2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for fighting games. Between titles that have already released like Guilty Gear Strive, and newly announced games like Street Fighter 6, fighting game fans are eating well. One of the first big fighting games of the year dropped last month with The King of Fighters XV. It’s an absolutely stellar follow up to its mechanically solid, but visually unappealing predecessor. The King of Fighters XV hits all the marks for a great title in the franchise with all the modern amenities the genre now requires, like rollback netcode.
We got a chance to speak with the game’s producer, Yasuyuki Oda, about what went into developing the new entry in SNK’s flagship fighting series.
PCI: Was rollback netcode always a part of the plan for The King of Fighters XV? Was it difficult for the team to implement?
Oda: We had plans at the beginning to implement it, but we couldn’t decide on a specific date. Thanks to the help of Code Mystics and Komi Games, we were able to make it a reality.
Did rollback being added to The King of Fighters 2002 UM influence the development of The King of Fighters XV at all?
It’s hard to say if it had a direct influence, but the know-how that came from it certainly helped.
How did the team want to differentiate the mechanics from KOF 14 to 15? Likewise, was there anything the team wanted to carry over?
The King of Fighters XIV was a bit technical and hard for a lot of users to get used to, and so we designed The King of Fighters XV with a fun system that harkens back to other classic KOF games.
Bringing the gang back together
The King of Fighters XV seems to be a celebration of the franchise, what with bringing back all the main protagonists and antagonists from across the entire series. Was this intentional or did it just happen to end up that way?
There were instructions from the very beginning to have Shun’ei become the hero for The King of Fighters XV, and for all other important past characters to join.
What was the process for deciding which characters to add to the roster? Were there any personal favorites on the team that were fought for?
There weren’t any that I personally wanted to bring back, I just went along with the wishes of our fans.
How does the KOF team balance keeping elements from previous entries while adding new things? Like what to keep in certain character’s movesets, for example?
It’s something that worries me every time, but basically the process is we decide on a concept, design it, and then test play it. We repeat this process until it feels right. Of course, it’s taxing work each time.
Taking the series into the modern age
Accessibility is much more important in the fighting game genre than ever before. What steps, mechanically or otherwise, did the team take to bring more accessibility to the game?
Well, we gather interest for our product online, typically through SNS like Twitter and Facebook. We also have an e-sports support program that can help each community bring in new players.
How is the team handling balance for the game? How much was the competitive/esports scene considered during development?
We were able to avoid any fatal flaws in the game, but before we dive into large-sweeping balance changes, I’d like to get the 1st season underway first.
Conversely, how much were new players, either to the KOF series or fighting games in general, considered when developing the game?
I’m always thinking of ways we can open the barrier to entry even by a little bit. A lot of fans new to KOF started with The King of Fighters XIV, and so I wish to continue to support them as we move on.
A celebration of a beloved franchise
What would you like to tell the fans of the franchise, both old and new, about The King of Fighters XV?
KOF XV is not just something for KOF or SNK fans, but fighting game fans all across the globe. I hope you’ll give it a shot!
A big thank you to Oda-san for taking the time to speak with us. If you want to try out King of Fighters XV, and its fantastic rollback netcode for yourself, it’s available right now on Steam.