During Sony’s conference at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, the next installment in the long-running King of Fighters series was announced as an exclusive for the Playstation 4. The King of Fighters XIV will be the first entry in the main series to use 3D models for characters as opposed to 2D sprites, but will still play on a 2D plain similar to recent Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games. The debut trailer, shown below, shows off series regulars Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami duking it out. King of Fighters is well-known for bringing characters from across all SNK properties together, so there are plenty of possible fighters to follow from Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, and even Metal Slug. There are currently no details on how this new installment will standout from its predecessors beyond the new visual approach.
Hopefully, The King of Fighters XIV will be a return to form for SNK Playmore as the company has been struggling with releases in recent years. Once a venerated name in the fighting game community on the level of Capcom, they’ve mostly relied on rereleasing their older titles through various digital services to keep running. Their last new release was The King of Fighters XIII in 2011, which received mixed to positive reviews. However, their last attempt to transition a series to 3D was the critically-panned Samurai Shodown Sen. If handled poorly, The King of Fighters XIV could strike a massive blow to SNK Playmore’s ability to develop more new titles in the future. Sadly, things aren’t looking too good for The King of Fighters XIV at the moment as the animation quality shown in the trailer is surprisingly poor, especially for a series that has always prided itself on visual flourish. There’s just something unnatural about how the hits connect. Hopefully, that’s just a result of working with an early development build, but fans should remain cautious with this new title. The King of Fighters XIV is set to release in 2016.