May 26

The King of Fighters XII Revives the Lost Art of 2D Fighting

Shane Bettenhausen's Avatar Posted by on May 26, 2009 // Developer Relations // SCEA

Greetings and salutations everyone, this is Shane Bettenhausen from Ignition Entertainment. I’ve graciously been given the chance to hijack the PlayStation Blog to give you a quick heads-up about the long awaited release of The King of Fighters XII, due out this summer for the PlayStation 3 console.

Dedicated KOF fans have been patiently waiting for years to get their hands on a new installment in this legendary franchise. Since its inception 15 years ago, The King of Fighters has served as a ferocious franchise mash-up, gathering characters from classic series such as Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Ikari Warriors for three-on-three street fighting action. For years, fans could depend on KOF to deliver a new yearly update sporting a few minor tweaks and new playable characters, but the advent of the HD era demanded a fresh start. KOF XII is precisely that—a total reboot and rebirth that embraces the past while looking towards the future. The developers at SNK PLAYMORE have worked hard to deliver a next-gen King of Fighters sequel that honors the series’ tradition of hand-drawn 2D art and animation while upping the ante with gameplay refinements and fierce online play.

KOF12-~3 copy copy

Creating the massive amount of hand-drawn art required to fluidly animate HD-quality character sprites required a small army of artists sketching their hearts out—SNK PLAYMORE estimates that each fighter required a combined 18 months of man-hours in order to be completed. A similar attention to detail went into the game’s creative (and often wacky) high-definition 2D stages—check out the porcine, baguette-chomping ladies populating the Paris stage to see precisely what I’m getting at. The game’s art team has also pulled off some clever special effects rarely seen in a 2D fighter, including pseudo lighting and detailed character self-shadowing.

Although the creators of KOF XII have remained fiercely loyal to the series’ 2D hand-drawn roots, they aren’t afraid to make sweeping changes to the core fighting gameplay. Recent KOF titles had introduced a host of complex rules and systems that all been tossed out in KOF XII. The basics remain intact—two punch buttons, two kick buttons, plenty of special moves, and devastating Super Special moves—but the implementation of throws, reversals, and counters has been completely revamped. As always, KOF offers players an incredible amount of agility, with a serious emphasis placed on dashing, rolling, back stepping, and mastering the game’s different tactical jump maneuvers. And since the focus here is a return to the franchise’s roots, many of the fan-favorite characters have reverted to their classic KOF ’94 move sets, costumes, and stances.

We’re especially thrilled to bring the KOF XII experience online via the PlayStation Network, as there’s no better way to experience a fighter than to virtually deliver a humiliating beatdown to another real player half a world away. KOF XII offers some killer online options, including 8-player lobbies, the ability to edit and upload your replays, and the PlayStation 3-exclusive online Clan system.


In order to properly introduce KOF XII to the eager community, we’ve cooked up an event that’s going to kick off the E3 season with a well-deserved roundhouse to the head: The King of Fighters XII Tournament. We’re proud to be partnering with Sony Computer Entertainment America, GameStop, and the EVO Championship Series, the largest and longest running fighting game tournaments in the world, to host an international championship tournament on Saturday, May 30th, at Element, located at 1642 Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028.

We’ve invited 128 of the world’s finest KOF players to throw down and prove their skills by playing a sneak-peek early version of The King of Fighters XII for PS3. Sure, these hardcore warriors will be brawling for bragging rights (and a nifty crown), but they’ll also battle for a chance to win valuable KOF goodies, including an import-only KOF XII arcade cabinet! And the fisticuffs will provide only part of the action, as we’ve arranged special guest appearances and fun activities that will celebrate the 15th anniversary of SNK PLAYMORE’s legendary 3-on-3 fighting franchise in style.

We’d love to be able to invite everyone to take part in this monumental KOF event, but the fire marshal wasn’t so keen on the idea. But if you’re a hardcore King of Fighters fan who will be in the Los Angeles area on May 30th, there is still a way you can still be a part of the celebration. We’ll be holding an amateur King of Fighters cosplay contest during the tournament, so anyone who shows up in costume at the venue by Noon on Saturday, May 30th will be given access to the event as a spectator. You may choose to dress as any King of Fighters character that has appeared in the entire series, but you must be clearly recognizable as that fighter—if you don a trash bag and a cardboard hat and try to pass yourself off as Terry Bogard, we do reserve the right to limit access. Good luck with your costume, and we hope to see you there!


//Add Your Own


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+ Nettacki01 on May 26th, 2009 at 9:47 pm said:

This game looks great. I’m totally into the visual style and fighting mechanics presented here, and the replay feature is something that should be present in EVERY fighting game, not just this one.


+ Dark_Vincent on May 26th, 2009 at 9:55 pm said:

Hey Shane glad to see you around! Hope we see more posts from you here


+ gxthray on May 26th, 2009 at 11:50 pm said:

Sup folks, Shane here.

Thanks for the warm welcome to the Blog. I’ll try to respond to some of your Qs…

On the subject of KOF XII’s sprites, you really have to see them in motion to appreciate the hand-drawn artistry. Also, consider that you can choose between four levels of anti-aliasing to soften the pixel edges.

The outcry for Mai has certainly been overwhelming…I’ll be sure to convey that to the SNK Playmore guys at E3, but I’m still secretly rooting for Shermie & Yamazaki.

KOF XII is coming out in Europe, North America, and Japan at roughly the same time.



+ VenomXv on May 27th, 2009 at 12:46 am said:

A dream come true. This game looks amazing. I can’t wait.


+ krlowz on May 27th, 2009 at 1:05 am said:

is that a girl dressed up as ash?
isnt ash supposed to be a guy


+ krlowz on May 27th, 2009 at 1:37 am said:

hey Shane i have a question
will this game get trophies?


+ SlashZaku on May 27th, 2009 at 1:52 am said:

Definitely have my eye on this. Will be my first KoF title as well.


+ Sakimori_X on May 27th, 2009 at 2:29 am said:

ZOMG, IT’S ASH!!!! (swoon!)


+ Darkos87 on May 27th, 2009 at 5:42 am said:

Shane! Glad to know our ps3 fanboy got a job doing ps3 games :P


+ ROLO_ONFIRE on May 27th, 2009 at 6:37 am said:

I love the fact that the game is done in 2-D but I’ve seen some trailers, and the pics you posted and the characters look pixelated, it seems they are not as HD as they should be :(

Also, please include Mai


+ TailsTheCat on May 27th, 2009 at 7:30 am said:

Noobs and young fools will bash 2d. they will also ask what KOF is and say hand drawn art and traditional paint and ink is useless. Im not buying a crap generic IP like inFamous or some sub par Red Faction game. Ill be spending bucks on games made by developers- not shareholders. KOF is amazing, thanks mostly to its elite status that none of you here will ever obtain. hand drawn, colored everything…that is far better than anything we will ever see come from a computer program. KOF is the best fighting franchise.


+ Squall2600 on May 27th, 2009 at 7:49 am said:

Well I got a phone call from somebody claiming to be part of playstation g.a.p
asking me to be part of the tournament does that mean im guaranteed in?


+ LittleSpaceDoubt on May 27th, 2009 at 8:10 am said:

I promised myself I’d slow down on the video game buying. And then games like this come out. Thanks alot!


+ gigakain on May 27th, 2009 at 8:18 am said:

Shane! I just want you to know that I support anything you are a part of & I will buy this game day one! Of all the 1up guys (&ex 1upers) I tended to relate to your opinions the most. Its nice to see someone who loves and KNOWS games making the decisions about what is a good game to make instead of some marketing [DELETED].

You guys if you do not know, Shane is a REAL gamer we can trust this guy! If he says its good, its good.


+ ModernDevil on May 27th, 2009 at 8:18 am said:

Hi Shane,

Don’t forget about K’ when you mention Mai, Shermie, & Yamazaki to the folks at SNK~! Thanks Man-God Glad that Ignition Entertainment is bringing this and Muramasa to the States!


+ Angel_mass on May 27th, 2009 at 8:21 am said:

For me the Always classic KOF of them, all, is KOF 98


+ JinZX1 on May 27th, 2009 at 8:27 am said:

looks good, but how many characters can we expect in the game? for me personally, this game was always known for it’s massive rosters, gorgeous art, and fighting mechanics. doesn’t look like i can expect a variety in terms of fighters. no matter, i’ll probably pick this one up when i get BlazBlue or something.

game looks great. can’t wait to try it out.


+ Korbei83 on May 27th, 2009 at 8:31 am said:


By Hand drawn, you must mean created pixel by pixel in MS Paint.

By everything, you must mean nothing, as the backgrounds are clearly modeled in 3D with mostly single colour textures.

You’re definitely 1337 though. All us noobs can see that. We bow to you.


+ StalkingSilence on May 27th, 2009 at 8:37 am said:

“8-player lobbies, the ability to edit and upload your replays, and the PlayStation 3-exclusive online Clan system.”

Surprised we got the exclusive clan system – thought 360 had party systems most of the time. Anyway, seems cool.


+ StalkingSilence on May 27th, 2009 at 8:38 am said:

3-on-3 fighting with 8 player online lobbies? What are the other 2 guys supposed to do?


+ Psyvariar on May 27th, 2009 at 8:42 am said:

Shane Bettenhausen posting on the Playstation Blog at last. Nice. :) Ordinarily wouldn’t have bought this KOF title, but I’m getting it to support Shane’s new company, after all the support he’s given the Playstation fan community these past years!


+ DonnyG on May 27th, 2009 at 9:18 am said:

pretty pictures


+ Se7enthSign on May 27th, 2009 at 10:35 am said:

[[[2d? sure, advertise the obvious weakness in the game compared to obvious competitors in the genre as a good thing and i’ll believe you.]]]

2d fighting games >>> 3d fighting games.

Personally, I don’t think I’ll be picking up this game. I’m a Street Fighter guy. This would be like cheating on my wife.


+ Jenovah on May 27th, 2009 at 12:30 pm said:

Welcome Mango….Er…Shane. Looking forward to the game !


+ iExile on May 27th, 2009 at 1:51 pm said:

OMGZ it is teh MANGOD! I was so pissed when I saw the character lineup and realized that K isn’t in this game. BOOOOOOOOO! Still buying though, day one. :)


+ Heavenly_king on May 27th, 2009 at 5:25 pm said:

@18: K was a crappy character

It is nice to see Kyo and Iori as main characters once again. (2 of the 3 main characters)


+ MarzPan on May 27th, 2009 at 5:33 pm said:

Sweet! It’s Shane Bettenhausen. If I buy this game you be online to play with us?


+ Jisatsu_Kiddo on May 27th, 2009 at 5:59 pm said:


each type 2d and 3d are fine but we see so much 3d anymore its nice to see snk go back 2d again.

i wish i kept impact now…


+ ddydydy on May 27th, 2009 at 6:26 pm said:

Ah, good old King of Fighters. Not much in the way of modesty, but at least its got guns to back itself up. Truly my favorite Fighting game series, and this new entry is sure top my Most wanted list this summer. I can’t wait!

While I am disappointed that so many characters got cut(I lost my top 3 teams from KOFXI – [Ashe(can’t hold his own in a 1 on 1), K'(Gone), Iori(doesn’t fit the theme anymore)], [K’, Kula, Maxima], [Kula, Athena, Malin]), still the old and new do look pretty good, and the shattering of my old teams just gives me an excuse to experiment!


Even high-res sprites are a little blocky. Hell, even Guilty Gear is worse than this.


+ ddydydy on May 27th, 2009 at 6:47 pm said:


KOF XII is a 3-on-3 elimination style game – it’s basicly a 1-on-1, except each person has 2 other characters queued up for the next round. Meanwhile, the other 6 people have to spectate the entire time(or even practice, perhaps?), probably with each person taking the place of whoever losses a particular match(that’s how a lot of other games seem to do it, plus that’s more or less how they did it in arcades – winner stays, loser pays).

I know it seems like a lot of waiting(and it is), but most KOF matches don’t last too long, and if you’re good, you’ll get in a lot of play. Plus, there’s always 1-on-1 mode, if you’re in a hurrey(whether you can play that mode online – or if you’ll even find anyone else – is anyones guess).


+ Nettacki01 on May 27th, 2009 at 6:57 pm said:

@61 I agree that KOF deserves more respect, but I disagree that inFamous is crap. In fact, I think it’s amazing in its own way, as that too was made by developers, not “shareholders” as you say.

Are you trying to imply that all 3D games suck and 2D games are better?


+ WU-Tang4Ever on May 27th, 2009 at 7:37 pm said:

Finally! A 2d fighting game that might beat SF3 animation wise! The game looks fantastic and the game looks like it will be defense heavy (similar to SF3 and VF) which I like!

On a side note, this is what I was hoping SF4 would be: 2D. By having 3d graphics, SF4 should’ve been called SF EX 4….


+ Lawr- on May 28th, 2009 at 9:16 am said:

Mangod in the hizzouse!!@

We miss ya on 1UP Yours.


+ EOGamer on May 28th, 2009 at 9:52 am said:


I’m probably going to buy the game too, but that was the most idiotic response I’ve ever read on this blog. Ever.


+ Peco12 on May 28th, 2009 at 2:51 pm said:

yo shane i have a question? is there gonna be trophies on dis game of da kof series


+ CHRIS-ROLO-COL on May 30th, 2009 at 6:17 am said:

Im sorry but i hate the new Iori, wth happend to him? no blue flame anymore? I dont care whats the story in the last KOF XI but come on, I know you guys wanned to make a fresh start but changing one of the famous character in the game like that doesn’t make this new game look good! :S

I understand KOF it’s not about one character so anyways I will buy it and I know I’m gonna have so much fun with my PS3!


+ MGO_Count on May 30th, 2009 at 2:22 pm said:

can’t wait for this game. Looks like I gotta save for a arcade stick too.


+ NYPenguin on May 30th, 2009 at 4:17 pm said:

How much would this game cost? Does this game support trophy?


+ DaFamily1 on June 16th, 2009 at 11:27 am said:

with the release of street fighter 4 and marvel vs capcom 2 coming to psn,I still believe KOF 12 will still do great.

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