As we move into September, the rumor mill around Smash Ultimate continues to run wild. How ironic it is to think that earlier last week, many thought an Overwatch character would find their way in the Fighter’s Pack, only for a new contender to swoop in and catch people off guard. Also quite interesting to consider is the fact that we have a third party company that not many would have considered to be in the running: SNK.
Founded back in 1978 by Eikichi Kawasaki, Shin Nihon Kikaku (“New Japan Project”), SNK was most notable as the creator of the Neo Geo family of arcade, home, and handheld consoles. While SNK might not be as well known as the other companies currently in Smash Ultimate, they recently had a renaissance with Samurai Shodown and the development of the upcoming The King of Fighters XV.
So why was the internet buzzing from the fact that SNK could be getting the 4th character slot in the fighter’s pack? Recently, there was a posting on Nintendo UK’s website about Challenger Pack 4. Mind you that if you check it out right now, the page is no longer there, but the takeaway from it was a copyright from the SNK Corporation.
The internet itself is rather split on this due to how some did make a claim how this posting was done in error. Apparently, screenshots that some people got did point out how the info on the page did look to be the same info as was on the other recent SNK fighting game, SNK Heroines.
So while this might be an error and SNK might not have a new character in Smash Ultimate, let’s consider who from their library could make the cut.
During a time when most eyes were on Contra for your Run and Gun game, another prominent game in the genre was Metal Slug. With seven games that span twelve years (and many re-releases), this series had a colorful cast and a high difficulty to boot. For as fun as it would be to play as Marco or anyone else in Smash Ultimate, we do run into a small problem. Not to say that Metal Slug isn’t popular, but rather one could argue that if SNK were to put a character in Smash, they would want a character from their more popular series to draw people in. And unless if Metal Slug were to have a new title coming soon that we aren’t aware of, I would say we could likely see a reference to the series in the form of a Mii Gunner perhaps.
It is hard to imagine a series that went dormant after a decade suddenly were to make a return and find itself as one of the premier fighting games. Samurai Shodown is a rather special kind of fighting game when you compare it to others. The focus isn’t on performing combos as much as it is finding ways to land powerful single attacks. The chances of us seeing a Sam Sho rep in Smash would still be fairly low compared to the 3rd series we will talk about in a moment, but there is one possible character that could find their way into Smash Ultimate: Nakoruru.
As the only character to appear in both Samurai Shodown and The King Of Fighters, Nakoruru is one of the most popular female characters in SNK. She is one of the more agile characters in the roster as she fights with a kodachi and her hawk Mamahaha to dish out the pain. She can have a wide sum of hit and run tactics to her name and can even use her cloak to reflect projectiles. It is entirely possible that she could find herself in Smash Brothers while having a special set of abilities to her name. Also, who wouldn’t love to see her hang onto her hawk to fly back onto the stage?
As for the other notable character from Sam Sho, Haohmaru, it does seem less likely he would get in. Not to say he isn’t the face of his own fighting game series, but he is set to appear in Soul Calibur 6 (presumably in 2020), so he already will have his time in the spotlight soon enough.
The King Of Fighters
It seems funny to think that while Smash Brothers is a celebration of Nintendo, The King of Fighters was a big crossover of SNK‘s two prominent fighters at the time: Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury. With a series that has over 50 playable characters, there are two characters many would say are the “face” of the series: Kyo and Terry.
With a new game, came a new character in the form of Kyo Kusanagi. As the leader of the Japanese team back in KoF 94, Kyo was a cocky, delinquent, high school kid with pyrokinetic powers. These attacks could be comparable to Ryu with how his strikes have some flourish to them while being able to chain his special attack together. He is usually known to have a very enjoyable move set to him, and if he were to get in, you likely will be seeing a lot of players recreate that special “Capcom vs. SNK” rivalry all over again.
If you would compare Kyo to Ryu, then it would be fair to say Ken’s counterpart would be Fatal Fury’s, Terry Bogard. While he can come off as your stereotypical “American Guy,” Terry is one of the most charismatic characters in the entire KOF roster. He is seen as an “All-Around” Fighters as he uses a wide range of moves to make his very own fighting style. With a nice set of “power” moves that can let him close the gap on his opponent with ease. At a time when your fighting game apparently had to have your main in a Gi, Terry was and still is that standout character who remains as one of the most popular SNK characters of all time.
SNK definitely has made plenty of investments into their future. From the upcoming titles and support for their titles to having some of their characters appear in other fighting games.
- Haohmaru in Soul Calibur 6
- Geese in Tekken 7
- Terry in Fighting EX Layer
- Mai in Dead or Alive 5
Hard to say what other games we could see SNK characters in, but Smash Ultimate would be a rather big one to see happen. The question then becomes: Will This Happen?
Up to now, we don’t really have that many “Fighting Game Characters” in Smash Ultimate other than Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, and many did assume that if we were to get more, it would come from another prominent series like Tekken. There is also an issue of how SNK themselves aren’t the most “well known” either, thus many would be quick to assume the 4th or 5th slot should go to someone else. Regardless of what we could see appear, the talks on who the final characters in Smash Ultimate‘s DLC are ramping up, and we still do not have a release date for Banjo yet. Hopefully this month, we will get a new Direct from Nintendo, and with it, we get those long-awaited answers.
Until then, do you think SNK will get a rep in Smash Ultimate? Who could it be? Or could this be another red herring to turn our attention away from other more likely characters? Be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming as we will continue to watch the development of Smash Ultimate and other things in the gaming world.