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King of Fighters team wants to bring back Samurai Shodown, World Heroes and more

SNK’s “rebirth” could mean the return of more classic IP

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The King of Fighters team wants to revisit some of SNK’s dormant franchises, like Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug and Ikari Warriors, once work on The King of Fighters 14 is complete, developers told Polygon in an interview at Evo today.

The King of Fighters 14 is something of a fresh start for the team. The latest entry in SNK’s 21-year-old fighting game franchise is the first for a current-generation platform, PlayStation 4, and a return to 3D characters.

SNK itself is experiencing something of a rebirth as a company. The video game maker updated its logo earlier this year, dropping the Playmore name as part of SNK’s back to basics approach. The company even brought back its old slogan: "The future is now."

I asked the King of Fighters team, represented at Evo by producer Yasuyuki Oda, artist Eiichi Ogura, game designer Yuji Watanabe and lead game designer Hidetoshi Ishizawa, what SNK’s rebirth means to them.

They had a common answer: They want to bring back SNK’s classic properties and release new entries.

"we also want to make new IP"

"In the future, I want to get back to [intellectual properties] we have, like Samurai Shodown and Metal Slug," Ishizawa said through a translator. "And not only just get back to previous IPs, but we also want to make new IP."

Ishizawa is a longtime fan of SNK, even though he recently left Capcom to join the one-time rival of his former company. In fact, many fighting game fans know Ishizawa by his nickname, "Neo_G."

"I also want to create a new Samurai Shodown," added Watanabe. "And I’d like Ishizawa [to make it]. And a new Garou lead by Oda-san. I’ll leave my fate up to them.

"I want to set up brand-new IP [as well]."

Ogura echoed the desires of his colleagues, saying that, outside of King of Fighters, "the rest of [SNK’s] titles have been very quiet." Ogura said he’d like to revisit properties like Ikari Warriors and World Heroes, which he said he’d like to "brush up" for more polished games.

Oda, who previously worked at Dimps on Capcom’s Street Fighter 4, agreed with his team, saying he’d like to move forward in terms of detail for the rebirth of SNK’s older games. He also joked that he’d like to revitalize SNK’s presence at Japanese game centers.

SNK’s next title, The King of Fighters 14 will be released on PlayStation 4 this August. Atlus will publish the title in North America.

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