KOF2001 "Dream Match Revival"(tentative title) to be released-
All Rumors Explained, Cleared
In the latest interview by Enterbrain Co., KOF2001 -Dream Match Revival" (title still tentative and possible to be changed) has been confirmed to be in Development. Rumors to development of KOF2001 have been explained and made clear as well, including those of companies Eolith and Brezza. The interview was conducted to Yeon Min Heum, head of the KOF development department, and administrative director of Eolith Co., LTD. The Following is a translation.
Note: While the article is concrete, Enterbrain Co. stresses that people not call Eolith or SNK to question on the article. Neither Eolith nor SNK's public representatives are currently organized to reply to questions. If there are any questions, please contact Enterbrain's Arcadia Magazine editorial desk- phone #: (81) 03-5433-7850.
Special Thanks to Leon, for Proof-Reading this translation written at 4AM.
-First, please confirm with us the facts. Is it true that Your company... Eolith, will be producing the latest "KOF" title?
Yes, that is the truth.
-Ok then, calling the game title temporarily as "KOF2001", can it be taken that this product [is being developed with] the official rights and license from SNK?
Yes. Eolith and SNK has contracted a license agreement in 2000.
-Please explain the reasons to acquiring the license to KOF.
Japan has many major game producers, and their products take up most of the shares at arcades in Korea. Eolith is the first game company in Korea to register under KOSDAQ (the Korean counterpart of NASDAQ), and there are plans to affirmatively advance overseas as well. We pride at being the number one game maker within Korea, but in order to deliver a high quality product that we can be proud of to overseas, we decided to acquire the license to KOF, which still has many fans, and a high popularity worldwide.
-When did negotiations with SNK begin?
Exact dates can't be told, but serious negotiations began around July-August of 2000.
-How will SNK be involved in the development of this "KOF 2001"?
That is a very delicate issue. The contract states that the development of "KOF 2001" will be handled by Eolith. However, KOF has continued as a series, has a scenario, and SNK has an accumulation of knowledge to verify the product's details. What's most important of all is to create [the] product with a quality that's par to the previous, and to go even further as to create it with higher quality so that the game can be enjoyed by all players. In order to do that, efforts to cooperate with SNK in such factors as planning of projects and checkup on quality/completeness, are essential. Those factors are also written within the contract, so that will be our relationship.
-What kind of relation is there with Brezza Soft ?
Brezza Soft is a company that is cooperating with us in the production.
-There has been rumors of [Brezza developing on their own] different projects, but it is the same project?
Yes. That's Correct.
-Now that the game's production has switched from SNK to a different company, will there be new systems and factors [in KOF2001]?
Of course. If there are no advancements since KOF2000, there would be no meaning to develop KOF2001. By making a product that players are satisfied with, that becomes a business. There can be no business without sales. There will be good improvements made for that reason.
-Innovations of Eolith, against a past series holding fans... Or so to say, "Revolution vs. Tradition".... Which will be a factor more strongly emphasized upon?
Of course the policy has already been set, but this is a very delicate question too. After a length of consideration, [we] concluded that too big a change can lead to the loss of fans, so it has been decided that 70-80 percent of the game will be based on tradition, with the remaining 20-30 percent on revolution.
- Will "THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2001" become the official title?
The "THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2001" title has been tentative since the stage when Eolith and SNK were signing the contract, and it is still a tentative title.
- Is it safe to assume that KOF2001 will be a fighter game as it has always been? In a weird example, it won't become something like a puzzle game or music game, will it?
Should we make it into a Dance game? (Laughs) That was a joke, don't worry. It will be a versus style fighter game as it has always been. However, if fans desire it, we could we could release it as a dancing game instead. (Laughs)
- So, can KOF2001 be thought of as the latest in the [KOF] series?
Yes, that's right. As Eolith, we think that it is our duty to inherit on the tradition that SNK has kept on releasing. It would be safe to think that [we will be] creating the latest in the series which emphasizes on such tradition, but also replies to the desire of players.
- Are there any possibilities that KOF2001 will not be pixel graphics (2D), but will be using polygons instead?
Let me ask instead, which would you rather prefer, pixels or polygons?
-If it's KOF, pixels.
Don't worry (laughs) It will be drawn in pixel graphics like as in the past.
-KOF is characteristic of its beautiful and unique graphics. Will KOF2001 inherit the graphic style of the KOF series, or will it be a totally new style?
Details can't be explained, but Eolith believes that the graphics in KOF are an important factor. We will make effort to create graphics which will be considered as one of the best in the series.
-Are there any factors in the game system which is significantly different from before?
There are a few, I can only answer one. The striker system will be improved to additionally expand the fun of attacking.
-So, the Striker system still exsits?
[We're] planning to make the striker system as a "hidden card" that's more aggressive, which players can have fun with.
- The KOF series up to KOF2000 was on the NeoGeo/MVS system, but what board will KOF2001 be on?
The board will be the NeoGeo, as it always has been.
-In what country will KOF2001 first be released for sale?
That's a hard question. Strategically, it's a Japanese game so it will either be sold in Japan first, or sold simultaneously in Korea and Japan. However, it's not decided as of yet.
-When will it be released?
That's a hard question too. [We] would like to release it by the lower half period [of the fiscal year], but [we] want to take time to make it a good game, so there it may be different.
-Lower half period [of the fiscal year] is a long range of period, between September of 2001 to March of 2002...
But the title of "KOF2001" does say "2001".(laughs) [We're] thinking of releasing it as quick as possible, but what's important isn't the release time of the game, but what kind of a product it will be when released. It may take time, but it is important to create the game with a high level of quality .It is a game by SNK with a tradition. The game(KOF2001) can't be less inferior [than the other KOFs in the past], and [we] feel that it is the responsibility of Eolith to create [a KOF2001] that players can be satisfied with. We are planning to release the game when the development reaches to that level.
- Are there plans to release KOF information at Eolith's site? (NOTE: the Interview had taken place before Eolith opened its KOF Section.)
It is currently under consideration. Of course [we would] like to make it possible to be viewed in Korean and English, as well as in Japanese. [We] would like to open the site for the sake of Japanese players as well. Preparation is under progress right now.
- The storyline is the continuation to "KOF99" and "KOF2000"'s Nests chapter?
Is the concept to KOF2001 a new "KOF"? Or is it a refinement of the KOF [series]?
It's a refinement of the previous [in the series].
-Are there any points to the KOF series which [Eolith would] like to inherit?
KOF's characters have popularity, [We] think that characterization is an important point. Thus, [we] are thinking of selecting characters popular world wide, decrease characters without popularity, and inherit the popularity of the characters which will [continue to] appear.
-So unpopular characters will disappear? In a popularity poll at the Korean site, the first place is the main characters team, 2nd place is Korea team, 3rd place is the Psycho Soldier team... but the Fatal Fury Team and Art Of Fighting team which are popular in Japan, rank lowest. What will happen to the Fatal fury and Art Of Fighting team which don't have popularity?
This is only a team popularity poll and it's only responses from a number of deep fans, so things will not reflect on this result. Also, selection of characters to be appearing is being decided separately from this [poll], so please rest assured.
- Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami are popular in Japan, but will these two characters still remain?
Of course. Those two are extremely popular in Korea as well, so they will definitely remain!
-Will Kim Kaphwan be the main character in KOF2001?
If you wish (Laughs) Well, it's obvious that the Korea team would have high popularity in Korea, and everyone may think that [Kim Kaphwan will become the main character] since the developer of the game is Korean, but... in actuality, that probably won't happen.
-Will the moves and performance of each characters be reviewed?
It should be rare that popular moves get taken out, but the quality and priority of all the character's moves will be reviewed and adjusted.
-For characters still remaining, will their graphics be redrawn and/or added on?
It's obvious, but graphics thought to be old will be redrawn, and even popular [graphics] will be adjusted to to a more current state since there are trends. Especially since there are a number of returning characters, there will be such needs as changing their old costumes.
-Who will be the main character in KOF2001?
[We] can't explain, but a surprising character may become the main character. Please look forward to it.
-Heh? Does that mean a totally new character, or a character from the past?
Sorry, it's still a secret.
-But, there are new characters?
Yes, a few new characters will be added, and a few characters will be gone as well.
-How many characters from KOF2000 are scheduled to remain? Actually, what characters from the past are returning, and how many characters are there in total?
Actually, the specification [booklet] is right here.
Everything is written in this specification [booklet], but it can't been shown as of yet. Please look forward to the next follow-up!
[ Link: Eolith ]
The Madman's Cafe will continue to follow up on any news related to KOF2001.
Copyright SNK, Eolith, Brezza Software, 2001