Game

The making of Samurai Shodown, one of the sharpest fighters of the ’90s

Check out more retro features in Retro Gamer Magazine

Now with the concept of creating a solid fighting game, the team looked for ways to differentiate their game from the crowd. “We knew we had to do two things to challenge the most popular fighting game of that era,” says Adachi. “The first was to introduce the concepts of living and dying. Characters would not be defeated by punches, but would lose their lives to knives/weapons, adding more impact and tension to the player experience. The second was to have a deep and detailed backstory and story for each character. Because of this, players will not see and play characters as “icons”, they will see them as living, breathing people. Through this connection, players will be more motivated to protect their characters during battle and experience powerful and unforgettable gameplay with the game’s life and death concept and unique warriors.”

Samurai Shodown’s game design was based on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company had success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown notably drew a few elements from the latter. The game also followed the trend of more graphic violence in fighting games with many depictions of bloodshed and death, although not as extreme as in Mortal Kombat. The game also included many of its own mechanical progressions, including the concept of disarming the opponent in gunfights.

However, Samurai Shodown was unlike any other fighting game out there in its damage dealing. While the prevailing trend in fighting games was for players to combine multiple attacks into one painful combination, Adachi’s vision was for single hits to inflict massive damage. “Even now, I know that this type of extremely high damage (often laughing while doing it) that can change the outcome of the battle with a single hit is the subject of complaints from players,” says Adachi. “I’m going to apologize and laugh at the same time!” While this approach of course had its detractors, it managed to convey the sense of danger Adachi sought. He was also acutely aware that even great games can make gamers salty — in a 2017 interview with Polygon, Tomoki Fukui explained that while investigating Samurai Shodown, a frustrating loss of Street Fighter II prompted the director to keep the game on. silence for a minute. This inspired the Rage meter, which supports defeated players.

“During the development of the game, Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo was called ‘Kojiro’,” explains Adachi. “Even though we changed our names in the middle of development, most of the team members still called them Musashi and Kojiro!” These names were meant to demonstrate their status as rivals – Japanese history buffs will probably know that the names refer to famous samurai Musashi Miyamoto and his rival Kojiro Sasaki, who fought a deadly duel in 1612.

warrior spirit

A handsome fighter with women always chasing, Ukyo and Adachi have always loved “dark heroes” and the monster they both want to include is Gen-An. For Gen-An, the darkness is obvious, but the purpose of a non-human warrior is a little less so until it is revealed. “In the original concept of Samurai Shodown, monsters were supposed to be the main characters, and only Gen-An survived in the end,” he recalled, but Adachi recalled, “I think Kubikiri Basara Showdown III, which first appeared in Samurai, is Gen-An’s spiritual successor.”

The darkness is less obvious for Ukyo, but it stems from the fact that he suffers from terminal tuberculosis, an unusual trait for a fighting game character. “I think because of the deep themes of life and the ‘live or die’ aspect that is always represented in the game, the concept and presence of a character who has to fight while simultaneously suffering from an illness was something that seemed almost natural.”

You might expect such a character to cause memory and drawing issues, but that was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain situations. “The biggest challenges we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, it was done extremely well thanks to the wonderful work of Mr. Fukui, who was in charge of this task at the era and still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “Another problem with Earthquake was that other characters couldn’t use their throwing attacks against him due to his huge size, and that animation took up too much memory. in game. It was tricky, but in the end we were able to create a workaround to fix it by creating a custom shooting animation just for him.

Despite the game’s decidedly Japanese vibe, many of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but there’s also French fencer Charlotte and Californian ninja Galford. “It was to lighten up the heavy atmosphere of the blade-wielding warriors and give the game a more festive feel. We didn’t want it to feel too serious,” says Adachi. blue eyes,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you factor in the husky Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford is an ubiquitous wish-granting character — when asked why. animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? company, and I probably tried to make that dream come true by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” says Adachi.

You might expect such a character to cause memory and drawing issues, but that was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain situations. “The biggest challenges we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, it was done extremely well thanks to the wonderful work of Mr. Fukui, who was in charge of this task at the era and still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “Another problem with Earthquake was that other characters couldn’t use their throwing attacks against him due to his huge size, and that animation took up too much memory. in game. It was tricky, but in the end we were able to create a workaround to fix it by creating a custom shooting animation just for him.

Despite the game’s decidedly Japanese vibe, many of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but there’s also French fencer Charlotte and Californian ninja Galford. “It was to lighten up the heavy atmosphere of the blade-wielding warriors and give the game a more festive feel. We didn’t want it to feel too serious,” says Adachi. blue eyes,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you factor in the husky Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford is an ubiquitous wish-granting character — when asked why. animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? company, and I probably tried to make that dream come true by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” says Adachi.

samurai way

Luckily for Adachi, the game had cash on its fortune, as Samurai Shodown quickly became a hit after its arcade debut in July 1993. The Neo-Geo AES version was certainly one of the first games for the system. who didn’t come home. arcade perfect – due to the ongoing controversy over violence in video games, SNK has decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It didn’t matter which version of the game you played because the data was the same worldwide, so importers didn’t stand a chance unless they wanted to buy a Japanese console. It all seemed a little silly, as a poster from the Alt.games.sf2 newsgroup reasonably asked, “How many nine-year-olds own a $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the Neo-Geo AES version of the game was very popular with the system’s younger audience, and is one of the most widely available and affordable titles for the system today.

Reviews of the Neo-Geo home cartridge version were very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one combat in any home system” and commented that the blood-soaked action was “uncomfortably satisfying”. All four reviewers from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling it “an unparalleled graphical masterpiece”. In GamePro’s review, criticism focused on character balance, with Earthquake and Nakoruru being voted “too cheap” and “too weak” respectively, but the reviewer felt the game was “clearly superior to the Street Fighter II original in many ways”. . Samurai Shodown scored highly in all categories and was described as “one of the two best fighting games of all time”, despite being “made against Super Street Fighter II”.

“The company has always cared about the Samurai Shodown brand, and I sincerely and deeply thank them for that.” In fact, it’s easy to see that the company put a lot of emphasis on Samurai Shodown – it was the series chosen to launch the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system and the series that ended the Neo-Geo cartridge versions. . SNK recently reinvigorated the series with a game called Samurai Shodown, which was well received for its uniqueness and focus on core fighting game strategy – the attributes and minimal combos it had largely because it stuck to the principles of the original game with high damage. It’s a testament to the hard work of Adachi and the rest of the SNK team. The game has changed significantly since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s distinctive fighting style remains a cut above the competition.

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The making of Samurai Shodown, one of the sharpest fighters of the ’90s

Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer magazine

With the concept of creating a fighting game now set in stone, the team looked to find ways of differentiating its game from the crowd. “In order to challenge the most popular fighting game of this era, we knew there were two things we had to do,” explains Adachi. “The first was to introduce the notions of living and dying. Characters wouldn’t be beaten by fi sts, but would lose their life via blades/weapons, giving more impact and tension to the player’s experience. The second was to have a deep and detailed background and storyline for every character. Therefore, players won’t see and play characters as ‘icons’, but will see them as living, breathing people. Through this connection players will feel more motivated to protect their characters during battle, and have a strong and memorable gameplay experience with the life and death concept and the unique combatants in the game.” 

Samurai Shodown’s game design built on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company had seen success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown drew a number of elements from the latter in particular. The game also followed the trend towards more graphic violence in fighting games, with plenty of bloodshed and depictions of death – albeit nothing quite so outrageous as in Mortal Kombat. The game also included plenty of its own mechanical advances, including the concept of disarming the opponent in weapon clashes. 
But Samurai Shodown differed from every other fighting game available in its treatment of damage. Where the prevailing trend in fighting games was for players to string together lots of attacks into a painful combo, Adachi’s vision was for single hits to do major damage. “I know that even now this kind of extremely high damage that can change the outcome of the battle in one single hit is subject of complaints from players (who are usually laughing when they do this),” says Adachi. “In this case, I will apologise and laugh at the same time!” Of course, while this approach had its detractors, it did successfully convey the feeling of danger that Adachi had wanted. He was also acutely aware that even great games can make players salty – in a 2017 interview with Polygon, Tomoki Fukui explained that while researching Samurai Shodown, a frustrating Street Fighter II loss caused the director to fume in silence for a minute. This inspired the Rage gauge, which gave a boost to players that had taken a beating. 

“Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo ‘Kojiro’ during the development of the game,” Adachi explains. “Despite us changing their names in the middle of the development phase, most of the team members kept on calling them Musashi and Kojiro!” These names were intended to indicate their status as rivals – Japanese history buffwill likely know that the names reference the renowned samurai Musashi Miyamoto and his rival Kojiro Sasaki, who fought a fatal duel in 1612. 
Fighting spirit
Two characters that you wouldn’t necessarily connect are Ukyo, a beautiful fighter who has women chasing him wherever he goes, and the monstrous Gen-An – both of whom Adachi wanted to include because he “always loved ‘dark heroes’.” For Gen-An, the darkness is obvious but the reason for a non-human combatant is somewhat less so, until it’s explained. “Monsters were supposed to be the main characters in the original concept of Samurai Shodown, and only Gen-An survived in the end,” we’re reminded, though Adachi notes “I think that Kubikiri Basara who appeared for the first time in Samurai Showdown III is Gen-An’s spiritual successor.”
For Ukyo, the darkness is less obvious, but is drawn from the fact that he suffers from terminal tuberculosis – an unusual trait for a fighting game character. “I think because of the deep themes of life and the ‘live or die’ aspect always represented in the game, the concept and presence of a character that had to fight while suffering from a disease at the same time was something that felt almost natural.”

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 
Way of the samurai

Fortunately for Adachi, he was on the money regarding the game’s fortunes, as Samurai Shodown quickly achieved success after its arcade release in July 1993. The Neo-Geo AES version was one of the first games for the system that didn’t come home strictly arcade perfect – due to the ongoing controversy over violence in videogames, SNK decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It didn’t matter which version of the game you played as the data was identical worldwide, so importers were out of luck unless they wanted to pick up a Japanese console. It all seemed a little silly – as one poster on the alt.games.sf2 newsgroup reasonably asked, “How many nine-year-olds own a $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the Neo-Geo AES version of the game was very popular with the system’s small audience, and is one of the more widely available and affordable games for the system today. 
Reviews of the Neo-Geo home cartridge version were very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one beat-’em-up on any home system”, commenting that the blood-soaked action was “disturbingly satisfying”. All four reviewers in Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling the game “a graphic masterpiece that cannot be rivalled”. Criticism was directed at character balance in GamePro’s review, with Earthquake and Nakoruru being singled out as “too cheap” and “too weak” respectively, but the reviewer felt that the game “is in many ways clearly superior to the original Street Fighter II”. Though noting that it “has its work cut out for it against Super Street Fighter II,” Samurai Shodown earned perfect scores in all categories and was described as “one of the two best fighting games of all-time.” 

“The company has always taken care of the Samurai Shodown brand, and I sincerely and deeply thank them for this.” Indeed, it’s easy to see that the company places a great deal of importance on Samurai Shodown – it was the series chosen to launch the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system, and the series that brought an end to Neo-Geo cartridge releases. SNK recently revived the series with a game simply titled Samurai Shodown, which has been well received due to its uniqueness and focus on fundamental fighting game strategy – qualities that it possesses largely because it has stuck to the principles of the original game, with high damage and minimal combos. That’s a testament to the work of Adachi and the rest of the team at SNK. Gaming has changed considerably since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s distinctive style of fighting remains a cut above the competition.
Save up to 57% on a Retro Gamer magazine subscription bundle and have the best retro gaming features and interviews delivered to your door each month

#making #Samurai #Shodown #sharpest #fighters #90s

The making of Samurai Shodown, one of the sharpest fighters of the ’90s

Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer magazine

With the concept of creating a fighting game now set in stone, the team looked to find ways of differentiating its game from the crowd. “In order to challenge the most popular fighting game of this era, we knew there were two things we had to do,” explains Adachi. “The first was to introduce the notions of living and dying. Characters wouldn’t be beaten by fi sts, but would lose their life via blades/weapons, giving more impact and tension to the player’s experience. The second was to have a deep and detailed background and storyline for every character. Therefore, players won’t see and play characters as ‘icons’, but will see them as living, breathing people. Through this connection players will feel more motivated to protect their characters during battle, and have a strong and memorable gameplay experience with the life and death concept and the unique combatants in the game.” 

Samurai Shodown’s game design built on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company had seen success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown drew a number of elements from the latter in particular. The game also followed the trend towards more graphic violence in fighting games, with plenty of bloodshed and depictions of death – albeit nothing quite so outrageous as in Mortal Kombat. The game also included plenty of its own mechanical advances, including the concept of disarming the opponent in weapon clashes. 
But Samurai Shodown differed from every other fighting game available in its treatment of damage. Where the prevailing trend in fighting games was for players to string together lots of attacks into a painful combo, Adachi’s vision was for single hits to do major damage. “I know that even now this kind of extremely high damage that can change the outcome of the battle in one single hit is subject of complaints from players (who are usually laughing when they do this),” says Adachi. “In this case, I will apologise and laugh at the same time!” Of course, while this approach had its detractors, it did successfully convey the feeling of danger that Adachi had wanted. He was also acutely aware that even great games can make players salty – in a 2017 interview with Polygon, Tomoki Fukui explained that while researching Samurai Shodown, a frustrating Street Fighter II loss caused the director to fume in silence for a minute. This inspired the Rage gauge, which gave a boost to players that had taken a beating. 

“Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo ‘Kojiro’ during the development of the game,” Adachi explains. “Despite us changing their names in the middle of the development phase, most of the team members kept on calling them Musashi and Kojiro!” These names were intended to indicate their status as rivals – Japanese history buffwill likely know that the names reference the renowned samurai Musashi Miyamoto and his rival Kojiro Sasaki, who fought a fatal duel in 1612. 
Fighting spirit
Two characters that you wouldn’t necessarily connect are Ukyo, a beautiful fighter who has women chasing him wherever he goes, and the monstrous Gen-An – both of whom Adachi wanted to include because he “always loved ‘dark heroes’.” For Gen-An, the darkness is obvious but the reason for a non-human combatant is somewhat less so, until it’s explained. “Monsters were supposed to be the main characters in the original concept of Samurai Shodown, and only Gen-An survived in the end,” we’re reminded, though Adachi notes “I think that Kubikiri Basara who appeared for the first time in Samurai Showdown III is Gen-An’s spiritual successor.”
For Ukyo, the darkness is less obvious, but is drawn from the fact that he suffers from terminal tuberculosis – an unusual trait for a fighting game character. “I think because of the deep themes of life and the ‘live or die’ aspect always represented in the game, the concept and presence of a character that had to fight while suffering from a disease at the same time was something that felt almost natural.”

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 
Way of the samurai

Fortunately for Adachi, he was on the money regarding the game’s fortunes, as Samurai Shodown quickly achieved success after its arcade release in July 1993. The Neo-Geo AES version was one of the first games for the system that didn’t come home strictly arcade perfect – due to the ongoing controversy over violence in videogames, SNK decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It didn’t matter which version of the game you played as the data was identical worldwide, so importers were out of luck unless they wanted to pick up a Japanese console. It all seemed a little silly – as one poster on the alt.games.sf2 newsgroup reasonably asked, “How many nine-year-olds own a $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the Neo-Geo AES version of the game was very popular with the system’s small audience, and is one of the more widely available and affordable games for the system today. 
Reviews of the Neo-Geo home cartridge version were very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one beat-’em-up on any home system”, commenting that the blood-soaked action was “disturbingly satisfying”. All four reviewers in Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling the game “a graphic masterpiece that cannot be rivalled”. Criticism was directed at character balance in GamePro’s review, with Earthquake and Nakoruru being singled out as “too cheap” and “too weak” respectively, but the reviewer felt that the game “is in many ways clearly superior to the original Street Fighter II”. Though noting that it “has its work cut out for it against Super Street Fighter II,” Samurai Shodown earned perfect scores in all categories and was described as “one of the two best fighting games of all-time.” 

“The company has always taken care of the Samurai Shodown brand, and I sincerely and deeply thank them for this.” Indeed, it’s easy to see that the company places a great deal of importance on Samurai Shodown – it was the series chosen to launch the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system, and the series that brought an end to Neo-Geo cartridge releases. SNK recently revived the series with a game simply titled Samurai Shodown, which has been well received due to its uniqueness and focus on fundamental fighting game strategy – qualities that it possesses largely because it has stuck to the principles of the original game, with high damage and minimal combos. That’s a testament to the work of Adachi and the rest of the team at SNK. Gaming has changed considerably since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s distinctive style of fighting remains a cut above the competition.
Save up to 57% on a Retro Gamer magazine subscription bundle and have the best retro gaming features and interviews delivered to your door each month

#making #Samurai #Shodown #sharpest #fighters #90s


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