I have now been authorised to release this interview, which has used some of the very questions that were posted by yourselves! Exclusive!
Alan Francois (aka Gunsmith of Orochinagi.com): So how was E3? Did XIII attract some sort of attention?
ARAM JABBARI (Manager of PR): E3 Expo 2011 was a fantastic show for ATLUS. We had a constant crowd in our exhibit from start to finish. We were thrilled that there was a lot of excitement surrounding the KOF XIII announcement. Even though we didn’t have a public playable, a steady stream of XIII fans stopped by to show their support, express their excitement, and share their hopes for what the console version of the game would bring. We couldn’t be happier with how XIII was received.
KEI YAMAMOTO (Producer of THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII – SNK PLAYMORE): We [SNK PLAYMORE] have been closely following the post-E3 feedback with great interest. Seeing the excitement build among the fans makes us happy that we kept the series running, and at the same time, we feel a duty to deliver a console version of KOF XIII that exceeds their expectations.
GS: It was reported that the XIII Netcode is based on XII. Then we heard “Netcode is in early development”. Before these statements were made, it was reported that SNKP had said that they were already proud of their XIII netcode, that it was better than competitive titles. Can you clarify the status?
AJ: That was a slight misunderstanding. We were not actually showing the Online Mode, and what was said was that the developer had learned a great deal from KOF XII and was using that experience as a foundation for the netcode in XIII. It is not based on the “same old XII” netcode. A pleasant consequence was seeing just how passionate the community is about the online experience being right this time, a sentiment we share.
KY: Improving online play is our number one priority in the development of the console version of KOF XIII. The numerous comments we received on KOF XII were invaluable as we investigated, researched and developed our new netcode. Stable, quality online play is of utmost importance to us; we are working hard every day to make the netcode as good as possible.
GS: Do you (Atlus) have any control or influence over programming or content?
AJ: We are closely involved with SNK Playmore and the development of the console version of THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII. While no programming goes on in the house of ATLUS, we will be involved in the process of tweaking, refining, and optimizing the play experience.
GS: Are you aware of GGPO?
AJ: We are absolutely aware of the GGPO SDK, and we would like to stress to the community that both SNK PLAYMORE and ATLUS are extremely focused on improving how latency is handled and eliminating the inconsistency and instability of fighting games’, particularly XII’s, online experience.
KY: I’m in complete agreement with ATLUS. As I said earlier, we consider stable, quality online play as the key factor in the console version KOF XIII. We promise that it will be improved from the previous installment.
GS: Will there be English voice dubbing?
KY: It will be Japanese voice only. We believe that will provide the players with the best KOF XIII experience.
GS: Will the game text be translated into any other languages?
KY: We want as many players to enjoy the original arcade dialogue and the console version’s new Story Mode as possible, so the in-game text will be in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Korean.
GS: Could you let us know about how this relationship began? Who approached who?
AJ: ATLUS has always had a close relationship with SNK PLAYMORE. Moreover, we have a number of hardcore fighting gamers on staff, including folks like James Kuroki who’ve been part of the KOF community for a very long time. When we realized we had an opportunity to deliver not just an entry in the legendary KOF series, but more importantly to restore confidence and trust in the franchise following a shaky previous entry, we were excited for the challenge. Best of all, when we got to spend extensive time with XIII, we realized we had something special on our hands.
KY: We have a very good relationship with ATLUS, dating back from FATAL FURY (SNES), to the recent METAL SLUG XX (PSP). ATLUS is known to value their fans, and has strong experience with releasing a long-running series, like us. Also, many of their staff members are well acquainted with our titles. We’re delighted to have ATLUS as our North American partner for KOF XIII.
GS: Are there any plans to release this in Europe?
KY: An announcement regarding the European release of KOF XIII will be made soon.
GS: Any final words?
KY: Boasting stable, quality online play and a rich assortment of game modes, KOF XIII for PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® will be the ultimate game for both fans of this series and fighting games fans in general. Its deep, refined mechanics ensure nothing but the best competitive experience. We will reveal more details of the game at a later date, but we sincerely hope that you’ll be looking forward to the Holiday Season launch!
GS: That sounds great! Thank you so very much for your time and consideration!
Thanks again to Aram Jabbari from Atlus and Kei Yamamoto from SNKP for answering these questions.