Fighting game developers SNK have finally given fans a look at the long awaited sequel to King of Fighters 14, showing concept art and hints of new mechanics.
King of Fighters 15 was first announced at the Evolution Fighting Championship (EVO) in 2019. Very little material has been released since, but SNK surprised fans with a teaser trailer early on 3rd December.
The teaser is presented by producer Yasuyuki Oda and creative director Eisuke Ogura. In addition to revealing the new logo, they showed off new concept art for series mascot Kyo Kusanagi, old-school favorite Benimaru, and new protagonist Shun'ei.
Kyo has regained his trademark bandana, and Shun’ei built a lot of muscle since his debut in KOF14.
Although difficult to spot, the intro flashes art of two additional characters; fan favourite Leona Heidern and former protagonist K' are effectively, if not intentionally, confirmed to appear in King of Fighters 15.
“This will be our most ambitious KOF yet! We’re really proud of what we have so please look forward to it,” said Ogura. Although light on details, the director also mentioned KOF15 will feature a new team selection mechanic.
The video ends with a January 7th date for the first gameplay trailer.
“Ambitious” could have several different meanings. Rollback netcode has become a highly requested feature in the fighting game community. SNK has previously worked with Code Mystics to implement rollback netcode in their classic titles including Garou: Mark of the Wolves and King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match. Rollback has been confirmed for upcoming title Guilty Gear Strive and was recently added to Tekken 7 in Season 4.
While its gameplay was mostly praised, King of Fighters 14 was heavily criticised for its graphics. 14 was the first KOF game to use three-dimensional character models instead of sprites, and the muted lighting engine further dulled the visuals.
If rollback netcode and a visual overhaul are implemented for King of Fighters 15, that might certainly qualify as ambitious.
SNK’s other flagship fighter Samurai Shodown will also get a reveal on January 7th. Season 3 will bring a new set of characters to the weapon-based fighter, including a crossover with SNK’s older samurai-themed brawler The Last Blade.