First announced at Evo 2019, The King Of Fighters (KOF) XV is set to be the latest in SNK’s most prolific team-based fighting series. Unfortunately, it was delayed to ensure a final quality product like practically every game in development throughout the pandemic. Following up on their announcement at Gamescom 2021 that the title would be coming early next year, we now have a set release date. XV is set to arrive on PC and PS4/PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on February 22nd, 2022.
The KOF saw its debut on SNK’s Neo Geo family of systems in 1994. The arcade scene was fueled by one-on-one 2D fighters such as Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat. What set KOF apart from those two smash hits, in particular, was the way KOF handled its roster. Rather than a host of all-new characters explicitly created for the game, SNK decided to include a variety of pre-existing characters from their already strong lineup of previous arcade games (Fatal Fury, Ikari Warriors, Athena/Psycho Soldier) as well as some newcomers. The game’s success prompted SNK to release annual successors for some time, but again, SNK decided to approach things differently. Instead of slapping fancy titles and turbo speed onto the base game like *some* companies, each new installment of KOF switched up rosters AND mechanics to keep things fresh.
It may be the 15th entry in this long-running franchise, but XV is no slouch for new modes and (miraculously) new mechanics. While it retains the classic 3-on-3 team-based fighting system, a new defensive technique is known as “Shatter Strike.” It is brought to the table and will allow players to counter incoming blows. In addition, Max Mode will return with a “rush mode” that will enable combos to be strung along in rapid succession with good mashing.
As always, there will be a ton of online modes to sink your teeth into as a player. Ranked Match, Casual Match, Room Match, and Online Training will be present and a new “Draft VS” mode. Among the gallery features will be a new animated short from renowned anime director and character designer Masami Obari. His portfolio includes Transformers and three Fatal Fury OVAs. Last but not least, there’s a DJ Station that includes over 300 tracks from the franchise’s history and will allow players to duke it out to their favorites during matches.
As usual, there will be several editions of the game available at launch. The Standard Edition will be $59.99 and include just the base game. The Day One Edition will be physical-only, with the only addition being a DLC skin. Finally, par for the course, the Digital Deluxe version will be sold at a premium ($84.99) and grant three days of early access alongside skins and six DLC characters.