Killer Instinct is like "world's most generous demo," says Microsoft

Creative director Ken Lobb says upcoming fighting game is not free-to-play in the traditional understanding of the term.

Xbox One fighting game Killer Instinct is like the "world's most generous demo," creative director Ken Lobb told Eurogamer in a new interview from Gamescom.

The fighting game will be available this year as a free download, but the game is not free-to-play in the traditional understanding of the term, Lobb said.

Players will have access to free fighter Jago at launch, but can purchase additional characters for $5 each or an eight-character pack for $20, or the Ultra Edition for $40.

"I just want to get as many people playing as I can," Lobb said. "Some people are like, 'oh, free-to-play.' No. It's not free-to-play.

"What is free-to-play? It's a thing you really can't ever own at all. Day one, if you want to buy our game, buy it. You own it," he added. "There's no grind for little coins that unlock things later. None of that."

Lobb explained that Microsoft's aim for Killer Instinct is to create an experience that gets the "most people possible back into fighting games."

"I like to call it, we've just made the world's most generous demo. And if you want to buy the game as a bunch of little premium DLCs, go ahead," Lobb said. "It's not free-to-play."

Killer Instinct is one of 23 Xbox One launch titles, alongside games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4. The Xbox One launches in November for $500.

Microsoft recently said Killer Instinct is "not some hacked-off remake" and not a "cash-in."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct

Follow
927 comments
Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

world's most generous demo with just one playable character? i've seen actual demos that had more playable characters than this

meatz666
meatz666

Funny how MS sounds that they are doing a favor. After PSN+ and Steam giving free games, they give one fighting game with 6 characters, and that's enough to brag?

I'd be ashamed. 

And BTW, "most people possible back into fighting games."? Sorry dude, but you're pretty late. This already happened. It's called SF4 + MvsC3 + EVO.

solumindra
solumindra

It's obvious too me that the people complaining in this thread don't play fighting games....40$ gets you all DLC, Characters and modes until season 2. Lets say you buy that again in season 2. 80$ total for all DLC and 16 fighters. Lets take for example Injustice. Injustice has a few more fighters but their avg DLC character is 10$, season pass alone is 40$. Now that season pass does not unlock ALL DLC just new characters, if you want more alt costumes, fork over more money. Have you ever played a capcom game? SF4 vanilla 60$. SSF4 which if you want to stay competitive you had too buy 40$ getting you 4 more characters, not 8, 4. And the soon too release USF4, another 40$. And your complaining that KI is cheaper overall? You obviously don't play fighters.

OgaihtBlood
OgaihtBlood

MS loves to say in advance what the fans should of.

nhamokid2
nhamokid2

IMO, this model is alright. $40 for the game. You don't have money or you think $40 is too much? $20 for eight characters. Still don't have that money? Then $5 for a character you can master and compete against others.

I just wish players purchases are incremental of sort, that whenever they plan to purchase the game as a whole, they only need to cash in whats left of the whole price. Lets say I bought 8 characters for $20, and after sometime I want the full game, I just need to cash in another $20. Just saying.

biggnol908
biggnol908

At least we don't have to pay for more than an hour of play (Tekken Revolution)

Enforcer246
Enforcer246

This is hilarious because the situation is so similar to that "dlc: the game" video on youtube.

Valdomer0
Valdomer0

WTF is wrong with Microsoft game division directors'? His comments gave me cancer...

Deathclaw98
Deathclaw98

So this game isn't free to play....but is free......and most importantly the whole game isn't unlocked inless you pay.......hum....

meatz666
meatz666

MS, played DOTA 2 and LoL much?

NaturallyEvil
NaturallyEvil

On top of all the other reasons that this is BS, I'm pretty sure all other fighting game demos in history have been more generous than only giving you one character.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Seems like a strange way to get more people into fighting games, I remember when you unlocked new and hidden characters through skill rather than transactions. I was never very good but that made each unlock feel like a real achievement, in this game it seems like your only real achievement is your ability to shell out cash.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

most people back into fighting games? sf4 did that. tekken has always been around. last gen had plenty of good fighting games.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

So are people who buy the full game gonna have to play against Jago in online matches every time cause most people have the free download with no others characters.

I'm not grabbing an X1 but I love fighting games and this just seems like a poor decision motivated by profit, next we'll have to buy action figures of the characters to unlock them like Spyro and that new Disney game.

I guess I'll have to wait for the next Virtua Fighter, DOA or Tekken to get my fighting fix, I prefer 3D arena fighters anyway.

danganronpas
danganronpas

$5 for ONE character?


I think that's a bit much, JUST for one character. I'd rather unlock the characters with "little coins" than spend $5 per character when I could save that money for something more important.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Next gen game for $40? That sounds pretty good actually, considering they could milk the KI fans for at least $60.

tightwad34
tightwad34

At least they aren't patronizing us and saying free to play. I hate that term because it's false all the way around.

DoomglooM
DoomglooM

not good this game better be phenomenal and Jago better sell it!

DoomglooM
DoomglooM

what is this shtuff? Idk this doesn't sound too good for me...being a depraved KI...I DON'T WANT THIS!! Dammit! WANT A KILLER COMBO!  

devild0ogwhite
devild0ogwhite

I know he meant it well, but calling your game a demo, even a "generous" demo, doesn't seem like a good way to get people excited about it. 

hadlee73
hadlee73

Jago
...
vs
...
Jago
...
Again
...
Fight!

Lost-to-Apathy
Lost-to-Apathy

These geniuses couldn't come up with a new IP. See, that's Microsoft for you. If it weren't for Halo, they probably wouldn't even be in the console business anymore.

swagtile
swagtile

The more I hear about this game the more pissed I get. A proper sequel to Killer Instinct 2 was at the very top of my "must have sequels" list for many years now and now that it's finally almost here I couldn't be less impressed. Glacius playing like Dhalsim? wtf?! Jago looking more like a pirate than a ninja? wtf?! 


This "free to play most generous demo" business model has to be the worst thing of all. To all of you who are defending this by saying "But it's $20 for the full game instead of $60 for the cost of other fighters", do you honestly think that will be the "full game"? The original KI had 10 characters not including the playable boss. This game however has 6 at launch (which is pathetic) and 2 being added later on. Do you honestly think they won't be adding the remaining 2 at some point for $5 each or even the 3 characters from KI2? 


This was the one game that could have convinced me to buy a Xbox One and the "most generous demo" looks more like the "most disgraceful cash-in".

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

Isn't Tekken Revolution something like this? Why is he trying to say he's so genius for coming up with this?

rushiosan
rushiosan

Gaming industry is getting ridiculous these years. I hope they lost fucking MILLIONS with this idea.

anfunny
anfunny

I think this is great. Sadly you'll probably end up fighting against Jago a lot, but that's better than not having anyone to play against at all.

Ehggsz
Ehggsz

News flash, Lobb, "generous demo" is just a fancy way of saying free-to-play.

senjutsu
senjutsu

Lamest idea ever. I'm pretty sure the free ot play trend will end soon. It just doesn't make sense. Even if they said it's different, it IS a freemium title, you buy characters after, like many freemiums... And anyway I don't really see the point, the game doesn't look very good. I prefer playing MK again instead. 

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

So many fanboys.......I don't see how anyone can see this as sinister.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

I think this is a pretty good idea. I wouldn't buy it if was just a normal retail game, but I'm certainly interested in trying it out and perhaps buying a few characters.

I hope more games adopt a flexible model like this, where it makes sense.

DVONvX
DVONvX

"world's most generous demo."  Ugh.....I want an Xbox One. but can Microsoft people PLEASE stop saying stupid s**t all the time?

Zloth2
Zloth2

"Free to Play" is a joke, anyway.  It's just another term for "cripple-ware" that works better for marketing.  This fits into the cripple-ware model just fine: you get the basic game for free but are locked out of some parts of the game (be it more levels like in Doom or additional characters like in this game) until you cough up some cash.

It's not all that bad of a model as long as you're clear about what will and won't be in the game up front.  Something most free-to-play games do NOT want to do.

meatz666
meatz666

@Gazdakka No, it isn't.

"Double Helix Games and Microsoft are looking into replacing Killer Instinct’s initial free character (Jago) with another a little ways down the line"

Still speculation. Spending months saying that you get a free fighting game, when 90% of people will be playing with Jago, was an Epic Fail on it's own. It should sport a rotation of at least 3 different characters a week. Or you'll have the Jago week (everybody playing Jago), Fulgore week (everybody playing Fulgore), and so on. 

Xbox, welcome to the bad implemented F2P model.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@tightwad34 yeh I've never played a F2P game without feeling like I would have to pay to level the field against players who just buy what you have to grind for weeks to get.

tsyder
tsyder

@swagtile They already said there will be 8 more characters released as a season 2 about a year from now for $20 making it $40 for the "full game"...at least thats how I see...not too shabby.

AmongShadows
AmongShadows

@Spartan-1657 Tekken Revolution is completely free and has a large roster of free fighters which is constantly being updated. It does have micro-transactions but you don't need them at all either if you're a skilled fighter online. Killer Instinct is rubbish compared to Tekken Revolution.

telaros
telaros

@Ehggsz Free to Play is a bad word in the industry now.

jecomans
jecomans

@Zloth2 I think there is a big difference between buying levels and buying characters. For this the full game is there, you just have less variation in how you experience it. That is significantly better than, here is all these cool characters, enjoy playing them on the same level in the same mode repetitively. 

cirugo
cirugo

@Zloth2  

 which is why he just made that pathetic attempt to call it something it wasn't

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

@meatz666 @Gazdakka Yes, it is.

 It's something we didn't know about previously, and  you complain about an implementation we haven't even seen yet. If it fails, it fails, but it would be ludicrous for them to sit about on the project and continuing making mistakes in the wake of negative feedback. Chances are they'll adjust the model down the line, otherwise Killer Instinct will be the new Lair, and they will have exhausted the potential of a franchise too early.

 So I'm sitting on the fence. I wasn't planning to buy Killer Instinct yet anyway, or an XBox One for that matter, but at least I can access it any old time I want if I care to.

 

tightwad34
tightwad34

@mkeezay22 Never even thought of it that way. That just makes it a worse situation all around.

rushiosan
rushiosan

@UncleAnesthesia @rushiosan For now, it's only $40. Wait until they release more and more characters. You'll end up paying $200 for a game with the same amount of characters that KOF '98 or Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 had back then...

UncleAnesthesia
UncleAnesthesia

@CRAPCOM1926 @AyatollaofRnR It does. Fighting games are niche. If the best fighting game in the world came out not that many people would buy it. This gets people to play something and give it a shot with no commitment, then if they like it drop $5 on a new character.