Over the past year, fighting game fans have had quite a tumultuous relationship with SNK Playmore. As the popular developer behind the King of Fighters franchise, eyes have been on them since the release of the series’ thirteenth installment for a hint as to what is coming next. After a few promising job listings ended up resulting in the creation of two new pachinko machines instead of a new mainline title, it seemed the future was a bit foggier than once thought.
However, an update earlier this month seemed to be the lighthouse many were waiting for. According to translations by MMCafe’s Professor, the studio was once again looking for new blood to invigorate their development staff and had plans to “change the history of fighting games” with the next King of Fighters game.
While many believed the listings for 3D artists were so that they could follow the creation process of earlier titles (where 3D models are built and then layered with pixels to produce a distinctive animation style), a recent trademark may reveal the direction SNK is heading in.
A Japanese bot was updated earlier today to show the company recently filed a new Maximum Impact trademark. For those of you unfamiliar with the title, Maximum Impact was a spin-off series that allowed SNK to experiment with bringing King of Fighters into the same realm of 3D games like Tekken and Dead or Alive. This series produced three games during its lifespan, providing an interesting take on the series’ formula.
[商願2014-63191] 商標:MAXIMUM IMPACT / 出願人:株式会社SNKプレイモア / 出願日:2014年7月28日 / 区分:9(コンピュータ用ゲームソフトウェアほか),28(業務用テレビゲーム機並びにその部品及び付属品ほか),41(オンラインによるゲーム…
— 商標速報bot (@trademark_bot) August 25, 2014
Now, before things get out of hand, it’s important to note that SNK released a Maximum Impact-themed pachinko machine back in 2009 which, at the time, was their first 3D-only game in that genre.
In addition to this specific trademark, they also filed a renewal for King of Fighters itself.
Could SNK Playmore possibly be toying with the idea of returning to the Maximum Impact style, or is this trademark for something else entirely? We won’t know until the developers make an official statement but, for now, feel free to let us know what you think.