What could SNK's new game announcement next week be? Let's take a look at what fighting games might be gracing us from them in the near future

SNK were a fighting game juggernaut back in the '90s, and they still hvae a ton of notable series we could see revived

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • September 3, 2018 at 8:01 p.m. PDT

SNK have long been a big company as far as the fighting game genre goes, originally stepping in to the scene back in 1991 with the original Fatal Fury, in which highly popular (and my personal favorite fighting game character) Terry Bogard debuted, among others.

Since then, they've developed tons of games, many of the fighting genre, and started doing crossovers ever so slightly with Art of Fighting taking place in the same universe as Fatal Fury, but earlier, with a younger Geese Howard making an appearance in the series.

This eventually culminated to the massive fighting game crossover that most of us know SNK for today, King of Fighters, which is still an active franchise that gets new titles from time to time.

Of course, back in the day, SNK did much more than just the games that would eventually end up in King of Fighters. They also had several historical fighters in the Samurai Shodown (from which Nakoruru actually did join King of Fighters in its latest installment) and The Last Blade series.

They also kept older fighting game franchises alive outside of crossover scenarios, somewhat, with the latest being the highly regarded Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a sequel to the Fatal Fury series which takes place ten years later than the main Fatal Fury series, and has only brand new playable characters besides Terry Bogard — this was also the game where his famous Buster Wolf originated.

With SNK having something of a renaissance as of late, and King of Fighters 14 being a big enough success for them where they released DLC characters for it two years in a row, it's exciting to see what they might be working on next. So let's have a gander at what possibilities lie before us, and how likely they might be.

Samurai Shodown

The most long-running fighting game franchise from SNK outside of their juggernaut series King of Fighters, the Samurai Shodown series was a mainstay in arcades back in the mid-'90s.

With as many as 11 titles to the series, split between 2D and 3D games, it's been on a long-time hiatus now, with the last release in the series being Samurai Shodown Sen for the Xbox 360, which was received pretty poorly.

Even during SNK's less active years, Samurai Shodown has been something of a mainstay series for them, with new games releasing at a regular pace, and the cultural impact is no joke — hit manga series Ruroni Kenshin is stated by the author, Nobuhiro Watsuki, to have been heavily inspired by the series. He would later go on to help SNK with the series by designing the new characters in Samurai Shodown V.

On top of this, Samurai Shodown has been a heavily discussed title for many years now, both in interviews and in general whenever it comes to SNK.

First of all, there was a job posting as far back as 2013 which asked for people to enlist in developing new King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown projects.

Following that, rumors abounded in 2016 about a new Samurai Shodown having started development internally at SNK — this was around the time that the King of Fighters 14 hype train had begun, and SNK were continuously revealing new characters for that title.

This rumor makes sense when coupled with interviews from the end of 2015, shortly after the reveal of King of Fighters 14, where SNK's Yasuyuki Oda stated that if the fans want it, they'd be very interested in developing Samurai Shodown in the future.

About a year later, shortly after the official release of King of Fighters 14, Yasuyuki Oda and Neo_G they cited their desire to work on Samurai Shodown or Garou 2, works that have been discussed for a long time from SNK, but also noted that when they did a poll asking what people wanted, Samurai Shodown came out on top.

Even later in 2016, SNK promised that they had more projects in development to be announced — one of which we now know to be SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy — though we aren't yet aware what other games would be part of this "multiple" deal.

We'll find out a week from now, but given the mountains of talk about Samurai Shodown whenever an interview is held, coupled with its long legacy, strong brandname and inherent fanbase, it seems like the most natural fit for SNK to aim for.

After all, there's nothing else on the market quite like it right now, so this truly is a prime opportunity for the swordplay-based fighting franchise to make a return.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves 2

One of the most celebrated games to come out of SNK ever is the Fatal Fury sequel which took on a new name, to signify its departure from the original games in characters, story and timeline, namely Garou: Mark of the Wolves.

While it was effectively an extension of the Fatal Fury franchise, the gameplay was more similar to King of Fighters, albeit with only one character at your disposal, and while many of the cast members had connections to Fatal Fury characters, the sole returnee was Terry Bogard, featuring a heavy redesign and some new moves.

Probably the most popular aspect of Garou: Mark of the Wolves is the biological son of Geese Howard, later adopted by Terry Bogard, the youth known as Rock Howard. With a mesh of Geese-like and Terry-like moves, he was a hit with fans and he was requested for ages to join the King of Fighters series due to his high popularity, which finally happened with the addition of him to King of Fighters 14's roster via DLC last spring.

Because of Garou being such a popular game in its own rights, and its strong ties to Fatal Fury, which basically started the whole fighting game craze over at SNK, there's much value to making a new game in the series.

As mentioned by the SNK staff in one of the interviews linked further up in the Samurai Shodown segment, they've always been asked about a Garou sequel, and they feel it's an inevitability for it to happen at some point.

There was some Garou news two years ago, though probably not in the form fans would've been hoping for, when sprites from the Garou 2 that never happened were shown to the public for the first time.

Given SNK's statement that they would use King of Fighters 14 to get used to 3D development and that future games would potentially be 3D as well, it seems likely that a Garou sequel would not be sprite-based if it were to happen. However, an interview from before King of Fighter 14's release stated that newer projects don't necessarily have to be 3D, either.

Whatever the case, a sequel to Garou has been something fans have been asking for ever since the first game came out, and SNK are most definitely aware of it. What shape it would take is unclear, though my personal bet would be to bring it more closely together with the Fatal Fury franchise it originally spawned from.

Another standalone SNK property

Obviously, there are other SNK titles that could be in the works as well, such as Art of Fighting or The Last Blade, but these seem like they would play second fiddle to the potential of a new Fatal Fury/Garou or a Samurai Shodown.

There hasn't been much talk about either of the games, beyond re-releases on PS4 for games out of the franchise, presumably to gauge interest in them.

Perhaps the most notable part for the Art of Fighting series is from a 2017 interview, before the DLC for King of Fighters 14 surfaced, where the developers explain their reasoning for leaving Ryuji Yamazaki and Blue Mary out of the game's roster (both would later join the title via DLC).

In this interview, they also detail that they were originally planning to bring back Art of Fighting characters who had never seen the light of day in the King of Fighters series, those being Jack Turner and John Crawley. They eventually decided not to, feeling that fans who bought the game would just go "Who the heck is this guy?" when seeing them.

Given that Yamazaki and Blue Mary were both originally rejected from the King of Fighters 14 roster as well, the fact that these characters were discussed at all clearly mean that SNK still hold the Art of Fighting franchise in high regard, and that the characters from it may not be as forgotten as one would think.

Whether this would mean a new Art of Fighting game or simply mean more Art of Fighting characters joining the next King of Fighters game's roster remains to be seen. With Samurai Shodown's Nakoruru joining the fray in King of Fighters 14, the same could honestly be said for The Last Blade as well at this point. Maybe no SNK franchise is off-limits anymore.

King of Fighters 15

Obviously, the most discussed title of all would be King of Fighters 15.

In pre-release interviews for King of Fighters 14, linked further up in this article, they were already talking about potential developments for King of Fighters 15 and 16, signalling that their flagship franchise definitely isn't going anywhere.

Traditionally, the King of Fighters series has had storylines that develop throughout multiple games, and while King of Fighters 14 was fairly low on story content, it did that a few threads aimed at a potential new arc. In a speculation article for this year's King of Fighters DLC earlier this year, I outlined the case for Ash Crimson, given his return in the story in the latest game.

The story threads have been laid out, and given how much SNK enjoy their lore, it would seem sensible for them to want to follow up fairly soon on the previous game. Although they have developed and released DLC two years in a row for the title, it's now been two years since King of Fighters 14 was first released, meaning an announcement of a sequel wouldn't be particularly out of place.

Around this time last year, SNK stated with confidence that they are convinced that King of Fighters 15 will be a reality, a statement bold enough that companies are unlikely to make it unless something is happening behind the scenes already.

Given the reality-bending elements present in the latest King of Fighters game, bringing in Nakoruru, Muimui and Love Heart, all from other universes, SNK could just put all of their fighting game franchises together in a new King of Fighters if they wanted to, though it seems more likely they'd try to bring back old favorites or develop brand new characters, after the favorable reception many newcomers received in King of Fighters 14.

King of Fighters 15 would also have the advantage of likely building on assets from the previous games, though thinking of that makes it hard to imagine just how huge they would make the roster of the game. King of Fighters 14 is already at 58 playable characters, and even though it's a 3v3 game, it's crazy to think how much more huge it could grow from there.

A week from now, we'll find out what SNK has been teasing us about. What's your personal hope? Let us know in the comments.

Personally, I'd be happy with anything from SNK, honestly, since I love the company and their games, but my choice would be Samurai Shodown. I never got to play the old games that much, and I'm a huge samurai fanboy, so I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

Load comments (59)