Aside from Irem (a long dead company), I can’t think of ANY company that is SO poorly run and out of touch like SNK is. Not even Sega is as poorly run and out of touch as SNK because at least they know what type of games make money and what doesn’t. I mean this is the company that went bankrupt TWICE, and it’s about to happen a third time if the DON’T reinvent themselves (which they have YET to do). I mean Capcom decided to bring Street Fighter back to its SF2 roots after a decade of being out of the fighting game picture due to the absolute failure of SF3. Ed Boon did the same for Mortal Kombat after nearly a decade of crappy 3D installments. Namco made Tekken Tag 2 to correct the mistakes of Tekken 6 and it payed off. Hell, Guilty Gear producer Daisuke Ishiwatari left Arc System Works and Japan altogether and moved to the US to work for the newly-founded Aksys Games to produce BlazBlue, which became a household name (something GG has never been able to achieve). I mean why can every other fighting game company make changes and not SNK?
What is King of Fighters doing for SNK? Is it gaining any newcomers? Is it keeping them afloat? HELL NO!!! KOF 94 was suppose to be the first ever crossover, but SNK blew it by having a bunch of unappealing original characters like Kyo, Athena and Ralf take over HALF of the roster. Having characters from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting is good and all but where are the Samurai Shodown characters? Where are the REAL Ikari Warriors Paul & Vince? Where are the Crystalis characters? Where’s that blonde chick from Super Baseball 2020? NOWHERE!!! And worst of all, none of the FF/AOF characters were featured on the flyers for the game, only the originals were. On top of that, KOF is a blatant SF rip-off with clunky controls and stiff gameplay. That’s why KOF 94 failed to make ANY sort of impact. The later games didn’t do any better, especially when they kept using the same dated graphics with almost EVERY GAME The closest KOF has ever gotten to mainstream was Maximum Impact, which gave KOF it’s ONLY TV ad outside of Japan, and guess who was featured on the TV ad…Terry and Ryo, 2 of the 3 most iconic SNK characters (the other being Mai). Not to mention MI was much much easier than the main KOF games, another reason it became the ONLY KOF game to hit the 100K mark. It eventually got a sequel, Maximum Impact 2, but SNK made a stupid move (as usual) buy renaming it KOF 2006 outside of Japan. How are the casuals that actually bought the first one going to know it was the sequel to the best-selling KOF game ever by giving it a different name? I mean it’s ridiculous. Plus they didn’t advertise it AT ALL, and you wonder why MI2 (or KOF 2006) didn’t sell as much as the original because SNK ONCE AGAIN made an idiotic move. Then KOF 12 came along and SNK market it as a “rebirth” (rebirth of what?). While KOF 12 finally updated its graphics, it was most bareboned POS ever released (no story, no single player, small ass roster, characters very few moves, crappy online) and because of it, it was a colossal failure. Then they TRIED to “correct” the mistakes with KOF 13, and despite a larger roster and a story mode (the worst story mode ever), it was still a POS and was also an absolute failure.
SNK should just kill off KOF because it’s not working AT ALL. If they want to go back to their roots, then KOF is NOT the way to go. The game that would put SNK back in the game would be a reboot of Fatal Fury, the game that put SNK on the fighting game map in the first damn place. What they should do with the FF reboot is bring all the characters from the first four FF games along with the two original characters from Wild Ambition, and hell, slap in some Art of Fighting characters since it wouldn’t make any sense to make a new AOF. Also, bring back the two-plane system, that type of mechanic would really work in this era of fighting games and it would really stand out from the other 2D fighters. As for the gameplay, it should be more like Real Bout because that game had that “easy to pick up, harder to master” feel to it, along with some new mechanics as well. Should it have some Garou: MOTW mechanics as well? Sure, why not (after all, SF4 does have some SF3 mechanics). As far as graphics go, they should go for a cel-shaded look to make it look different from the other other 2D fighters. And most of all, give us some single player and a GOOD story mode that would gain some newcomers. Then they should make a Samurai Shodown reboot with 3D graphics and 2D gameplay (ala SF4 and MK9) and like I said about the FF reboot, give us some single player and a good story. For the story mode, the SS reboot should been in an RPG-like format (kind of like what Ehrgeiz had back in the day), now THAT would really attract the casuals who’ve never played a fighter before. They should also revive their non-fighting game franchises like Ikari Warriors and Crystalis, the former as a third person shooter and the latter a modern day RPG. They should make a new and improved Metal Slug with 3D graphics, and release it for handheld consoles like the 3DS and Vita. They should also invest in some new IPs as well. If SNK could do that, then they’ll stay afloat, but if NOT, they’ll die the exact same way Irem did.
But sadly, none of this will happen because SNK is too busy pandering to the smallest crowd of a genre that’s almost dead last, and are too chicken to branch out to a wider audience. KOF fanboys are the worst of all fighting game fans. They are SO bitter towards ANY fighter that isn’t KOF, whether it’s BB, GG, Tekken, MK, or especially Capcom fighters. They’ll even attack Fatal Fury, the game that actually gave birth to KOF. When anyone gives KOF constructive criticism even in the slightest bit, they’ll get butthurt and start calling people names. Every time a KOF game fails like always, the fanboys start blaming other companies (especially Capcom) for SNK’s failures. The bitter KOF fanboys is one of the main reasons why people don’t even bother with KOF. No company is willing to work with a poorly run, out of touch and idiotic company that keeps embarrassing itself, which is what SNK is. Not Capcom, not Namco, not WB, not Aksys, not Konami, not Squarenix, not Sega, not Tecmo, and not even the company that made Arcana Heart.
If no changes are made, then like I said,
SNK IS DEAD!