SNK Interview With Ben Herman, President USA

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Written by DM on Monday, May 15 2006

At E3 I got the chance to speak with Ben Herman, President of SNK Playmore USA. We spoke about the upcoming games on SNK’s roster, as well as a few games that are not necessarily on the roster.

Firstly, King Of Fighters 2006, which is KOF Maximum Impact 2 in Japan, is scheduled for release here in the US on Playstation 2. There are new characters coming in this version as well, such as Billy Kane and Kula Diamond, which have not been seen in 3D before. This does not mean that there will not be any more 2D KOF games, in fact KOF XI is due out soon. There is even an Xbox360 version of KOF 2006 planned as well which will support Xbox Live play.

Metal Slug Anthology was also showing, and it is scheduled for the Wii. The game was not playable at the SNK booth, but Ben did tell us a bit about it. He said that the player movement would be controlled with the left hand, and the right hand wand would be used to throw grenades and such. At this point he showed us the exact motion used to throw a grenade which looked more like pull-starting a lawn mower than throwing an actual grenade. He also said this was all based on the first build, so none of it is finalized and they are certainly exploring other ways. According to Ben, the control scheme works pretty flawless.

The game will also feature a token system which will be used to unlock extra content. He said that SNK did not just want to give players the games themselves, but also they wanted to provide some of the heritage of the games as well (in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Metal Slug series). Ben also told me later on that SNK plans to have this game ready for the launch of the Wii console. Good news there.

At this point, I asked Ben what exactly the deal was with a 3D Metal Slug game. Ben was reluctant to say much since I was recording him but he did share some details. In Japan, SNK is currently working on Metal Slug Evolution, and the game will have to “kick-ass” as he said, or it will not be released. It should be obvious that if the game is not good, it will ruin one of SNK’s most successful and popular franchises, and that would be bad, to say the least. He also mentioned that if you play KOF 2006, at one point there is a 3D Metal Slug tank on one of the bonus stages. Ben cryptically remarked that this model had to come from somewhere. He also said SNK was wrestling on how exactly to handle the infinite continues issue. If they did allow infinite continues then they would “piss off” the hardcore fans of the series. If they did not provide infinite continues then the casual players would find the game way too hard. Again Ben referred to the previously mentioned token system as a means to address this concern.

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