The King of Fighters XII Revives the Lost Art of 2D Fighting

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Greetings and salutations everyone, this is Shane Bettenhausen from Ignition Entertainment. I’ve graciously been given the chance to hijack the PlayStation Blog to give you a quick heads-up about the long awaited release of The King of Fighters XII, due out this summer for the PlayStation 3 console.

Dedicated KOF fans have been patiently waiting for years to get their hands on a new installment in this legendary franchise. Since its inception 15 years ago, The King of Fighters has served as a ferocious franchise mash-up, gathering characters from classic series such as Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Ikari Warriors for three-on-three street fighting action. For years, fans could depend on KOF to deliver a new yearly update sporting a few minor tweaks and new playable characters, but the advent of the HD era demanded a fresh start. KOF XII is precisely that—a total reboot and rebirth that embraces the past while looking towards the future. The developers at SNK PLAYMORE have worked hard to deliver a next-gen King of Fighters sequel that honors the series’ tradition of hand-drawn 2D art and animation while upping the ante with gameplay refinements and fierce online play.

KOF12-~3 copy copy

Creating the massive amount of hand-drawn art required to fluidly animate HD-quality character sprites required a small army of artists sketching their hearts out—SNK PLAYMORE estimates that each fighter required a combined 18 months of man-hours in order to be completed. A similar attention to detail went into the game’s creative (and often wacky) high-definition 2D stages—check out the porcine, baguette-chomping ladies populating the Paris stage to see precisely what I’m getting at. The game’s art team has also pulled off some clever special effects rarely seen in a 2D fighter, including pseudo lighting and detailed character self-shadowing.

Although the creators of KOF XII have remained fiercely loyal to the series’ 2D hand-drawn roots, they aren’t afraid to make sweeping changes to the core fighting gameplay. Recent KOF titles had introduced a host of complex rules and systems that all been tossed out in KOF XII. The basics remain intact—two punch buttons, two kick buttons, plenty of special moves, and devastating Super Special moves—but the implementation of throws, reversals, and counters has been completely revamped. As always, KOF offers players an incredible amount of agility, with a serious emphasis placed on dashing, rolling, back stepping, and mastering the game’s different tactical jump maneuvers. And since the focus here is a return to the franchise’s roots, many of the fan-favorite characters have reverted to their classic KOF ’94 move sets, costumes, and stances.

We’re especially thrilled to bring the KOF XII experience online via the PlayStation Network, as there’s no better way to experience a fighter than to virtually deliver a humiliating beatdown to another real player half a world away. KOF XII offers some killer online options, including 8-player lobbies, the ability to edit and upload your replays, and the PlayStation 3-exclusive online Clan system.


In order to properly introduce KOF XII to the eager community, we’ve cooked up an event that’s going to kick off the E3 season with a well-deserved roundhouse to the head: The King of Fighters XII Tournament. We’re proud to be partnering with Sony Computer Entertainment America, GameStop, and the EVO Championship Series, the largest and longest running fighting game tournaments in the world, to host an international championship tournament on Saturday, May 30th, at Element, located at 1642 Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028.

We’ve invited 128 of the world’s finest KOF players to throw down and prove their skills by playing a sneak-peek early version of The King of Fighters XII for PS3. Sure, these hardcore warriors will be brawling for bragging rights (and a nifty crown), but they’ll also battle for a chance to win valuable KOF goodies, including an import-only KOF XII arcade cabinet! And the fisticuffs will provide only part of the action, as we’ve arranged special guest appearances and fun activities that will celebrate the 15th anniversary of SNK PLAYMORE’s legendary 3-on-3 fighting franchise in style.

We’d love to be able to invite everyone to take part in this monumental KOF event, but the fire marshal wasn’t so keen on the idea. But if you’re a hardcore King of Fighters fan who will be in the Los Angeles area on May 30th, there is still a way you can still be a part of the celebration. We’ll be holding an amateur King of Fighters cosplay contest during the tournament, so anyone who shows up in costume at the venue by Noon on Saturday, May 30th will be given access to the event as a spectator. You may choose to dress as any King of Fighters character that has appeared in the entire series, but you must be clearly recognizable as that fighter—if you don a trash bag and a cardboard hat and try to pass yourself off as Terry Bogard, we do reserve the right to limit access. Good luck with your costume, and we hope to see you there!


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  • Welcome to the blog shane!

  • Dang that was a yummy surprise!

  • 2d? sure, advertise the obvious weakness in the game compared to obvious competitors in the genre as a good thing and i’ll believe you.

  • Wow Shane On Playstation Blog Welcome. Game looks cool btw.

  • So how’s the net code holding up for online modes? This stuff is super important for fighters. Please quell my fears!

  • I don’t like Iori’s costume change. But it’s nice more hand-drawn fighting games are coming out.

  • Nice! Shane Bettenhausen in da house. Mangod was it? lol anyway cool to see you visiting and please do go on Listen Up as often as you can, that way it almost feel like the old 1up yours.

  • wassup shane!!!

  • It’s a shame none of my favorite characters are in KoF12. No K’, Yamazaki, Nameless/K9999, Angel, Tizoc and so forth. Instead I get characters like Chin (who even likes him?). Oh well, sadly a bargain bin game.

    Hope the tourneyplayers and cosplayers have fun in LA though, always nice with these types of events.

  • I can’t wait for this game to come out. I’ve always prefer the KoF series over any 2D fighting game series.

    Sorry SF4, you were fun and all, but KoF > SF.

  • Welcome back Shane!

    This King Of Fighters game series rules! I would so get this one. I used to have KoF 99, and I almost got it again but I am waiting for the new one better :)

  • they still make these games O.O

  • SHANE!!! Man, when 1up was changing you were the first loss I was concerned about. Glad to see one of my favorite editors promoting my favorite fighting franchise…could this announcement be any more perfect? No…I don’t think it can…

    …but, I have a gripe. I have wept countless tears trying to access the Ignition polls on the cover vote. It NEVER loaded for me, and now I feel my vote is meaningless. PLEASE add a portal here so your Blog faithfuls can have a word in on the final two choices. We’re now down to what, the NA/JPN cover votes?


    Welcome back Shane, we’ve missed you!!

  • MANGOD on the blog!

    Thanks for the update, Shane. :)

  • Just wanted to write and say that I was all for KoF12 until I heard Mai wasn’t going to be included in the roster. There’s no way I’m buying a KoF game without Mai Shiranui. What’s the point in making a KoF title and leaving out the single most popular SNK character ever created!? I’d demand her appearance, but it’s fairly obvious that they’ve already decided she won’t be included. I heard something about an art contest that would somehow guarantee her inclusion in a “future title” but that doesn’t help sell me KoF12.

    Not happy, not buying.

  • Welcome MANGOD!

    @18 I’m more upset that K’ isn’t in this one.

  • Iv been asking Jeff about this for a long time!!!
    Thanks man. :)

  • Hey Shane could you explain about the Normal and Simple control scheme on the console version ?

  • I wish this game was on the PSN like Burnout…

  • I’m sorry, but 2D fighting never went anywhere. EVO2k has been around for years. I never stopped playing my 2D fighters. :/

  • Good to see ya here,Shane. Still miss ya at the old place,but glad your posting here. Can’t wait to see the game in action.


  • Looking forward to this! I got bumped up to Competitor status from Alternate recently, and I’d like to see how far I can go. Hoping Ed Ma is not at this tournament.

  • is mai gonna be here? she has to be.. my purchase depends on that.. bouncy

  • How does it feel Shane to be posting on the PS Blog. lol

  • welcome to the blog,it’s always good to see more devs here:) i look forward to this as i haven’t found a fighter to satisfy me this gen

  • 8 player lobbies!! Clan support!!!! Yah are already takin better steps compared to capcom. Capcom isn’t doin dlc, will yah prove that snkplaymore is better by doin so? We love additional content, at a good price though or free. Also, what are yah doin to make your game as lag free as possible?

  • Sweet! Sucks I can’t go to LA by May 30, my bday is on May28 and I have to be here for celebration lol.

    Anyways, Shane influence SNKP to release Color Edit as DLC!! That is all we need! Make it happen!!

  • @3
    I don’t know what your talking about, but making HD 2D sprites that move smoothly and look beautiful isn’t an easy task, and much harder in my opinion then going the 3D route for their characters. 2D done right is anything but a weakness.

    That said, good job SNK for giving your fans what they want.

  • Those look like PS1 sprites.

    I just checked the full resolution images on flickr and.. I mean.. the resolution is 720p, but those arent HD sprites. Those are perfectly visible pixels.


  • SFIV can take a hint from KoF XII.. Lobbies

  • Is this coming to the UK?

  • The game is looking great, I will be purchasing this and Marvel vs Capcom 2.

  • I’m not really a fan of the whole fighting genre. I’m more of the “dispatch three or four guys at once” with only middling effort. The intense graphical visuals are all that really keep me interested in the genre, which almost had me buying Virtua Fighter 5. Still, thanks for stopping by. :)

  • welcome shane, the game looks cool. i did in joy the pic of that girl with the costume lol, will have to try this game out when i get a chance

  • Demo.

    As in, will there be one?

  • The Mangod arrives.

    It’s over, guys. Close up the blog.

  • I wish that I could make that event, but we’re not hitting LA until Sunday :-( Can’t wait to get my hands-on KoF12 at E3!!!!

  • I see people complaining of it being 2d and how the most popular people are not in the game.

    first of 2d is snk’s strength and I miss true hand drawn or sprited games in todays 3d era. oh, for the people I seen Terry and I am sure Andy will be there as it said 94 stances. I see Kyo coming to it also atleast I hope.

  • some of the fighters

    * Ash Crimson
    * Duo Lon
    * Shen Woo
    * Kyo Kusanagi
    * Benimaru Nikaido
    * Goro Daimon
    * Iori Yagami
    * Athena Asamiya
    * Sie Kensou
    * Chin Gentsai
    * Terry Bogard
    * Andy Bogard
    * Joe Higashi
    * Kim Kaphwan
    * Raiden
    * Ryo Sakazaki
    * Robert Garcia
    * Ralf Jones
    * Clark Still
    * Leona Heidern

    Console-Exclusive Characters

    * Mature
    * Elisabeth Branctorche[

  • Hey Shane. Welcome to PS Blog! By the way, will we finally see Mai make her return to this game?

  • i have a big question
    will we get DLC characters?
    if so can we get yashiro pleassssssse

  • Booooo! Booooo! No K’ means no purchase.

  • Nice! I love KOF. Too bad I’m a) not good at it. b) Don’t live in that area. c) Can’t cosplay.

    Also, will this game support Home game-launching?

  • 8-player lobbies…meeh you already beat $F4 with just that

  • Glad to see you post here Shane.:D

    Anyway, I’m really excited for KOFXII. Definitely going to buy it.

  • Shane what’s up,come to the 1up podcast for E3 at least!

  • Howcome in the screenshots, the characters look very low resolution? The background and HUD look good …. but the sprites are all blocky…?

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