Feature Article

Killer Instinct Season 2: The Return of Riptor

Clever girl.

Microsoft handed over development of post release content for Killer Instinct to Iron Galaxy Studios shortly after Amazon purchased the original developer, Double Helix Games. Its first assignment: design and deliver the a fresh take on the classic character, TJ Combo, in just three months. It managed to do so just in the knick of time.

Iron Galaxy Studios didn't have much time to rest before its next assignment, but it was one it was looking forward to all along: reviving a genetically engineered human-dinosaur hybrid, Riptor. She's the next character to debut during the second season of Killer Instinct, and so far as Iron Galaxy Studios is concerned, designing and animating her has been a great ride.

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Speaking with Adam Isgreen and Torin Rettig of Microsoft Game Studios, it's clear that resurrecting the Riptor character is something they've been looking forward to for a long time.

"From the moment we wrapped our season one characters, we knew that Riptor was going to be in season 2. We've been talking about putting her in for quite a while. We always planned for KI to be seasonal, to approach it that way, as opposed to the way most fighting games approach their releases, so rather that just put every awesome character in season one, thinking long term, we want to save some of the more popular characters for season two, season three, and onward, and Riptor fell into that category. We wanted her to be one of the anchors for season 2."

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Astute Killer Instinct fans might remember that TJ Combo put an end to Riptor, according to the plot in Killer Instinct 2, but this Killer Instinct is more of a reboot than a sequel, so there's plenty of wiggle room in the story to re-introduce Riptor to the roster. Here's the plot so far.

"Imagine UltraTech is a very big organization that is always running competing projects. So if you imagine the Fulgor line is one project, the Cinder line is another one, and then you've got the Riptor project. The Riptor project is a competing military project led up by this brilliant geneticist that realizes that the Fulgor line is just too expensive to maintain. It can be taken down by a grain of sand getting into an intake, they can't go through jungle environments very well, there's the potential for rust, but they're really badass frontline units."

"What UltraTech was lacking was something that could infiltrate and use the environments. So to do this, they went back to the past to see what could satisfy this urban combat and infiltration unit, and they came back with recreating genetic material to recreate raptors into combat units. So, augmented with fiber technologies, and other technologies that UltraTech had at its disposal, the Riptor units were born into the UltraTech staple of technologies."

It's a new Riptor for a new generation, but does that mean fans of the old Riptor will have to adjust to a new fighting style? Thankfully, it doesn't seem like that's the case.

"Almost every single one of her moves has come back intact with the exact same inputs that she had before. It's Riptor. She's an updated version of the original character. She's amazing. But, all of her moves are back, her charges, her headbutts, her tail flips, her fire breathing options. Arguably, she's easier to play. That was a big goal of ours, to make sure that she's intuitive, that you can get into it and get a lot done without needing a lot of technical skills, which is why we limit the kinds of inputs you can do in the game. There's no 360 degree motions, not a lot of dragon punch motions and things like that. We want to make sure that in each season that there's one, if not two characters, that are approachable and really easy to get into and manipulate, and Riptor sort of fits the bill for this season."

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"She can literally go heavy punch, heavy punch, heavy punch, and then go with an ender and get a combo out of it. So it's even easier than Sabrewulf to get a combo. Of course, it's also easier to break. It's really easy to get into this character and have fun while looking awesome."

"She's a blast to play. She's not as aggressive, rushdown as Sabrewulf, but she's got a much better vortex."

Anyone waiting to get their hands on Riptor will get the chance on December 17th when Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition becomes available. With another classic Killer Instinct character on the roster, the question remains: who do you think should be next?

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Peter Brown

Peter used to work at GameSpot. Now he just lurks at GameSpot.

Killer Instinct

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