Before I move on from Gamescom, I wanted to talk a little about Microsoft and Double Helix’s reboot of the popular 90’s fighting franchise, Killer Instinct. There’s been a lot made about it including the free to play/pricing model and its new look. At Gamescom this year, creative director Ken Lobb, took the opportunity to detail what fans can expect from the title on day one and going forward.
Killer Instinct on day one, will be free to play right away. You’ll get access to Jago and experience the training mode and be able to fight online. Characters will cost around five dollars if you want to buy them individually, but either way, you don’t need to pay to play. However, if you want the full experience, there are options for you.
If you want to completely unlock the game, it’ll cost you $20 dollars for the full title. Unlocking the full game will net you all six launch characters, all alternative colors for them, practice mode/training, online multiplayer, and no story mode (yet). Double Helix will also add two additional characters to the game which will automatically be added if you go with this option and should be available by March 2014. Story Mode should also be available around this time as well.
For the hardcore fans, you’re best option will be the $40 dollar Ultra Edition. In addition to everything listed above, you’re also getting all alternative character skins (Classic Jago for example) and the original arcade version of Killer Instinct. Pretty sweet, right?
Ultimately, Double Helix is planning a “Season Two” version with more characters and content which they’re looking to have available sometime a year from launch if everything goes according to plan. The great thing is, season two is not planned as a new standalone title, it’s more additional content so players can either pick and choose from that to add to the core game or grab everything all at once. It’s an interesting idea and one, that I have to admit, I like a lot better than buying an updated copy of the game year after year. Provided everything goes well, this is a model they’d like to extend beyond 2014.
While I really like what Double Helix is saying and I’m thrilled that one of my favorite fighting games is making a come back, my biggest fear here is that the game won’t be well received with only 6 characters and no story mode out of the gate. More times than I can count, I hear people over analyzing or overly concerned with the totally roster count for fighting games. I was shocked to hear that the game will launch with only 6 characters on day one, for a fighting game, that’s a bit concerning. If it doesn’t sell up to expectations, who knows, we may not even see the season two content. There’s no guarantees here and that’s a bit scary.
In the end, I hope Double Helix can pull this off as I’ve wanted a new Killer Instinct for so long. The new one looks great so far with the HD visuals, fantastic soundtrack and particle effects taking center stage. I’d love to see as many characters and as much content added over time as possible. Just imagine what they could do with Cinder in this new engine. Chills, I tell you! I’ve waited this long for a new title so patience isn’t a problem for me, but I worry about the rest of the people out there.