KING OF FIGHT­ERS XIV

De­vel­oper/pub­lisher SNK For­mat Ar­cade, PC, PS4 Re­lease 2016

EDGE - - COLLECTED WORKS -

De­vel­oper/pub­lisher SNK For­mat Ar­cade, PC, PS4 Re­lease 2016

“MAK­ING GAMES FOR YEARS, I’M USED TO RE­LEAS­ING ONE AND HAV­ING IT GET BASHED”

While I was work­ing on Street Fighter IV, most of the SNK staff were thrown to the four cor­ners of the Ja­panese videogame in­dus­try. Still, twice a year we would all meet up for drinks. Dur­ing that en­tire time, one staff mem­ber had stayed with SNK. When­ever we got to­gether he would speak to each of us pri­vately, try­ing to con­vince us to come back. He’d talk about how the en­vi­ron­ment was ex­tremely pos­i­tive, and the de­vel­op­ment team had the free­dom to make the kinds of games they wanted to make. In early 2014 he man­aged to con­vince me, so I left Dimps and, in Fe­bru­ary that year, re-joined SNK.

With King Of Fight­ers XIV I was ac­tu­ally do­ing a sim­i­lar thing to that which I had done at Dimps: tak­ing a well-loved series and mov­ing it into 3D. We didn’t take the 2D an­i­ma­tions and 3D-ify them. We ref­er­enced them, of course, but the en­tire game and an­i­ma­tion sys­tem was built from the ground up. The 3D an­i­ma­tor who did this work had also worked on Fa­tal Fury be­fore mov­ing to Dimps to work on Street

Fighter IV. SNK man­aged to poach him back as well.

Street Fighter IV re­vi­talised in­ter­est in fight­ing games. A lot of that suc­cess was down to the mar­ket­ing team at Cap­com as much as the de­vel­op­ment team at Dimps. They did an ex­cel­lent job, not only of pro­mot­ing the game and pro­duc­ing this groundswell of in­ter­est and ex­cite­ment, but also in check­ing the market, and pre­dict­ing that the time was ripe for a re­vival. And it’s true. The idea for mak­ing King Of Fight­ers XIV came from Street Fighter IV’s suc­cess. I wanted to cre­ate a game that truly lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tions that had been set in the market. I wanted there to be a large ros­ter of char­ac­ters. The an­i­ma­tors wanted to kill me. It was gru­elling work to get ev­ery­thing ready in time for the game’s launch, but we man­aged it. The King Of Fight­ers com­mu­nity has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing, shall we say, opin­ion­ated. But I wasn’t too ner­vous at launch. You know, mak­ing games for all these years, I’m used to re­leas­ing a game and hav­ing it get bashed. I ex­pected some peo­ple to like the game and oth­ers to be less en­am­oured. I was ready for what­ever came our way.

In re­cent years SNK has largely re­jected the 2D pixel art for which the com­pany earned its name, switch­ing to 3D, a choice that ar­guably does not make the best use of the com­pany’s once-lauded artists. KOFXIV is not with­out its charms, how­ever

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