Yasuyuki Oda talks SNK Heroines
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SNK’s latest fighting game, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is out this week for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, bringing together a variety of fan favourite fighters from SNK’s past for a party-style battle. The game’s characters find themselves transported into a mysterious mansion by an unknown party – and judging by the costumes that the women now find themselves in, the kidnapper clearly has a variety of fetishes. The fighting roster includes Fatal Fury’s Mai Shiranui, Samurai Shodown’s Nakoruru, Shermie from the King Of Fighters series and even Terry Bogard, whose gender has been forcibly reassigned by the mysterious abductor.
The emphasis is firmly on having fun rather than technical mastery – special move inputs are simplified as compared to the King Of Fighters series, items can be used ranging from time bombs to giant wrecking balls, and the game boasts a new Dream Finish system that ensures a spectacular end to every fight. There’s also a variety of costumes to unlock, and plenty of customisation to be done.
SNK’s producer Yasuyuki Oda sat down with us to explain a bit more about the game:
How did the SNK Heroines project get started?
Soon after The King Of Fighters XIV was released, we decided to start with a new project with popular female characters from throughout the whole SNK library. That’s where this came from.
There was a previous game on the Neo Geo Pocket Color with a similar theme, SNK Gals’ Fighters. Was any inspiration drawn from that for this concept?
Actually, it was kind of an opposite influence. Because we had already made a game like that, we wanted to make sure SNK Heroines wasn’t just a rehash of what that was, but a complete differentiation and a new game within that concept of using female fighters.
How did the team decide which characters to include in the game?
There were three different categories – popular characters from SNK, characters that we want to make more popular, and what we call the “special box.”
I’m curious, what does the “special box” entail?
If you’ve played The King Of Fighters XIV, you might know that everyone gets revived at the end of the story. So it was kind of a way to bring back Shermie.
The concept of a tag team fighting game is familiar to most players, but the Dream Finish system is a new concept. Could you please explain a bit about that for us?
The only way you can win is with a Dream Finish, so even if you get your opponent’s energy meter all the way down to zero, that opponent will not be defeated until you use a Dream Finish. The reason that this is important is because rather than a traditional fighting game where you’re using many combos or trying to chain things together, it’s for people who maybe are not particularly great at that. It’s more of a timing thing – waiting to build up your Dream Finish, and then waiting to get your enemy down to low energy, and then unleashing it at the right moment. Or maybe your playable character has used all of their stamina gauge, and so you switch out to your character in reserve who has the Dream Finish, and do it right then.
You mentioned that the Dream Finish system was tailored towards those who aren’t so good at combos. Is it fair to say that you’re aiming SNK Heroines towards an audience that is less familiar with fighting games?
Yes, the idea is to be as broad as possible with who is able to play this game. Of course there’s practice involved, you still have to practice and learn how to play the game well, but it’s very welcoming for everyone.
What modes are included?
Story mode, versus mode, survival mode, training mode, online mode – and there’s an option within the online mode to watch other players and bet points on their battles.
What is the purpose of the points?
Those are used for customisation – there’s lots of costumes, lots of accessories, you can buy different backgrounds and take screenshots using them. The in-game currency is the way to get all this stuff, the betting is just a quick way to get it so you can unlock more things that you’d like to use.
Roughly how many costumes are there per character?
There are three per character, and around 130 customisation items.