During a stage event at PAX East SNK showcased hosted a talk about the Samurai Shodown franchise
First of all, we got the announcement of the Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection including all six Samurai Shodown games from the first to 5 Special. It will be released in the fall of 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Then we moved on to talk about the brand new mainline Samurai Shodown game.
The developers talked about the concept of the game, based on carrying off the legacy of the original, evolving the presentation thanks to the use of Unreal Engine 4, and using deep learning to create a revolutionary AI system that can learn from the player.
We get to see the thirteen characters that have been announced so far, and the various sources of inspiration for the artwork.
Initially, the team thought about possibly using a realistic art style, but then they decided against it because there are many fighting games like that already. Since the series has been absent for a while, that would have caused it to be drowned by the competition. That’s when developers decided to go all-in with the Japanese style.
Below you can see some early concepts and renders the team experimented with. Despite the blood effects, the team didn’t go for a gory look, but they wanted to convey the tension of fighting. Blood splatters only indicate damage received, but by damaging others you don’t get hit by their blood.
Cloth simulation and physics have been used to achieve a slightly cartoony and not too realistic look. The effects use a lot of black color unlike most games, this gives a feeling similar to the ink of sumi-e art.
The slides below show the basics and some of the more advanced aspects of Samurai Shodown’s combat, including the rage gauge, the sword clash, the weapon flipping technique to disarm your opponent, super special moves, and the Lightning Blade that can be used during a rage explosion.
We also take a first glimpse at the story. Every character has a specific beginning and an end, and interactions with other characters.
Below you can see a slide about the “Dojo” mode. The AI will learn from the player (only when playing offline) and create ghost characters that can be uploaded and shared with the rest of the world. The Ironman Challenge lets you take on ghosts and see if you can defeat up to 100 of them.
Finally, we get to see a brand new character, Darli Dagger, the “most badass sailor and shipwright to ever sail the seven seas.” She wields a giant saw. Two more completely new characters will be revealed before release.
Speaking of characters, Producer Yasuyuki Oda mentioned that guest fighters are a possibility. SNK hopes to hear proposals for other companies, and he jokingly concluded with “we’re waiting for you Harada San!” Interestingly, one of the members of SNK’s business team is working on the possibility to add guest characters right now.
We also hear that an official world tour tournament for the game are being planned and “it’s happening,” but the official announcement cannot be made just yet.
SNK recently revealed that Samurai Shodown will be released on PS4 and Xbox One in June, followed by Switch in Q4 2019. A PC version will come at a later, not yet announced, date.