Samurai Spirits Coming In 2019, Powered By Unreal Engine 4
Samurai Spirits 2019

A new Samurai Shodown is on the way from SNK Corporation. Known in Japan as Samurai Spirits, the upcoming fighting game will be powered by the Unreal Engine 4, featuring many of the fan-favorite characters from the long-running series.

The Tokyo Game Show trailer features the series’ protagonist, the boastful Haomaru, as well as Nakoruru, Earthquake, Jubei Yagyu, and the ninja Galford.

A number of other fan-favorites are nowhere to be seen at the moment, such as Hanzo Hattori, Charlotte, and my previous Samurai Shodown main, Genjuro Kibagami.

Even still, it’s just a teaser trailer and I’m sure many of the longtime hack-and-slash swordsmen will make a return to form in the upcoming game. In the meantime you can check out the bloody debut trailer for Samurai Spirits below.

So there are a couple of noteworthy things about the trailer that needs to be discussed.

So first and foremost, it looks like SNK has finally taken hints from the community and utilized a more dynamic shader system for the game. It’s very similar to what Capcom used for Street Fighter IV.

Samurai Spirits - Shaders

Street Fighter IV

You can see that there’s some roughness around the shading transitions on the normals, giving it the look of an artist’s sketch.

What’s different for Samurai Spirits compared to Street Fighter IV is that SNK decided that the shadow occlusion on the characters should be black instead of a darkened version of their skin tone. This creates the illusion of an ink-like contrast for the shadows and outlines, where the characters look like a detailed colored sketch. The Photoshop-like lighting transitions also help with shaping a very stylized color tone for the game that’s unlike many other games currently on the market.

This is a markedly huge improvement over the shaders used in King of Fighters XIV, as it gives the characters and world in Samurai Spirits a very distinctive visual look.

Samurai Spirits - Jubei

Obviously, it’s not just about art-style. Combat animations are key for a game like this, and the back-and-forth flow of combat that was pretty-much pitch-perfect in Samurai Shodown 3 is what I hope SNK is attempting to achieve, where the frame-flow and input timing was nearly unmatched by so many other fighters out on the market at the time.

It’s also nice to see that the blood effects are still present and the gorgeous 18th century Japanese environments have returned.

You can look for Samurai Spirits (which will likely be renamed to Samurai Shodown for the Western release) to arrive in 2019.

(Thanks for the news tip Lionhart)


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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