The new Samurai Shodown was created because of the fan interest and 'sexy' characters like Shiki and Yoshitora were brought back to please fans too

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • July 11, 2019 at 7:11 a.m. PDT

The King of Fighters 14 was SNK's first attempt at a new major fighting game in many years after their prior move away from standard console and arcade releases. This gamble appears to have paved the way for the current trajectory of the company and made the newly released Samurai Shodown possible with fan support.

Speaking with Polygon just prior to Samurai Shodown's launch, Producer Yasuyuki Oda and Director Nobuyuki Kuroki revealed why the game was chosen within SNK as the next big title for them and their decision making process — and much of it boils down to fan support and fighting game community interest.

"The real push for it was because the fans really, really, really wanted it," said Oda via an interpreter. "A lot of the messages that we got were just like, 'When's the new Samurai Shodown? When are we going to get it?'"

Kuroki also brought up an online poll asking fans what they wanted to see from SNK after KOF14 where "Samurai Shodown was the easy winner." The new title's director felt that the game was distinct and could set itself apart from the rest of the current fighting game market to make an impact now.

"I'm really, really confident in the game we've created this time. It's very easy to pick up. So I just really hope that a lot of people jump on and have fun" - Nobuyuki Kuroki

Despite not having personally worked on the series during SamSho's 2D iterations, Oda and Kuroki are longtime veterans of SNK — though they did leave the company for a time to develop games at Dimps, the studio behind Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter 5 and many other fan favorites like Dragon Ball Z: Budokai.

The duo also spoke about the process of selecting legacy characters to bring back for the rebooted fighter talking about fans wanting some eye candy of both sexes leading to the return of Shiki and Yoshitora for fan interest.

"Fans really wanted characters like Shiki. They wanted characters like Yoshitora, you know? A very sexy playboy. So it might seem like it clashes with what we originally had in the early games, but each game is its own different iteration of a series. We decided that these are characters that people want, so we’re going to put them in the game"

"There are obviously going to be people that are critical about these types of things," said Oda. "But the fans really wanted characters like Shiki. They wanted characters like Yoshitora, you know? A very sexy playboy. So it might seem like it clashes with what we originally had in the early games, but each game is its own different iteration of a series. We decided that these are characters that people want, so we’re going to put them in the game."

Kuroki states that he conceptualized newcomer Yashamaru before handing it off to the character designer, Yumi Saji, with the instructions "I want a handsome guy in warrior's armor."

"I gave her the order, and she came up with everything," said Kuroki "It's one hundred percent her character, and she really knocked it out of the park, right from the very beginning."

We suggest you take a look at Oda and Kuroki's full Samurai Shodown feature on Polygon to learn more about how the fighting game came into being, how SNK initially struggled to adapt to the Unreal Engine 4 and Kuroki sneaking into other teams' offices at the company to sneak peeks at their game design documents.

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