Samurai Shodown (2019 video game)

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Samurai Shodown
Samurai Shodown 2019 cover art.png
[citation needed]
Director(s)Nobuyuki Kuroki
Producer(s)Yasuyuki Oda
  • Hidetoshi Ishizawa
  • Yuji Watanabe
  • Kaito Soranaka
Programmer(s)Masanori Tsuji
  • Nobuyuki Kuroki
  • Yumi Saji
  • Hiroshi Yamazoe
  • Masato Horiuchi
  • Hideki Asanaka
  • Mayuko Hino
  • Naoki Kita
  • Minori Sasaki
  • Kensuke Inage
  • Jun Hoshina
SeriesSamurai Shodown
EngineUnreal Engine 4
ReleasePlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • WW: June 25, 2019
  • JP: June 27, 2019
  • JP: October 24, 2019
  • WW: November 19, 2019
Nintendo Switch
  • JP: December 12, 2019
  • WW: February 25, 2020
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: June 11, 2020 (Epic Games)
  • WW: June 14, 2021 (Steam)[1]
Xbox Series X/S
  • WW: March 16, 2021
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Samurai Shodown (known as Samurai Spirits in Japan) is a 2019 fighting game developed and published by SNK for arcades, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows as an entry in the Samurai Shodown series, as well as a reboot to the series.


Samurai Shodown is a 2D fighting game with 3D graphics that uses many elements from past games in the series. It shares similarities with The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.

The controls consists of four buttons: weak, medium, strong blows with weapons and kick. By pressing special combinations, the character can carry out captures, counterattacks, interceptions and evasions. The Rage Gauge is back in the game. It replenishes after each damage taken by the character. A fully filled scale gives access to new abilities. After gaining a full scale, the player can activate the rage mode, which increases the character's strength for a while and opens up the opportunity to inflict a disarming blow to the opponent. During the activation of the fury mode, an explosion occurs, pushing the enemy away and opening him up for attack. After the end of the rage mode, the player is deprived of the opportunity to use the scale until the end of the match.

Each character has a Super Special Move, which deals very powerful damage when hitting an opponent. However, it can only be attempted once during the entire match.[2]

The game uses a trainable artificial intelligence. The player can create his/her own so-called ghost. The AI will observe the player's actions and then try to copy them.[3] In a battle with your own ghost, the player can discover the weaknesses of his tactics.

The bloody finishing moves that were absent in the previous titles of the series returned to this game.[4]


Samurai Shodown takes place in the time period between the Samurai Shodown V and Samurai Shodown, and has been cited as a reboot of the series.[5]

The game takes place in 1787, during the Tenmei Era of Japanese history. The entire country is beset by a terrible and looming evil. Fire, ruin and famine ran rampant throughout Japan. Meanwhile, as these events unfold, a sinister cloud envelops the air with a foreboding sense of dread. Shizuka Gozen, the deceased spirit of a young woman who is possessed and trapped in Yomi, (labeled Eternity in the game itself) threatens to destroy Japan. Warriors from all across Japan and beyond the ocean, driven by their own needs and desires, converge to investigate these evil forces and vanquish them.


Samurai Shodown features a base roster of 16 playable characters, with extra ones available as paid and free downloadable content. Newcomers and guest characters are marked in bold.

Base Roster Season One Season Two[6] Season Three[7][8]
  • Charlotte
  • Darli Dagger [9]
  • Earthquake
  • Galford
  • Genjuro Kibagami
  • Hanzo Hattori
  • Tam Tam
  • Ukyo Tachibana
  • Yashamaru Kurama [10]
  • Yoshitora Tokugawa
  • Wu-Ruixiang [10]
  • Rimururu
  • Basara
  • Kazuki Kazama
  • Wan-Fu
  • Shizumaru Hisame d


  • ^d : Free post-launch downloadable character
  • ^g : Guest character


Samurai Shodown was unveiled at the SNK Investor Relations 2018 IPO conference,[14] being developed by SNK Corporation. The game was published by Athlon Games outside of Japan.[15]

The twelfth main game in the Samurai Shodown series, it is the first mainline entry since 2008's Samurai Shodown Sen.

The development team consists of members who worked on The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.[16] Nobuyuki Kuroki is the director and one of the artists,[16] while Yasuyuki Oda serves as producer. Kuroki has been previously involved with the series through the Samurai Shodown 64 titles.[5] The characters of the game were designed by Yumi Saji.[17]

The internal staff at SNK who worked on the game consisted of 50 to 60 employees, as well as outsourcing some art assets, to form a total of an estimated 200 employees who worked on the game.[18] Some of the reasons for making a new title were the recent focus on the esports community and the many fan requests.[5] The team considered using a realistic art style for the graphics but decided against it because too many fighting games were using it already.[19] Oda has expressed interest in adding guest characters from other franchises.[5][19] This was realized with guest characters from Tencent (which would later acquiring Athlon's parent company Leyou), Ubisoft, and Arc System Works-produced games.

Due to outdated graphics involving the releases of The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, SNK chairman Zhihui GE had stated that the future SNK fighting games will use Unreal Engine 4 in order to give a better graphical presentation. Samurai Shodown became the first SNK game to use Unreal Engine 4.[20][21]

First announced for PlayStation 4 in September 2018, the game was later revealed to be a multiplatform title.[22] It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One worldwide in June 2019 with versions for the Nintendo Switch, Windows and Stadia releasing at a later date.[23][24] The enhanced version for Xbox Series X/S was revealed during Tokyo Game Show 2020 for a Q4 2020 launch.[25] It released on March 16, 2021, and was published by Deep Silver (part of Embracer Group's Koch Media). The version supports a higher frame rate of 120fps.[26] With help from Code Mystics, rollback netcode will be implemented in a Spring 2023 update for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.[27]


Samurai Shodown has received generally favorable reviews, the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch versions earning a Metacritic score of 81, 78, 76, and 75 respectively.[28][29][30][31] Den of Geek gave the game 3.5 out of 5 stars, and commented that Samurai Shodown "is a fighting game that’s incredibly solid in its core gameplay and looks swell enough, but it sadly feels like it’s lacking because there’s little else to do."[38] The Mercury News called the game a solid revamp for the series, and noted that SNK upgraded the visuals and was as challenging as ever.[39] In their review of the game, GameSpot called the game a great reboot that captured what made the original fun and unique, while also drawing attention to the fact that the single-player experience was somewhat lacking.[36] IGN praised the game's fighting mechanics, and noted that there was an extraordinarily tense style of fighting that is unlike just about anything else in the genre in the current fighting game climate.[37] The PlayStation 4 version was the fourth bestselling game in Japan during its first week of release, selling 16,662 copies.[40] On July 4, SNK reported that first-week shipments plus digital sales totaled 40,606 units.[41]

The game was nominated for "Best Fighting Game" at The Game Awards 2019,[42] and for "Fighting Game of the Year" at the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards,[43] and won the award for "Game, Franchise Fighting" at the NAVGTR Awards.[44]


  1. ^ @SNKPofficial (17 May 2021). "【SAMURAI SHODOWN】Weapon-based fighter SAMURAI SHODOWN is coming to Steam on June 14th! #SNK #SamSho #Steam" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Игровые механики Samurai Shodown". 5 June 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-08-16. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  3. ^ "The incredible potential of Samurai Shodown's new ghost A.I." Gamecrate. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  4. ^ "Samurai Shodown Demo Fatality Compilation ! (Haomaru, Nakoruru, Yashamaru) | Samsho 6/'19". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  5. ^ a b c d Romano, Sal (2019-03-25). "Samurai Shodown launches for PS4 and Xbox One in June, Switch in Q4 2019 and PC later; 44 minutes of gameplay and staff interview". Gematsu. Gematsu. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  6. ^ Romano, Sal (2020-01-25). "Samurai Shodown DLC characters Sogetsu Kazama and Iroha announced". Gematsu. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  7. ^ Romano, Sal (2020-07-31). "Samurai Shodown DLC characters Season 3 Pass announced". Gematsu. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  8. ^ 【ENG】First Official Reveal: KOF XV & SAMURAI SHODOWN
  9. ^ "Darli Dagger announced as first newcomer for Samurai Shodown", EventHubs, March 30, 2019
  10. ^ a b SAMURAI SHODOWN / SAMURAI SPIRITS – Trailer (Asia)
  11. ^ WARDEN: SAMURAI SHODOWN - DLC Character (North America)
  12. ^ GONGSUN LI: SAMURAI SHODOWN - DLC Character (North America)
  13. ^ Romano, Sal (February 21, 2021). "Samurai Shodown DLC Character Cham Cham Launches March 16; Character from Guilty Gear Teased". Gematsu. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  14. ^ Moyse, Chris (2018-12-05). "Samurai Shodown is reportedly coming early 2019 for PS4, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch". Destructoid. Enthusiast Gaming. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  15. ^ "Samurai Shodown to be published by Athlon Games". Gematsu. 7 March 2019.
  16. ^ a b Co, Franz (2018-09-13). "Nobuyuki Kuroki confirms that new Samurai Shodown is being made by the same team as The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy". Shoryuken. Complex. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  17. ^ "Nobuyuki KUROKI & Yumi SAJI: signing". Japan Expo Paris. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-07-05. Nobuyuki KUROKI and Yumi SAJI, Art Director and Chara-Designer of the new opus.
  18. ^ Kane, Alex (21 June 2019). "The making of Samurai Shodown (2019)". Polygon. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  19. ^ a b Nelva, Giuseppe (2019-03-30). "New Samurai Shodown Character Revealed: Darli Dagger; Neogeo Collection Announced". Twinfinite. Twinfinite. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  20. ^ "SAMURAI SHODOWN releases in 2019! Watch the teaser trailer now!" (Press release). Suita-city, Osaka, Japan: SNK Corporation. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  21. ^ "SNK 갈지휘 회장 겸 개발총괄 "언리얼 엔진 사용 확대, KOF15도 언리얼로 개발중"". GameFocus. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  22. ^ Romano, Sal (September 10, 2018). "Samurai Shodown announced for PS4". Gematsu. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  23. ^ Romano, Sal (March 25, 2019). "Samurai Shodown launches for PS4 and Xbox One in June, Switch in Q4 2019 and PC later; 44 minutes of gameplay and staff interview". Gematsu. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  24. ^ "Google adds 10 more games to Stadia launch line-up, plus free Samurai Shodown". Metro. November 18, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  25. ^ Romano, Sal (September 24, 2021). "Samurai Shodown coming to Xbox Series this winter". Gematsu. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  26. ^ Romano, Sal (January 15, 2021). "Samurai Shodown for Xbox Series launches March 16". Gematsu. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  27. ^ Moyse, Chris. "Rollback netcode coming to Samurai Shodown spring 2023". Destructoid. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  28. ^ a b "Samurai Showdown for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Samurai Shodown for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Samurai Shodown for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  31. ^ a b "Samurai Shodown for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Review: Samurai Shodown".
  33. ^ "Samurai Shodown review". 29 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Samurai Shodown Review – an Intense Return with Rough Edges". Game Informer.
  35. ^ Samurai Shodown Review | A slice of nostalgia done right – GameRevolution
  36. ^ a b Kemps, Heidi (28 June 2019). "Samurai Shodown Review - New Blood". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  37. ^ a b Saltzman, Mitchell (24 June 2019). "Samurai Shodown Review - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  38. ^ Jasper, Gavin (28 June 2018). "Samurai Shodown Review: Fun Swordplay with Only a Slice of Content". Den of Geek. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  39. ^ Chaco, Giesen (28 June 2019). "'Samurai Shodown' a solid revamp for cult fighting game series". The Mercury News. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  40. ^ Romano, Sal (3 July 2019). "Famitsu Sales: 6/24/19 – 6/30/19". Gematsu. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  41. ^ Romano, Sal (4 July 2019). "Samurai Shodown PS4 shipments and digital sales top 40,606 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  42. ^ Winslow, Jeremy (19 November 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Nominees Full List [game title mislabeled as "Samurai Showdown"]". GameSpot. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  43. ^ Chalk, Andy (13 January 2020). "Control and Death Stranding get 8 nominations each for the 2020 DICE Awards". PC Gamer. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  44. ^ "2019 Winners". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.

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