Samurai Shodown Uses Deep Machine Learning To Create Opponents

SamSho returns.

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Now Playing: Samurai Shodown - Embrace Death Gameplay Trailer

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The latest entry in SNK's classic fighting game series, Samurai Shodown, will launch for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch in June, publisher Athlon Games has announced. The PC version, meanwhile, will launch at a later, as of yet undisclosed time.

At launch, there will be a number of modes available to the player. Alongside the prerequisite story, online, and offline versus modes, there will also be a new asynchronous mode called "Dojo." While SNK didn't delve into the specifics of how it'll work, it did say that Dojo will use deep machine learning to create custom computer-controlled opponents. These AI fighters will learn from how a player behaves in online and offline modes, and battle against the player with this behavior in mind.

These AI characters will be shareable, and Samurai Shodown players will also be able to download versions of other players that are online. Ghosts will be available to fight in one-on-one battles, as well as a unique Ironman Challenge that pits a player against 100 AI fighters in a row. The potential here is interesting, especially when it comes to teaching how to play the game.

Samurai Shodown is a weapon-based fighter set in the late 18th century. Despite not being a numbered entry, it takes place in the existing timeline, set before Samurai Shodown V and prior to the events of the original game. At a recent preview event, the game's developers explained that this placement in the timeline allowed SNK to bring back familiar faces while also introducing new characters. In total there will be 13 characters that longtime fans will recognize, including Haohmaru, Galford, and Earthquake. Additional characters will also be made available through DLC after the games launch.

Unlike many other fighting games, Samurai Showdown doesn't focus on lengthy and flashy combos, and is instead oriented by single, well-timed strikes that deal devastating damage. As a result, high-level play is based on reading the opponent, manipulating their movements, and reacting to exploit openings. While the barrier to entry is low, the ceiling for mastery has traditionally been very high.

In the trailer above, you can see some of Samurai Shodown's characters and get a feel for how lethal the gameplay can be. It's also a good look at the game's eye-catching visual style, which mixes 3D models with painterly backgrounds and a cel shading effect.

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