Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves interview: Director Hayato Konya talks honoring the past and welcoming the present

Amy Chen

Amy Chen

“We want to make a game that has many facets to it that pros can enjoy, but also beginners can jump into and be able to play as well.”

After a hiatus spanning over 25 years, Fatal Fury is back! In anticipation of the game's launch, SNK invited esports.gg to check out a hands-on demo of the franchise's latest installment — Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. Esports.gg also had the honor of sitting down for an interview with Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves director Hayato Konya! During the interview, Jonathan Campana from SNK provided Japanese and English translations.

Photo of Hayato Konya and Jonathan Campana (Image via Amy Chen)
Photo of Hayato Konya and Jonathan Campana (Image via Amy Chen)

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves interview: From 1999 to 2025

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is the sequel to Mark of the Wolves from 1999. With the release date of Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves being 2025, this means the number of years between these two games is going to be 26. When asked about the timing of this, Konya shared insights about SNK's return to fighting games and the direction that the company is headed in terms of that.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves artwork featuring Rock and Terry (Image via SNK)
Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves artwork featuring Rock and Terry (Image via SNK)

"When SNK announced, 'Hey, we're making new fighting games again because there was a brief instance where we weren't making fighting games, we said, 'Hey, we're gonna do it,'" Kong revealed. "We started with King of Fighters XIV, and then we rebooted Samurai Shodown. And then we made King of Fighters XV. And we were looking at our IPs and we thought now is the time — what can we bring back? I thought Fatal Fury should be brought back. So we decided to work on that and develop City of the Wolves."

Konya also acknowledged the dedication of developers from 1999 who worked on Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. He said that their deep understanding and connection to the core of the game, combined with fresh perspectives from newer team members, enhances the new game.

Director Hayato Konya talks REV System and Overheat

Unlike its predecessor, Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves features the new REV System. This toolkit lets players use actions such as REV Accel, REV Art, Rev Guard, and REV Blow. There's also a REV Meter with text that indicates when a player is "Revving Up." Konya told esports.gg that his team is quite proud of the REV System. He also shared his excitement about the Overheat mechanic.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves REV Meter (Image via SNK)
Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves REV Meter (Image via SNK)

"The REV System — we're definitely really proud about that one," he said. "And, you know, we want to not only make it do damage, but we also want it to look good and feel good when players pull it off. But we also want to give a tactical aspect to it. You can just do all your Rev Accel, blow through your powers, and then go into Overheat. You could do that, [but] you're gonna be at a disadvantage. But if that calls for it and you're able to eke out a win that way, go for it."

Use Just Defend successfully to recover the REV Meter (Image via SNK)
Use Just Defend successfully to recover the REV Meter (Image via SNK)

While playing Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, one must strategize in a way that their character doesn't go into the "Overheat" state. Overheat disables REV actions and depletes the bar below the health gauge whenever attacks are blocked. If this bar reaches zero, then it takes more time to recover from attacks.

"We want to give different playstyles a chance to kind of explore [let players] go like, 'Oh, no, I want to play a little bit more conservatively,'" Konya continued. "You can also do that. That was kind of the whole ethos behind the system."

Fatal Fury for new and old generations

The Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves demo features five playable characters. These are Rock Howard, Terry Bogard, Hotaru Futaba, Tizoc, and Preecha. Preecha, in particular, is new to the franchise, which adds to the freshness of the game alongside the REV System. Konya went into how Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves aims to include familiar elements from the past yet welcome modern mechanics.

Preecha makes her debut in Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves (Image via SNK)
Preecha makes her debut in Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves (Image via SNK)

"Our main mission here is to make a Fatal Fury game and make it completely different from what we have in like King of Fighters, right? We want different experiences, different characters, we want all this to be just different fighting game. And you know, there's a lot of things that are brought back from the previous Fatal Fury games," Konya said, referring to the current Selective Potential Gear (S.P.G.) mechanic.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves S.P.G. activations (Image via SNK)
Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves S.P.G. activations (Image via SNK)

"There's a lot of elements that we brought forth so that when people play it, they go, 'Oh, this is Fatal Fury.' But keeping it modernized as well, right? You can't just keep using the special moves. You're gonna get burnt out like in some other games. We want to give like this Fatal Fury twist to it as well. It's not just like, 'Well, everybody else is doing it. Let's do it, too.' We want it to be simpler so people are able to play this game and can transition into this game and kind of know what's going on, but also have a Fatal Fury twist to it."

Gameplay screenshot (Image via SNK)
Gameplay screenshot (Image via SNK)

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves: Japanimation art style and character interactions

Konya talked about the art style of Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves as well, noting that it was inspired by American comics while having a distinctive anime twist. "We use this old term from a long time ago — Japanimation. It's what we used back in the 2000s," he explained.

"And looking at the characters — Rock and Terry — people probably know them from King of Fighters. But they're different in Fatal Fury. They don't look similar, they don't really look the same, they have a different demeanor," Konya continued. "The Terry in King of Fighters is more happy-go-lucky and he's a little bit more tough in this one."

Rock versus Terry screenshot (Image via SNK)
Rock versus Terry screenshot (Image via SNK)

On this note, the Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves demo features an emphasis on character stories — even through something as simple as their voice lines. Hotaru Futaba, for example, is searching for her big brother.

Hotaru screenshot (Image via SNK)
Hotaru screenshot (Image via SNK)

"There's that element of the first one where she's trying to find her big brother and stop him," Konya said. "And he has his own mission. He's trying to kill a certain someone, and that relationship gets explored in this game as well. We want players to know these just aren't static characters. They are connected with each other and that's how they move the story forward."

Andy Bogard from Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 (Image via SNK and Saxophones Blessing)
Andy Bogard from Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 (Image via SNK and Saxophones Blessing)

Konya continued to speak at length about character lore, like how Terry raised Rock, while noting that everyone has their own ambitions and reasons for fighting. These ambitions go beyond mere strength or wealth. "So Andy Bogard is training Hokutomaru in Mark of the Wolves. I can't say what's going on in this one, but there's a character interaction," Konya hinted.

Fatal Fury and the future

Additionally, Konya told esports.gg that the high standards set by Mark of the Wolves inspired the development team to create a game that fans will eagerly anticipate a sequel for even after 20 years. The overall goal is to create a memorable experience that people will remember fondly. Another goal is to make Fatal Fury enjoyable for everyone — both young and old.

Preecha in Fatal Fury City of the Wolves (Image via SNK)
Preecha in Fatal Fury City of the Wolves (Image via SNK)

"For Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, while we're developing its battle systems — this is the same of King of Fighters XV as well — we want to make a game that has many facets to it that pros can enjoy, but also beginners can jump into and be able to play as well. And that's kind of what we're setting out to do with with Fatal Fury," Konya said. "So we hope that when players have a chance to play and get their hands on it that they stick with it and they give it a chance and they enjoy the game."

That's all for now. Special thanks to SNK for this opportunity. Stick around on esports.gg for more news, interviews, and updates!

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