Yasuyuki Oda, General Manager of SNK Software Development Division 1, has revealed that early work has begun on a reboot of the Art of Fighting series, as well as a Samurai Shodown entry which isn't a fighting game.
There are several titles that are currently in development, but this one is one that I'm thinking of going forward. We'll start with a team build, so technically we haven't even started yet, but first we're thinking of making a new version of 'Fist of the Dragon and Tiger' [the Japanese title of the game, 'Ryūko no Ken']. I'm thinking of making that series again. I'm also thinking of making Samurai Spirits, which is not a fighting game. So, I would like to recruit developers for that purpose.
Oda explains that the project is in its very early stages, and the team that will develop and design it is still being built. "It's a series that stopped running in the early 1990s, so we have to start by brainstorming how we can bring it back to life in this day and age," he says. "There is a vague idea, but if I say it, it will end up being the same, so I try not to say it."
He adds that it won't be a sequel to the original series, which ended in 1996 with Art Of Fighting 3: The Path Of The Warrior (known in Japan as Ryūko no Ken Gaiden). "There is actually a continuation of that story, but even if we were to do it, it wouldn't make sense unless we retold it from the beginning," he adds, before pointing out that the third AoF game "didn't go well," which explains why SNK hasn't returned to the franchise in such a long time.
Oda also talks a little about the kind of realism the AoF series strived for in the past. "I've heard my boss at the time say that Ryuko was the so-called "Fist of the North Star" and Garou had a "Dragon Ball" feel to it." When asked if the game would be a 3D fighter, Oda replies: "With today's graphics, I think it's possible to create a dragon-like feel even in 3D fighting, so I think it's a possibility."
Moving on to the new Samurai Shodown title, Oda talks about tackling the series from a different angle. "Of course, [Samurai Shodown] is a fighting game, but I also think it's an IP that matches the genre of games that enjoy stories. A long time ago, there was an RPG called Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits Bushido Retsuden, and I thought it would be possible to make an action RPG with that kind of feeling, so I've just started working on it."
He also explains that, unlike the AoF reboot, this project has progressed past the brainstorming phase. "Unlike Ryuko, this one is progressing with some solidity. This was before the coronavirus pandemic, but there was actually a time when we were making a prototype. At that time, it was like a battle action game where you controlled Kurama Yashamaru and flew around the field defeating enemies. But then the pandemic hit and the company's structure changed, so we're rethinking things from the beginning. That's why we chose the broad genre of action RPG. The prototype was really just the core parts, so we're still working on that."
SNK is currently working on Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.