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Neo_G is King of Fighters 14's lead game designer, talks about what he actually handles at SNK after joining in January

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • April 30, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. PDT • Comments: 19

Earlier this month we learned that Hidetoshi "Neo_G" Ishizawa, formerly a Capcom employee and the Battle Director for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, was now working at SNK. He's been there since January this year.

Given his background in fighting games development, it's natural to assume that he's been involved with the development work for King of Fighters 14 since joining SNK. But with so much of the game already done by the time he's joined the company, what does Neo_G actually do? More importantly, what else will he be working on after KoF 14?

4Gamer recently caught up with Neo_G (pictured fourth from the left in the banner above) as well as the KoF 14 Producer Yasuyuki Oda (second from the left) for a brief chat, following the announcement of the game's release date, in which the answers for these questions were revealed.

Check out our translation of the interview below.
4Gamer: Tell us a little about what you've been working on as a member of the King of Fighters 14 development team after joining SNK.

Hidetoshi Ishizawa (Neo_G): [As Lead Game Designer] I'm in charge of adjusting and fine tuning gameplay on this title. So what I do is go to KoF 14 game designer Watanabe (third from the left in the banner) with ideas like "if we could implement such-and-such thing in this manner, the game will be more interesting." And then Watanabe is the one who'll incorporate that.

Outside of fine tuning gameplay, I also work on adjustments for the new characters. For these characters, what I'd do is suggest play elements that would be fun for fighting game fans. And then similarly, Watanabe would take those ideas, and realize them in a manner that fits the KoF flavor.

4Gamer: As the illustrious Neo_G, from here on out, will you also be working on fighting games other than KoF 14 down the pipeline at SNK?

Hidetoshi Ishizawa (Neo_G): This time around, it just so happened that the title I've been working on is KoF 14. But outside of this title, I think I'm probably going to be working on action game titles.

4Gamer: You mean games like Metal Slug, or Flying Power Disc (a Neo Geo title made by Data East), I suppose? Well, Flying Power Disc isn't owned by SNK, but you catch my drift -- you'll be working on more Neo Geo games?

Hidetoshi Ishizawa (Neo_G): Ah, you could put it that way, I suppose (laughs). Of course, originally my handle name "Neo_G" was derived from SNK's "Neo Geo" platform. With that said, I never thought I'd actually be working on SNK games one day. As we plan on reviving the old SNK namesake, from here on out there's really a lot we'd like to work on. Please look forward to great things from us.

4Gamer: What about you, Oda (KoF14 producer Yasuyuki Oda)? What kinds of requests did you ask of Ishizawa when he joined the development team?

Yasuyuki Oda: Although Ishizawa only joined the team from February of this year, I asked for him to give the game a little extra kick in the fine tuning phase.

4Gamer: Now that you're able to finally announce a release date for KoF 14, is there anything you'd like to say to the readers and fans who're eagerly waiting for the game's release?

Yasuyuki Oda: As it's been a while since the last time we've launched a new game under the SNK brand, right now our number one focus is on servicing our fans and meeting their expectations. From here on out we also plan to work on plenty of stuff that we hope everyone will find fascinating.

4Gamer: [As traditionally each chapter in the KoF saga has been told over three games] Of course, we can expect a KoF 15 and 16 in the future, right?

Yasuyuki Oda: We don't know for sure if that will happen yet (laughs). But with that said, the team absolutely wants to make them.

4Gamer: What about other SNK fighting game franchises like The Last Blade and Fatal Fury?

Yasuyuki Oda: We would absolutely love to make them as well (laughs). Please look forward to our other titles in the future.
Try as they might to pry, it seems like 4Gamer wasn't able to get Neo_G and Oda to tip their hand and give us a peek into their post-KoF 14 development plans.

The future for SNK fighting games certainly seems bright -- but did they really expect us to believe that they hired Neo_G just so they could use his expertise on action games instead of fighters?

Take a look at Neo_G's history over at Capcom. Outside of Devil May Cry 2 and 4 and a Spawn title, everything else he's been credited for are fighting games.

Source: 4Gamer.
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