What do you want from a new Killer Instinct?

What do you want to see from a new KI?

As I have a lot to say about control and accessibility, I am going to put that part in a separate reply (hope this is OK mods), since it’s not conducive to conversation to have the opening post be an essay.

Content

Treat it like a flagship IP, not an XBLA game like the last one. This means:

  • All modes and features that were introduced to KI2013 over the seasons return.

  • Full story mode with voice acting and animations in the formula Netherealm employs.

  • At least 16 characters at launch, ideally 20+, with a new set each year for the next few years as DLC towards an SFV-equivalent ~35.

  • Return all characters from KI2013 over the seasons of the game, some changed, some largely the same. Guest characters like General RAAM, Rash, Arbiter should be re-skinned and return as actual characters in the story and KI world. At least one or two new characters a season.

  • Every character having their own stage, every stage having a stage finisher.

  • Every character having well-thought-out and not comical/wacky alt costumes (HATED the cheesy alt costumes in KI2013).

  • Every character having an Ultra and Ultimate move.

I want it to be a reboot rather than a sequel, but to draw heavily from existing lore developed over both the 90s and originals and 2013 iterations of the franchise. Get a talented sci-fi author to connect all the characters and concepts into a coherent story. The story should be planned out from the start to be told over three or four episodes with the first (longest) in the launch game and the following two/three chapters to the epic conclusion dropped with the annual DLC packs.

Look and feel

I am very passionate about returning to the iconic and original art style of the original games. It was so ahead of its time – having a ‘Pixar animation’ style look before Pixar was even a thing, and being full of character.

The 2013 reboot went for a bland generic style and never won any plaudits for graphical fidelity either. I think taking what modern tech can deliver with the more stylised art style of the original could produce some spectacular high fidelity Pixar-esque results.

But that said, the actual character designs, aside from the art style, of the 2013 characters should be preserved.

So the badass looking Thunder, dripping in paint, developed in consultation with a member of the Nez Perce tribe, should be recreated in the OG KI style, not a reversion to the crude ethnic stereotype of the original games. Equally, the realistically bodied and dressed for action Orchid of the 2013 games would be recreated in the OG style, rather than the cartoon anatomy and skimpy leotard of the originals.

That’s the basics of what I want to see. What about you?

3 Likes

OK here is my over-long rambling about how to make games like KI more accessible to a wider audience – nice and easy to ignore if its too long :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::

Control and accessibility

I think the game should be designed with the fact that 90%+ of users are going to be playing on pad. So much of how fighting games play is based around their being designed for arcade cabinets and not controllers. The arcades (sadly) are all but dead now, and it’s time for the genre to move on. No game where you need to buy an expensive accessory to get the most of it is going to break through the mainstream success.

Six normal attack FG don’t work well with a pad (unless it’s a six face button pad like the Saturn’s), as shoulder buttons are just not right for normal attacks. Converting KI to use just three normal attack buttons – light, heavy, medium attack (employing ‘command normal’ inputs to increase normal count) – fits better on a pad. Following from this, simply having the defender input a single button press at the right strength to combo break is more accessible than a double button press.

Equally, the ‘double tap to dash’ input, while easy on a stick, can be RSI inducing on a pad, and as a result pad players tend to under-use dashes, which are supposed to be a core part of the game. Allow the double tap to persist for those who are used to them, but also map forward and back dashes to the bumpers to promote their easy use for pad players. I guarantee it will increase the quality of play online doing so.

I would also take steps to avoid mapping integral parts of the tool box to multiple button presses wherever possible. I think ‘Shadow’ specials would probably still require a double normal attack input, but with just three attacks, there would be opportunities to remove other double presses where possible.

I’ve already commented above on how breakers should be a single button press and the same goes for grab/throw – which could be mapped to the fourth face button, acting as counter breaker for the attacker when inside the combo system. Popping instinct would fit nicely on the left trigger.

Next, for me, the KI combo system is simple, but I had a lot of trouble getting friends to engage with it. The auto-combo system helped a lot, and this should return as an option, but more can be done to simplify it.

Using a long press for heavy auto/linker (as heavy attack triggered an ender) meant most players almost always used lights and mediums and weren’t making the most of the combo system and gave me a cheap 50/50 when breaking.

I would make the right trigger an ‘auto ender’ button, with different direction input for variants – this would both telegraph how the system works – “pulling the trigger” on a combo to cash out the white damage – but also mean that heavy linkers and autos had their own button and players utilised the combo system more fully. Ultras, Ultimates and Stage Enders could be mapped to a long press of the trigger where conditions are right.

I know I will get massive push back on this next part, but…

In neutral play, the right trigger could be used to optionally map up to 18 special moves of differing strengths (tap, neutral, 8 directions/hold, neutral, 8 directions) as an assist for beginners or just a convenience to old hands. This is more than enough (I think) to account for all special moves of all characters being operated by this single trigger and a simple single direction.

I know what people will say, but here is my argument for how this is not ‘dumbing down’:

In other fighting games, where combos are skillful partly due to the linking together of these inputs in complex sequences with tight timing, special move inputs can be part of the ‘skill’ of a fighting game. This is not the case in KI.

In KI, the combo system is an automated mini game in itself, and the auto-combo system they introcued (where a single button press substituties for a linker input) did not change the game at all and faced little backlash on its introduction. This is because KI’s combo system about decision-making: how long you continue for, when to break, when to counter break. It’s about strategy and mind games, not skill of input.

In neutral play, I would argue that special move inputs have nothing to with skill in any FG. I can do a DP, QC, HC or SDP motion on a pad in my sleep, thy’ve been committed to my muscle memory since SFII on the SNES. I display no skill whatsoever in pulling off these motions. Requiring a new player to commit these inputs to muscle memory by rote before they can fully enjoy the game is simply an uncessary barrier. They practice something until they can do it without thinking about it, now they can play the game. What’s been acheived?

For me, letting new players (or old players just for convenience) map their specials to the right trigger in open play would remove accessibility barriers and make play more about strategy, timing and decision making – and make the game much easier for new comers to engage with and get involved.

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It should try to copy all the best elements of mortal kombat. Compelling story, large cast of characters, crypt, different difficulty ladders. That said I love Killer Instincts unique combat and art style so definitely keep that.

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100% Netherealm has raised the bar for what a AAA FG should deliver.

I’m looking at Capcom, Namco, Arc and Sega here as well as just MS: it’s just not enough anymore to have no story, or to have a story told by text boxes and drawings.

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I just want the 2013 game with far improved visuals and a far better UI.

That’s it.

I’d be happy with that.

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I’d take that, happily. But wouldn’t you want a story mode too? A real one, not just jpegs and subtitles.

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Gameplay wise I think they should stick very close to 2013, maybe a new mechanic or two but nothing that changes the formula too much, the combo/counter breaker system is perfection

They should try and bring back as many of the characters from 2013 as possible, they did such an amazing job with the new characters that it would be a shame to not see them in their next gen glory

Im not sure how you’d go about a story like say Mortal Kombat where you have cutscenes and characters chatting and whatnot, especially when it would be very expensive but they definitely should have a big focus on single player content, the mode they added at the end of season 3 was a great first step in that direction

Id also make it so every character/stage that gets added is free for all buyers of the game/GPU subscribers and if they want to monetise the game, do it through skins or accessories but all gameplay focused stuff, keep that free

Guests, I honestly dont want too many guests because they did such a great job with new characters in 2013 but characters like DoomSlayer is a guarantee

Id only want it if they can do it well and I dont know if KI characters are set up to be used in the same way MK is

Almost all MK characters are basically some variation of a human, so it’s easy for them to have a regular story with people interacting, whereas KI there’s all kinda of weirdness

So yeah, if it’s not something they can do well id much rather they put that time and budget into other single player content like MK9’s tower challenges

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More of what the 2013 game offered. Just with more time and budget. Id like to see all the finishers and such from the originals make it in.

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This really, better VFX, animations and graphics overall should be enough.

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Is budget an issue for MS? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

We like to talk about MS dropping a casual few billion here and there to pick up new publishers, surely assigning the same budget to one of their own IP that WB Games asigns to Mortal Kombat isn’t too much of a stretch?

If they can buy Bethesda, they can fund their own games properly, surely? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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KI2 will have a much better budget than 2013 but that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want without proper thought and planning

Lets say hypothetically KI2 gets a 100m budget (unlikely but lets just go with it), if KI2 was to have a story mode similar to that of MK, that would take not only a very large portion of that budget but would also require a large amount of the team and a lot of time to get done

If it ends up being lackluster that’s a large amount of resources that has been pretty much wasted and could have been spent better elsewhere

tl:dr MS might be funding games better now but money and time are still finite

Of course money and time are finite, but MK is as MK is because it’s given the funding of a full game, rather than a small budget and priced as a full game as the FG genre has traditionally got away with.

In terms of ‘they could invest lots and it be bad’ … I mean we can say the same about any game right?

Ultimately the biggest determiner of quality is budget and time, and most games that are bad were rushed or bit off more than their budget could chew.

Edit: and I would say in the case of KI they already have a working backbone to build off. The basic gameplay mechanics of the game don’t need to be designed from the ground up. They would have try hard to make it a bad game.

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Im just skeptical of them doing a story mode because pretty much NRS are the only ones that have been able to make it work, a big part of that is of course its given a bigger budget than other fighting games but you still have to have a team to make it work and with KI I just dont feel the characters are designed and set up the same way to deliver a story thats as compelling as something like MK

You are right in that they actually have all the gameplay back bone set up and thats a lot of the work done for them already which is great

Dont get me wrong, id love to see a big story mode type thing and if they want to do it and feel they can do it, go for it but im also not gonna be to bothered if it isn’t there, as long as its packed with other single player content, i’ll be more than happy

I would counter – who besides NR has tried?

We are talking about in-engine cut scenes here, not some experimental new idea in gaming. Most genres include these now.

Fighting games have never had this because they have been arcade games first, and you aren’t pumping coins into a machine when you’re watching cutscenes.

The arcades are all but dead now, and modern fighting games are designed for home use. No excuse not to include a story anymore.

Treat it like a premium product, not like an indie, ALL things come from this premise.

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I’m not into fighting games all that much but knowing what Killer Instinct is, it should simply keep what it was in 2013 but with more characters, stages, story, etc. It should NOT include characters that are not from Killer Instinct. If anything, adding characters from other games (fighters or not) could be saved for paid expansions or a separate game.

Glad that it’s most likely coming back as it’s one of old school Rare’s best and with fighting games having EVO and being somewhat hot right now, it should be alive and well. Hoping they simply call it Killer Instinct 2. And they should upgrade Killer Instinct for Series X/S a few months before the sequel releases. At least, this is what I would do.

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Agree on the guest character thing.

Iron Galaxy actually made some excellent fighting system deisgns with their guest characters (Rash, General RAAM, Arbiter) but these could be preserved by just skinning them as new characters within the KI world.

Kind of like how Janet in Fighters Megamix was Aoi with a gun.

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I was never a big fan of the franchise, but KI 2013 converted me. This time around, it needs to launch with more or less, the entire roster 2013 ended up having (guest characters aside), simpler UI, and story mode.

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This but add ultimates for all and stage per character.

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2013 had stages for every character.

Edit: do you mean stage finishers? In that case I agree.

But the game also needs a proper story mode to have broad appeal.

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