SNK-Playmore announced this year a new game for its popular fighting franchise, The King of Fighters XII
, is currently in development, currently scheduled for release in Japanese arcades sometime in April 2009.
The development of the game has also moved the franchise from the original Neo-Geo
arcade hardware on to a more recent arcade board developed by Taito
, the Taito X2 - a Microsoft Windows XP embedded hardware, with specs exceeding those of Taito's former X and X boards. By modeling each character in 3D renderings and using those as a reference to draw the game's art, this has enabled SNK-Playmore to replace all previous graphical assets of the characters with high resolution hand-drawn sprites. The game is not cel-shaded and it maintains its trademark 2D gameplay.
Launching in 1994 with The King of Fighters '94
on SNK's Neo-Geo Multiple Video System (MVS) arcade format, the series kicked off the trend of team-based fighting games. The series brought in popular characters from its other fighting game franchises such as Fatal Fury
and Art of Fighting
and mixed them with new, original characters. The King of Fighters
brand of games, while played in teams of three, always features only one-on-one matches, akin to many arcade fighting games of the '90s. Each character has an assortment of kicks and punches along with throws and special moves as players attempt to deplete the opponent's health to empty. As opposed to having best-of rounds, once a player is defeated, they are taken out of the battle and victory is decided when a team's characters have been completely defeated.
While the original entry did not allow " tagging" and stuck characters in predetermined teams, King of Fighters XII
, similar to a number of its recent predecessors, will allow real-time teammate swapping and allows players to assemble teams of three from (as of Dec. 1, 2008) 20 characters. SNK-Playmore recently launched a full promotional Web site for the game's upcoming Japanese release and while no story lines are detailed, the site describes three new game play mechanics, which are being introduced into King of Fighters XII
: Critical Counter
If players land a close strong punch as a counter, the player enters into a critical counter. At this point, the camera zooms in on the players and the offensive player will have a small time window to link further attacks. A dark green hit effect will signal when the time window has expired and the player can finish out the critical counter with a special technique. The moment the critical counter triggers, players can also execute a "super victory" technique, which will cause a different animation effect from ordinary moves. "Killing Matches"
If two characters simultaneous engage with a strong attack, the characters will collide with a red spark effect. From here, the players have a few options - by doing nothing, the character will automatically backstep away from the opponent. However, players can also cancel the backstep with an input to launch an attack, throw out a jumping attack or use a projectile. Guard Attack
Players are also able to use the "blow away" attacks out of a defensive position, much like in Evoga's Rage of the Dragons
for the Neo-Geo. The blue block spark will ripple and the character will execute an immediate knock-down attack that puts the opponent a full screen away. If the input is successful, the guard attack pushes through without the opponent being able to defend it.
It has been confirmed by the developer that The King of Fighters XII will initially launch into Japanese arcades in April 2009, with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 home versions to follow. Ignition Entertainment will bring the game to North America and Europe some time in 2009.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of King of Fighters XII
will include new modes, characters, and online. The new modes include Practice Mode (similar to the previous console versions of King of Fighters), Time Trial, VS Mode, and Replay Mode which works similarly to the console iterations. Replays can be posted online as well. The online component will ship with Quick Match and Custom Match. There will be clan support and players can do member-only fights. Clan support is exclusive for PlayStation 3 owners, this is simply a BBS Forum in which players can communicate on instead of going on other online forums. From within the clan menu, players can not only communicate but also issue challenges to other players. For Xbox 360, there's a variant on this called Team Battle. There's going to be an option to pick between English and Japanese audio tracks for the characters.
Unlike previous King of Fighters, characters are not organized into official teams. There are also no bosses or hidden characters.