Publisher: SNK (Japan), Athlon Games (WW)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: PS4, Xbox One: June 27, 2019; Nintendo Switch, PC: 2019
Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirit in Japan) is a 2D fighting game developed and published by SNK (published by Athlon Games in western markets).
Samurai Shodown is the twelfth mainline title in the Samurai Shodown series, and the first release the series has seen in a long time, with the last mainline title being Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny, which released in 2009 in Japan, and in 2010 elsewhere. Samurai Shodown serves as a reboot of the series.
The team working on the Samurai Shodown reboot was also composed of plenty of SNK veterans. Yasuyuki Oda, who has been involved with the series since his work on Samurai Shodown 64 as well as Samurai Shodown 64: Warriors Rage, serves as producer on the 2019 reboot. Additionally, Nobuyuki Kuroki, the director and one of the artists on the game, has worked on various Sonic titles, as well as SNK’s own King of Fighters 14.
SNK decided to bring back the series after its hiatus because of heavy demand from their fanbase, and also because they felt it was one of the most unique properties under their belt. They also saw the growth of the e-sports scene, and wanted to participate in e-sports as a result, and felt Samurai Shodown would be best suited to it. As such, the 2019 reboot puts a great focus on e-sports.
Since Samurai Shodown was also returning after such a long hiatus, the development team wanted to make sure that the game stood out visually and was able to set itself apart from competitors in the genre. As such, instead of using photorealistic visuals the way many fighters end up doing, SNK decided to have a more stylized, graphic novel-style art design for Samurai Shodown. They also confirmed that the game would only have Japanese audio, to stay true to its Japanese setting so as to maintain authenticity.
DLC was also announced for Samurai Shodown by SNK, who claimed that the Season Pass would contain six months’ worth of content. It was confirmed that four characters would be added on to the game’s roster of fighters as DLC, while the developers also expressed interest in adding on guest characters from other franchises. The season pass was also offered for free to those who pre-ordered the game.
Samurai Shodown was announced for release on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, but would see a splintered release across all platforms. It would launch for the PS4 and the Xbox One on June 27, 2019, while the PC and Nintendo Switch versions were announced to be launching later in 2019. A Japanese demo for the game was also released in May 2019.
Samurai Shodown acts as a reboot of the franchise, but it doesn’t wipe the slate clan, and still very much falls into the narrative continuity that has been established by all previous games in the series. It is set one year after the events of Samurai Shodown V, and a few months before the first game.
Samurai Shodown brings back the series to a 2D fighting style, dropping the 3D fighting system it had adopted in the past with previous recent releases. The game features a roster of sixteen characters in total at launch. These characters are: Haohmaru, Shiki, Nakoruru, Earthquake, Darli Dagger, Charlotte, Galford, Jubei Yagyu, Genjuro Kibagami, Hanzo Hattori, Yashamaru Kurama, Yoshitora Tokugawa, Tam Tam, Kyoshiro Senryo, Wu-Ruixiang, and Ukyo Tachibana.
Of these sixteen characters, thirteen are returning faces from previous games, while the other three are new additions to the series. The three newcomers are- Darli Dagger, who is a shipwright who wields a giant sawblade with a serrated edge; Yashamaru Kurama, the fallen samurai who can wield tengu powers and uses a nagamak, whose alter ego is the phantom thief “Karasu Tengu”i; and Wu-Ruixiang, a descendant of an ancient and honorable feng shui clan who serves the Qing dynasty, and uses a Chaoji Zhaolong Luopan in combat.
Several stages have also been announced. These are: Gairyu Isle, which has two versions- one for Haohmaru during the day, and one for Unko during the night; the forest Kamui Kotan for Nakoruru; the De Colde family’s salon Minerva no Ma for Charlotte; an empty Dojo where Kuroko judges matches; the temple courtyard Rakucyu Sanmonmae for Yashamaru; the verdant field Mikatagahara for Genjuro; the deck of a pirate ship on Pirate Galleon for Galford; Kumanokodo for Hanzo; Green Hell for Tam Tam; Shibaigoya for Kyoshiro; and Uduki for Jubei.
Each fighter in Samurai Shodown also a special move that players can use to deal massive damage to their opponents. Similar to Samurai Shodown 6, each character also has a second hidden super special, an even stronger move that can be used once per match. During fights, each fighter also has a Rage gauge, which fills up with the amount of damage taken. Once it’s filled up, the fighter starts hitting harder.
The Rage gauge can also be used to active the Rage Explosion technique to trigger extra powerful dash attacks. These dash attacks, called Lightnight Strikes, are cinematic and extremely powerful moves that deal heavy damage. They can also be used only once per match. Maxing out the Rage gauge also allows players to use the Weapon Flipping Technique. If pulled off properly, this attack disarms the opponent.
Samurai Shodown also has a Dojo mode for training. Dojo mode uses a self-learning AI to study players’ fighting style in offline matches, and creates Ghosts based on that style. In the Dojo, players can fight your own Ghosts for training. Players can also download Ghosts of other players for more competitive training. The game also has something called an Ironman Challenge, which pits players in 100 round-matches against AI-controlled Ghosts.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.