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.
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!