Good News: We’re getting a new Samurai Shodown game!

Good news, everyone! SNK hasn’t forgotten about Samurai Shodown (or Samurai Spirits, as the series is known in Japan), with a new game set to release on PlayStation 4 next year.

SNK announced the new game during Sony’s pre-Tokyo Game Show media showcase, after a teasing some sort of reveal over the past week or so. This will be the twelfth game in the series, but it’s simply called Samurai Shodown, indicating a reboot of some sort. All the media released so far refers to the Japanese name, Samurai Spirits, though SNK’s official English Twitter account confirmed the Samurai Shodown name overnight.

From the teaser trailer, we know that Samurai Shodown will be a “2.5D” game, not unlike King of Fighters XIV—that is, the game uses 3D character models and environments, but plays on a 2D plane with 2D fighting game mechanics. The snippets of gameplay footage look like classic Samurai Shodown swordfighting, albeit with flashier effects courtesy of the new graphical style. Haohmaru, Yagyū Jūbei, Nakoruru, Earthquake, and Galford all make an appearance, and one assumes that more characters—both old and new—will be drip-fed through announcements in the lead up to release.

Like most of the other games in the series, the new Samurai Shodown takes place during the Tenmei era, amid the chaos that followed the Great Tenmei Famine. Set in 1787, the new game takes place prior to the events of all the other games except Samurai Shodown V, which was itself a prequel.

There hasn’t been a new Samurai Shodown game since the poorly-received Samurai Shodown: Sen hit arcades in 2008. SNK has been steadily bringing the older games to current consoles, but until this announcement, the idea of a new game didn’t seem to be high on the developer’s list of priorities. Perhaps if it does well enough, SNK might be tempted to bring back The Last Blade as well? We can only hope…

Samurai Shodown is due out in 2019, both in Japan and in the West. It’s been announced only for PlayStation 4 at this stage.

Matthew Codd

Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.