Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves Hands-on Preview

In a nutshell:

  • We demoed Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves and spoke with the developers about the creative choices and technical aspects that went into the game.
  • The demo consisted of five playable fighters including Terry Bogard and Rock Howard.
  • Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is a competent fighter with the REV engine that boosts your style points and activates ultimate super attacks.

At the Summer Game Fest, we were able to demo Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves for the first time. It has been 26 years since Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves, and its first canon entry into the series for the longest time.

We were also privileged to be able to interview the legendary game designers Yasuyuki Oda and Nobuyuki Kuroki who graced our presence with the low-down with the latest canon sequel to this legendary fighting series.

“Honestly, we wanted to make [the sequel] 26 years ago,” Oda says pensively. “Unfortunately, the company went under at the time and now we’re back, and we now have a chance to do so.”

Catching up to lost time

I’m glad that they were able to make the sequel for the title after all these years. For fans of the series, the last thing they remember is how Terry Bogard and Rock Howard parted ways at the end of Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves. We asked how this dynamic will play out in Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.

“We’ve made you wait a long time, but now it’ll be time for you to find out what happens next,” Oda says with a smile. “I’m just glad I didn’t die yet!”

The demo that we played had five playable characters including the aforementioned Terry and Rock. We also have Vox Reaper, Preecha, and Marco Rodriguez. From our playthrough, Rock and Terry played similarly to how we’ve used the characters from other titles in the past such as King of Fighters and Capcom vs SNK.

Fatal Fury Vox Reaper

While I did enjoy playing as both Rock and Terry, it’s been a while since I’ve used these characters in any fighting game. Many of their moves still track, especially Terry, whose moves have not changed at all.

As with the other characters, Marco plays similarly to Art of Fighting characters notably Ryo and Takuma, with solid karate moves and a defense-type taking quite a bit of damage. Preecha is a speed-type character with moves similar to Joe Higashi, showing quite a bit of wind-type attacks. Vox Reaper is a precision-based character specializing on zone traps and precision attacks.

When asked to comment about the character designs the developers comment, “Regarding Vox Reaper, we wanted to make a cool assassin-type character. I’m glad that the dev team was on the same page. Preecha was a little bit more difficult, because she is a scientist and a muay thai fighter, and those two things don’t necessarily mix together, so we needed to find the right balance.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is all about the REV system

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves plays particularly well, as I can compare its performance with King of Fighters 15. While a few subtle mechanics were different, such as the use of a backstep and mini-dash, many mechanics are more similar to Street Fighter 6.

I’ve tried both the Arcade Style and Smart Style, and being familiar with the SNK games in the past, I had no issue playing with the Arcade Style. Although I did not have the hubris to try it out with the arcade stick, I stuck with the controller and I fared quite all right. As for the Smart Style, the easy special attacks can be a bit jarring, but it will definitely be helpful when playing against other players.

Both developers spoke about the different paradigms, “It’s definitely easier to get into the game with the arcade style, we recommend players to start with arcade even if it’s your first time with the game. Once you get into the game, then you can try the smart style. We’ve seen other designers duke it out with pro players using smart style and have done quite well.”

Fatal Fury Vox Combat

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves isn’t merely just executing special moves and defeating your opponents. While most of my demo experience was against a CPU, the difficulty was set at around a medium difficulty setting. As a relative casual, it took me a while to get used to some of the new mechanics.

Besides the fundamental blocking, attacking, and punishing, you can also execute just defense, which is a free parry move that can provide some an easy punish or counterattack. The CPU AI adapts pretty well, providing quite a bit of challenge. Rock Howard has his own counter move so I was able to switch between that and just defense, which was a fun way to counter hit.

The one mechanic that stood out with Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves was the addition of the REV system. The most basic of which involves pressing both light and heavy punch or kick buttons when inputting a special move, granting you the REV ART. You can chain this into REV Accel, where you can execute unique combos similar to King of Fighters 15’s special cancel. Defense-wise, you also have access to REV guard, which allows you to backdash or jump while doing, allowing you more defensive actions while blocking.

Fatal Fury Hidden Gear

“By adding the REV system, it allows the game to appear impressive not only to the player but also to the audience watching the matches. It affords players more options and agency to play how they want to play. They can choose their own playstyle,” comments the developers.

We definitely were able to witness the potential of the REV system when combined with the Selective Potential Gear or SPG. I was wondering when I started every Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves match about this mechanic. You can either have it occur at the start, middle, or end of the fight. Your health bar regenerates, power gauge gets a boost and your REV meter moves slower. Here you can access your Hidden Gear, your Ultimate Super that deals massive damage.

However, when you max out your REV bar, you enter an Overheat state where you lose access to your REV benefits and can be susceptible to Guard Crush, taking longer to recover from hits. While it is a powerful mechanic, you can’t just overuse it, so Overheat is a fair way to provide balance. Overheat isn’t permanent however, as you can recover from it by landing hits, and executing Just Defense.

The Future Looks Bright

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves has been a pleasure to play and we’re looking forward to it as it launches early next year. Yet, there were a few burning questions we have regarding a certain announcement from a different fighting game…

To address the elephant in the room having Fatal Fury characters such as Terry Bogard, and Mai Shiranui in Street Fighter 6, Oda and Kuroki has this to say, “Terry and Mai in Street Fighter 6 was a discussion we had two years ago. So we’re glad that it finally came out in fruition. Fans really want to have CAPCOM characters in our game in similar roles. So let your readers know, and have them voice out their opinions online and make sure their voice is heard.”

Fatal Fury Attack

I asked what message the developers have for Filipino fans, Oda says, “This is the first Fatal Fury in a long time so some younger fans aren’t familiar with it, but we want you to consider it as a game your dad played, but we would like them and their kids to beat each other up in the game just the same.”

Kuroki comments, “This is a game that you get to play with your parents because they played it when they were younger. So I’m looking forward to enjoying the game. The visuals this time are really cool. So I think a lot of young people will be able to get into the game easier.”

Oda has a final message as I ended the interview, “We are adding additional characters into King of Fighters 15, so please look forward to more news in the future.”

What characters could they be? We can only wait and see!

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves will be available in PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC Early 2025.

Our Summer Game Fest 2024 coverage is powered by Lenovo Philippines and Lenovo Legion.

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