Samurai Shodown has launched successfully on PS4 and Xbox one, while fans are still waiting for the Switch, PC, and Stadia releases.
To learn more about the reception of the game and SNK’s plans for it, Twinfinite interviewed Producer Yasuyuki Oda.
We also got a bonus comment about the return of a franchise beloved by many, Metal Slug.
Giuseppe: Could you comment on the reception for Samurai Showdown seen from your side?
Yasuyuki Oda: It’s the first time the series came back in a while. We were a little worried because it’s different from everything else that’s out there, but in the end, it helped set ourselves apart since it’s not a combo game like most other fighting titles.
Giuseppe: Personally, I think another element that set it apart is that you gave away the season pass for free to early adopters. How much of a discussion was that internally?
Yasuyuki Oda: It was actually only America and Europe that got the free season pass, while Japanese users did not.
It was mostly just an idea from the marketing guys. It seems to be the thing that people want nowadays. They appreciate that extra bonus.
Giuseppe: Now that you have a second season pass coming, are you prepared to go beyond that if the game continues to perform strongly?
Yasuyuki Oda: It’s a bit early to talk about season 3. We’re probably going to see how season 2 is received and go from there.
Giuseppe: But it’s possible, correct?
Yasuyuki Oda: Yes.
Giuseppe: Let’s switch gears completely. When I interviewed you last year, we talked about Metal Slug and the possibility to bring it back. You told me you were undecided about whether modern gamers would accept the one-hit-death mechanic. How is that discussion go? Are you still discussing it? Are you actually working on a new Metal Slug now?
Yasuyuki Oda: Nothing is decided at the moment, nothing has actually been started, but we’re definitely in the phase where we started talking about “let’s bring it back. We want to bring it back.” The fans want it.
On whether we’d do the one-hit kill, there are still a lot of discussions about that, but I like the idea of maybe bringing two modes, perhaps with an easy mode with a life gauge.
But there is still a lot of discussion going on internally about that. We want to make sure we do it right.
Giuseppe: Let’s go back to Samurai Shodown. How did you decide which characters to include in the first and second season passes?
Yasuyuki Oda: One interesting story is that Wan-Fu was initially in the original roster, while Shiki was going to be among the DLC characters.
We looked at the characters and noticed that there weren’t that many female characters in Samurai Shodown in general and we switched them around to bring Shiki into the main roster and Wan-Fu into the season pass.
The rest is really just popularity at the end of the day. Like with The King of Fighters XIV, we try to pick characters that we know fans are talking about and that make them happy. That’s always a priority.
Giuseppe: It’s intriguing that SNK characters are appearing basically in every fighting game out there. I wonder, are other developers ever going to give back? Can we expect guest characters in Samurai Shodown?
Yasuyuki Oda: The possibility exists, but I can’t say anything about it.
Giuseppe: Speaking about the addition of gender-bent Terry in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, I think that was well-received by the fans, and you did something similar in the mobile game. Is that an idea you may be considering expanding further maybe in Samurai Shodown?
Yasuyuki Oda: (Laughs) No. No. That’s something that makes more sense for games that have that comedic touch.
Giuseppe: So Samurai Shodown is too serious for something like that?
Yasuyuki Oda: Everybody dies in Samurai Shodown (laughs).
Giuseppe: Speaking of season pass 2. Is it going to include only returning characters or there may be new characters?
Yasuyuki Oda: Not at the moment. No.
Giuseppe: So it’s going to be all returning characters?
Yasuyuki Oda: That’s the focus, yes.
Giuseppe: How was the reception for the new characters in the base game? Who is the most popular?
Yasuyuki Oda: All three were well received from different parts of the community. Wu-Ruixiang is a bit hard to use, and she’s a bit of a tricky character, so some people call her weak for that reason. Yet she has some very strong gimmicks so you can’t make other parts of her arsenal too strong.
In terms of popularity, all three are popular, but probably Yashamaru and Darli are very very close at the top. We see a lot of usage of those characters.
Giuseppe: One thing that surprised some is that the Switch version is going to run at 60 FPS. Was that challenging to achieve?
Yasuyuki Oda: It was definitely hard. It’s very different hardware from everything else. We were already kind of pushing the limits even with PS4 with the stages and everything.
A lot of work went into it but it was definitely a priority from the beginning because it’s a very competitive fighting game and frame rate is key.
We made sure to take care and that the art style stayed intact but keeping the priority as much as possible on performance.
Giuseppe: Was there ever a point in which you doubted that you could achieve 60 FPS?
Yasuyuki Oda: That was definitely the hardest part about the Switch version, making sure to optimize it from the beginning to the end. It was a real battle.
Giuseppe: The PC version doesn’t yet have a release date. Are fans going to have to wait long after the Switch version?
Yasuyuki Oda: The PC version is still a little bit off, and I can’t say anything about that, but we do have the Stadia version.
Giuseppe: That’s actually something I’m really curious about. Samurai Shodown is a really fast and precise almost split-millisecond game. You guys also put so much effort into improving the control response on consoles. How is it working on Stadia with the lag related to distance?
Yasuyuki Oda: It’s always hard to say until something launches because that’s when all the issues come out, but from our side, we’re very confident in it.
Now it hasn’t been released yet, so possible bandwidth issues aren’t going to crop up until launch, but we’re not worried about it honestly. We think that Google has a nice infrastructure and they’re really serious about it.
The game is currently available for PS4 and Xbox One. It’ll release on Switch on December 12 and it’s also coming to PC and Google Stadia.