New Fatal Fury

SignOfZeta

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At some point I read that FF1 was considered a KOF…as in it takes the place of…KOF 91 or whatever, retroactively. The tournament everyone joins in the game is called The King of Fighters and Geese organized it.

However the name “Fatal Fury - The King of Fighters is only the English name. “King of Fighters” in real KOF is always written “King of Fighters” or “KOF” in both English and Japanese so…it’s a soft KOF, basically. I think when KOF 94 came out the idea was that it was a sequel to the idea of a rich asshole running a tournament with ulterior motives.

While you can’t play three-on-three there are only three playable characters in that games story mode.
 

Neo Alec

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At some point I read that FF1 was considered a KOF…as in it takes the place of…KOF 91 or whatever, retroactively. The tournament everyone joins in the game is called The King of Fighters and Geese organized it.

However the name “Fatal Fury - The King of Fighters is only the English name. “King of Fighters” in real KOF is always written “King of Fighters” or “KOF” in both English and Japanese so…it’s a soft KOF, basically. I think when KOF 94 came out the idea was that it was a sequel to the idea of a rich asshole running a tournament with ulterior motives.

While you can’t play three-on-three there are only three playable characters in that games story mode.
What's the English title got to do with anything? The name of the tournament in the game is King of Fighters in the Japanese version too.
 

sirlynxalot

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Might as well add Art of Fighting 2 in there as well then. What would that be, KOF 1982?

1663957457562.png
 

Grandmaster-C

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Years the games took place storywise:

Art of Fighting: 1978
Art of Fighting 2-3: 1979
Fatal Fury: 1992
Fatal Fury 2: 1993
Fatal Fury 3: 1995
Real Bout Fatal Fury: 1996
Real Bout 2: 1998
Mark of the Wolves: 2006
 

HellioN

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Theoretically it doesn't matter I guess.
World Heroes, IIRC, is based on time travel and pulling its fighters from different eras.
Therefore the tournament could happen pretty much whenever.
 

Hattori Hanzo

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An interview with SNK President and CEO Kenji Matsubara appears in the latest issue of Famitsu, revealing some of the contents.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, who established the MiSK Foundation, said, "I want SNK to aim for the shining days of the 1980s, or even better. In response, we made a proposal to aim for the world's top 10 and sales of 140 billion yen (*Capcom level).
*In April 2021, SNK was acquired by the Electronic Gaming Development Company (EGDC), which is owned by the MiSK Foundation, established by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Revamp (*see below) IPs that revive past IPs are also aiming for AAA. We aim for AAA even for new IPs.
Considering the potential of our IP, we would like to offer genres other than fighting games, such as those that utilize action, characters, and stories, in order to broaden the scope of our IP and have more customers enjoy them.
Eventually, we would like to create a flow that can be developed into entertainment in a broader sense, such as visual content.
We call our efforts to revive and reincarnate IP in this way "revamp" (revamp: to improve, to reform, etc.).
(Q. Will you turn fighting game IP such as FATAL FURY into open-world ACT or ADV?) We are also looking to expand into that genre, so please look forward to it. Expanding into action ADVs and RPGs with a storyline is an important element in expanding our IP.
We are currently creating a 10-year strategy. We are also considering M&A.
 

HellioN

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I could get with a FF beat em up side game for sure.
Maybe now would be a good time to start asking about a samurai shodown RPG remaster with an official English release.
 

Hattori Hanzo

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The said Famitsu interview:

Interview with SNK President Matsubara. The shareholder is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Growth strategy aiming for more than $1 billion in sales in 10 years, with "FATAL FURY" and "KOF" open-world games in mind.

It has been a year since Kenji Matsubara, who previously served as President and CEO of Koei Tecmo Games and Sega Games, was appointed President and CEO of SNK. How did Mr. Matsubara fare in his first year in office? And what kind of growth strategy does he have in mind for the future? We interviewed Mr. Matsubara (Interviewer: Famitsu Group Representative Hayashi).
Hiro

Tokyo Office Emphasizes Communication

--Thank you very much for allowing us to take a look at the new office of the Tokyo Branch. It is a very stylish office, very open and open.

MatsubaraThank you very much. When I joined SNK, we discussed the idea that if we wanted to strengthen our development capabilities, we should also have a studio in Tokyo, and we decided on this location immediately after I joined SNK in August 2021.

--So you decided on this location right after you took office?

MatsubaraYes. We wanted to create an environment where everyone can communicate without division, so there is a sense of openness. We also created an open space for staff to gather and socialize, and for information to be disseminated to the outside world.

--It looks simple and relaxing to work in, and there are meeting spaces at the entrance and in the office.

MatsubaraThat's right. For simple meetings, we have many spaces where people can quickly gather and talk without having to go to a conference room.

Saudi capital and SNK fanatic, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

--SNK is a company owned by the MiSK Foundation, which was established in April 2021 by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Electronic Gaming Development Company" (EGDC), a company owned by the "MiSK Foundation" established by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Matsubara was appointed as CEO in August of the same year. First of all, could you tell us about the MiSK Foundation?

MatsubaraThe MiSK Foundation, which became our parent company, is a non-profit organization that supports the healthy development of Saudi Arabia's youth.

 Until now, Saudi Arabia's industries have been centered on petroleum and chemicals, but from now on, there is a policy of fostering a variety of industries, and entertainment is becoming extremely important in the trend of "supporting what young people are interested in doing".

 In this context, from Saudi Arabia's perspective, Japan is a major entertainment country in terms of animation, manga, and games, and it is already actively investing in manga and animation. Japan is already investing aggressively in manga and anime, and the next step would be games. That is how they decided to acquire SNK. Of course, as you may know, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is a huge fan of games, especially SNK (laughs).

--(laughs) - It is an amazing story that the Crown Prince is an SNK fan, isn't it? It probably means that "Samurai Spirits" and "KOF" were exactly what His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince played in his youth.

MatsubaraAs I understand it, when he was a teenager, he ordered arcade games from Japan and played them. I get the impression that he was no different or even more enthusiastic about these games than a teenager who loves Japanese games.

--I am wondering to what extent His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is expressing his own intentions regarding the project. I wonder to what extent His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince is expressing his own intentions regarding the business.

MatsubaraThere is a clear separation between the two. As a shareholder and owner of the company, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince has a managerial viewpoint that he wants SNK to be. I think this is the same in Saudi Arabia and everywhere else.

 On the other hand, he is also a fan of "KOF," so he talks passionately about the appeal of "KOF" in this way. You seem to be one of the most enthusiastic fans.

Decided to become CEO of SNK

--What was the most attractive point for you when you joined SNK as CEO?

I have asked His Imperial Highness Prince Matsubara and the MiSK Foundation, "What are you going to do by owning a Japanese company? I once asked them, "What are you going to do with the Japanese company? "Is your goal to bring it back to Saudi Arabia after all?" I asked.

 He said that he wanted to realize SNK's great growth as a Japanese company, and with Saudi Arabia's support, it would grow to the world's top level.

 In fact, when His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince visited Japan in the past, a growth strategy called the "Japan-Saudi Vision 2030*" was created between the two countries, and in it, entertainment is clearly mentioned as something that the governments of Japan and Saudi Arabia will work together to develop. In the strategy, entertainment is mentioned as something that the governments of Japan and Saudi Arabia will jointly develop in the future.

 In this context, games, manga, and animation will be promoted as industries. This has already been decided as a promise between the two countries, and the MiSK Foundation owns SNK as a concrete project. If you are willing to support us that much, let's do it together.

The basic direction of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Saudi Arabia and a list of specific projects formulated in 2017. The list of specific projects, which was formulated in 2017 between Japan and Saudi Arabia, is a list of projects that will be implemented by the two countries. The Saudi Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia's vision for oil dependence and job creation, and Japan's growth strategy for achieving 600 trillion yen in GDP.
Various Reforms in One Year in Office.
 

Hattori Hanzo

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--What are some of the areas that you have found rewarding since joining the company in August 2021?

MatsubaraSNK is making a solid profit on a scale of 150 employees in Japan and 200 in Beijing. It already has a mature form, so I was wondering where to start.

 However, the order from our shareholders is to "take SNK to the world's top level," so we need to drastically change the processes and ways of thinking that have already matured to a certain extent.

 So, first of all, we need to say, "Let's make it to the world's top 10. To do so, we started by telling them that they need to change not only the rules, but also their feelings and the way they work.

--So you started by raising awareness. What did you do from there?

Matsubara:During the past year, we have undertaken a variety of activities. A management accounting system to accurately grasp how projects and operations are progressing. I have taken advantage of my past experience to introduce the most efficient way to manage the development of titles and the progress of projects, in order to become a world-class company.

--Until now, did you have a system for reviewing projects and holding review meetings during the development process?

MatsubaraBig companies with global operations spend large budgets, so after creating a prototype, there is a business feasibility review, which is the most important step in determining whether the project is really a business, followed by alpha and beta testing, and then a release review. I think this is the standard process, but until now SNK did not have such a systematic flow.

 We had only one studio in Japan, in Osaka, so we were able to communicate with each other to a certain extent. However, we will have a Tokyo studio in the future, and the number of titles and staff will increase, so I felt it was necessary to introduce a global standardized flow, so I started working on this soon after I took office.

Revamping" to rebirth IPs

--First of all, before asking about SNK's specific goals for the future, what exactly do you mean by "revamping" your IP?

MatsubaraSNK has a history of 40 years and has many great IPs, but I don't think they are reaching enough people around the world.

 Until now, we have been trying to deliver them within the genre of fighting games, but now, considering the potential of the IP, we would like to expand the IP to other genres, such as action games and games that utilize character stories, so that more customers can enjoy the IP. I would like to expand the IP to other genres besides fighting games so that more customers can enjoy it.

 I would like to create a flow of IP that goes beyond games and eventually develops into entertainment in a broader sense, such as visual content. We think of revamping as an initiative to revive and reincarnate IP in this way.

--In terms of IP revival, "FATAL FURY" has already been announced, and we are not only making a new fighting game based on such old fighting game titles, but also taking on new challenges such as action adventure, open world, and so on. Do you mean that you are going to challenge yourself in these areas?

MatsubaraWe will continue to make fighting games as a landmark of SNK, and we are also looking forward to expanding into other genres as you mentioned. Fighting games have many characters, each with their own background story. In that sense, I believe that expanding into action adventure and RPGs with a storyline will be an important factor in expanding our IP.
Improvement and Expansion of Development System

--I think that the development system needs to be improved and expanded in order to actually develop such titles.

MatsubaraAt present, the Osaka Studio has about 150 employees, the Tokyo Studio has about 30, and the Beijing Studio has about 200, for a total of just under 400. Roughly speaking, Osaka is responsible for revamps, Tokyo for new productions, and Beijing for both revamps and new productions, but this is still not enough.

--How much do you plan to increase the number of revamps?

MatsubaraWhen we think of the scale of the top 10 studios in the world in 10 years, we are talking about several thousand people. In addition to organic growth in Japan and China studios, we are also looking at M&A, both domestic and overseas.

--Ten years seems like a long time, but it also seems short.

MatsubaraYes, it does. In fact, I don't think there is any precedent for a domestic publisher to have achieved that level of global growth. We will continue to pursue organic growth in Japan, but I think it is important to look for game developers and publishers who are willing to work with us, or to increase the number of people who are willing to work with us through partnerships.

--That is a great goal, isn't it?

MatsubaraWhen I first spoke with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, he said, "SNK really shined in the 90s. So I want us to aim for that era or even better. In response, I proposed the goals of "becoming one of the world's top 10 companies in 10 years" and "sales of more than 1 billion dollars. Based on that proposal, we reached an agreement with the MiSK Foundation and discussed a 10-year policy and periodic plan, which was approved by the board of directors.

--When you say 1 billion dollars, you mean that Capcom is aiming for around 100 billion dollars in sales, is that right?

MatsubaraI have experience in my previous company, which had sales of 140 billion yen, so I know what a billion dollars looks like. So, although it is challenging to reach $1 billion, I believe that it is not impossible. And while it is important to reach $1 billion, it is more important that we are getting closer to our goal step by step. I believe it is my responsibility to create such a situation.

--I think it is my responsibility to create such a situation.

MatsubaraYes, in terms of scale. The key is to grow and increase the development team, and how to deliver that to the customers. And I think it is also very necessary to expand it globally.

--You are saying that you are going to create worldwide AAA titles not only through organic growth, but also with will and intention.

MatsubaraWe are aiming for AAA for the Revamp IP, and we are also aiming for AAA for our new IP. I think SNK in the 1990s had a history of repeated challenges, and there were many failures, and I am sure there were more failures than failures. But they never gave up and kept challenging themselves, and some of them became successful.

 I think that is SNK's DNA, and I believe that we can find a way to reach the world's top 10 by continuing to take on challenges and maintaining this attitude.

Tokyo Studio to be responsible for the creation of next-generation AAA titles

--What is the role of Tokyo Studio?

MatsubaraTokyo Studio will be responsible for creating new IP and creating new AAA titles. In addition, Tokyo Studio will take on new challenges, such as working on a wide range of game genres for new IPs.
 

Hattori Hanzo

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On the other hand, the Osaka Studio will continue to use its experience to create fighting games as our landmark. And the center of the revamp I mentioned earlier will be in Osaka.

 China is at the forefront of mobile game development, so the Beijing studio will balance new IP and revamped IP as mobile games. We would like to create a global title from China that can match the impact of the "Original God" when it first came out. Depending on the situation, we may consider establishing a new studio in Beijing alone, or we may consider increasing the number of people who are willing to join us.

--Is starting a new IP in Tokyo really starting from scratch?

MatsubaraThat's right, SNK has a long history, so revamping is important, but as a game company, we need to create new IP. It is absolutely necessary to take on that challenge. That is what I have been telling His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and the MiSK Foundation.

 As I mentioned earlier, SNK did this in the 1990s and has continued to create new IP. I know that creating new IP is a lot of work, but if we want to grow as a game company in the future, I told them that it is an absolutely necessary element, and they understood this.

 I would like to work on both revamping and creating new IP, and move forward in the direction that SNK will accumulate as a force in this decade.

--I guess you feel that SNK will continue to work with the Osaka studio based on the knowledge of the newly joined members in Tokyo.

MatsubaraThat's right. We numbered the first studio as Osaka and the second studio as Tokyo, because we didn't want to put up regional barriers. It has only been a year since the Tokyo studio was established, and we have less than 30 members, so we are still in the early stages of interaction, but I think that in the future we will hire new graduates and work together more and more to make things together.

--But it doesn't mean that the 1st and 2nd studios will only work on consumer and PC games, does it?

MatsubaraOf course. If we have the chance, we will also play mobile games. On the other hand, since we cannot develop console games in China, we will concentrate on PC and mobile games.
Strengthening Overseas Publishing

--I think there is an issue of how to strengthen publishing if SNK is going to expand its business overseas. I think there are several ways to do this, such as establishing overseas bases or conducting M&A. What do you think about this?

MatsubaraWe are in the process of creating a medium-term plan and a 10-year strategy. We are looking at opportunities for M&A and partnerships in all the functions we should have as a game company. In Asia, we have offices in China, Korea, and Taiwan, so we are expanding our base there, and in the U.S. and Europe, we are forming a team to target M&A opportunities.

--I think that the focus of your worldwide operations is on Europe, the United States, and East Asia, but it seems that you will have a lot to do in Southeast Asia, South America, the Middle East, and other regions in the future.

MatsubaraWhen the fighting game world championship "EVO" was held the other day, we were supported by influencers from Chile. Perhaps it is a characteristic of fighting games, but there are influencers like that all over the world.

 I think the reason why we have fans all over the world is because of our long history, but in this respect, North America and Europe are still important. From there, we would like to establish a base for publishing and marketing in Europe, including the Middle East, and in North America, extending to South America.

--At this year's EVO, a new title in the "FATAL FURY" series was announced, so how long do you think we have to wait for the next release?

MatsubaraYes, that's right. We have just released "THE KING OF FIGHTERS XV" ("KOF XV") and have just started work on the new "FATAL FURY" series, so things are progressing smoothly at the moment. It is in the next phase that things will stop going smoothly (laughs).

 We have already finalized the plan, created a prototype, and are in the process of conducting a feasibility study. I try to give them my opinions. I have not been with SNK for very long, so I will be there and show them that I am willing to work with them.

Development as visual content as well.

--I think that AAA titles will probably take two or three years to make, but are there titles that will be made and output in about one year?

Matsubara Of course. Our portfolio is not a team that aims for a single home run. We have AAA titles, but we need to produce results as a studio before we get to that point, so we are also considering medium-sized titles that can be released in about a year. We will probably start with such titles rather than AAA titles.

--So you are saying that you have been spending a lot of time preparing for this year since last year, but that you have big announcements waiting for next year and beyond?

MatsubaraThat is correct. In terms of non-game content, how do you plan to deliver the Fighter IP (fighting game titles) to customers, such as videos and e-sports tournaments, and how do you plan to expand the IP itself? We need to do this on a global scale, so we are currently in the process of creating a strategy.

 In terms of e-sports, we have started the "SNK REGIONAL BOUTS" world championship for "KOF XV" in November (2022). We will continue to hold such events next year and beyond, and of course, we are also thinking about how to create opportunities for customers to experience fighter IPs and military IPs (such as Metal Slug) in ways other than just e-sports tournaments.

 The storyline we are currently considering is to strategically expand the popularity of not games but videos, events, etc., while preparing the marketing process so that when customers want to play the games, new products will be released with a "pop". I see.

--I see. For example, you want to create a story where people who are not familiar with "FATAL FURY" or "KOF" become interested in them through the development of anime, etc., and then a new game is released.

MatsubaraYes, there are many ways to interact with IP, and I think that visual elements such as anime and manga are particularly important.

--Do you have such a business unit within SNK or do you collaborate with other companies? Or do you collaborate with other companies?

MatsubaraAfter all, SNK is a game company, so we collaborate with external parties when we create images. We are working with a variety of companies, not only in Japan but also overseas, and we are preparing for this.
Creating a Culture that Enthusiasts the World

--I'm sure many of you have felt the changes at SNK over the past year and are looking forward to joining SNK. So, can you tell us again about SNK's mission and vision?

MatsubaraOur mission is to "create a culture that enthuses the world. I really wanted to include the word "enthusiasm". SNK has a history represented by fighting games, and our games have elements that make fans enthusiastic, and this has become our identity. We will continue to create enthusiasm. We will not only pass on what we have done in the past, but we will continue to create. That's why we included the word "create.
 

Hattori Hanzo

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--It is a word that is very typical of SNK.

MatsubaraWe also set "Be a gaming power house" as our mission and vision, and "power house" means to have the power to transmit information about games and other entertainment. We used this term to mean that we have the power to transmit entertainment centered on games. We use this term to mean that we have the ability to transmit entertainment centered on games. In order to realize this, we are trying to become a "gaming power house" that transmits the power of games to a wide range of entertainment.

 In terms of hiring people, we are looking for people who share our vision and who are willing to run with us as we grow into a company that is going through a very difficult phase of growth. To be honest, this is not a 100-meter race, but a marathon, and we will overcome the obstacles together, so that 10 years from now, we can enjoy the fruits of our labor together. I would like people who are willing to work toward that goal to participate.

--It sounds like a lot of fun.

MatsubaraOf course, I don't expect things to turn out exactly as I have drawn them. Because it is a game, what we release may or may not sell well. We are strategically planning for growth while maintaining a good balance between the two.

 Therefore, I am hoping that we will be able to attract talented people to join our development team and our publishing and marketing team, who will be responsible for the development of the games. If that happens, I am confident that we will be able to do it. I am confident that we can do it.

 We have been working for the past year to break down our goals and reduce them to a feasible level. We are aware that there are risks associated with high goals, so we will review them carefully at each phase, and we call this "rolling," or rolling, as we move toward our goals step by step without wavering. I hope that more and more people will join us in this endeavor.

--Are you already hiring in both Tokyo and Osaka?

MatsubaraActually, we have been putting a lot of effort into recruiting new graduates since this year, and we have been able to achieve considerable results. We are very grateful for the large increase in applications from both Osaka and Tokyo.

--I have often heard that there are not enough people in the game industry, and that although there are openings, people are not coming in. It is amazing that you have been able to produce results in such a situation.

MatsubaraThe game industry itself is growing, and I think it is also contributing to Japanese society. Therefore, I would like to see more people from other industries come to the game industry.

 In order for the industry as a whole to become more attractive, I think it is important for it to become an industry where not only new graduates but also programmers, people who have ideas and can plan projects, and many other people can enter the industry. I think it is important to create an industry where a variety of people can enter, not because they lack experience, but because they have the desire to grow over the long term, as I mentioned earlier. We are also strengthening our year-round hiring.

--By the way, did Mr. Matsubara conduct the final interview for new graduates who will join the company next year? What kind of people do you have in mind?

MatsubaraAll of them were interviewed by me. Most of them attended the information session. When I look at the questionnaire, there are many people who said that they felt that SNK has changed and is trying to become this kind of company.

 There are also people who love gaming, and people who want to start something new in Tokyo, and I think we will get new graduates who will support our future growth.

--I think it's good. I think it is good that not only veterans but also the younger generation, including new graduates and others from outside the company, will join the company and the ranks will become thicker.

I have told Mr. Matsubara that we will strengthen the hiring of new graduates and that I want him to create a place to accept, train, and work with new graduates within the department. Actually, the number of rejections we received when we made job offers was smaller than we expected. So we ended up with more people coming in than we had budgeted (laughs).

(laughs) -- That's a happy scream (laughs).

MatsubaraAfter all, that's how much interest we received, so it gives us encouragement for next year.
SNK is now showing an image video for recruiting

 SNK is now showing an image video with newly written music by "Eiji," a hot artist who is expected to make a breakthrough in the future. Check it out if you are interested in the new SNK.

 

yagamikun

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Thanks for the full post @Hattori Hanzo - Had read a few snippets of this the other day about SNK's bid for video game world domination, but didn't catch the rest of the story. Interesting read.
 

SignOfZeta

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So how do we get MBS to stop lurking here and make an account?

Also, what’s the best internet anonymizer these days? I’m thinking about starting another account and I don’t want to get cut up and dissolved in acid.
 
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