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Killer Instinct Preview

Microsoft, Double Helix break 16-year combo of no sequels

Killer Instinct was one of the bigger surprises to come from Microsoft's E3 press conference, and information is beginning to trickle in about how the long-absent fighting game will shape up when it is released alongside the Xbox One in November.

The game, an exclusively digital release, will launch with a free demo featuring one playable character and the option to buy the complete game or additional character packs a la carte.

Few details about the gameplay are known, but the combat from the announcement trailer resembles the style of NetherRealm Studios titles Injustice: Gods Among Us and 2011's Mortal Kombat and is confirmed to run at 60 frames per second. So far, six classic characters—Cinder, Fulgore, Glacius, Jago, Sabrewulf, and Spinal—are known to be returning. A training mode with 40 lessons is also confirmed. The online mode uses the Xbox One's asynchronous matchmaking system to prepare another fight before the current fight ends, allowing players to go from fight to fight without stopping by a lobby.

Response to the announcement was bipolar, with fans both excited to see the series return and skeptical of trusting its developer. Double Helix, perhaps best known for Silent Hill: Homecoming, has more recently developed licensed-property titles with average to poor critical reviews, such as Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters and Battleship.

Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer defended Double Helix, describing them to Joystiq as a developer who "really cares about the game" and is working with people "core" to the franchise. Additionally, former Namco Bandai Community Manager and fighting game guru Rich Bantegui, now a member of the Double Helix team, is connected to the project.

Killer Instinct's latest entry, Gold, was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996. Rumors of a sequel popped up every few years thereafter, but nothing was ever confirmed. Prior to being revealed Monday, the last word about a possible sequel was a September 2012 application by Microsoft for the Killer Instinct trademark, which was eventually settled only two months ago. (Personally, I remember "Killer Instinct 3" listed somewhere as an upcoming release for the Xbox 360 in 2005. It was one of the reasons I decided to buy the console!)

Killer Instinct is scheduled to appear next month at EVO 2013, where Glacius will be playable and more details about the game are expected to surface.



Super Step Contributing Writer

06/16/2013 at 04:40 AM

Well, I'll be watching this closely. Too bad it's on Xbox One though, and if Microsoft owns the rights to the name ... oy. Also, that only got settled a couple months ago? So, how long has this been in development then?

Oh, how I wish this were a physical disc launch title on PS4, handled by former Rare employees. Still, I hope that's who the "core" people are helping out, and that they, Double Helix and Rich Bantegui can come up with a good game. Not cause I plan on buying it at present, but cause I like KI and don't want to see its legacy tarnished.


06/19/2013 at 03:12 AM

I ve waited for a new Killer Instinct game for years so I'm pretty gutted that I'll miss out on this latest installment. The speed and flow looks pretty good and whilst I like the graphical stylings I'm not sold on the character re-designs. They should have left them as they were , enough time has passed between installments for the original look to be a major selling point for the new game..... they'd better not mess with my Fulgore!


06/25/2013 at 05:45 AM

"exclusively digital release"  I don't like the sound of that.  If this game is at $60, then I refuse to buy it.  I don't plan to get an XBO anytime soon, so hopefully when I do decide to get one, I'll get this game too, if the price is right. 

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