If you’ve ever read any of my reviews of SNK games, you will know that I had an absurd fascination with the firm’s US branch. For the most part, they were a complete and utter mystery. The quality and frequency of their releases fluctuated constantly, and since they barely talked to the press, any and all rumors about their status were allowed to fly around. I finally stopped trying to keep score sometime last year, when suddenly every SNK game was being released by other publishers. Ignition handled the localization of Metal Slug 7 and King of Fighters 12, and Atlus just released Metal Slug XX this week. I figured that the US branch was finally done for, and that the folks in Japan were now just cutting deals themselves with interested publishers.
Turns out I was wrong. SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION still lives! I just found out that their once dead website (filled with broken links) has been revamped. There you will find tons of information on jack-diddly-squat. They have some press releases, a few crummy wallpapers, and a series of ads for their games (with links to the official sites created by since Ignition/Atlus/XSEED). The new site serves two simple purposes:
1) to remind us that the company still exists.
2) to point you to the people who are now responsible for the care and feeding of SNK games in America, so that you might hold them accountable instead should things go wrong.
So I suppose that the saga of the “Little US Branch of a Game Company That Couldn’t” has begun anew. Thankfully, however, there’s no mystery to solve this time around. Whereas SNK US once had to deal with finding developers and creating packaging, it looks like they now have taken on a much smaller role, wherein they contract the work out to publishers while doing some light marketing. In essence they have become the Pabst Brewery of the gaming industry. Works for me.
PS – KOF 13 was announced yesterday. What should be gut busting excitement is now replaced with casual optimism within me. How times change!