In our second interview with Yen Hau of Rising Star Games, he spilled the beans on the upcoming release of King Of Fighters XIII, the latest installment of the venerable hardcore 2D fighter from SNK Playmore, its online functionality, story in brawlers and the reasons why the genre itself has seen a revival in recent years.
Xero: You’ve announced that King Of Fighters XIII will see release in PAL territories, so for the uninitiated what is KOF, why have there been so many versions and why is this an exciting release for gamers that grew up on Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat?
Yen Hau: King Of Fighters XIII series has been produced in many instalments since the first release in 1994 which had incredibly good reception. When compared to other fighting game series such as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, you may notice that the characters made by SNK (exclusive characters for the KOF Series such as Kyo, Iori, or characters chosen from SNK’s other flagship series) are extremely charismatic. This background of rich and varied characters, deep and dynamic scenarios of the three KOF Sagas, and the revolutionary “3-on-3” Versus Battle System are three key points that have made KOF a major fighting game series up until now.
X: What’s the release window for the title?
YH: We are targeting a near simultaneous launch with Japan and the US, so expect a European release between the end of October and mid-November 2011, on both Xbox 360 and PS3.
X: Can you explain what you feel are the key differences in terms of gameplay between KOF and other titles within the fighting genre?
YH: KOF has traditionally a huge roster of charismatic fighters to choose from; far exceeding what is on offer by its rivals. King Of Fighters XIII is no different and numbers over 30 fighters, all familiar names from SNK Playmore’s vast history. It is still one of the only series to feature a collection of fighters from other franchises in one game for HD formats and sticks true to its 2D heritage. Team battles are also a staple feature of KOF and provide an entirely different experience and variety to each encounter, something that cannot be replicated in 1 v 1 fighters.
X: A big component of brawlers now is their online capabilities, what features for taking the fight online are present in KOF XIII?
YH: King Of Fighters XIII will feature three different types of online versus matches allowing the players to challenge other rivals worldwide in endless and intense battles: “Rank Match”, “Player Match”, and “Friend Match / Xbox LIVE Party”. “Rank Match” follows strict regulations and your record will be reflected in the rankings. Various options that do not affect your record can be configured at any time in “Player Match”, allowing you to relax and try new things in your battles. You can invite online players and challenge them in “Friend Match / Xbox LIVE Party” for heated competition.
X: KOF has always valued narrative more highly than other fighters – this is to be the final entry in the Ash Crimson trilogy, for example – do you feel like players are invested in the plot and characters, or is it just wrapping for the game system underneath?
YH: Having a well conceived story behind always helps give some context to the action. For fighting games this is often overlooked and I think that is a shame. The story gives the player more insight to the characters they are playing, allowing them to understand their personality and their reason for fighting. Ultimately many will claim that a fighting game doesn’t need a story, but I argue that to give the player that extra degree of immersion it is absolutely necessary.
X: 2D fighters have seen an increased interest over the last two or three years, is there anything that you’d particularly attribute to this and is it here to stay?
YH: I think this is the current wave of interest among gamers. I don’t know whether this is due to fatigue to certain genres or just a natural cycle, but I think the current crop of 2D fighters, the backing they are receiving from their respective publishers and current trends certainly helps build interest. We’ve all seen that once the ball gets rolling it is difficult to stop the momentum and we are fortunate enough to come to market with KOF XIII when interest is high in this genre. Saying that, I don’t think there was ever no interest at all in the fighting genre.
Please note, video as part of this article is from the Japanese version of the title and may not represent the final product in PAL territories. The King Of Fighters XIII is scheduled for a winter 2011 release, for more information visit Rising Star Games