Samurai Shodown Sen, known in Japan as Samurai Spirits Sen (サムライスピリッツ閃, lit. "Samurai Spirits Flash") is the fourth 3D game in SNK's popular Samurai Shodown series of versus fighting games, the eleventh title in the series and the ninth in the official chronology (eleventh if considered the non-canonical games). The arcade version was released in most other countries as Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny, and Shi Hun: Mingyun Zhiren (侍魂 -命運之刃-, lit. "Samurai Spirits: The Blade of Fate") in China. The Xbox 360 version was released elsewhere as Samurai Shodown Sen. It was released for Japanese arcades on April 17, 2008. The Japanese Xbox 360 port was released December 10, 2009.
The game was made to celebrate the series's 15th anniversary. The developer, K2 LLC, is best known in America for having developed various installments to the stealth game series Tenchu, beginning with Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, the series's third installment.
On June 2, 2009 it was announced that it would be localized by Ignition Entertainment under the name Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny. On December 28, 2009, the North American Xbox 360 version by Ignition Entertainment was canceled. It was later picked up by XSeed Games, who announced on February 10, 2010 that they acquired the localization rights for the game. The localized Xbox 360 version was eventually released on March 30, 2010 in North America, and on April 16, 2010 in Europe. The console port allows players to unlock Golba and Draco as playable characters, as well as re-enable the graphic blood and fatalities by switching the game's region to Asia.
The game was first announced in development to the public at the All Nippon Amusement Machine Operator's Union (AOU) 2006 event where it was given a tentative release date of sometime by the end of 2007. However, at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, the date was pushed back, but was mentioned to be nearly ready for future release in Japanese arcades. Since late October 2007, the game has been undergoing severe beta testing around arcades in Japan. On December 13, 2007, the official website to the game was created, along with a bulletin of four locations sites which are in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Chiba. Testing begins on December 20th and ends on December 24th. The official site also confirms an eventual release in 2008. The first overseas testing location took place in Hong Kong during December 20~21. Along with this announcement came the game's international title. Beta testing was also made in Mexico on March 14.
The game's producer, Mitsuo Kodama, feels indebted to SNK since it was one of the reasons why he could become an independent game maker. He adds that this series is the hardest one to make the transition from 2D to 3D and actively listens to SNK's staff for artistic direction. He hopes that the finished product feels more like a polished 3D title than its predecessors. Soichiro Hosoya, the current president of SNK Playmore, stated that this game is the "revenge" of the Samurai Shodown series. Aoi Nanase, character designer to the series's first OVA, has reported in her personal blog that the official staff intend to take a great departure from the Makai and are going for a sengoku-jidai effect. Most of the new characters were voiced by newly graduated students from Amusement Media Entertainment, a technical education program that launches its attendees into the pro league of the entertainment industry.
The following is the game's story given by SNK's English Hong Kong site:
"In the last part of the Edo period...
The prince of "Lesphia", a small country in Europe, with his wife was surprise attacked during their voyage.
At the time, regrettably both got killed, but their only daughter had a narrow escape with help of one guard.
Few days later, miraculously the girl drifted to the feudal domain of Amori-han in Japan, and lord or Amori-han decided to raise her preciously.
Since then, 10 years have passed..."
The game takes place in the year 1791, when the American Revolutionary War veteran, Golba, tries to start a worldwide revolution.
The assignment for the four buttons are horizontal slash (A), vertical slash (B), kick (C), and special maneuvers button (R), whereas strong slashes are accessed by (A+B) and (B+C) combinations (horizontal and vertical strong slash respectively). The R button can allow players to perform a grab, deflect, and an unblockable slash attack (with all of the other buttons). Grab escapes are possible but cannot break free from juggling combos. Elements from previous games, such as the rage explosion and its fatal slash (Tsurane Giri), have been kept. Instead of giving extra boost, rage explosion now serves merely as manual raged state activation. The Issen ("fatal flash") attack loses its range and now only requires the player to have a minimal level of life in order to use it.
Game also introduces several new systems, such as Special Step and Fastest Input. Special Step is a simple directional motion (for example ↓↘) that acts as a preset for special moves. Inputting different attacks after performing the command results in different special moves with some characters possessing the ability to cancel the Special Step. The Fastest Input system allows the player to alter versions of the Special Step special moves by timing their button presses. The longer the player delays their button press after inputting the Special Step, the weaker the special move. Timing the button press without delay generally results in version with the best properties (the "fastest input" version).
The moveset for characters were drastically simplified and to be made more like other 3D fighting games. Pressing direction+attack, using attack during sidestep, or during transition from crouching to standing position will now result in a different attack altogether. Multi-hitting moves that were automated, such as Charlotte's Splash Front, are now more interactive, as players must press the A or B buttons to continue the sequence. Projectiles have been modified to being stylized close range attacks. Characters who have helpers (ie: Galford, Nakoruru, Rimururu) now summon their pets from an off-screen location, and are only seen during winposes or attacks. Fights are also extended to being three rounds long.
Fatalities also make a return to include the finishers seen in both the 2D titles and previous 3D titles of series. Decapitations and impalements are added as new ways to kill an opponent. The blood graphics and fatalities are present only in the international versions of the game.
In-game cutscenes are made for character interactions with the bosses and other story scenario moments. Endings are scrolled-text over a background (similar to Samurai Shodown III).
Nearly half of the cast revealed during beta testing are new comers to the series. Characters Killian and Rimururu were revealed to players during the second phase of beta testing in December. On January 17, 2008, two characters were listed on the Japanese official site. Each character has their own stats sheet, sample moveset, and backstory. Since then, the site continued to update in the same fashion on a weekly basis. The entire cast was fully revealed on April 10, 2008.
Some characters are homages to traditional swordplay (a Korean spear fighter Hae-Ryeong and elderly spear-wielding samurai Jinbei) while other characters take contemporary and artistic liberties (J, an afro samurai and Gallows, an axe wielding Viking).
The new characters added to the roster are:
- Suzuhime, a princess of a foreign country, orphaned when her parents' ship was raided ten years ago;
- Angelica, an assassin to an unknown organization;
- Takechiyo, a villager who was saved by Haohmaru when his village was attacked, and becomes his student;
- Garros, a leader of an honorable viking group who sail the seas looking for adventure and treasures;
- J., an African samurai who, in the past, was an unfortunate sailor who washed up the shores of Japan;
- Kim Hae-Ryeong, a Korean warrior who has defeated many evil doers in the name of justice;
- Walter, a knight of the Mondschein Drache Empire and member of the Crimson Lion Knights, like Neinhalt Sieger. After hearing that his home maybe soon invaded by a new threat, he leaves his home to investigate;
- Jinbei Sugamata, a retired warrior, that one day, rescued Suzuhime from the sea, and raised her until she met Takechiyo and ran away. He's been looking for her ever since;
- Black Hawk, a Native American whose father was killed during the Revolutionary War, and seeks revenge ever since;
- Kirian, a narcisist and skilled torero who met Charlotte after one of his bullfighting events;
- Claude, a guard from a foreign kingdom who was washed ashore Japan with Suzuhime ten years ago. He suffers from amnesia;
- Draco, a Western outlaw, a hired gunman and bodyguard who takes his jobs in stride;
- Golba, one of Lesphia King's sons and an officer in the Continental Army and eventually became a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, it's Suzuhime uncle and searchs for her. He also is responsible for the sinking of his niece's ship.