Check Out Killer Instinct's Improved Graphics Here

"We've overhauled the Killer Instinct graphics engine in some really cool ways to fully utilize the power of Xbox One."


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Microsoft's free-to-play fighting game Killer Instinct should look better than ever when the Season 3 update is released in March. Developer Iron Galaxy has announced that it has "overhauled" the game's graphics engine as part of the studio's effort to "fully utilize the power of Xbox One" for the upcoming update.

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In a blog post, Iron Galaxy said you may have already noticed the improved graphics, as new character Kim Wu's stage, which was shown off during a livestream in January, contained the improvements.

"Just as important as the array of characters are our stages--these living, breathing pieces are vivid, bursting with color, and crawling with all manner of action in the background that give each stage a life of their own," the developer said. "Our designers, artists, and developers alike all work tirelessly to make sure we bring you the best in everything we do, and we are always looking to improve our own work."

Art director Chad Greene further explained Killer Instinct's visual changes and upgrades. He confirmed, among other things, that Iron Galaxy is applying a new lighting technology to all existing stages, not just the new Season 3 arenas.

"In terms of visuals, we are adding new graphics technology; reflection tech for the stages; re-introducing screen space color adjustments that work with gameplay; adding an all-new dynamic lighting system that provides greater realism and interaction for the characters and stages," he said. "Not only will Season 3 feature this new lighting, but we've gone back and re-lit everything for Season 1 and 2 as well. We can't wait for our fans to see the enhancements of KI's visuals."

Killer Instinct's existing lighting system was "very specialized" and due for an overhaul, Greene said. All stages were re-lit, while characters themselves were updated with new "lighting probes." He explains that this allows them to interact with stage lighting, which in turn should make for a more authentic-looking take.


Overall, you can expect to see "deeper darks and more 'mood'" through every Killer Instinct stage.

"As technology advances, graphics are becoming more and more powerful and the gamers have come to expect stunning visuals on today's console hardware," Greene added. "Early in development of S3, we knew that we wanted to raise the bar on many levels and have a deep passion for delivering on 'next gen' visuals. In order to do this, we had to overhaul the tools and the pipeline and we're really happy with the results and how we are utilizing the graphic power of the Xbox One."

You can get a closer look at Killer Instinct's graphical changes through the comparison images embedded in this post. Be sure to use the slider tool to compare old and new.

These changes come to Killer Instinct when Season 3 arrives in March, which is also the month that the fighting game will be released for PC. Iron Galaxy didn't say if the new graphics changes also apply to the computer version of Killer Instinct.

Season 3 not only introduces the graphics changes and new characters Kim Wu, Rash from Battletoads, and Halo's Arbiter, but also numerous character tweaks and rebalances for existing fighters.

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