King of Fighters XII knuckles up next year

SNK's long-overdue revamp of flagship brawler set to arrive in Japanese arcades in April of 2009; producer talks about the troubles of next-generation 2D development.

TOKYO--Back in September of 2006, SNK Playmore announced that it was giving the formerly annual King of Fighters franchise a long-overdue graphic overhaul with King of Fighters XII. Today at the Amusement Machine Show in Japan, the game was finally presented to the world with a playable build and a release date.

It's about time.

Appearing onstage at the AM Show, producer Masaaki Kukino announced that KOFXII will be released in Japanese arcades next April. Kukino also took the occasion to introduce his game to the visiting press, and he talked a little bit about the development of the game.

Kukino started off by revealing that the concept behind KOFXII is "Rebirth." With 2009 marking the 15th anniversary of the King of Fighters series, the developers decided to take the game back to its roots and to give it a new start and new graphics.

KOFXII still plays in 2D, but Kukino noted that its graphics are different from the recent 2D fighters in the market that are colored in cel-shaded animation style (like the Guilty Gear X franchise or BlazBlue). Instead, KOFXII will feature characters that are drawn in more of the traditional, hand-dotted pixel art that the series has been known for.

KOFXII's first trailer didn't appear until this February, more than one year after the game's initial announcement. But from the smoothly animating characters, it seemed apparent that the developers had been making an effort to redraw the graphics from scratch. Kukino confirmed that, in fact, the character creation for KOFXII has been very time-consuming. According to Kukino, to give a three-dimensional look to the characters and to make them move smoothly, the artists created 3D models, took a 2D image of them, and used that as a guide to draw the pixel art.

"Overall, it's a very hard process that could take 16 months for even an experienced designer to do alone. In terms of data, the character size is about four times larger [than in previous installments]. But when considering the extra errors that come about in doing the [bigger] pixel art, the trouble is more than four times what it used to be."

"Each character in KOFXII has around 400 to 600 [sprite] patterns. Every single one of them is hand-drawn, and it's something that we're proud of. I'll only say it here, but we believe that this is something that no other company can imitate, something that only SNK Playmore can do," Kukino said.

Kukino then went on to talk about KOFXII's game system, and explained that the main concept behind it is sort of a man-against-man, "fist versus fist" battle. So as a result, the developers decided to abolish the multishift system from KOFXI and to return to the simpler 3-on-3 elimination format that the game originally pioneered.

Kukino confirmed that there will be a total of 20 characters in KOFXII, 11 of which are playable in the AM Show build: Kyo, Terry, Ryo, Ash, Robert, Kim, Ralf, Shen-wu, Benimaru, Leona, and Athena. KOFXII is currently 60 percent complete in development, and there will be beta tests before the game's proper release.

"We are aiming for the ultimate 2D fighting game and ultimate 2D pixel graphics," Kukino said in closing. "I've been working in this industry since the pixel-art days, so I know the importance of a single pixel. A single pixel can vitally change the expression on a [character's] face. We've taken that skill to an ultimate level."

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Discussion

67 comments
UnknownHedgehog
UnknownHedgehog

OK! Looking good! If there are a few good characters missing (e.g. K', Kula Diamond, Rock Howard, etc.), you'd expect them on the next game.

itBit
itBit

i just cummed!

Dead_or_Alive
Dead_or_Alive

lol your wrong EPaul this is better than sex!

azafirster
azafirster

Yeah give street fighter a run for their money

EPaul
EPaul

The game looks like sex when it is motion i must have it now!!!!

Guzthon
Guzthon

I'm Glad that SNK are STILL making 2D games! Let's hope that Capcom, Konami, Sega and other Video game companies to make 2D games. I remember the old days where the 2D fighting games ruled the streets, the malls and many places. In 2009 the 2D fighting games will ARISE from the ashes. Note: If anyone who doesn't believe the 2D games, so go play with your 3d games at home (locked in the room).

blackdragonfist
blackdragonfist

Good game and good series but I still don't see this topping street fighter 4. To all who saying Capcom is selling out about not keeping SF4 2d it is! It just moved on.I'm glad it can show you can still keep it old school and add new flavor to it.

omega300
omega300

the best fighting game is coming

omega300
omega300

sweet game of the year :)

AtlanticRock
AtlanticRock

Billy Kane please... team him with Eiji and Gato as the new Revenge team

neonblueshadow
neonblueshadow

yeah its been a while since I've been addicted to a 2D arcade style fighting game...I feel old now...

SearchBomber
SearchBomber

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

deadstarr
deadstarr

I hope they put Joe Higashi in it.

TheArcade
TheArcade

Yeah but what about Mai Shiranui?

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Well I'm pretty sure Iori will be there in the final game, so that makes twelve known characters.

Erbac
Erbac

Thank you SNK Playmore for keeping it 2D. These graphics are unbelievable, and I like that they went back to the traditional 3 on 3. SNKP is proving that 2D is not dead with this new advancement in graphics.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

If development of fighting games cost that much then it wouldn't live for long.

clarkspark
clarkspark

Just bring in Clark and I'm there. :)

kazya_mishima
kazya_mishima

nothing was wrong with the art of King of Fighters after 98' so why say finally, either you like the game and its characters or you dont like it at all

Proman84
Proman84

Awesome. SNK fighters rule. This will be one of my most anticipated games!

BelmontMaster
BelmontMaster

Man I can't wait for this game. KoF forever!

AtlanticRock
AtlanticRock

my favorite fighting game, no, my FAVORITE game series... I love the music, story, characters, etc. of King of Fighters and can't wait for XII... Hope after this SNK works on Mark of Wolves 2 and shows Capcom what REAL 2D fighters look like... SNK 4 EVA

especensor
especensor

sweetness. a great game thats worth looking forward to. i just wish kof fans would quit criticizing sf4 for having 3d graphics and saying that capcom shoulda made street fighter with souped up high res sprites. like freaking hell, did everyone forget about super street fighter 2 turbo hd remix!?

omnifas
omnifas

Finally SNK has stopped rehashing King of Fighters and redrawn all the sprites.

manilove2d
manilove2d

WOW Nicely done SNK...seriously. It was long overdue and you outdid yourselves. Beautiful real 2D. Just hope it plays just as good as it looks.

kobebryantyanic
kobebryantyanic

Man, king fighters. KOF98 was the first game i've played on the ps1, Lord did i enjoy that game. But at the same time, if they won't bring it to a console, this is useless.

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

1 of my favorite fighting games of all time. hope this comes to the console or to the pc via emulator fast. 1st thing imma do is check out the new iori yagami and benimaru if hes there.

shabulia
shabulia

This game... I simply cannot wait for.

SPD_WeBmAsTaH
SPD_WeBmAsTaH

Lol, release it for PS3 and 360 and we'll be happy. This article's too long so I won't bother reading it now, too tired.

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

Gosh, its been so long (years) since i've played a KOF game, its good to see the series getting revamped though!

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

1 of my favorite fighters of all time. i cant wait for this game to come to the console or become available via emulator. 1st thing i wud do is check out the new iori yagami.

MatzeEdend
MatzeEdend

Man, there isn't an arcade within a hundred miles of where I live, and I live in a relatively big city! It seems like arcades are going the way of the dodo...

yatatabien
yatatabien

I love old-school new school 2D graphics! Yays ^^

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@twashington Nah. 2d is an art that I'd hate to see go. Sadly, while the PS3 and 360 offer so much power they could do some truly amazing 2d games, the likes of which we would never have imagined during the 8- and 16-bit days, yet so few companies are taking advantage of it. I'd love to see a 2d renaissance spring up this generation!

sonictank
sonictank

when will it come to north america cause i wanna play this SOOOOo bad

NightRain
NightRain

Excellent! I can't wait! We need KOF. I wanna see some screenshots now.

metabolic_youth
metabolic_youth

Part of a dieing breed. Nothing can beat hand drawn animation, but it's just not cost effective for developers when 3D is quicker and cheaper.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

Cant hardly wait, ¿but 20 characters?, that got me a little worried, at least Terry, Athena, Leona and Kyo are still there, but...there will be some guys out.

twashington9737
twashington9737

Well, maybe, just maybe, it's time to let 2D go? Maybe, just maybe....

tonyleo01
tonyleo01

man, im really eagerly waiting for this game. But 20 characters? there's sure gonna be a lot of missing favorites :(

nini200
nini200

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally a game that I will hype!!!!! I'm preordering this day one!!!!!!!!!!! SNK FTW!!!!!!!!

Drz4tobate
Drz4tobate

OHHH YEAAHH!!KOF IS BACK BABY!! GET READY PS3..HOPE IS AN XCLUSIVEE TOO..LOLL.. NAAA YA CAN HAVE A LIL TASTE XBOX FANSS....PEACEEE

BC20FLY
BC20FLY

release the arcade here!!!

BC20FLY
BC20FLY

release the arcade here!!!