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Killer Instinct

We Dive Deeper Into The Game's Early Roster

Right now, we know of three characters from Killer Instinct's character roster. We spoke with Torin Rettig, the game's producer at Microsoft, to learn more about the new incarnations of Jago, Saberwolf, and Glacius.

Rettig broke down each of the revealed trio as far as who they are, how they play, and what unique traits they bring to the game's combo system. Here's what he had to say:

Profile: "He’s a Tibetan monk. His story from the first couple of games is that he had this thing called the Tiger Spirit, and it was what gave him all of his special abilities. Eventually that Tiger Spirit corrupted him though, and he figured out that he was being manipulated by one of the bosses, Gargos. Now he wants to redeem himself. You can actually see it in his outfit. He’s got a Tibetan monk outfit, but it’s kind of half off of him, and he has a tiger tattoo that shows his conflict with the Tiger Spirit. We wanted that to come out with each of the characters; we wanted their costumes, when you looked at them, to tell a story."

Style: "He’s kind of a hybrid rushdown-zone type character. He has tools to do both pretty well, but not as awesomely as other characters. So he has fireballs, which he can use to zone a character out and keep him at bay, but he also has really, really powerful combos. He can get in and when he starts comboing he has some of the best juggles in the game. Once he knocks you into the air, he can keep you in the air, he can kick you, throw fireballs at you, do uppercut after uppercut at you." 

Combo quirk: "Inside the combos, every Killer Instinct character has the standard opener, double, linker, double, ender kind of paradigm, but each character has a little different take on it. Jago’s little different take on it is that he has this thing called around the world. What that is, you can keep doing doubles instead of having to keep going back to your linker. It’s kind of technical – if you aren’t familiar with the game, it might sound like Greek. But it’s actually pretty cool. He can keep doing these doubles, which are double hits that you get with one button press, and he can keep doing those like 'boom boom boom' like crazy. Unfortunately, it’s also very breakable; you have to go down the buttons in order to do it."

Profile: "He’s a tormented scientist who got turned into a werewolf. Much of his struggle in the first Killer Instincts was in trying to turn himself back into a human. Now, he’s more embracing the werewolf within him and trying to control it and trying to come to terms with it."

Style: "He’s a pure rushdown style character. He has really fast moves, he can get in really quickly, and he can dash through you. Most characters, when they dash into you, they get blocked by your character. That doesn’t happen with Saberwolf. He will dash through you – like front, behind, whatever. He’ll knock you down, and then he’ll be back, forward, back, forward – you won’t know what side he’ll be on. He’s definitely about speed and keeping you on your heels and being in your face. But his thing is, he has to get in. If he can’t get in, he can’t do any damage. He doesn’t have any projectiles; all of his moves are melee-style moves."

Combo quirk: "His unique trait for combos is he has this thing called rabid doubles. Normally when you do a double, you press once and you do two moves. But you can keep pressing the same button and he’ll keep on doing increasingly faster and faster hits where he’s biting or scratching you, and it looks insane. The trade off is that they’re very easy to break. The way breakers work, now you can actually break anything. Before, you could only break doubles, but now you can break anything. The way they work, is that if you’re in the middle of a combo – someone is comboing you – you can break the move that they’re doing against you. You do that by matching the power level of the attack they’re doing on you. So, if Jago is doing a medium double, if I press medium punch and medium kick at that time, then I’ll do a combo breaker. Rabid doubles are fun, and they’re great for a newbie kind of player to get in and feel like they’re doing a lot of damage – even if they may not be. It’s really gratifying and people really get into it."

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  • Mod
    I have to say, I am liking these characters and the complexity of the move-sets. The two-way interaction is definitely a plus as well; to always have the option to act makes this even more appealing. I hope that the story is as strong as the combat system looks.
  • I will hold interest until I see Orchid.

  • I want to see the rest of the cast. Granted, I'm not sure if I'm grabbing an X1 or a Ps4, but if I do Xbone, this one's definitely on my radar.
  • Up rather late.
  • Mod
    I've yet to see a character design that I like in this game so far. I was really hoping Glacius would look awesome, and I think his new design looks terrible. I'm holding out hope that they didn't ruin Cinder and Orchid.
  • I love the technical jargon.  "'Boom boom boom' like crazy."

    My time with the original Killer Instinct was limited to the arcade (I might have had a crappy Game Boy port or something), but I'm super excited for this.  It looks so deep and pretty.

  • Looks cool but I've always sucked heiney hole at fighting games.
  • I really really really like what they're doing with KI. It looks great and from the interviews it's very surprising to see how much they actually understand at fighting games. A great example is how they chose to handle Glacius as a Zoner. In most games, if not all, zoners rely on filling the screen with projectiles to keep you out and they just chip you down slowly. If they did that it wouldn't have been KI at all. So instead they made it so Glacius starts from range, as a zoner, but once he hit confirms he transitions into a combo (that can be broken) like any other character. Genius!
  • Very nice look into the first 3 characters, Jeff. I'm pretty happy to see Killer Instinct coming back.

  • Glacius doesn't look as cool as in the older games. Im not liking the character designs at all so far. hopefully Fulgore and Spinal is still bad ass

  • Mod

    I'm one of the few who is enjoying how the new Killer Instinct is shaping up to be!  I think the new designs are impressive and still have a similar vein to the original looks, though people clamoring that the originals are better is mostly a case of nostalgia.  The original Glacius was rather bland in design.

  • Am I the only one who thinks that the animation looks super wonky?
  • master chief better be in the game
  • I'm still not sure about this game. They need to announce more characters soon, or people may lose interest eventually. Also, Why does Glacius look like an aluminum skeleton now? Did I miss something?
  • Both this game and the recent Strider announcement gave me smiles like no other.  I was dismayed that this game didn't make the top 50 of E3, especially after the positive buzz I have seen elsewhere.  Hopefully the staff will give this a chance when it is reviewed, I foresee a 7.5 while it will probably deserve higher.  

  • Would it be in bad taste to make a combo breaker joke here?

  • I'm sick of hearing about the same three characters, where the hell is Fulgore?
  • Wulf. SabreWULF. SABREWULF.

  • I know the fighting game community are really upset about this game having a free-to-play element. I must say though that this could really help bring new people to the genre. For example, I haven't played a fighter since Tekken 3 but when Injustice came out it really caught my attention. After trying the demo I wasn't sure if their would be enough there to justify a £40 purchase so I never bothered picking it up. This way I get to see what the game has to offer, maybe pick up 1 or 2 of the cool looking characters and if I really get sucked in buy the whole roster.
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