The AOU Show held last week in Tokyo has seen the demise of the Neo Geo MVS arcade platform, with Samurai Spirits Zero Special given the distinction of being the last game to be released for the system.
The machine, powered by a bespoke Motorola 68000 graphics chip and a Z80 central processor, first hit arcades back in 1989 and was capable of throwing around 380 sprites using a colour palate 64,000 strong – a true powerhouse in its day.
The problem was that, until this point in time, this was the only hardware that hosted SNK’s arcade games, with seminal franchises including King of Fighters and Metal Slug being forced onto the antiquated platform and losing credibility with the mainstream with every incarnation.
This has all now changed, with SNK Playmore stating that the very final game to hit the MVS will be Samurai Spirits Zero Special, the tweaked update to SSZ due to hit arcades this summer. The firm announced a rolling deal with Sammy that will see all future SNK coin-op titles reside on the Dreamcast-based, 3D happy AtomisWave board.
This news may well spell the end of Neo Geo AES home console support, though this was not detailed by SNK Playmore. The arcade spin-off, cartridge-based home system still has a loyal fanbase that happily devours any game released for the system, despite the fact that new games retail at a shade over £200 each, with some second-hand titles regularly fetching in excess of £1000.
This move by SNK, which is arguably well overdue, has been triggered in part by the firm’s ongoing problems with having PlayStation 2 ports of 2D MVS code accepted by Sony Computer Entertainment America. Two recent offerings - the latest instalments of the Metal Slug series and Samurai Spirits - were rejected when submitted to SCEA.
As ever, we’ll keep you fully updated with all SNK news, right here, as it breaks.