The Director and Producer of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy Shine a Light on Upcoming PlayStation 4 and Switch fighter’s Development.
Last week, we at Hey Poor Player had the opportunity to sit down and talk to SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy director Kaito Soranaka and producer Yasuyuki Oda to gain some insight on the action-packed title. As someone who got to play the game during the NIS America 2018 Press Event in San Francisco, my personal hype for the game is through the roof. There is a lot to love about this upcoming PlayStation 4 and Switch brawler, and I hope this interview answers some questions you may have had about the game. I would also like to give special thanks to Toshihiro Beppu from NIS America for translating this interview.
HPP: Hello, Oda-san and Soranaka-san. Thank you for giving us at Hey Poor Player the chance to talk to you about SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. To start things off, could you tell us a bit about how this project came to be?
Oda: We have quite a few popular characters in the SNK universe, and we wanted to create something with just the popular female characters. That’s where the game’s first concept started from.
HPP: You have been in the game industry for a very long time, and have had a lot of experience in the development of very well known fighting games. How has the development and work environment of SNK Heroines been different from previous projects you’ve been a part of?
Oda: Working on a game like this which has a different taste, a little more comical, a little bit of sexiness and cuteness, was very different for me. So I am really able to have a lot of fun with the development of this game.
HPP: We love the over-the-top stories found in the King of Fighters series, and The King of Fighters XIV was no exception. That said, we’re really looking forward to SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. Can you tell us a bit about the premise behind the game’s story?
Oda: The basic story of this game is that it takes place after the story of King Of Fighters. To go into a little more depth, these girls are gathered in a mysterious mansion and a lot of stuff happens. You can expect this to be another over-the-top story, and I hope our fans really enjoy it.
HPP: Obviously the game focuses on SNK’s vast and iconic history. What are the challenges in choosing what characters are added to the roster, and is there a process by which characters are chosen?
Oda: There are tons of characters in the SNK universe that we wanted to put in the game, but we wanted to make sure that the title was well balanced first and foremost. We also wanted to make sure the characters added something to the fun story.
HPP: As of late, it seems as though tag team fighters have had a resurgence in popularity, and there have been many highly-publicized ones released recently. Are there any specific mechanics of note that you want to highlight that makes SNK Heroines different from what is currently on the market?
Soranaka: Traditional tag fighting games do not have a singular HP bar, but this game does. Typically in a tag fighter, you would swap characters to prevent more damage being done to them, or if they lost your next character would appear. With there being a shared HP bar there is none of that, this game is more based on management of your SP (a special gauge in other fighters). We’re really interested in how people will play the game when it’s more about managing SP than focusing on HP. Also, the Dream Finishes and specials play a huge part in winning matches.
HPP: It seems that fighting games have been making a transparent effort to make themselves more accessible to casual players. Is SNK Heroines designed more for these types of gamers, or is it being developed with the really experienced fighting game enthusiast in mind?
Soranaka: On a surface level, the game’s simplified controls allow for a casual fighting game player to pick up the game and start playing it right away. For the more seasoned there are complicated combos that involve tagging, gauge management, and item management. These elements along with a fighting game’s typical footsies will appeal to the more hardcore FGC (fighting game community).
HPP: The game is currently being developed for the PS4 and the Switch, to the joy of many including myself. What are the challenges when developing for two consoles that have very different hardware specs and ecosystems, and how much do the platforms affect elements of the game?
Oda: First off, we’d like to state that we are working hard to make sure that there is no difference between the two platforms the game will be released on. We will say that there are growing pains while developing on the Switch because it’s our first time working with the hardware. That being said, everything we encountered we’ve anticipated beforehand because of those growing pains.
HPP: Art style is probably one of the most important aspects when it comes to a fighting game’s visual appeal. With so many characters from different games that each have their own unique theme and motif, how hard was it to bring these different characters together? How what was the process in deciding the art style we see in the current version of the game?
Oda: Obviously this game strays away from more realistic games, and into the more fantasy side of things. At first it was hard to decide what kind of direction we wanted to go with the art style. But once we decided on the current concept, it was easy to for us to really work with it and create what you see today.
HPP: One aspect I am incredibly excited about is the ability to customize your fighters. How in depth is the customization and can you give us a rough estimate of the amount of customizables you can unlock?
Soranaka: There are several parts you can put onto different parts of your character’s body. For example, you can put accessories on character’s head and face. Outside of the character’s body, you can chase the pose, background, and stickers. This could be used for taking screenshots in the game. As for the amount of unlockables, we have at least 100 parts as of right now.
HPP: With all the beautiful characters bound to be on the roster, are there any that really stick out to you? Who is your personal favorite heroine?
Oda: I’m sorry to say this, but the characters I want players to focus on and my favorite character haven’t been announced yet. Please keep following us so we can revisit this question *laughs*.
HPP: SNK may be best known for their wealth of unforgettable fighting games, but the studio has released a slew of other great games from many genres over the years. Are there any heroines from non-fighting game properties who will make an appearance in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy?
Oda: Ever since we announced the game in January, we’ve been getting a lot of fan requests for many different characters. We would love to answer those voices and perhaps do something with them. We’re currently in the planning stages of things to come, can while we can’t guarantee anything, we hope you keep following the game for some possible good news in the future.
HPP: Online play is obviously one of the most important aspects when crafting a fighting game. Can you tell us a bit about the online modes that will be available in the game in the game when it releases this spring?
Soranaka: In this game, you can create a room and play up to 4 players at once. You can do 1v1s, 2v1, and 2v2s with all players. There’s also going to be a quick play casual mode where you can be matched with a player.
HPP: Are there any plans for amiibo figures to accompany the Switch version of the game?
Oda: No *laughs*.
HPP: From what we’ve seen so far, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy showcases a bit more fanservice than previous offerings from SNK. Are you worried that this new direction will make longtime fan of SNK’s fighters take the game less seriously than they would games like The King of Fighters XIV?
Oda: It just so happens that a lot of the costumes we have shown so far have been sexy, but there are other costumes that are cute and comical. We hope that those other costumes and the gameplay itself will appeal to all our fans.
HPP: Are there any characters from the Neo Geo’s history that you would have liked to see join the roster of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy but were unable to use due to copyright reasons? Personally, we would love to see Angel from Shock Troopers make the cut!
Oda: They’re not necessarily SNK characters, but if possible I’d love to do collabs with other characters outside of SNK.
HPP: Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us about SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. Is there anything else you’d like to say to all of the SNK fans or anyone looking forward to the game?
Soranaka: SNK Heroines is a change up from most other SNK titles we’ve released in the past. We challenged ourselves by adding different factors and making it more playful. We would like to continue to introduce our characters, but we also want to start to focus on the gameplay aspect. So please keep following us, and please look forward to it.
Oda: I feel that SNK Heroines is a game that can be picked up by anyone whether it be a casual gamer or hardcore gamer. So please look forward to it.
SNK Heroines sure as hell left an impression on me during my hands-on time with the game at the NIS America Press Event, and I had a blast playing and learning more about it. What about you? If you are interested in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy leave a comment down below and tell us why. For more news about the game as it comes out. please keep checking back here at Hey Poor Player.