The animated series about a time-traveling samurai dominated schoolyard conversations before being abruptly canceled in 2004. After years of fan inquiry, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack finally returned to finish the quest in 2017 with a fifth season. Though this was thought to be the end, Jack is back in a 3D action game called Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.
Now, with the release date right around the corner, there are plenty of reasons for fans new and old to get excited for the samurai game. Here's everything we know about Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.
When is the Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time release date?
Building from the initially vague "summer 2020" window, IGN announced in July that Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time would be released on August 21, 2020.
What consoles will Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time be available on?
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time will be available on PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.
Who is developing Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time?
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is being developed by Soleil Ltd. and published by Adult Swim Games. Soleil previously worked on a multiplayer arena fighter based on the Naruto franchise called Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, which received mixed reviews.
What original cast members does Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time feature?
While we’re all traumatized by the 2004 Samurai Jack game, which included only a handful of the original cast, this one remedies the situation by bringing them all back! If a character appears in Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, then in just about every case they're voiced by their original voice actor. Based on new gameplay shown at a PAX East 2020 panel, we know of several returning characters and their voice actors:
- Samurai Jack voiced by Phil Lamarr
- Aku voiced by Greg Baldwin
- Ashi voiced by Tara Strong
- The Scotsman voiced by John Dimaggio
- Sir Rothchild voiced by Rob Paulsen
- Demongo voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson
- Scottsman's Daughter voiced by Grey Delisle
- Witch Hag voiced by B.J. Ward
- Josephine Clench voiced by Grey Delisle
- Scaramouche voiced by Tom Kenny
In addition to the confirmed returning cast members, we also know from gameplay footage seen at the same PAX East panel that Da Samurai, the Lava Monster, and Scaramouche will be returning as NPCs. Da Samurai will likely be voiced by Keegan Michael-Key who voiced them during the recent fifth season. Unfortunately, Richard McGonagle, the original Lava Monster voice actor, will likely not return to the role. McGonagle who also played the Norse god, Odin, during the original series didn’t reprise his role when the god appeared in Season 5. The god was instead voiced by Aaron LaPlante, who also voices Spear in Genndy Tartakovsky’s other series, Primal. Perhaps LaPlante will take over Lava Monster’s aural needs as well?
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is being overseen by the series’ creator, Genndy Tartakovsky. The story was written by Tartakovsky’s long-time writing partner, Darrick Bachman. Bachman previously helped write the original series and acted as the head writer on Samurai Jack Season 5. Currently, Bachman is the head writer on Tartakovsky's latest show, Primal.
What’s the story in Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time?
Of course, you’re wondering about this game’s story. What can Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time be when Jack’s narrative ended with Season 5?
According to Phill Lamarr in a BTS video, the original story is heavily intertwined with Samurai Jack’s series finale. It begins during the finale as Jack is finally returning to the past to defeat his nemesis, Aku. During the demon’s death throes, he changes the course of Jack’s time portal, sending the samurai back to where he first landed upon entering the future.
Throughout the game, you’ll relive Jack’s greatest adventures, playing through the series's most epic moments. Jack’s Season 5 love interest, Ashi, will be at the game’s core, acting his driving force to return to normalcy.
What characters are playable in Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time?
With a profusely diverse cast, you could make a guess that a few of Jack's friends might be playable in the upcoming 3D action game. If you made that guess, you'd be wrong. At Adult Swim Con, it was confirmed that Jack is the only playable character. Not even the story's heroine, Ashi, is playable.
Does Jack just use his sword in Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time?
Nope. According to the official website, Jack can “equip and master over a dozen different weapons in combat.”
From the release date trailer, we can see additional tools in Jack's arsenal. You'll be able to equip classic weapons like a massive hammer, scythe, a bow and arrow, and just plain barehanded combat. You'll have access to firearms like handguns and bazookas as well.
The site also says there will be unlockable skills, allowing you to define your own playstyle.
Is this game the “end” of the Samurai Jack franchise?
This game is being released more than three years after the original series concluded, of course, this has to be the end, right? Not quite.
After being asked about the series’ longevity at PAX East 2020 in February, Tartakovsky responded, “I don't think we squeezed the life out of [Samurai Jack] yet — [Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time] is just the beginning of it all.”
He refused to expand on what this cryptic comment meant, but we can safely say Samurai Jack won’t be slowing down any time soon! Perhaps we can expect a movie or another series down the line?
Is there a trailer for Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time?
Yes. The announcement trailer was released in late February 2020. That was followed by a number of developer livestreams and other videos, but the next major trailer was the release date announcement trailer.
Although brief, the trailer gives us an idea at the gameplay. Soleil Ltd will seemingly pull inspiration from their work on Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker. We can see that when Jack attacks foes, health bars appear above their bodies, similar to the health bars found in Shinobi Striker. Jack also uses a slick jumping move when fighting in the futuristic metropolis, giving us an idea of his learnable combat skills.
The trailer also confirms that the game’s story will span all five seasons. Jack is seen fighting foes in both his original white kimono, which he used throughout Seasons 1 through 4, and in his pitch-black Karuta that he wore during Season 5.
Given the animation throughout, it’s possible that the game will look very similar to the main series for the cutscenes while featuring the 3D game style during gameplay. All things considered, fans of the series have a lot to be excited about with Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time will be released on August 21, 2020.