Killer Instinct (not to be confused with the original game with the same name) is a free-to-play 2.5D fighting game developed by Double Helix and published by Microsoft for the Xbox One (as a launch title) on November 22, 2013.
The game is a same-name reboot of the original Killer Instinct franchise, with assistance from Ken Lobb (designer of the original game) and Rare. Despite the lack of a story-based single-player mode, this combo-heavy game features classic characters from the franchise, online ranked multiplayer, multiple single-player modes (Survival and Dojo), and character customization (for cosmetic purposes).
The free download comes with one playable fighter (which will be rotated to another fighter after a set period of time), with more characters available for purchase à la carte (for $4.99 each). Players will be able to compete against the entire roster online, regardless of whether they own the opposing character or not.
Players can also purchase the Combo Breaker Pack for $19.99 (giving immediate access to all of the Season One characters) or the Ultra Edition for $39.99 (which includes the Combo Breaker Pack, plus access to all costume slots and accessories, early access to future content, and the original Killer Instinct for the Xbox One). In the retail Microsoft Stores, players can purchase the Pin Ultimate Edition for $59.99, which includes a code for the Ultra Edition DLC and a collectible tri-fold case (featuring two Killer Instinct pins).
Season 2 will follow a similar model, players can purchase "Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition" for $39.99, this gives them access to 8 characters, costumes, early access, and the Xbox One port of Killer Instinct 2. There will also be a $19.99 version which only offers the characters.
Killer Instinct is a combo heavy fighting game. The game is a 6 button fighting game with light, medium and heavy kicks and punches. Combos mean everything, maximizing combos will increase the damage a player makes to their opponent, though if a player does not finish a combo with a combo ender the damage output will not be fully maximized. Almost everthing in Killer Instinct can be broken, when a player breaks a combo the player has a chance to counter attack but also has the risk of being broken as well.
Your basic combo follows a structure Opener > Auto > Linker > Auto > Ender.
Openers are Special or Shadow attacks that can start combos. After an Opener, any attack button will start an Auto. An Auto is a chain of two Normals that are basically executed from a single button press. After an Auto, you can preform a Linker, a Special Attack that can extend your combo. You can execute Linkers by using Light or Medium Special Attacks. The last element in a basic combo is an Ender. An Ender is a hard-hitting attack that finishes a combo. Ender power is determinded by the length of your combo. A Ender is executed by using any Heavy Special Attack.
Shadow Attacks are extra-powerful versions of special attacks. They require at least one stock of your Shadow Meter. Earn Shadow Meter by connecting with attacks. The amount of Shadow Meter you have is indicated by the blue rectangles below you character. A Shadow Attack is inputting the same stick motion as a Special Attack but pressing two attack buttons.
- Story Mode - Play through a story mode and unlock a mural, there are 3 different difficulties with a different ending attached to each one.
- Arcade Mode - Play through the entire cast and receive character unique endings
- Versus - Play locally against CPU or a friend.
- Survival - Play against CPU forever.
- Dojo Mode - Separated in Basic and Advanced lessons, here one can be taught Killer Instinct fighting game fundamentals.
- Practice - Practice your killer moves here.
- Xbox Live - Here ranked and un-ranked matches (exhibition mode) take place.
Due to the short development of a year, the game's initial roster will consist of 8 characters. 6 of those are in the core game and 2 were added as DLC. Season Two development has been handed off to Iron Galaxy Studios there Iron Galaxy will follow a some what similar model, release 2 characters early (TJ Combo and Maya) then slowly put out the remaining six. Season 2's roster update will total 9 characters.
Season 1 Roster
Season 2 Roster
- Character Color Schemes - Killer Instinct allows for different character color schemes for each character.
- Character Accessories - Killer Instinct will also allow accessory customization options. Such as swapping out Jago's mask and sword for something different. Accessories can be purchased by real currency, although all accessories can be unlocked by achieving a certain criteria.
- Classic Skins / Skins - A player can swap the skins of the characters. Classic skins allows the player to use the originals skins of the Killer Instinct roster. Though it is worth noting they are reinterpretations of the classic skins.
Composed by Mick Gordon the Killer Instinct Official Soundtrack features 10 songs, most of them character specific. The album is being sold along with the original soundtrack from the first game "Killer Cutz".
|01||Touch me and I'll break your face||Mick Gordon, Ali Edwards||5:49|
|02||The Instinct||Mick Gordon||6:54|
|05||The Tiger Warrior||Mick Gordon||5:04|
|08||Ballet of Death||Mick Gordon||5:13|
|10||The End||Mick Gordon||2:58|
The entire soundtrack is available to stream on Spotifiy and available for purchase on iTunes, Xbox Music, ect.
Releasing along side Killer Instinct will be a Mad Catz Branded Arcade FightStick TE2 for the Xbox One. This fight stick retails for $200.
Cancelled Xbox 360 Version
The game was originally going to be released on the Xbox 360, but plans changed and it become a Xbox One launch title. A video from a build shows the game in a playable form. Video.
Double Helix's Departure
On February 6, 2014, it was announced that digital retailer Amazon had purchased Double Helix, casting future content releases, including the entirety of Season 2, in doubt. Microsoft subsequently announced that a plan is in place to transfer work on Killer Instinct to a different developer; this developer was later announced to be Iron Galaxy Studios.
A New Developer
After Double Helix's aquisition development of the game was handed off to notable developer Iron Galaxy Studios. With the handoff to developer Iron Galaxy, season 2 of Killer Instinct will bring a major overhaul to the game. This consists of new character moves, completely new UI change, nerfs, buffs, new linker rules, complete system changes, and much more (developer post).