Since the Nintendo Switch took the world by storm, Hamster Corporation has been busy releasing classic Neo Geo coin-op titles on a weekly basis on the Nintendo eShop in their Arcade Archives line. SNK, who are the masterminds behind the Neo Geo and many of its games, are not only celebrating their 40th anniversary but are also setting themselves up to release their brand new 2 vs 2 fighting game, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.
We had the chance to chat with one of the most experienced companies at fighting games out there to find out what their new summer title is all about, to which producer Yasuyuki Oda and director Kaito Soranaka answered our many questions.
Nintendo Insider: First off, I would like to congratulate SNK on its 40th anniversary and it is an honour to have a new game on the Nintendo Switch to commemorate the occasion.
Yasuyuki Oda: It has been quite a while since an SNK title was brought to Nintendo hardware. I am very excited for it.
NI: I wondered whether we could start by asking why you decided to have an all-female roster?
YO: We saw that the popularity of SNK’s female characters has been rising around the world, so we wanted to use them to create a brand new title.
NI: Who is your favourite female fighter in SNK Heroines, and, to talk more broadly for a second, from other games in the fighting genre?
Kaito Soranaka: Of the ones that have been released, I like Kula in the Angel costume.
NI: Who is your target audience for this game? Is it approachable for newcomers, or more suited to hardcore fans of the genre?
YO: Both, if possible. Experienced gamers will enjoy the mind games and new players can learn the simple controls.
NI: I understand that you can’t win by simply knocking your opponent out. Could you please elaborate more on how the fighting system works?
KS: This game features a Life Gauge and a Spirit Gauge, and the Spirit Gauge is used for special attacks and Dream Finish. If your opponent’s Life Gauge is red and you hit them with a Dream Finish, you win. In this title, you don’t necessarily win just by bringing your opponent’s HP to zero, so it is important to manage the Spirit Gauge.
NI: Why did you choose to make a party-style brawler rather than a more serious fighter such as Last Blade or Samurai Shodown?
YO: We will create casual and series titles, so please look forward to those.
NI: I noticed a slight resemblance to Capcom’s Pocket Fighter (which was released as Super Gem Fighter in the west). Would it be fair to say that this game is of a similar ilk to the 90’s arcade classic?
YO: I never noticed that myself, but it may have to do with the cute and comical feel.
NI: New outfits and accessories seem to be an important component to SNK Heroines. Do the these affect the gameplay in any way?
KS: That doesn’t change with [any] costume. However, some of the accessories will change the sound effects or react when taking damage.
NI: What inspired the decision to add this element of customisation?
YO: We thought this system would be enjoyed more in the world of SNK Heroines than the KOF series.
NI: I understand that there’s going to be around 14 characters at launch. Will we be seeing any DLC down the line?
YO: We are currently planning DLC.
NI: With esports being a hotspot for fighting games, what are your hopes for SNK Heroines in finding a place within the fighting game community?
YO: I really hope that is the case.
NI: Are there any complex combos to learn for the more hardcore player?
KS: It is possible to create combos using just one character, but by utilizing the tag team feature, you can create combos with two.
NI: Is there any chance of seeing any other characters beyond those that have appeared in previous fighting games from SNK? Such as Eri Kasamoto from Metal Slug, perhaps?
YO: We’ve received many requests for that after the game’s announcement, so we are currently considering a number of things.
NI: It seems to me like this could be a testing ground for KOF XIV. What are the possibilities of that game seeing release on Nintendo Switch?
YO: I am very hopeful about the possibilities of the Switch. I think that, after this title, there will be a stronger push toward releasing KOF XIV on the Switch.
NI: One thing that seems to be missing in a lot of fighters is the ability for two local players to participate in an online lobby. It’s a welcome feature in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, but is there any chance that it could feature in SNK Heroines?
KS: Online play will only support one player.
NI: The trailer revealed at EVO Japan looks as though there’s a narrative to the action. Are we going to see a story mode in SNK Heroines?
KS: There is a story mode.
We would like to thank NIS America, Yasuyuki Oda, and Kaito Soranaka for their time.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy will release on Nintendo Switch worldwide in Summer 2018.