have cancelled Garou 2 to begin with at the time and right now it's the next logical step after Samurai Shodown and KOF XV.
Man, I'd kill for a new Fatal Fury/MOTW sequel. Love that series so much. Own six of the series (FFS, FF3, RBFF, RBFFS, RBFF2 & Garou) on Switch. Kinda tempted to buy the first two games just to complete the set.
I would pay ALL of the money for a Garou game.
Last blade 3 please!
Biggest news is that the guy wants to revive Garou!
The screenshots here (pulled from the eshop) make this port look like garbage visually. I HOPE that isn't the case. Interested in this, but not full price for what I'm seeing there.
@sixrings Yeah it looks really bad from the eshop screenshots. Sometimes they aren't totally accurate. I mean it literally looks like a garbage effort was made here IF and only IF those screenshots are accurate.
@khululy Yes, this please. The Last Blades are the two best games SNK ever made imo.
@Dang69 I would have bought it at 1080p.
Just four more days and I can play it. Has been preloaded since the day it went on the eshop. From what I've seen, and heard from those with the Japan version, this game performs pretty good. Load times are traumatic, but it runs well.
I am looking forward to this, then eventually KOF15. The Switch fighting game library is starting to pile up and this is a great thing.
Well the Switch is no Neo Geo Pocket Color, but it’ll do
Y'all forgot to ask him when that Samurai Shodown HD Collection will be out. We still heard nothing about the collection since the day they announced it.
Definitely interested in this game now. Saw some footage of the Switch version, looks great.
Is Samurai Shodown for Switch getting a physical release ?
I would like a new Last Blade game to be honest.
I've got the PS4 version, and honestly I was kind of let down. Now the fighting action is absolutely top notch. But the roster of fighters is really small and there not much single player, offline content to keep you coming back. Now if you're happy just fighting other players online, you might be fine with that, but I wanted more to do on my own. Of course this never got ported to the Switch, but I still think King of Fighters XIV is still the best fighter of this generation.
@Supadav03 - Fantasy Strike is not like other fighters, it's... More of a middle ground. If you're seasoned you may not find FS to the same snuff as traditional fighters.
How many characters are there?
@The-Chosen-one Base game has 16. There are 5 in the season 1 DLC and 4 in season 2. I adore this game. It's my favorite fighting game this generation.
@judaspete Most of the team behind The Last Blade games went on to do the Guilty Gear games.
I bought this off of the Japanese eShop and play it almost daily. The gameplay is superb and the online is good, better than Dragon Ball Fighterz but not as good as BlazBlue Cross Tag.Of the hundreds of game I've played online, I've only had a handful of unplayable games. I'm getting a physical copy of the U.S. release and cannot wait for more players to play online.
Dear lovely people, welcome to the brand new start of a classic series to be : the almighty <red color for style> INTERVIEW ART BRAWL</red color for style> !
For this first issue, we consider Ivan Pabiarzhyn, proudly sporting a casual zipped sweat jacket (it actually costs a fortune and was very popular in Ibiza and Courchevel in 2014/2015), with a smiling and gentle attitude, yet displaying an eastern knee cap drilling vibe drenched in vodka (drink responsibly).
And on the opposite corner stands Nobuyuki Kuroki, acting as tough as he can (the NintendoLife brief to both contenders obviously was : wear black, cross your arms and strike a pose in front of a light backdrop), timidly displaying his background love for female behinds, and always keeping his wine unopened (drink responsibly, again and always).
So, dear readers, what will it be for you this first time around? The soothing charms of cherry trees or the savage call of the tundra?
Please let me know in the comments below.
I wonder if those that buy the Switch version early will get the season pass for free like the PS4/XBox owners did?!
More Neo reboots the better, how about rebooting the likes of Last resort, Alpha mission, Blazing Star, Pulstar. Reboots or sequels please.
I’ll get it eventually
Tnx for your reply, i will def get this one soon.
Anyone else get their copy and not receive their pre-order game? £45 and feeling rather p**sed off. Should have cancelled it and gone with the copies on sale on eBay for £30!
Importing the collector edition from Europe that comes with a physical copy of the NeoGeo Pocket version of Samurai Showdown 2.
A nice addition for handheld gaming.
@nilcam Guilty gear is a damn fine series I wouldn't mind if they'd tackle Last blade 3
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