KOF XII Delayed

July 2, 2009

Various sources have indicated that the console versions of The King of Fighters XII will be delayed to end of July, tentatively 28th July 2009.

Reason for the delay? According to the developers, it’s for them to ‘improve the title’.

Personally, I feel it’s to space itself away from the other recently released 2D fighting games, such as BlazBlue, KOF’98 UM and Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Although I’m hoping that they are spending this extra time improving their netcodes, since feedback on that of KOF’98 UM has not been encouraging.


IGN Hands-On Preview of KOF XII (PS3)

May 21, 2009

IGN has posted an encouraging preview of The King of Fighters XII on PS3 here. Below are some excerpts from the hands-on session:

This is truly one of the sharpest 2D games I’ve ever seen and watching it in motion makes the screenshots look completely lifeless. This really is a fighter that must be experienced first-hand.

And although the game’s aesthetics might have been given a total overhaul, the fighting mechanics still feel very much like a King of Fighters game.

What surprised me the most when I picked up the controller was how much weight the characters had. It was a fantastic feeling, especially when you compare it with other 2D fighters where characters move around without any real substance.

Standard throws are also included as well as an evasive roll that can help your fighter get out of sticky situations.

Every character can also counter at any time. During a character’s counter frames, if an opponent lands a strike on you, your character will immediately follow-up with a counter attack that tends to knock your opponent across the screen. This is not only an extremely important gameplay mechanic for advanced players, but it also looks damn stylish. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as reversing an incoming attack and sending your once-confident rival sailing through the air.

King of Fighters XII also sports Critical Counters, which function very much like standard counters, except you have to build up your Critical Counter gauge in order to execute them. If you manage to pull one off, you can string together a custom combo that your opponent can’t block against, which creates some devastating (and flashy) on-screen moves.

Although I didn’t have hands-on time with it personally, I was told about the game’s online battle mode, which will actually feature clan support exclusively on the PS3 version.

King of Fighters XII will also have a replay editor, where you can upload and share entire matches on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

Good to hear of a good hands-on preview, though it is of concern to Xbox 360 fans that the clan feature is only exclusive to PS3 owners, probably because Microsoft has yet to provide proper clan support for Xbox360. Sad, but guess Xbox 360 fans will have to make do with it and enjoy the other features of the game.


Interview with Shane Bettenhausen

May 19, 2009

With credits to cHuCo from the Ignition Entertainment USA forum, here’s an excerpt of an interview by GameInformer with Shane Bettenhausen, Director of New Business Development on KOF XII:

Game Informer: In the build of King of Fighters XII that we played, the d-pad was the only movement control option. Can players use the analog stick in the final game?
Shane Bettenhausen: Yes, you will be able to use the analog stick for movement in KOF XII, but given The King of Fighters’ venerated arcade heritage, you may find that the d-pad’s digital input feels “tighter”. This is a strictly 2D fighting game after all, so you really want the precise “up is up” and “right is right” reliability offered by a d-pad. Do you think hardcore players would want to even attempt quarter-circles and charge moves on a slippery analog stick? And to be honest, neither the PS3 nor Xbox 360 controller accurately duplicates the real arcade feel—you’ll have to spring for an arcade stick if you want to play like the big boys. Most everyone around our office here at Ignition Entertainment and over in Osaka at SNK PLAYMORE plays KOF like a man—with a joystick.

GI: How will online multiplayer work? What’s the clan system all about?
Bettenhausen: Online Versus gameplay in KOFXII attempts to mimic that awesome feeling of playing in a crowded arcade, where you’re engaged in a tense match with an opponent while a crowd of bystanders fervently cheers you on towards victory. Unlike some other recent fighters plagued by lonely, 2-person lobbies, KOFXII allows for eight players to be in the same lobby—only two players can fight at one time, but everyone else can watch the brutality and chat during the bout.

The PlayStation 3 version of The King of Fighters XII ships with a special bonus option that sweetens the online experience: clan play. In this mode, players can forge alliances with friends and square off in a kind of organized gang warfare—three clan players each choose their favorite character, strategize before the match via voice chat, and then square off against a rival team online. A separate Clan Leaderboard will let everyone know which squad reigns supreme at any given time.

GI: Will there be any matchmaking to pair up players of similar skill? Any online leaderboards?
Bettenhausen: The King of Fighters XII will utilize a matchmaking system to pair players up with others of a similar skill level, and this system’s calculations actually get rather deep. Every time you fight through a round, the game is judging your skills and awarding you a letter grade based on your mastery. It wouldn’t be fair to force a D-level newbie player to go up against an A-tier KOF veteran, right? And of course you’ll be able to watch your progress on international leaderboards.

The Xbox 360 version also utilizes the TrueSkill ranking system, which offers even more comprehensive matchmaking tools and leaderboards to guarantee fair and balanced match-ups.

GI: I understand there will be an option to turn anti-aliasing on or off depending on your visual preference. True?
Bettenhausen: We’ve discovered that while some love the pure pixel-art look of the arcade game, many others would prefer that the home version of The King of Fighters XII feature a softer, more refined style. So SNK PLAYMORE has implemented an optional “Soft Filter” that offers four levels of graphical effects intended to make the game look smoother on home televisions. From our experience, old-timers tend to prefer the unadulterated image while youngsters glom onto the snazzier filtered style.

GI: How will the record, replay, and upload video system work?
Bettenhausen: In The King of Fighters XII, it’s easy to record a fight, upload the video, and then share the replay with the entire community. Shooters, racing games, and sports titles have made great use of this type of feature in the past, and it’s even more satisfying to document and brag about a particularly brutal beatdown—especially when you’re embarrassing a boastful co-worker with Ash Crimson’s fruity French fighting maneuvers.

GI: Can you explain the overall fighting styles of the new console exclusive characters Elisabeth and Mature? What kind of players will be interested in using these characters?
Bettenhausen: Some fans have criticized the standard KOFXII roster for being a bit of a sausage fest, and they’re right—lovely ladies are definitely in short supply. Luckily, the game’s two console-exclusive characters will help to balance out the gender war. Elisabeth Blanctorche, a sultry Frenchwoman who fights with a riding crop, first appeared in the previous installment, The King of Fighters XI. Intended as a rival of sorts for Ash Crimson, she returns in KOFXII with a minimalist move set that focuses on agility (via dashing moves and teleportation) and powerful riding-crop combos. Mature’s comeback definitely feels more mysterious, what with her sexy new pantsuit and unexplained (and also sexy?) eye injury. She’s been all mixed up in Iori’s business ever since her debut in KOF ’96, and now her gameplay feels even closer to his—lots of dashing in and slashing strikes. She also possesses some powerful anti-air flip kicks and one of the game’s most punishing Super Special moves.


KOF XII Lobby System on Consoles

May 14, 2009

According to this Japanese website, the console versions (Xbox360/pS3) of KOF XII will consist of the following:

  • Selection of Arcade Match, Ranked Match and Player Match
  • In Ranked and Player Matches, rooms can be created with customised names
  • Single or Team games can be chosen (1 vs 1 or 3 vs 3) with up to a maximum of 8 players in the lobby. For Team games, players will be split into teams of 3 each and fight against the other team, with each one using one unique character in the team
  • Clan features will be available
  • Match replay features will be available
  • There are also SIMPLE and NORMAL modes, which seem to provide easier command excutions for the former mode
  • Gallery Mode is available
  • Limited Editions of KOF XII will come with a KOF 15th Anniversary Special Soundtrack and trading card game

Here are the screenshots for the Options and Lobby menus (click for the larger versions):

KOFXII_Options

KOFXII_Lobby


Elizabeth and Mature in Console Version

May 12, 2009

Elizabeth_Mature

Famitsu has revealed that Elisabeth Blanctorche (debut appearance in KOF XI) and Mature will be appearing in the console versions of KOF XII, on top of the existing 20 characters already announced and available in the arcade version.

Here’s the official video announcing their entries: Gametrailers link

KOFXII_MatureElizabeth

Click for the larger version

Hopefully this won’t be the end of the extra characters in the console versions, since many KOF fans are still awaiting the news for K’ and Mai to be included too.


KOF XII Comics in the Works

March 25, 2009

SNK Playmore Hong Kong’s official website has released information on its upcoming KOF XII comics, planned to be released on April 2009.

kofxiicomicscover

The original story and supervision will be by SNK Playmore, though without a proper storyline in the game itself (unlike in the Orochi era, for example), I wonder what kind of ‘official’ storyline will the company comes out with this time round.

The comics’ art director is  Khoo Fuk-Lung (邱福龙) from Lucky Dragon Comics & Animation Ltd. (福龙动漫画有限公司), and you may view some of his works here on his blog.


More Goodies for Console Versions!

March 25, 2009

Besides having additional characters appearing on the console versions as reported earlier, an article from Game Informer has further confirmed that the game will also feature online versus play with the option of watching online matches, recording and posting your own battles for the world to see. 

Furthermore, you will also be able to gather a group of players and create a room for team battle! For purists, both Japanese and English language dialogue options will also be available.

Before the game releases on our consoles though, here’s some screenshots from the Xbox 360 version (click on the images for the larger versions):

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