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Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves Essays

Essays 17 June 2024, 04:02

author: Matt Buckley

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves; Grand Return of Old Classic. Interview with Devs

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is a triumphant return of a classic arcade fighting game starring Terry Bogard. At Summer Game Fest I sat down with the game’s producers to talk about this upcoming game.

Last weekend at Summer Game Fest, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to three of the people working on the upcoming fighting game from developer SNK, Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. I met with Chief Producer Yasuyuki Oda, Art Supervisor Nobuyuki Kuroki, and Producer Joshua Weatherford who also served as interpreter for the conversation. Not long after I was then able to try a hands-on demo of Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. Here’s the interview:

Why Now?

Matt Buckley: “There hasn’t been a Fatal Fury game in a long time. What was the inspiration to bring this game back now?”

Chief Producer Yasuyuki Oda: “It was a matter of time. Nobuyuki Kuroki and I both came back to SNK in 2014. From there, the first goal was to start King of Fighters, and from there we moved into stuff like Samurai Shodown and spin-offs like SNK Heroines followed by another KoF. Basically, Fatal Fury’s turn came. It was time to bring it back. That’s been the goal since we returned. Even going forward we are already talking about bringing back Art of Fighting and other games. The idea is to take all of these classic IPs that built the building blocks of KoF and make them again for the next generation.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is the latest in the Fatal Fury series that began in 1991. The latest release was Garou: Mark of the Wolves in 1999. To say it has been a long time since a new Fatal Fury game was released is an understatement. Launching a new game now will introduce Fatal Fury to several generations of fighting game fans.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

So what would it be like to jump into the game as a modern player? There are ten games in the series that all launched between 1991 and 1999.

MB: “Will this be a good game to jump into the story if you haven’t played any other Fatal Fury games?”

YO: “We think so, especially with some of the new characters and the new stories. A lot of the themes are easy for anyone to resonate with. Going forward, from the promotion side of things, we do want to follow up with that and make sure we teach about it leading up to the release of the game so that people have a base to work from.”

YO: “One thing from SNK in general is that, ever since I’ve been in the company, we have always had a very strong push for preservation. If you have a Switch, you can buy pretty much every Fatal Fury game for pretty cheap and play through them. We are pretty proud of that. Almost the entire Neo Geo is playable on the Switch.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

Producer Joshua Weatherford: “The Arcade Archives actually have a Guinness Book of World Records for having the most consecutive released games on the Switch or something like that. It’s in our entryway at the office and I always look up at it and can’t imagine doing that. It’s hard to release a game.”

The Arcade Archives does have a Guinness Book of World Records for releasing a game every week for 131 consecutive weeks or just over two and a half years. That’s a long time and an effort in digital preservation that should be celebrated.

But anyway, it is good to know that SNK does not expect players to know everything about the series before jumping in. If someone wanted to play everything leading up to the release, it’s amazing that they do have access to so much of the Fatal Fury series on a current-gen console.

While I did not get to play through any story elements with the demo for City of the Wolves, the presentation itself helped the game stand out in a world full of new and exciting fighting games.

Standing Out

MB: “I’ve been watching the trailers and noticing that City of the Wolves has a very vibrant art style. To me, it almost looks like a comic book. What was the inspiration for that style?”

Art Supervisor Nobuyuki Kuroki: “I’ve been working on Fatal Fury a lot of my career. I’ve always felt that it has always had that American-esque atmosphere, which makes it a very good fit for that American comic style. That was a goal from the beginning, to aim for that sort of shader and graphical art style. In the genre, there are already a lot of developers working on photo-realistic graphics or anime-style graphics, and they’ve almost reached a pinnacle in what you can do. I was looking to focus on a different methodology and create our own pinnacle art style with the American comic style.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves has no issues standing out from the crowd. Among the other hugely popular fighting games that have come out over the last year, like Mortal Kombat 1 and Tekken 8, there is no confusing them with City of the Wolves.

If anything, someone familiar with Terry Bogard from his cameos in other series like Super Smash Bros. and even the recently announced Street Fighter 6 DLC might be surprised to see him with such a different look here. Rather than the usual red hat and jacket, Terry sports a brown bomber jacket and no ponytail.

MB: “Staying on the topic of art choices for a minute. I’ve noticed that Terry Bogard’s design is continuing from the most recent Fatal Fury game. I was wondering what went into the decision to keep that design versus the iconic red hat and jacket that has become fairly iconic?”

NK: “Fatal Fury is unique in the fighting game genre where there is a passage of time and the story is set, in a way. Geese does kind of stay dead most of the time. The red costume, the classic costume, Terry is almost a little embarrassed to wear it now that he’s past 30. From now on he’s got to wear the bomber jacket.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

YO: “One of our favorite easter eggs in the game is that every once in a while you will see Terry try to grab his hat and fix it, but it’s not there, and he kind of realizes it. People actually thought it was a mistake in the animations, but no, that’s on purpose.”

JW: “It’s one of the unique flavors of Fatal Fury. We do think of the storyline and the characters maturing and we try to keep that in mind when we think about the costumes and the animations.”

As someone who also turned thirty not that long ago, I’ve never related to Terry Bogard more than hearing this. Normally, when I think of an arcade fighting game, I don’t think about how the characters have grown and changed over time. That might be my lack of understanding, but it could also have something to do with how new iterations of fighting games often prefer to keep the iconic and nostalgia-fueled appearance of the old game to appeal to the ongoing audience. To not only have Terry reinvent himself, but to be slightly embarrassed of his former style makes him so much more human.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

Allowing for growth and attention to detail such as the fixing of the non-existent hat draws me into the characters and Fatal Fury more than any other fighting game. So not only does City of the Wolves stand out visually from many of its fighting game peers, but this depth of character makes it stand out as well. Knowing how much the creators care about their characters will make me want to pay attention when I start learning the story of Fatal Fury.

Who Would Win In A Fight?

MB: “Do each of you have a favorite playable character in the game?”

YO & NK: “All of them.”

MB: “A very safe answer.”

JW: “For me, I like Rock Howard. I’ve always liked him and this time he’s really strong, in my opinion. It’s a good start at least. He was a little weak in the previous game when you talk about getting up to high-level tiers.”

MB: “My other question is, out of the three of you, who would win a fight?”

JW: “It depends on the game. If it’s Samurai Shodown, I win. If it’s Fatal Fury, Yasuyuki Oda wins, probably Art of Fighting as well. If it’s Diablo, Nobuyuki Kuroki wins. He plays a lot of Diablo.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

When I tried the demo, I decided to try Rock Howard first. A combination of my learning the controls and my general lack of skill with fighting games didn’t end well. Over the next few matches, I did start to get the hang of things. I was able to try five different characters each with distinctive playstyles.

In the future, I hope I do get the chance to try the game again. Starting with some kind of progressional story mode that teaches the basics and how to use each character would probably be easier to jump into than just squaring off in 1v1s right away. Thankfully none of the other players nearby me at the Summer Game Fest booth decided to challenge me. I still need to have my training montage before I’m ready for that.

Looking Forward

MB: “I’m not sure how much you can speak to this, but what kind of other game modes can be expected aside from the classic 1v1 battles? I’m sure there will be a story mode, but is there anything else to look forward to?”

JW: “Today’s playable demo is VS only, but we are going to have the classic arcade story mode. One of the ideals for this game, and the real reasons for making it, is to conclude a lot of the Fatal Fury stories, so there’s a lot to look forward to there. I am also pretty interested in how everybody’s going to take the English voice acting. I did a lot of work on that, helping with the direction.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK Playmore, 2024

JW: “One thing that was popular in King of Fighters 15 was the DJ station, which allowed you to go in and customize the background music based on the stages. You could essentially customize the game’s soundtrack. We’re going to have a jukebox mode like that in this as well. Kind of building on that because it was really popular with the community and fans who could have their own playlist for tournaments and things like that. There will be other modes that we will talk about in the future as well.”

MB: “Great. I will be looking forward to learning more about that.”

Thank you to Yasuyuki Oda, Nobuyuki Kuroki, and Joshua Weatherford for sitting with me at Summer Game Fest to talk about their upcoming long-awaited Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. Thanks to SNK for providing the opportunity to play the demo, and I hope I get the chance to jump back into the game soon. Currently, Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is planned for a launch sometime in early 2025 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, and PC via Steam.

Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

After studying creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, Matt published a travel blog based on a two-month solo journey around the world, wrote for SmarterTravel, and worked on an Antarctic documentary series for NOVA, Antarctic Extremes. Today, for Gamepressure, Matt covers Nintendo news and writes reviews for Switch and PC titles. Matt enjoys RPGs like Pokemon and Breath of the Wild, as well as fighting games like Super Smash Bros., and the occasional action game like Ghostwire Tokyo or Gods Will Fall. Outside of video games, Matt is also a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd, a fan of board games like Wingspan, an avid hiker, and after recently moving to California, an amateur surfer.


Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves

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