The King of Fighters XIV has a real shot at being more popular then Street Fighter V. But is it actually possible?
Street Fighter V is now easily one of, if not the best, fighter on the scene right now. But is it possible for King of Fighters XIV to become the better fighting game over Street Fighter V? The release of SFV was plagued with disasters for fans and Capcom alike. The lack of single player content, a scarce character, roster and a plethora of other problems left fans feeling ripped off -- like they had purchased an incomplete game. Now that SFV is has gotten better, is it too little too late? Can the die-hard fan base of King of Fighters make this title finally rise to the top?
Fans of the Street Fighter franchise were more then excited for the release of Street Fighter V earlier this year. Even though at launch SFV looked pretty, one of the biggest flaws in the game was the lack of single player content. There was no "CPU VS" mode and no standard arcade mode. There was a survival mode that players could play, but it was limited to single-round battles with non-standard fighting conditions applying as well. Basic features like spectator mode for multiplayer lobbies and character-specific combo challenges didn't even get patched in until March of 2016. All because Capcom wanted the game to release in time for the Pro Tour.
Street Fighter V also is not available on the Xbox One, which made fans very unhappy. Because it's is only on PlayStation 4 as far as consoles are concerned, all of the online play was relegated to the PlayStation network. This made online play super unstable, due to the influx of players. Bad networking codes made matters worse. It was almost impossible to play within the first few days of release. It got so bad that Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono issued an apology to players.
After a series of patches and lots of DLC, SFV has bounced back with a vengeance. At the largest fighting tournament each year, the EVO Championship Series, SFV had over 4,000 entrants. Other smaller tournaments had to put a cap on SFV registrants so other games could be played.
Nostalgia and the fact that fans had to wait 8 years for a game made them stick with SFV through its rocky launch, and they've mostly remained faithful to it since.
At the other end of the fighting game spectrum, there is The King of Fighters franchise. This traditionally 2D Fighting game has has a crazy strong fan base, but it's not as mainstream as Street Fighter is. One of the main issues with KoF was that many people complained that the game wasn't easy to learn or get into. SNK Playmore heard the cries of the masses and wanted to make a more appealing game for KoF 14. The staff also wanted to make a game that would be as popular as their other hits, like The King of Fighters '98 and The King of Fighters 2002.
For KoF 14, SNK Playmore pulled out all the stops and even got the battle designer from the wildly successful Street Fighter IV, Yasuyuki Oda. He had previously worked for SNK R&D Division 1, which included staff members from the Fatal Fury and the Art of Fighting series. Now he is the director of The King of Fighters XIV to help transition the 2D models into proper 3D ones.
With over 50 playable characters upon release, KoF 14 is coming out with a more complete game later on in August of this year.
The King of Fighters XIV is a game made for the people. The die hard fans of the game series are in for a real treat when this game releases later in 2016. Newcomers will have their choice of characters and gentler learning curve to make it more accessible to all players.
But even with all that said, the popularity of Street Fighter V right now is out of control. Plus the DLC business model for SFV will keep players interested indefinitely because of the desire to get the latest content. Again, because of how iconic Street Fighter is, The King of Fighters would be hard pressed to really compete with this household name. And while KoF 14 is an extremely well put together product thus far, many in the fighting game community view the game as too niche, at least here in America.
The Street Fighter V hype is very real, and The King of Fighters XIV may be a close second when it releases -- but not number one.
How do you feel? Do you think that The King of Fighters XIV has a real chance at becoming more popular than Street Fighter V? Or do you feel as if that will never happen? Feel like there is anything being left out? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think!