SNK has finally announced release details for Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection, which includes a brief period of Epic Games Store exclusivity—during which it will be completely free.
The collection launches on Epic on June 11, and from that date until June 18, it will be available for free. It’ll come to Steam on June 18, with digital Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions following on July 28. There’ll be physical releases for consoles too, though a specific date for those hasn’t been announced, beyond a northern summer / southern winter window. (Note that the Xbox One version isn’t listed on the official site, but Digital Eclipse studio head Mike Mika confirmed that this is an error, and it’s coming to Xbox One on the same day.)
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection includes seven games: Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III, Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa’s Revenge, Samurai Shodown V, Samurai Shodown V Special, and Samurai Shodown V Perfect.
That last one is particularly noteworthy, because this is the first time it’s ever been released. Brandon Sheffield, who worked on the collection as a researcher, shared the lost game’s fascinating history on Twitter. The whole thread is worth a read, but in short, Perfect was made without the blessing of publisher SNK (then called Playmore), and its sole location test was shut down within a matter of hours when SNK found out.
Samurai Shodown V Perfect is a revised version of Samurai Shodown V Special, which adds a new story for each character, some new mid-game scenes, minor balance tweaks, and bug fixes. The fact that it was never released before also means there wasn’t an English version ready to go—according to Sheffield, the team had 48 hours to translate the whole game.
Both the Japanese and English arcade versions of each game are included, with typical arcade port features like scanlines, save functions, and a free-play mode (in other words, no game overs). There’s online play for each game in the collection, with a variety of different modes including Ranked Match, Casual Match, Online Arcade, and Challenge Friend.
Finally, Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection also includes an extensive digital museum with over 2,000 items. These cover everything from the usual concept art galleries and music player to behind-the-scenes videos filmed during the games’ development, interviews, and pro match videos.
Between this collection and the recent Switch port of SNK Gals’ Fighters, SNK seems to be really committed to celebrating its history of late—and rightly so. Samurai Shodown is one of the real highlights of SNK’s legacy, so it’s great to see how much love and attention has gone into Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection. (Samurai Shodown V has a special place in my heart, too, as the first fighting game I tried to play in a capacity beyond mindless button mashing.)