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.

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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.
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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KidMob

Great!I don't think anything like this has ever been done before. This totally makes my day

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Arclight_Blue

Take your time SNK, as ill be needing to buy a proper arcade controller for this(stupid x360 d-pad)

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Henninger

Cant wait 4 it this is gonna b good. They better have my dude Iori on there. This & SFIV r gonna b great games. Now SNK & Capcom need 2 make another game 2gether. The best 1 was Capcom vs. SNK. Capcom vs. SNK 2 sucked, SNK vs. Capcom SVC Chaos was good but not better than the 1st 1.

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devilscry

See, now this is conflicting cause i just read this... SNK Playmore and Ignition Entertainment have announced the U.S. home console release for both The King of Fighters XII and Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny (Samurai Spirits Sen in Japan) in 2009. The King of Fighters XII will be available for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. It will feature online play, and be priced at $59.99. The release date is scheduled for May 2009. Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny will also be available for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. It will feature online play, and be priced at $59.99. The release date is scheduled for June 2009. So which is it, these home releases or Japanese arcades in april???

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chikahiro94

Let's hope SCEA doesn't give SNK any crap about 2d graphics like they have in the past :( If it good enough for SCEJ, its more than good enough for SCEA!

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virriador

Great! At last. KOF for life.

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AngelCage-2

SFIV is a return to the roots? bah, we could do that too. Next Gen Mai breast physics... when they release this game on PS3, X360 or Pc i will buy it of course.

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Arkive_Zero

KoF is too good, imma get this when it comes out

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ColdfireTrilogy

Now this will be a game i wanna play. And it may even succeed online because of the 2D format it still upholds to. Less information to send along is lower lag and better gameplay. Not holding my breath but just the singleplayer is what im really waiting for. KoF has always been one of the best out there.

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TheArcade

What next-gen system will this be on?

Avatar image for siLVURcross
siLVURcross

Terry and Kyo! Not to mention the LOVELY Mai ;) I'm looking forward to this game A LOT

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Wik_Wanderlust

It's about time. Yamazaki better be in it, though, or it's useless to me...

Avatar image for Aurey
Aurey

Glad to see there are still some guys making 2D fighters. Why couldn't Capcom take the same way with SFIV?

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enoslives7

Gotta love SNK, they never stop making 2-d fighters.

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IsmirZone

I hope this goes well for future 2D fighters as well as KOF series.

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IsmirZone

SWEEEEEETHAAaaaa!!!

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