EntertainmentGamesThe King of Fighters XV through its announced fighters:...

The King of Fighters XV through its announced fighters: this will be the flagship of the reforged SNK

The protagonists of Neo Geo’s fighting games are capable of brutal combos, but the strongest blow was taken by SNK after the turn of the millennium. Two decades later, The King of Fighters XV symbolizes the revival of the Osaka company. But the most interesting thing about this edition is its way of linking the most celebrated of the saga itself with each of the lessons learned during these years. And they have not been few.

Promising to smash all expectations , The King of Fighters XV will once again face the most recognizable faces of SNK’s golden age with a new generation of heroes, continuing KOF’14 and, in the process, rolling out the fourth. great story arc of the saga. Giving those who are passionate about arcade that festival of combos and explosions brand of the house.

That said, SNK still has too many cards in his hand . Every week, those from Osaka bring out a novelty from the deck in order to satisfy the curiosity of those who have their expectations in this installment, leaving more questions posed than concise answers. And we’re not referring to the game’s release date or the final number of selectable characters.

Fortunately, what has been shown, announced and advanced so far gives us a very revealing image of what we can expect from The King of Fighters XV . An entry that -you can see- will not be measured face to face in terms of presentation and finishes with Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, their greatest rivals. But of course, once again we find that the inevitable collision between Kyo and Iori makes quite a lot of noise again.

Taking as a reference and starting point each of the announced fighters and their respective letters of introduction, in VidaExtra we are going to share what is known about The King of Fighters XV . From its plot to its game mechanics, through the proper names behind the project. A unique format for a saga that was born in the arcade rooms with a very specific purpose: to be exceptional.

Team Hero: a new generation of protagonists

  • Shun’ei : protagonist of the game that debuted in The King of Fighters XIV . He has been trained by Tung Fu Rue (Fatal Fury )
  • Meitenkun : Along with Shun’ei, he is also a student of Tung Fu Rue. With a relaxed attitude, the personalities and fighting styles of both heroes complement each other.
  • Benimaru NikaidoThe King of Fighters veteran joins Team Hero at Kyo’s request, guiding and protecting Shun’ei and Meitenkun while ensuring that neither of them gets too derailed.

As in the previous installment, the weight of The King of Fighters saga rests on Shun’ei’s shoulders, being the fourth protagonist of the series after Kyo Kusanagi (Orochi Saga), K ‘ (NESTS Chronicles) and Ash Crimson (Tales of Ash). Its creation serves the purpose of offering an alternative to the classic stereotype of the aggressive fighter with a band on his forehead. And the same can be said for Meitenkun, Tung Fu Rue’s other gifted student.

As with each great protagonist of the saga, Shun’ei serves as the common thread of the main plot of each installment. In this case, the events of the previous The King of Fighters tournament resulted in the entry into the scene of Verse, a being created from pure negative energy mysteriously linked to the young man who fights without removing his headphones.

Benimaru on the renovated KOF Stadium stage

This time around, Benimaru completes the Team Hero team (replacing Tung Fu Rue) by serving as a mentor and protector to Shun’ei and Meitenkun, while complementing their fighting styles. Something interesting, if we take into account that fans of the saga will discover new nuances of the fighter’s very vain personality.

That Shun’ei take the reins of the saga is something intentional: SNK has proposed since The King of Fighters XIV to revitalize the saga by offering a protagonist with a new fighting style whose charisma is capable of attracting a new generation of players. Something that will be even more evident in this installment.

Team Fatal Fury: the brand new return of the fighting legends

  • Terry Bogard – The Wolf of South Town and SNK’s fighting game emblem returns with redoubled energies and everything that made him an arcade icon.
  • Andy Bogard: Terry’s brother is the most reserved and technical of the Bogards, but that won’t save him from having a hard time between interludes. Especially when Mai Shiranui, his girlfriend, refuses to go unnoticed for another year. And that comes from a ninja clan.
  • Joe Higashi: The Muai Tai expert remains the most visceral of the original Fatal Fury trio of heroes. Aggressive in combat, his passion manifests itself in his spectacular repertoire of tornadoes, flaming punches, and spinning kicks.

The new and the classic converge in The King of Fighters XV . In fairness, those fighters who blew us away in recreational plates and Neo Geo with their huge sprites and brutal animations will not have cutting-edge finishes in this installment: it is obvious that the visuals are more in tune with the recent Samurai Shodown than with the current references of fighting games.

That said, the playable elements that defined each KOF installment are still present. Through the different advances offered we have seen dodges and various classic mobility techniques, as well as several classic combos that follow the successful line of KOF’14 . And in fairness, that’s what really should rule the game.

Terry sending Joe into space from the Beach Resort stage in Sound Beach

Of course, the cinematic super attacks shown in the previous installment are back. We will see powerful shots and a thousand and one excuses to engulf our rivals in flames, explosions and flashes, as well as shots that will spice up the excitement of each match. To which we must add that new mechanics are being implemented in the series.

The key to the above lies in the jump from SNK’s own KOF’14 engine to the Unreal Engine, the common denominator of most fighting games today and a great resource to guarantee good performance despite showing lots of effects on screen. . And most interesting of all: it makes it easy to convert to almost any system.

Team Sacred Treasures: an impossible lineup of stars

  • Kyo Kusanagi : the standard bearer of the saga could not be absent in this installment. Despite being in the convenient background since the NESTS saga, Kyo remains the great common denominator of every KOF , and his flames are scandalous through the Unreal engine.
  • Iori Yagami : Kyo and Iori sharing a team is a miracle that happens every 15 years. What kind of threat will cause SNK’s ultimate rivalry to fight side by side?
  • Chizuru Kagura : a totally unexpected reunion. As in the epic finale of KOF’96, Chizuru will calm the waters between Kyo and Iori after a prolonged 18-year absence from SNK’s fighting saga. Of course, time has not made him feel bad.

To properly understand the vision behind The King of Fighters XV it is necessary to review those who are shaping it. And the proper names do not go unnoticed:

  • Starting off in the production we have Yasuyuki Oda , who started her career in SNK’s golden age and was one of the main architects of the battle system and game design of Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken. Since then, he has held the reins of projects such as KOF’14 and Samurai Shodown . Nothing bad.
  • The creative director of the new KOF is Eisuke Ogura , who is also one of SNK’s most recognizable illustrators. His career in the Osaka company has taken him through practically all the key sagas of the house with some exceptions. However, this time he delegated the brushes to another Japanese creative.
  • Tomohiro Nakata is the lead illustrator for The King of Fighters XV and is responsible for revamping and updating the look of each fighter and setting. From the most subtle costume details to how the muscles and expressions are perceived in the final models. The double advantage of Nakata is that he is very familiar with the series and that, ahead, he has consecrated his work through The King of Fighters All Star.

This lineup of talents is one of the greatest endorsements of the new installment, which will place a special emphasis on the playable experience. All in all, we can expect cinematics and scenes that will complete the fanservice festival that is implicit in each KOF.

Iori’s redesign by Tomohiro Nakata on the Classical Chinese Garden stage

Last but not least, one more proper name needs to be added to the rollout being made for this installment: Masami Obari , who directed the 1990s Fatal Fury animated feature film trilogy, is shaping a new focused short film in The King of Fighters XV and its protagonists.

Team Orochi: or how SNK has ingeniously set up a reboot of the saga

  • Yashiro Nanakase: The singer and guitarist of the band CYS is also the Orochi with the power of the earth. Of Japanese origin, on the battlefield it is capable of unleashing powerful punches at high speed.
  • Shermie: the keyboardist and responsible for the costumes of CYS the Orochi with the power of lightning. A French national, his design is inspired by the Fujiko Mine character from Lupine the Third and his specialty is close-range attacks.
  • Chris: The flame-powered Orochi from Sweden has the role of lead singer in CYS. His energy control and mobility options make him an elusive and highly technical foe.

If you are a veteran of the KOF saga, you will surely ask yourself the question: How is it possible that Team Orochi has returned after the final events of the Orochi Saga? The first thing you think is that the new installment could be a Dream Match (it would not be the first or the second), but the truth is that there are two specific reasons for CYS to return to the stage.

Shermie comes back to life ready to spread tow at the Haunted Amusement Park

On the one hand, the end of The King of Fighters XIV and the appearance and subsequent defeat of Verse (the Final Boss of the game) led to the return of several fighters as a collateral effect of breaking the laws of space and time. Something that is more or less established in the end of Shermie in SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy.

However, creatively, and for the players, the announced rejoining of Team Orochi is a rare opportunity to give a reboot to the saga itself and a very powerful boost to the current story arc underway. Opening, in the process, an interesting question: what other familiar faces will we see?

Team Art of Fighting: heading towards the most intense competition

  • Ryo Sakazaki – Seen from afar, Ryo could pass for the umpteenth replacement for Ryu or Ken from Street Fighter. Command in hand, the rightful successor to the Kyokugenryu style of karate is as technical as it is powerful.
  • Robert Garcia – The total counterpoint to Ryo’s disciplined personality complements him perfectly on the battlefield. His fighting style is more dynamic and allows more room for improvisation. The two sides of the same coin.
  • King: that the manager of the Illusion Bar who dresses to the nines does not limit her exceptional Muay Thai kicks: elegant and lethal, King is one of the most dangerous fighters in South Town, a city well served by martial artists.

In current fighting games, online modes must be a top priority, and in this regard SNK will take a giant step forward: although the systems on which the game will be available have not yet been confirmed, it has been confirmed that The King of Fighters XV will use rollback netcode, the call to be the new standard in fighting games.

Ryo and Robert colliding their Haou Shoukouken at the Pao Pao Cafe

In essence, rollback netcode is a predictive technology . The idea is to get ahead of the player’s inputs by smoothing out any roughness in latency and, in the process, creating the illusion that lag is eliminated. Something that allows there to be a feeling of fluid play even between very distant connections.

In this way, the online multiplayer experience of the saga has gone from being an extra added to one of the top priorities of The King of Fighters XV, which will allow to extend the game life cycle, but also to promote the creation of competitions and leagues. Giving a new competitive edge to the game.

What can we expect from here to launch?

Other unteam fighters announced in The King of Fighters XV

  • Mai Shiranui, the most brazen Kunoichi in video games, returns with her usual self-confidence ready to fill the screen with flames.
  • Yuri Sakazaki : The talent of the Sakazaki family and the impetus of youth come together in a fighter who exudes joy in every fight.
  • Leona Heidern: Leona is ahead of the rest of Ikari Warriors Team confirming her participation in KOFXV . No tournament can be complete without it.
  • K ‘: the protagonist of the KOF installments focused on NESTS Chronicles will say present in this installment, and despite being reserved in words, his brutal combos prevent him from going unnoticed.

Since the announcement of The King of Fighters XV in early 2021, SNK has offered a new preview on a weekly basis. Not only by sharing development notes and details around the announced characters, but also by generating some buzz about the next fighter to join the final panel of fighters.

Ahead, many doubts. As we already said, we are still not clear on which systems we will be able to play and the closest thing to a launch date comes down to the promise that we will be able to play it this year. However, we are clear that the number of launch fighters will be spectacular (in KOF’14 there were 50 exit characters) and that, somehow, there will be post-launch content.

Ahead, a new story that will give continuity to what was seen in The King of Fighters XIV with Shun’ei as the epicenter of the irreparable chaos that will be generated in parallel to the tournament that gives its name to the game. And the reinstatement of Team Orochi and the alliance between Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru usher in the arrival (or return) of a threat of epic proportions.

However, we can already take something for granted: the legendary SNK is back, and if each of its fighters separately radiates the best sensations of the golden age of arcade fighting, together they manage to turn the return of the mythical saga The King of Fighters in one of the releases to watch out for in 2021

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