The King of Fighters XV

 
PREVIEW
:  After originally announcing the game was in development in August 2019, SNK officially revealed The King of Fighters 15 in January of 2021. Game Director Yasuyuki Oda and Creative Director / Character Artist Eisuke Ogura describe KOF 15 as "the most ambitious KOF title to date". KOF 15 shows off an updated 3D graphics engine from KOF XIV (the second game by SNK to use Unreal Engine 4), building and expanding upon the prequel's 2.5D visual style and animation. KOF 15 will continue the storyline from KOF 14, with Shun'ei as the game's main protagonist. New characters
Isla, Dolores, and Krohnen will also make their debuts.
 

39 characters at launch... +12 via post-launch DLC.

 

The King of Fighters XV gameplay engine features the following mechanics:
Shatter Strike, MAX Mode, MAX Mode (Quick), and Rush Combos. Shatter Strike is a counter / defensive mechanic that all characters have access to and can turn the tide of battle as it can lead to powerful combos. Rush Combos are simple chain-combos that players can access by repeatedly hitting one button. Like in past games, MAX Mode unlocks your character's offensive potential. MAX Mode Quick cancels attacks and extends combos
 
 

Ash Crimson finally returns to the main storyline.

 
The KOF series has a long history of entertaining character cameos from other SNK games appearing in backgrounds. A number of character cameos will return in KOF XV, as two wrestlers from the 1993 NEOGEO wrestling game, 3 Count Bout, appear in the KOF XV arena background (Terry Rogers and M. Barnes). In addition to brand new environments, classic locations such as Sound Beach from Fatal Fury 1 will also be returning in KOF XV.
 

TEAM GAROU IS READY TO BRING THE HEAT!

 
KOF XV game modes include: Versus, Story, Training, Tutorial, Online (Ranked, Casual, Online Training, Replay), Mission, DJ Station, and Gallery. The game will also feature a variety of Versus Mode options including Single Vs, Party Vs, and Draft Vs. The extensive DJ Station mode will feature over 300 music tracks from SNK history which players can listen to at any time while playing! Additionally, iconic anime director / animator Masami Obari will be returning to the SNK universe to direct a King of Fighters XV anime short, coinciding with the release of the new KOF installment. The animated (short) movie will be included in its entirety inside KOF XV's Gallery mode.
 

REMEMBER K9999? Meet Krohnen.

  
In June 2021, producer Yasuyuki Oda made the announcement that The King of Fighters XV release window has been postponed to the first quarter of 2022. The official statement from SNK confirms the continued rising cases of COVID-19 in Japan has affected the original development schedule for KOF XV and is the main cause for the delay. KOF XV was originally announced back at EVO 2019 with the logo reveal, but it wasn't until early this year that the first gameplay footage was shown. SNK reaffirmed that the decision for the delay is to ensure the "quality" of KOF XV.
 

 
The King of Fighters XV will start off with a base roster of 39 (or possibly 40) characters at launch. Post-launch DLC Teams will begin releasing a few weeks after launch, beginning with Team Garou (Rock, B. Jenet and Gato). The second DLC will be Team Southtown (Geese Howard, Billy Kane and Yamazaki) who will join the game in May 2022. Two additional teams will join the game in Summer and Fall of 2022 - confirming 12 post-launch DLC characters so far! Stay tuned for more details along with TFG's full review later in 2022.
    

BLUE MARY LOOKIN' LOVELY IN THE UNREAL ENGINE!

 
 

 

Page Updated: May 24th, 2022
Developer(s) SNK Playmore
Designer(s): Yasuyuki Oda              Chief Producer
Kaito Soranaka           Game Director
Eisuke Ogura               Creative Director
Artwork By: Tomohiro Nakata       Main Illustrator
Eisuke Ogura                Concept Art
Platform(s): PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10, Steam
Release Date(s): February 17th, 2022
Characters Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Leona Heidern, K', Benimaru Nikaido, Joe Higashi, Mai Shiranui, Meitenkun, Shun'ei, Chizuru Kagura, Andy Bogard, Yuri Sakazaki, Terry Bogard, Yashiro Nanakase, King, Shermie, Chris, Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Blue Mary, Luong, Vanessa, Ramon, King of Dinosaurs, Athena Asamiya, Antonov, Ash Crimson, Heidern, Kukri, Isla, Dolores, Whip, Angel, Krohnen, Maxima, Kula Diamond, Elisabeth, Rock Howard (DLC), B. Jenet (DLC), Gato (DLC), Geese Howard (DLC), Billy Kane (DLC), Yamazaki (DLC), Omega Rugal (DLC)
Related Links (Feb. 2022): How to Unlock All KOF15 Secret Endings!

Featured Video:

Related Games: The King of Fighters XIV, Samurai Shodown (2019), KOF XIII, KOF XII, KOF XI, KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '97, KOF '98, KOF '98 Ultimate Match, KOF '99, KOF 2000, KOF 2001, KOF 2002, KOF 2002 Unlimited Match, KOF 2003, KOF: Maximum Impact, KOF: Maximum Impact MANIAX, KOF: Maximum Impact 2, KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A, KOF: Neowave, KOF EX Neo Blood, KOF EX2 Howling Blood, KOF R1, KOF R2, KOF Collection: Orochi Saga, Fatal Fury, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Tekken 7, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, DNF Duel
  

Gameplay Engine  
Story / Theme  
Overall Graphics  
Animation  
Music / Sound Effects  
Innovation  
Art Direction  
Customization  
Options / Extras  
Intro / Presentation  
Replayability / Fun  
"Ouch" Factor  
Characters  

BOTTOM LINE

 

   

 

First Impression: for starters, KOF XV looks more impressive than KOF XIV did when it was first revealed. It's easy to recognize that SNK has improved and refined their 3D graphics engine over the past several years throughout the development (and DLC support) of KOF XIV and Samurai Shodown (2019). With bolder, more vibrant visuals and beefier character models than the prequel, KOF XV is possibly SNK's most ambitious and most impressive "2.5D" fighter to date.

I miss the classic 2D sprites as much as any old school fighting game fan... but once again, SNK utilizing 3D graphics allows them to easily retool certain aspects from KOF 14 and focus on adding more content and characters. Estimation? We might be looking at a huge roster down the road with continued DLC support in 2022-2023. As an SNK fan since the early 90s, I'm happy to see the FGC still excited about KOF... and I hope KOF15 turns out to be something special.

KOF15 has a real opportunity to shine in 2022. If I'm being honest, prior to the post-launch DLC announcement of Team Garou and Team Southdown, I wasn't particularly "ecstatic" about the base roster. However, SNK dropping in new (and returning) fan-favorite characters as "Team DLC"... while a bit controversial, of course... is a pretty good idea on paper. And so far, they made great choices on DLC characters. My expectations have (finally) been shattered.

SNK's smart but "safe" approach in KOF15 seems to contrast some of the "over-designed" newcomers like Isla, Dolores, and Krohnen. While certain aspects of the newcomers are pretty cool, I'm not entirely sold on the new designs so far (in terms of their movesets, special move visuals, etc). I think they could've made better choices for the initial roster, but overall, KOF15 has plenty of familiar characters to check out. Aside from the disappointingly broken matchmaking, KOF15 seems off to a good start.

I'm rooting for SNK as usual... but I hope they don't plan on "reselling" too many DLC characters from the prequel. Rock Howard day one DLC incoming? (Yep, I called it. My expectations weren't so shattered on that one.)   In fairness, releasing DLC characters as "Teams" is a pretty attractive format that makes sense, and I think it will work out nicely for KOF15 in the long run. Paired with "new" characters, I for one can accept SNK re-releasing certain former KOF14 characters as DLC... if those returning characters have solid evolutions to their prior KOF14 incarnations.

I literally had my fingers crossed for some Garou: Mark of the Wolves representatives in KOF15... and SNK delivered there. (Here's hoping for a MOTW stage or two, as well.) On one final note, I would definitely like to see more "obscure" SNK characters from the company's rich history represented in KOF 15. Otherwise, the game feels a bit too safe and familiar even for my old school tastes. Please stay tuned for my full review of KOF15 later in 2022.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
 
 
 

MASAMI OBARI ANIMATED SHORT

Click Here for animated movie stills!

 

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Click Here for all screenshots!

 
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