The fighting game scene in the U.S. has revolved around Capcom titles since the release of Street Fighter IV back in 2009. Other fighting games, such as Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat, and BlazBlue made a splash, but none have shown the competitive draw of the Capcom fighters. So when Killer Instinct released for the Xbox One late last year, many people in the competitive fighting game scene weren’t sure what to expect from the title.
With only one arcade stick available for the Xbox One at launch and a massive difficulty to obtain one, many competitive fighting game players were put off. It didn’t help that few people wanted to spend $500 on a new console, then another $200 on an arcade stick. That’s $700 for what many fighting game players considered a one-game console. However, the game performed well at tournaments despite these setbacks, and earned a spot at the annual Evolution Fighting Game Championships (Evo). But now Evo 2014 is over, so where does the competitive KI scene go from here?
Luckily, Microsoft’s moderately new business model will work to Killer Instinct’s advantage. By offering the game in seasons, the release of season two will help breathe new life into the game. Couple this with the $100 Xbox One price drop and the release of another arcade stick for competitive fighting game fans to play on, and KI has all the momentum it needs to secure a place at Evo 2015.
We don’t yet know exactly when season two of Killer Instinct will begin, but it will be sometime this Fall. The new season will launch with a number of characters, followed by new character release every couple of months until all eight are available. The Evo 2015 lineup is expected to be announced in January, which should be around the time a new season two character becomes available. With the momentum from the release of season two and the buzz surrounding the individual character releases, KI has a good chance to make a second Evo appearance.
Of course, the competitive KI scene isn’t exclusive to Evolution. There have been plenty of KI tournaments before Evo, and there are plenty scheduled to take place after Evo. However, being included in Evo makes every other tournament want to include the game. So being in the Evo lineup has a big impact on the competitive life of a title.
Season two of Killer Instinct should be more than enough to generate a ton of competitive hype around the game. It should be similar to the release of a new Street Fighter IV expansion. This past Evo was the biggest yet for Street Fighter IV, and it happened to land just a few weeks after the digital release of Ultra Street Fighter IV. That’s no coincidence, and KI fans should expect a bump in tournament attendance shortly after season two releases.
If you don’t have a local scene, or don’t plan to travel for tournaments, you should still see a bump in how much Killer Instinct is played. Iron Galaxy is working on improving the already solid netcode in KI, as well as adding new online modes that will include a revamped ranking system. The current word is that the new ranking system will be similar to StarCraft, which would be unique for a fighting game. These changes and additions will breathe new life into the online community for KI as well as the tournament scene.
Any way you look at it, Killer Instinct is about to blow up again with the release of season two. Make sure to keep a close eye on Prima Games as we offer in-depth coverage of Killer Instinct and all the latest season two details and character strategies.