Today, 15 September, at 9am French time, a trailer appeared as part of the Sony Press Conference, during the Tokyo Game Show.  It was the first appearance and confirmation of the King of Fighters XIV.

Here are some thoughts.

The release date? Jan 2016?

Looking the trailer rip that was first circulated, this date suddenly pops up at the end, which has been reported by other sites as the release date for #KOFXIV.

This is incorrect.

The announcement trailer was part of Sony’s Press Conference with lots of others: you can see the moment as KOFXIV is presented at 57:41 and then Just Cause 3 comes on straight after.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0P6eD5Kw1U&feature=youtu.be&t=3475

KOF Development

KOF XIV was being made right under your nose in plain view.

The first recruitment ad for a “3D KOF” popped up in 2013.  More ads followed in 2014 and even in 2015.  With these ads you got some interesting “mock ups” of KOF characters.  Well, they weren’t mock ups at all, but real assets (disclaimer, that’s not confirmed).

Here’s the Kyo with the ad.

main

And here’s the ‘final’ Kyo

Remember the ad for Leona? You can be pretty much sure now that’s what she actually looks like in KOF14.  Same for Iori.

Well, they aren’t really final, still developmental, can still be improved.  See you in 2016, hopefully at Xmas!  The later the better, SNK…  At this point, they cannot match the quality of their rivals, at least in graphics.

Console Exclusive?

The trailer was run as part of Sony’s press conference so we can assume that, at least for now, it’s a PS4 exclusive (The xbox logo is nowhere to seen on the trailer or official website).  But since the job ads were for PS4 and Xbox one, there is still a chance that the game will arrive on other platforms later.

Gameplay vs Graphics

Gameplay? Pshaw, who cares about that? The ironic thing was that when the ads first came up, people were thinking we might see Maximum Impact 3.  Reactions to the first KOFXIV trailer pretty much all go “HOLY COW IT’S MI3!”

And we don’t mean Mission Impossible.

The thing is we don’t really see any movement, rather, a succession of moves mid execution. The problem with 3D animation is that flashy finishers with multiple hits such as Iori’s Maiden Masher, show every hit, and much like the Fist of the Northstar live action movie, such moves should remain animated: there is no blur, no hits faster than the speed of light – you see every unrealistic movement slapped together and it looks just terrible.  This needs at least a camera angle change!

If you remember Iori’s Neomax in KOF13, originally it was in full colour, and people complained whereupon some genius decided to implement a red screen and a black outline.  And the rest is history.  This is what KOF in 3D needs right now, a re-imagining of how moves should look to maintain the impact of the original cel animation.  Here is that article about how flat moves in 3D look dull compared to the exaggerated art of drawn sprites.

The background, while quite static, is impressive enough.

The trailer makes the game look fast, but in effect it could be quite slow, the action you see are from moves, not movement.  Kyo’s flaming fists are still there, as is his uppercut, and Iori seems to be the same.  It’s doubtful SNK will take a big risk on a new fighting system.  It’s probably going to be classic KOF, maybe 98UM style at most, or even KOF11; likely it’s goodbye to HD combos and anything extremely difficult.  While people complain about the simplicity of SFV, it’s the sales that will set the standard.

Just take a closer look at this shot and then watch the trailer to understand the confusion as to what we are actually seeing.  Look at the textures and details.  SNK needs to work on the presentation so we are not distracted by jarring animation and can then appreciate the details!

But that other shot of Kyo that appears on a black background, with the goofy pose that looks like he’s going bowling, that needs to go.  It needs to disappear.  It needs to be erased from memory.  NOW.

Also note, there are some higher grade 3D models being used, at least just for the website.  GGXRD uses a model swap to make you think you are seeing the high quality model in game.  It would be beneficial to see similar tech here…

DLC

Dude. Alternate Iori with new boots.  The idea is pretty rad.  Guess classic Iori will be unlockable or paid for.  With colours.  With soundtracks.  That’s ok.  Now that we have 3D models, say goodbye to your cash, with at least 1 headswap of Kyo and 5 different movesets!!!  The only problem is that if the game flops and DLC doesn’t sell, this all will be cancelled.  There is a reason Metal Slug Defense gets updates…

Public Initial Reaction

What we wanted: SF4 models with GGXRD graphics.

What we got: MI3 (so far)

To say the least, fans are disappointed (from Japan to Mexico).  However, there is still hope- if the game plays like classic KOF, with a long staggered stream of DLC with the occasional balance change with GOOD NETCODE, there will be much fun to be had.

However, at this stage and with this look, perhaps the mainstream will steer clear of this boyband fighter, with its wonky arms and puppet gravity.  Normally that’s not something to care about, however, that cash is needed for updates!

We look forward to the next trailers while hugging KOF13 very tightly.

OFFICIAL SITE OPEN

You can check out the official site of KOFXIV here

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