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KOF developers talk updates, Garou and more

Posted Sep 16 2017 at 17:09 (Fri)

[Note: Please link to this article than to copy-pasta its whole text. MMCafe is nearing its 20th year on the web and some hits will help in the recognition of this old non-profit, no-advertisement heritage. Thank you.]

At the Tokyo Game Show 2016 Business day 2 in Japan, KOFXIV Producer Yasuyuki Oda and Neo-G appeared on stage to talk about upcoming plans for their game as well as some insight on future projects. The following is a translated synopsis from MMCafe/The Madman's Cafe.

Next update during October

The next patch is slated for October. Neo-G is the main development staff supervising the update and he's quite frank in talking about the upcoming patch: He wants to hammer down and fix whatever he sees as needing a tweak or an overhaul and he's going to try and get as much done by then. Whatever he can't cover by October, he'll do so in additional updates.

The October patch is scheduled to feature the following:

- Fuzzy Guarding (aka F-shiki) will be taken out

- Character Balance update

- Online game system fixes
They developers are satisfied with their netcode but they want to overhaul some of the systems involved in the online, particularly the Ranking match's matchmaking because it currently tends to match people regardless of their rank

- More Rage Quitting Penalty
SNK silently added a harsher penalty to rage quitters in the 1.02 patch. They don't think it was enough, so the next patch will feature an even harsher penalty

- The command input in KOF14 may also be tweaked
It's not a problem for beginners but hardcore players are having troubles with the current game since its input buffer is a bit too lenient. Neo-G is hoping to tweak things to make it satisfying for both parties

- Other tweaks may be added

General feedback and balance topics

- According to Oda, SNK received a lot more positive reviews from customers than they were expecting

- One of the fundamental concept behind KOF was that "It had to be a game that's fun to move around [the characters]" (Neo-G)

- When making KOF14, the developers knew off the bat that the game had to be fun, so they decided to make things as strong as possible and to balance them out afterwards as needed. People have been generally playing the game in the direction that they've expected.

- Mian for example can divekick and go back into the air, but doing so requires a lot of controller input. The developers are happy that players can actually do something which they've implemented in the game by theory. This was Neo-G's doing.

- The developers admit that some of the moves might've been a bit "too fun", like Nakoruru's bird being able to break through all fireballs

- While some of the moves might have been too broken, they're getting a lot of feedback that it's generally fun with the characters in KOF 14 having strong moves.

- Their stance on the upcoming balance fix is like this : "Nakoruru's hawk might've been a tad too naughty" ""We don't want to change the gameplay that much"

Regarding people's adaptions to KOF14

"We hear people saying 'it's different from before!', but we're like 'which game are you talking about when you say 'before'?'" (Oda)

"KOF13 has been around for like 5 to 6 years so that's what the newer players consider as 'before', but older players from 98 or 00 see their games as 'before'. So we've been studying how it's [the smaller details in the systems are] different. And our conclusion was.. it's different every year (laughs)." (Neo-G)

"We thought we did quite a job at adapting details of the KOF iterations to satisfy players, but [post-launch] we're not completely sure about it, and so personally I'm looking into things like the command input [leniency] issue so that we can perhaps use that as a reference for the future." (Neo-G)

KOF XIV World Championship

- The KOFXIV World Championship will be conducted with the help of the various publishers in each region. Details will be released later but the idea is to get representatives from each region and have them compete with each other in a tournament as the world's top players.

How producer Oda sees the various KOF communities

Japan: It's been a while since KOF13 came out, so the KOF community has sort of vanished. The core fans supporting KOF14 may still be the same, but the players seem to be coming from all directions in the fighting game scene.

USA: KOF13 has been alive in the scene so the supporters are still the same and the scene is building up on top of that.

Europe: Same as the USA

Future Plans

- They're getting a lot of requests for DLC beyond their expectations, so the developers are looking into what's actually possible. Right now they're thinking that Costumes looks possible, but they really aren't ready to make any sort of announcements or say dates.

- "So for a major KOFXIV update, we're hoping that we can do it starting from Costumes". (Oda)

- As for DLC characters, they're getting mixed voices from fans. There's obviously fans that are asking for them, given that there's still a lot of characters that aren't in the game. But on the other hand the team is also getting feedback by users that they don't want more characters since 50 is enough and they want to play them out before more gets added in. So as far as DLC characters go, the devlopers still need to think it out.

No plans to move on to a new game project just yet (Garou, Samurai Shodown, etc). Sony took a poll showing that Samurai Shodown is popular, so that helped Oda in trying to talk to his superior about possibly making the game. But the development team's creators are sort of in a competition to make presentations to their superiors because they each have their favorite titles that they want to create. All in all the atmosphere is good, and Oda is optimistic that something can happen.

They don't have enough staff. The developers including Oda and Neo-G are doing more than just their roles in the company. Planning, developing, managing the game post-release.. Neo-G seems to be seriously enjoying it, probably because he hasn't been going hands-on in the development field for a while. They need more developers to join in their company.

More insight into the Canceled Garou sequel from the 90s
Image: 4Gamer

Talking about Garou 2, Oda doesn't know details on all the characters shown in 4Gamer's snapshot since he left the company around the time they were brainstorming the character designs and it was before those pixel prototypes were created. At the point that he was in the company, there was more "intellectual looking bad guys" in the roster compared to the sprite sheet. He heard that the game was 50% done at the time it was canned.

The newer characters he can recognize from the sprite sheet are the young male boxer and Quan Conta (English spelling unknown) who's a female disciple to Joe Higashi. And at the bottom right, that's Gato's father, Gaou. Oda also mentioned that he heard Gato had all his sprite patterns modified so that his eyes were closed (after what happened to him from Garou's ending).

The boxer kid was supposed to be a character that looked after Rock Howard as a caretaker after he moved over to Kain's side.

Other Comments from the developers

- "Arcades are dieing down, so there's not that many places where players can meet up and play. So events [like Evo Japan] where players can gather up would be great. It'd be great to have a place where someone can randomly just pass through and have fun" (Oda)

- "When I came back to SNK two years ago, I said to the CEO "let's make a NeoGeo Land again!" He quickly shouted back "Are you Stupid!? (Laughs) " (Oda)
Photo of a Japanese Beetle

- Talking about his most memorable moment in KOFXIV's development, Oda said "Beetles"

- During the second half of KOFXIV's development phase, Neo-G started having a crisis at home as his pet beetles had overbred. He posted a note on the company's bulletin that he'll give them away to anyone that wants one, and as a result... SNK's development room became full of employees with beetles on their desks.

- "They're the strongest recollection I have about the second half of the development phase. The workplace had... beetles. Beetles on top of everyone's desk. I was like, 'what is this place?'(Laughs) And now when I thought it was finally over, it seems that he's getting a next generation" (Oda)

- "At first I thought they had a comforting charm, but then I took off my glasses and they looked like roaches (laughs) " (Oda)

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