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Interview with Atlus and SNKP

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. 

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37 thoughts on “Interview with Atlus and SNKP”

  1. GS, I largely agree with what you say. I do think that making contact with a small, localised audience is good and I thank both companies for that. What I am trying to get at is not that they shouldn’t give people info, just the opposite infact, they should give people information because as we both agree on, when the information dries up so does the interest. However, just like Michel has said, 99 percent of people will not understand the technical aspects of implements certain things so we don’t need that sort of information. We need information that is easily understandable, where people can apreciate where SNK and Atlus are. It keeps interests because we get a steady flow of information but it doesn’t baffle us with science we don’t care about and we don’t understand.

    For example Billy has been announced, they don’t need to give us his move set or pictures of all his normals or combos but they could say which version he is based around. That way we can speculate what they are doing with him which for a PR company would probably generate more interest and longer discussion about possible moves than knowing exactly what his moves are and just not having anything to talk about.

  2. Everybody want to know about the netcode but in reality very few people really understand the whole concept of network and the way a game is done.

    They could come back with very specific information but like what?
    Promising that the ping will be less than 100 in average? This is impossible to guarantee due to each country being at a different level for web infrastructure.
    Promising it will be just as GGPO would be laughable and just a typical PR stunt.

    Personally I don’t think they can guarantee anything except a comparison with another of their games.
    So better to wait and see.
    I don’t know if SNKP are really concerned about the netcode or not (Atlus will never tell you that they are not if they know that fans are expecting it… remember a PR company is here to make people know and like your product).
    But let’s have some faith and wait… (and no one here should say “I won’t buy the game if there is a crappy netcode”, everybody here is an advance player and don’t play seriously online).

    I don’t think Atlus have such a power to make SNKP change anything in the game (such as the characters or any other big changes). KoF XIII doesn’t have localized versions so Atlus can’t really have such a big impact just by itself.

    HOWEVER Atlus is making a direct connection with the fans.
    This is not new but it is something we should all appreciate and enjoy. That could mean Atlus to really help with the communities to make some tournaments, gather the communities etc etc.
    But don’t expect any miracle about a PR company about the development of a game.

    Summary? KoF XIII is almost here! Everybody buy the game, practice your combos, make the effort to go to tournaments and don’t spend time bitching that the game is not 100% like you would have done it.

    P.S: it would be suicidal for a company to based their game on GGPO, a non-commercial software library that doesn’t seem to have any support.

  3. I understand now, Gunsmith.

    People kept complaining and complaining over the English Dub of KOF XII that there won’t be one in KOF XIII this time..

  4. 1. This is the first communication to a very specific fanbase through a fansite, opposed to general announcements to the world or even western audiences.

    2. Robo, in a way, you’re saying there’s no point making any attempt to talk to fans, just make big announcements through the press, when everything is ready. I get your point but Atlus wants to show the fans things will be different this time and that fans will not be ignored – this is the first step, and best way to make that step, imo.

    3. The news that they gave about netcode isn’t specific enough, point taken, please wait for the next announcement. There is plenty more information to give but as you pointed out, once that line goes dead, so does the interest. See you next time!

    4. No English dub this time. It’s been complained about for years. Don’t believe me? Go make a poll!

  5. It’s great to hear about the developments done to the netcode.

    As for the No English Dub part, I hope that only applies to the Japanese Version, as the American PS3 Version needs to have an English Dub if it were to be released on disc.

  6. I still disagree, this isn’t the first part of communication with the western market, that was announcing Atlus were doing whatever they were doing. Given, they aren’t going to be saying much at that point and that’s understandable. The second bit of communication we got was a poster quoting the netcode in English and as far as I’m aware that was aimed at the western audience. However you percieve the media type, it was communication in English translated badly or misunderstood. This is the third bit of information they have released and I think GS has done a fantastic job getting answers from them. They have cleared up mistaken information which is great but all they have replaced bad information with is platitudes, not actual inforamtion.

    As far as what is the point in telling people what is going on? Do you remember When SNK released their official website for 13? LOADS of people were talking about it, and when the official information stopped so did the interest. I’m not one for ‘hype’ it doesn’t effect me because I will try the game and judge it on it’s own merits regadless of previous titles, but to say it won’t effect sales just to placate fans is wrong, look at Capcom and NRS.

    I’m not saying what they (capcom and NRS) do is good or right (as I said I don’t really give a shit about this stuff) but it makes money if you keep the fan base in the loop and make sure you keep them interested. As I have already said you don’t need to give specifics, just update people on what stage you are working on and that will at least create conversation about the game.

  7. I wish they bothered to ask if SNK is going to continue KoF after XIII is released on console.

    I’m ready for the bad news but I’d at least like to hear it from them that “we think KoF has had a good run”.

  8. i will be buying a copy regardless. the fact that its taking so long shows that they are really making an effort and not just throwing the game at us to keep us quiet.

    WAR!! SNK PLAYMORE!!!

  9. If you look at SNKP’s actual communication with the western fans about XIII, this is day 1.
    Everyone wants to know about the netcode. They can’t tell you about it right now. What would be the point in telling you “it works really well so far” when it’s not even fully tested? People wouldn’t believe it until they see it with their own eyes anyway. People also have a tendency to just whine and moan, whatever you tell them, so in my opinion, SNKP shouldn’t tell you anything about the netcode until a) it’s finished or b) they are confident it’s going to impress – and that takes time and money. So let them spend it and wait for an answer. They could spend time and money trying to placate fans, but everyone knows that’s expensive and relatively pointless. SNKP do not have the resources, you know this already so cut them some slack. If they mess up the netcode, they know they are dead in the water. So let them try to swim, rather than weigh them down beforehand, k?

  10. No this isn’t day 1, day 1 was when they (Atlus) stated they were publishing the game in the states. After Day 1 (where we were all happy) they messed up with publishing incorrect and information the community viewed as ‘bad’ because the net code was ‘based’ on a previously known crap netcode. This is Day whatever, they have told us Atlus are publishing and they messed up online details but they cleared that up. What we are left with is Atlus are publishing it and we are going to try really hard to make online good, well no shit Sherlock. If they didn’t try really hard to make the game a success then it would be a failure and I don’t think that is a very good business plan.

    What they need to say is at what stage of the process is the console version at currently or give us a comparison to the stage the net code is at, what it plays like at the moment and then say ‘but this is now and we still have months for improving’. They don’t need to give us lines of coding they just need to tell us how the process is going and they haven’t done anything of the sort.

  11. It’s still early days. As I said earlier, some information will be kept for magazine exclusives. You can’t just dish out all the info now. The press industry depends on it. We are really lucky to even get this info. Did Capcom reveal all on day 1? Think about it. This is only day 1. You’ll have to be patient.

  12. I’m glad that they have sorted out the bad translation/PR on the netcode, although they didn’t really inspire much confidence. They did something wrong, so they are in negative trust, they sort it out so they are neutral again but they had the perfect opertunity to go and give us details and really get people wanting the game but they missed their chance now.

    I hope they do come out with more details soon, I really want to know what they have waiting for us but giving us nothing but saming the game is going to be fun isn’t good enough.

  13. I hope Zen United or PQube are doing this for Europe.
    Ignition did a shitty ass job on the last one and I don’t think Rising Star would give this the attention it deserves either…

  14. It’s good for the confirmation of lack of the shitty english dub ^^
    But Brazilian Portuguese is out of the language text option??????IT’S A FUCK ¬¬

  15. This is awesome…. thanks very much for the interview. Will orochinagi provide any more exclusive interviews in the futureÉ

  16. I know from first hand that the netcode in KOF XIII will not be the same, not even remotely close to XII’s. I’ll say it now… the netcode DOES incorporate rollback technologies. Where does it come from? It’s a mistery yet…

  17. kof and fatal fury were the reason why my chilhood didnt suck
    please snk finish the movelist adding new moves like fire kick,chain punch,power dunk,etc….

  18. Great interview Gunsmith. I translated it to spanish and posted into SpekSNK 🙂 I’m curious about european release announcement… by download?

    It’s time to get HYPE!! simply can’t wait..

  19. GS Have you tried an american gaming site? thats where I got my copy of 12 last time, well it was actually through ebay, but it was an ebay store for some shop over there.

    I’m still on the fence with the netcode, I do want to believe them, but I’m just going to wait and see.

    Good job on getting the questions asked.

  20. Why is everybody so doubtful of the netcode? They know that if they screw it up, the game will tank. Have a little faith.

  21. Yep, the netcode in this game is going to be the same as KOFXII. All aboard the train of tears.

  22. So… I didn’t really have any choice. I’ve pre-ordered my US copy of XIII and will pre-order the European version too.

  23. Good stuff Gunsmith. Some of the responses seemed rather canned though. The netcode response still concerned me, as they managed to answer the question without answering it. They’re “aware” of GGPO, but are they planning on implementing some sort of rollback mechanism to compensate for ping times? “Trying our best” is a response, but we’d like to know the specifics, as netplay is what will make or break the series.

  24. Thanks for doing this Gunsmith, I’m even more hyped for this game now I’ll be buying two copies just to support SNKP

  25. Can’t wait for when this comes out. To be honest I don’t have a PS3, but nonetheless am willing to buy one when KOF XIII comes out.

  26. Good stuff.
    I think I remember interacting with J Kuroki in the MMcafe xD … I was very surprised to see his name on the staff of Disgaea 1 and then later other games as part of the translation staff. He had a MotW FAQ, for what I remember.

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