SNK Interview at Gamescom

Cem: We are together here with Carmelo from InsertGame, Mac from SignedByR, Filip from Hardedge.Org and me, Cem aka Kendeep from Orochinagi. We are delighted to have our interviewees Yasuyuki Oda-San and Nobuyuki Kuroki-San from SNK. First of all, we are happy that you are here and we hope you have a great time here.

Oda-San: This is the first time I’ve come to Germany, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Cem: Happy to hear that. You have recently returned to SNK, and you have been at your previous company for quite some time for Street Fighter 4 and SFxT. What exactly made you return to SNK?

Oda: We are honored to tell you that the both of us (Kuroki-San) came back to SNK.To explain, the people at SNK were not doing consumer games for a while. Mr Kawasaki wanted to come back to consumer games.

Cem: So SNK came to you asking you to work for them again?

Oda: Yeah. To be more precise, we got called by Ogura-San, who is the main Illustrator of KoF14 and a member of the Ex-Fatal Fury team.

Filip: Oda-San worked on the SF4 and Cross Tekken Series. How was your experience at that time and did something out of that experience influence the development of KoF14?

Oda: Of course at the work, my previous experiences influence my work after that, but to be frank I cant explain you in detail how exactly it influences my work at SNK.

Carmelo: How did you approach the design of the engine of the game and how come you did not work with an existing engine and what are the benefits of your engine?

Oda: At the beginning of KoF14 we actually started using Unreal Engine, but due to some conditions, costs and some staff members we decided to go with our own engine.

Cem: In past IPs, there are fan favourite characters like Oswald, Freeman, Honfu or Rick from Real Bout and most of them never really got into KoF except for Oswald who came from KoF11. But since they are actually fan favourites characters and with the addition of characters like Tung or Geese, can we expect these characters at some point in the future, may it be for KoF14 or for a future installement?

Laurent (Translator): You mean characters which as..?

Cem: Like Oswald, Freeman, Honfu or Team USA. Heavy D!

*everyone laughs*

Oda: There is no chance that they will never appear. Oh yeah, Kuroki-San was the designer for Rick Strowd.

Cem: Nice! Rick is awesome.

Filip: What was the focus of developing KoF14 and why? What did the team focus on first and primarily?

Oda: First, we made sure the game appears on the screen. We worked so that it was playable at first. Then came shaders, and in parallel we took care of the motions and the gameplay. Plus the system and sound and voice actors were also important aspects, doing the paper work with them. So everything was done in parallel.

Carmelo: Many players are excited for the netcode of the game. Ragequitting is a real problem right now. Do you have anything done to punish Ragequitting?

Oda: There are going to be penalties for Rage Quitting players. The game investigates the connection of the online players and the game penalizes by match making the disconnecting players together.

Carmelo: That’s a very nice solution.

*everyone agrees

Mac: Also about the netcode, in the previous KoF Games, like 13 or Steam Edition, there were complains about the netcode. The steam version improved a lot but not perfect still. What did SNK do in the development to improve the netcode and give the players a better online experience?

Oda: The online of 14 will be done through Peer to Peer connections. We were aware of the online connections and heard feedback about that. We made sure that KoF14 would give the best experience.

Cem: In the beginning there was a lot of feedback and criticism for the appearance of the game. Longterm some SNK followers gave their trust to the game, thanks to the appearances of the new stages like the Castle Garden which I think most SNK fans really appreciate. While the graphics at some point are at some point a common point of feedback, how did the team react to the reaction?

Kuroki-San: As you know the game was first presented at PSX last year. The game was not finalized and completed, so we just kept working on the game to make sure to improve the quality. So we decided to just keep walking to reach the current quality, improving on past things such as the shaders. We dont have quarters outside of Osaka, so we had to search for publishers. Thats why we had to announce the game which was still in development in order to reach out to publishers.

Mac: So there is no SNK place in USA no more?

Adam (second translator): There is still an office in USA, but as Oda-San commented, we dont have any headquarters in Europe, and everything on the bussines side is still based on the Osaka-side.

Filip: There was a rumour about a yearly patch?

Oda: That’s only a rumour.

Carmelo: What about game centers. I heard a lot of GC are turning down bussiness. Do you have any plans to bring SNK back to the arcades also?

Oda: We have no plans for the moment, but if the conditions are all ready, we will be happy to release games for the centers again, and I would love to go for that again.

Mac: In recent interviews you said you loved how KoF13 did at Evo for 3 years in a row. Does SNK have plans for supporting tournaments around the round or push KoF in the e-sports series?

Oda: Theres a lot of tournaments all over the world. We are working with partners in Europe and North America, Deep Silver and Atlus to support these events and tournaments. We are going to keep doing that post-launch as well.

Cem: In what aspect does KoF14 want to compete vs other fighting games?

Oda: With KoF the fact that we have 50 characters, due to the 3 on 3 mechanic, we are sure we can compete with this.

Cem: Yeah, the characters are a lot of fun.

Filip: KoF tried many different styles 1999/2001 had the strikers system, 2003 and XI had the Tag Shift System. Do you want to try something similar again or rather go for something unique?

Oda: The striker system was not that fun personally, compared to other games that used a similar system. I would like to challenge new game mechanics in the future.

Carmelo: How will you treat wishes from the community about KoF14 in terms of fixing bugs, glitches or things that are unintended like the fuzzy guarding and stuff like that?

Oda: We will make sure to remove all type of bugs that will arise in the game.

Cem: You two have been part of the game development for a very long time. You have been doing a lot of fighting game work. What exactly is it that keeps you doing fighting games?

Oda: It seems there is a misunderstanding. We have been working on different game genres, we are just known for fighting games, for example Kuroki-San worked on Sonic.

*everyone laughs and is in awe.

Cem: Gotta go fast!

*silence.

Carmelo: Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you approach new ideas for games?

Oda: I can’t really say, it just comes like that. Maybe it falls down from the space?

*everyone laughs.

Cem: Concerning the soundtrack of KoF14, Hideki-San (Sha-V) is working on it. He also worked on KoF11, which I really liked. How come he got to work on KoF14 again?

Oda: He is the guy for that.

Cem: Ah, so he works at SNK?

Oda: Yes. Another thing about Sha-V-San is that he left the company and came back many years ago before I did.

Carmelo: Did you have any plans to ever bring the Garou Densetsu series back? I was always hoping for a prequel featuring Terrys and Andys father fighting alongside Geese, turning into a villain.

*Oda laughs.

Oda: If I was going to make a prequel to the first of the Garou, it would be set between the Art of Fighting series and the Fatal Fury series. If I have the chance to make the prequel I will make it for sure. Actually, everywhere in the world people ask me that question.

*everyone laughs.

Filip: With so many active fighting game studios right now, is there any company you would like to have a crossover game right now?

Oda: There is no plan at the moment for a crossover title, but if we have an offer from another studio, why not? The thing is, if we have to work on a character from another company, it’s really stressful.

Carmelo: How about new IPs? Are there plans to bring new franchises to the market? Like a platformer, puzzle game or racing game?

Oda: Currently nothing like this is planned, however as soon as we improve our skills and techniques we will look into new IPs and stuff.

Filip: ArcSystemWorks developed a game for Persona, as did Capcom for Jojo and Marvel. If you have a chance to produce a fighting game for a popular franchise, anime, manga, cartoon or anything, which franchise would that be?

Oda: Maybe Street Fighter from Capcom?

*everyone laughes.

Oda: Kamen Rider also?

everyone: Whoa! We know Kamen Rider!

Oda: I’m, a big fan of Kamen Rider, haha.

everyone: So are we.

Cem: In KoF13, in order to create the 2D graphics its documented that the whole team used the 3D rendering technique to draw over the 3D models. Does this technique help in creating the models in KoF14?

Kuroki: We used completely different techniques to achieve the graphics in KoF14.

Mac: Is there any chance which uses the same graphic techniques of KoF13, not only Fighting Games? Like Metal Slug…?

Oda: No plans at the moment for using the technique at the moment. But theres no chance to not do it.

Mac: KoF13 really looked great. One of the best 2D engines made.

Oda: Thank you.

Filip: A simple question from my side: Whats your favourite villain from the SNK games?

Oda: For me it’s Mr. Big. Or Geese.

Kuroki: Geese, yeah.

Laurent: I agree, Geese. Maybe Yamazaki.

Adam: Also Geese.

Carmelo: Was it more difficult to make games in the old days or is it more of a hassle to do them nowadays?

Oda: Now is way(!) tougher! It is harder than it used to be in the past.

everyone laughs.

Thanks again to SNK: Oda, Kuroki, Laatz and Vernézy, for coming to Germany and we wish them and Koch Media the best with the release of KOFXIV.

Questions List, ON-Chan

I’m afraid I won’t be able to get time off work to go and interview Oda.  Perhaps it’s lucky for him as I found a loooong list of questions that we had compiled.  Still, Oda will be at Japan Expo this weekend so we will all get a chance to say hello!

Don’t forget this Saturday is JAPAN EXPO featuring KOF14! Come and try the game!

That list of Questions!!

Just out of interest, here’s the question list from everyone.  There’s no way it could fit into a 15 minute slot lol.  Still, some are very interesting, and some, I think have been answered now.  Which 5 would be the most important now?  I’m lost already looking through it.  I’m definitely not taking any more for the moment.

From the Japanese Community:

(Q1 was about KOF14 release date)

 

Q.02 ===============
現在開発中のKOFとサムスピの新作は3Dモデルで制作されているという事だが、仮に他の格闘ゲームシリーズ(龍虎や餓狼や風雲など)が復活するとしたら、そちらもやはり3Dモデルで構成された格闘ゲームになるのだろうか?

(English) We understand that the next KOF and Samurai Shodown will be in 3D graphics. If you guys decide to bring back some of the other fighting game series (like Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting or Savage Reign/Kizuna Encounter for example), would it also be rendered in 3D graphics?

Q.03 ===============
本家2DのKOFが3Dになる事で3Dとして展開していたMIシリーズの復活はなくなるのか
なくなるならMIのストーリーを本家で補完する可能性はあるのか
MI3やりたい

(English) Given that the main KOF series is going 3D now, does this mean the end to the MI series which was also in 3D? And if the MI series is not coming back, will its storyline ever be concluded in the main KOF series? I really want to play MI3.

Q.04 ===============
今度のKOFの新作は完全3Dのゲームになるようですが、2Dの新作KOFが今後作られる可能性はあるのでしょうか?SNKプレイモアさんの質の高い2D、ドット絵技術が今後見られなくなるというのも寂しいと思います・・・。新作KOFも非常に楽しみにしているのですが、是非2Dでのゲーム制作も続けていただきたいです。
このような質問の窓口を設けていただきありがとうございます。たとえ企画倒れだとしても、こういった機会があるのはいいことですよね。

(English) You guys are developing the next KOF in 3D, but are there any chances in the future that a KOF will ever get developed in 2D again? It’s a little sad to think that we’ll never get to see SNKPlaymore’s high-quality 2D and pixel art again. Of course I’m looking forward to the new KOF, but it’d be great if you guys can continue to develop games in 2D as well. Thank you guys for giving us an opportunity to ask questions like this. Even if the interview doesn’t work out, it’s great that there’s still the chance to do so.

Q.05 ===============
3DKOFが作られていることで、同じく3Dで格闘ゲームを作っているカプコンさんとのコラボ企画などの可能性はありますか?カプエスやSVCなどのVSシリーズを是非もう1度やっていただきたいです。

(English) Since you guys are making the next KOF in 3D, are there any chances that you guys will work together with Capcom again, considering they’re also making games in 3D too? It’d be awesome if you guys can do another project like the CVS or SVC series.

Q.06 ===============
時代背景が違うという理由で出せないサムスピや月華キャラは今後もKOFに出す予定はないですか?
(English) Are there any plans to bring Samurai Shodown or Last Blade characters into the KOF series?

Q.07 ===============
KOF20周年を記念したムック本の発売、グッズ(フィギュアやプライズ)展開はありますか?
(English) As a part of the KOF 20th anniversary, are there any plans to release books/mooks or other merchandises?

Q.08 ===============
KOF13にキャラを追加する予定はある?(シュルーム、紫苑など)
(English) Are there any plans to add new characters to KOF13? (like Shroom or Sion?)
Q.09 ===============
リズム・オブ・ファイターズをPS Vita等でリリースする予定はありますか?
(English) Do you have any plans to release The Rhythm of Fighters on other platforms such as the PSVita?
Q.10 ===============
KOF94~11までの2Dグラフィック総まとめのKOFを出す予定はある?
(English) Do you have any plans to release a 2D KOF that’s like an all-star compilation using graphics from KOF94-XI?

From the EU/US Community:

Does SNK plan to bring more titles to Steam?

What about original titles?

Will we see titles such as MOBA coming to the West?

Will we see original titles for mobile?

How does a company benefit from a free to play application?

How many downloads does Metal Slug Defense have now?

Due to the success of MSD, will SNK concentrate more on mobile apps?

Does that mean less fighting games on consoles/pc?

How did the pricing change affect ROF’s “downloads”?

SNK seems to put a lot of resources into their pachinko titles, will this continue?

What are the company’s most popular products right now?

Which of these markets look interesting to SNK right now? Pachinko/Mobile/Console/Arcade/PC/Toys/Anime – is there anything else?

We understand production of arcade units, especially with patching, is prohibitively expensive. With other companies slowly withdrawing from the arcade sector, what is SNK’s position? (continue to support or not?)

What do you think about Nesica live – is it a blessing or a curse for the arcade industry?

We’ve seen many cross-overs in other types of games such as Lord of Vermillion, are there any more you can tell us about?

Are there any plans for a Crystalis sequel or reboot and if so will there be any KoF Characters involved?

Are there any cross-over titles coming that we might be able to play?

Will there be more games for PSN NeoGeo Station?

When are we getting a new SAMURAI SHODOWN??
We saw the advertisement for developers for a new KOF and SS title. But we’d like to hear it directly from the company – it’s the big question on everyone’s lips: is there a new KOF in production? Is it Maximum Impact or KOF XIV?
What will the graphics be like (3D, 2.5D)?

What made SNK decide to use 3D when Maximum Impact was discontinued?

Some people say Maximum Impact was a failure but others say it sold very well in the states, can you confirm this?

Which platform will it be developed for?
Will there be a new storyline for 14?

Is Ash really gone forever?

Is Athena going to… you know…. go on a diet?

Will we have a dream match?

Will there be a crossover guest team in next KOF?

Which characters would YOU like to see back this new title?

Have you thought about adding the Rage of the Dragon roster to KoF?

Is the original Fatal Fury series finished?

Are there any plans for Garou 2, CVS3, SVC2 or even another Metal Slug?

Will you develop new games from now on PS4 / XB1?

Will you re-release older titles on new platforms such as PS4 and Steam?

There used to be lots of SNK merchandise such as pens, tshirts, key holders – is there a possibility of merchandise that overseas fans can purchase?

So kof has hit 20 years, what is SNK hoping to achieve or strive to do to make kof successful next few years?

Are they developing kof games now so it caters to tournaments and the like? (

Will we ever see fan favorite characters like Oswald or MI characters make it in future kof games?

Will we see any more complex characters like Angel / Juhn/ May Lee or do you think games are more popular with simple controls and movesets?

What do you think of games with the auto combo function?

Will there be beta test periods in future steam titles from SNK, like we had for like for XIII? We enjoyed giving feedback and helping the company.

Will fighting game netplay developers ever fix side advantage?

Will 98FE and 2k2UM on steam have netplay? We’ve seen classic games being released without online functionality so we are a bit worried.

Will the 2002UM version for Steam be based on the Tougeki version?

Three people have asked about KOFXI. That’s not a lot, but it’s still a reflection of the total fanbase – which older KOF would YOU like to bring to Steam or Console?

We heard Kukino-san is back with the company, is he working on the new KOF?

Who is the woman/nun in this illustration? http://www.garou15th.com/gallery/gallery3.php?num=5
Is it Geese’s mother?

why did snkp remove the feature of Changing BGM before the start of the match from kof13 1.1 to kof13 Climax?

Are the days of NeoGeo DJ Stations/Drama CDs over or are there any plans to release new material?

Could we look forward to KOF end of year events in the future?

Any chances of releasing remastered versions of NGPC games (a couple of extra colors) or a joypad based on its clicky stick?

Can we ever expect translations/rereleases of older console games like FFRB Dominated Mind, Koidelka, or FF Wild Ambition?

Will there ever be a non-NeoGeo version of SS5 Special? It’s respected, but mostly unavailable to fans and the curious…

What does SNK think of the F2P (Free to play) model? What do you think of the idea of levelling up fighting game characters.

SNK-only NGPC-style Card Fighters game lfor mobile would make sense, can we expect it? Sega would be a fine crossover partner

The new Athena Asamiya game is confusing – is it 1, or 2 Athenas (“princess” and Asamiya)?

If Beast Busters is returning, what are the odds of something like Top Hunter, Crystalis or Road’s Edge?

I found during EVO that Woo works for SNKP yet competed in KoF XIII at EVO2013- did the company know he was going? Did he pay for his own flight? Why didn’t he represent the company?

What makes a game more likely to be ported to Steam?

How would you classify world sales for kof13/other-kofs around the globe? (country with most people buying/playing)

Why are they so secret? We dont hear from them for so long and it makes us so sad 🙁 More SNK doing PR would be great.

Does SNK have community managers? It would be nice to see a face and be able to talk!

Has KOFXIII support stopped? Could it be possible to make further changes to the netcode or expand on netplay tools?

My question is, The new KOF will be use Unreal Engine?

Can SNKP will do something for the competitive KOFXIII scene? I mean support tournaments outside of Asia like EVO.

Will we ever see Buriki One characters in KoF?

Thanks to: Luis Coelho, Kamran Munawar, ON.Tortita, M11, @fgsonline, @MGS_WILL, @TheSh1ning, Marc Doogan, Javor Georgiev, Ed Beltran, “Last Boss”, Jean-Claude Padilla, Johnny Quevedo, Lowell Orlando Richmond, Peter Ru, Lenin Dsouza, Gilbert Dorismond, Anouar Lazaar, Sayam Montes Reyes, Nile Dragon, カルロ ランバルディ, Eduardo Lopes, Kiko Lou

What can you tell us about the departure of Akihiko Ureshino from writing duties on KoF after 20 years and how the story is to be handled for XIV and beyond?”
Just ask him frankly about netcode: rollback or no?
We will have an Glacial or Ice-Theme Stage?
Are we (the fans) going to see a good amount of SNK/NeoGeo related cameos, e.i. the background or/and the cinematics…ect?
1 – PS3 controllers will be fully compatible with KOF XIV?
2 – They have plans to balance changes?(I think Clark and some others will become “very bottom tier” and will need a buff or two in order to become competitive).
3 – Why they take away tools from some characters that are not top tier in the previous version (some are even mid/low) and give more tools to Iori, a well known top character in KOF XIII?
Is there a way to disable Rush Combos in the options?
Ask him will they consider a Steam ver. of KOF XIV in future.
Can you add a button check option? That will make tournaments easier.
After the release of KOF XIV, will there be any chance of DLC characters down the line?
Will you do an online beta test (Before release) with feedback support & questionare?
Is there a Custom Colors, like KOF XIII?
If KOF XIV does well will you make a sequel with KOF XIV’s graphics or completely new graphics?
Are the boss characters balanced for competitive play, will they be usable in tournament or are they overpowered.
Is there a plan for a PSN demo?
Also, are special intros are actually going to happen?
(Just in case,if the “Special intro pic” turns out to be a time running out)
I don’t think they’ll answer more than what was already said about the netcode. It would be nice to know about the support of the game. But I’ll ask about the small things:
1 – Does the game have taunts? They are missing on the 36 character build and even XIII had some sort of improvised taunts.
2 – The game only has one winpose per character? I’m just curious.
3 – The game really has only 4 colors per character? Is SNK going to sell additional colors as DLC like ArcSys games? That would be a complete 180º from having Color Edit in the previous game (already disconfirmed by Atlus).
4 – How the rematch options will work on the VS and Online versus mode? After SFV, it seems relevant.
5 – Is there a song select or it is really tied to the stage?
-SNK has been very public recently about wanting to make new games. Natural question that we are dying to know: exactly what is this next game they’re thinking of making? Please give us 3 or 4 names to hold us fans over.
-We want a cross-over game with SNK badly. Prefer Capcom but any company willing to do a cross-over with SNK is fine.
-Will there be 25th anniversary games/events for Art of Fighting and Samurai Showdown in 2017? If not, how about holding official tournaments to gauge and generate interest in these titles?

And if you got that far, I have a question FOR YOU.

I had another crazy idea. I would like to create an Orochinagi mascot. Her name is ON-chan and she’s a super fan of KOF. She wears a mix of clothing from KOF characters. The question is, which items should she wear? A glove from K’ seems obvious kekeke! What else?

Already got some ideas from Twitter and Facebook, thanks to them!