Pow! The King of Fighters XIV hits PC

A sage said long ago, “3D comes for all men.” We didn’t understand because we didn’t have computers, geometry, or numbers back then, but now it’s clear they were foretelling the conversion of 2D video games into 3D. Fighting game series The King of Fighters tried to escape its fate by clinging to 2D when its rivals when 3D but ah, you can’t run from things sages said long ago. So now The King of Fighters XIV [official site] has ditched sprites for 3D fightfolks and arrived on PC. Have a look:

Like other 2D series which have gone 3D, the action is still on a side-scrolling plane. Only now 3Dness means it can have dramatic camera angles during mega-special moves. Pow! It’s not the prettiest transition to 3D, certainly behind Street Fighter pr Guilty Gear, and is a bit of a shame considering past KoFs have had some beautiful spritework. Still, here we are, onwards and upwards for the next 14.

The King of Fighters XIV Steam Edition is out on Steam, obvs, with a 20% launch discount bringing it down to £35.99/43,99€/$47.99 until next Thursday. The console release was in August 2016 so hey, we’re slowly catching up with the series.

23 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    This 3D trend will never catch on

  2. Freud says:

    What kind of name is The King of Fighters XIV? You think you can challenge the likes of GUILTY GEAR Xrd -REVELATOR- with nonsense names like that?

  3. satan says:

    Damn, characters all look kinda… samey? in 3D.

    • Baines says:

      The SNK devs have little experience with current 3D graphics and animation. Rather than outsource chunks of the game (as Capcom did with SFV), they decided to use it as an opportunity to play catch-up with the rest of the industry.

      The upside is that future titles will hopefully improve. The downside is that KOFXIV looks like a late PS2 or very early PS3 title.

      It particularly hurts that details and animation are a bit aspect of KOF character expression.

  4. Plague MD says:

    KOF97 was 40mb and looked awesome at the time.

    KOFXIV is 13gb and looks meh.

    What happened?

  5. Hunchback says:

    It’s been quite a while since i last heard a more annoying voice in a trailer.

  6. Crafter says:

    Wow, seeing an SNK fighting game in bad 3D is really sad.

  7. dashausdiefrau says:

    You get Dragonball Z Fighters, and then you get this. Geez, what a difference.

  8. Laserpoint says:

    Ohh, this looks funn!!

  9. Pizzzahut says:

    Why can’t we have stupid hi-res, hi animation 2D characters these days? Would look a trillion times better than this stuff.

    • Baines says:

      Because it is extremely expensive? SNK made new “hi-res” character sprites for KOFXII. (The sprites weren’t even particularly “hi-res” by modern monitor standards, they were just hi-res compared to previous 2D games.) The process was so expensive and time consuming that SNK ultimately released KOF XII as an unfinished Dream Match game.

      SNK carried that existing work into KOFXIII. With XIII, they at least finished enough characters to continue Ash’s saga and to have complete teams. But even with XIII you can tell that the story was sacrificed in areas, presumably because SNK didn’t want to spend the time and money making the sprite work for boss characters that would only appear in a single game. Mukai and his remaining underlings were written out of the story in a cutscene, to be replaced by a “possessed” Mukai (who was nothing but a black silhouette with “oil” or smoke effects pasted over him) and a palette swap of Ash.

      Arc System Works has arguably shown a better path for “looks like 2D” with Guilty Gear Xrd. While the ASW approach still isn’t cheap or easy (as it takes a fair amount of work by skilled artists and animators), it is probably still cheaper than making hi-res 2D sprites and is certainly easier to edit and add upon.

      • Baines says:

        I’m somewhat disappointed by that Dinofarm Games link, after noticing the article has some hidden links awkwardly shoehorned into the text. Which means the site owner is most likely getting paid to include those links, in order to help rig search engine optimization.

  10. Rince says:

    Oh! That’s Nakoruru? She’s in the KOF games now?

    • Baines says:

      She’s part of the “Another World” team, teaming up with two of SNK’s former pachinko game mascots. (SNK sold off its pachinko assets some time after KOFXIV was made.) They ended up traveling to the KOF time period due to the time manipulations that happened in the previous KOF storyline.

      She’s actually been in previous KOF games, but in a more unofficial status. KOF2000 had a bunch of non-canon cameo appearance strikers, and Nakoruru was one of them. She was playable in the Gameboy port of KOF95. She was a hidden character in a KOF-themed pachinko machine. She was one of the few non-KOF characters in Gal’s Fighter, and was apparently in SNK’s KOF-themed rhythm game.

  11. something says:

    I imagine it’s easier to sell costume packs for a 3D game.

  12. racccoon says:

    Pow! Biff! Boshh! Bamm! Sploge! Splat! Kowpat! I may get this lol

  13. vahnn says:

    I used to be really into the KoF series, and many other 2D fighters. I love the detail in 2D sprite animations and characters, and the stages too!

    I have KoF XIII on Steam, but I barely touched it at the time. It’s there still an online community for it on pc?

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