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This article is about the game series. For the tournament, check The King of Fighters (tournament).

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The King of Fighters (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ), officially abbreviated as KOF (ケーオーエフ), is the most famous and prominent series of fighting games by SNK. Its claim to fame is the large cast of characters and the innovative "team" system, with both original designs and characters from other SNK games.

The series was originally developed for SNK's Neo Geo video game systems, which would continue until SNK retired the Neo Geo completely in 2004. For the next few games, the arcade platform Atomiswave would be used, and later the Taito Type X2. Aside from this, ports of the arcade games and original The King of Fighters games have been released for the various consoles of then and now, such as SNK's own Neo Geo Pocket, the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, the Sega Saturn and the Dreamcast, the PlayStation and Xbox series of consoles, and even the N-Gage, among others. The latest main game in the series, The King of Fighters XV, was announced in the finals of EVO 2019, and was released on February 17, 2022, for PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows 10, Steam and Epic Games (PC).

Contents

Overview

Special Illustration by Hiroaki for the SNK Brand 40th Anniversary.

The first game in the series, The King of Fighters '94, was released by SNK in August 25, 1994 for the arcades. The game was designed to be a dream match of characters from the company's various arcade titles, particularly Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier. The success of the game lead to SNK to release yearly installments of the series and numbered the games for the year they were released. With yearly sports games, each new version is meant to be an "update"; SNK did differently, making each year unique with new rules and a constantly changing character rosters even to this day. By the year of 2004, SNK abandoned yearly releases of the series and usually numbered future games in a more traditional manner: the first main series game released as such was The King of Fighters XI.

In 2004, SNK produced the first 3D installment of the series, KOF: Maximum Impact. The game and its two sequels use an alternate story for characters and settings from previous games of the series, leaning more towards the South Town-based series like FF and AOF. The producer of the Maximum Impact series, Falcoon, stated that the Maximum Impact games are in a different canon from the original series of games.

From right to left, Kyo Kusanagi, KOF's original hero and his rival Iori Yagami, in promotional artwork of The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match. Illustration by Hiroaki.

The King of Fighters tournament, the namesake of this series, actually originated in Fatal Fury, a classic SNK fighting game that predated the KOF series. The later Art of Fighting was centered around an earlier iteration, featuring typical sponsor Geese Howard in a younger self.

The King of Fighters games have had a number of villains as their individual end bosses. The first of these was Rugal Bernstein in '94 who had a tendency to submerge his defeated foes in liquid metal, turning them into grisly trophies commemorating his victories. During the Orochi saga, Orochi is introduced as an ominous force from ancient times bent on revenge on those who imprisoned it and was aided by his four heralds. In later games, a mysterious organization called NESTS attempts to kidnap and succeeds in cloning Kyo Kusanagi in hopes of using his power to take over the world. The leader of NESTS, who called himself Igniz, hoped to amass enough power to become a god. Other villains in later games include Mukai and "Those from the Past" that he affiliates himself with, including Magaki, as well as the Mephistopheles group (Maximum Impact series).

In order to preserve their characters' images, SNK ceased to age their characters since 'The King of Fighters '95and they have remained the same ages since then. This means that characters introduced in The King of Fighters '94 have only aged one year in the series. To stay true to this theme, newer characters following this year also keep the same age they have when introduced. Some concessions to age and the passing of time exist, though, such as Terry's switch to his Garou outfit, or Kyo no longer being in high school since 1998. Ages have stopped being officially listed since KOF XI, likely to avoid confusion amongst fans.

Games

Main Titles

Prologue

Orochi Saga

NESTS Chronicles

Tales of Ash

Shun'ei Saga

Official Dream Matches

Orochi Saga

NESTS Chronicles

Tales of Ash

Remakes, Spin-Offs & Another Dream Matches

Game Boy Versions

Neo Geo Pocket Color Versions

Dreamcast Versions

Atomiswave Version

The King of Fighters Neowave (Version Based on KOF 2002)

Maximum Impact Series (KOF Spin-Off Series)

Remakes & Ultimate Editions

Remakes

Ultimate Versions

Other Media

Mobile Games

Cancelled Games

Pachinko Games

Compilations

Mangas, Comics & Novels

Mangas

  • The King of Fighters '94 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '94 - Made by Tatsuya Shinkyoji
  • The King of Fighters '94: Gaiden - Made by Ryo Takamisaki
  • The King of Fighters '94 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters '95 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '95: Amusement Anthology Series 18
  • The King of Fighters '95 (Comic Anthology)
  • The King of Fighters '95: Side-2 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '95 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters '96 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '96 (Comic Anthology)
  • The King of Fighters '96: Orochi no Senrei
  • The King of Fighters: Kyo - Made by Masato Natsumoto
  • The King of Fighters '96
  • The King of Fighters: Kyo vs. Iori ~Honō no Taiketsu~ (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '96: Anthology Comic ~Kyo vs. Iori Fight!~
  • The King of Fighters '96 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters: Giga - Made by Ryo Takamisaki
  • The King of Fighters '96: Comic Anthology ~The Complete~
  • The King of Fighters Chō: '96-'97 Kikaku Hon!!
  • The King of Fighters '95-'96 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters '97 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '97: Comic Anthology ~Orochi no Kakusei~
  • The King of Fighters '97: Side-2 (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '97: Comic Anthology ~Kakutō no Ōsama~
  • The King of Fighters '97 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters: 4COMA COMIC ~Mezase! King of Fighters~
  • The King of Fighters '97: Comic Anthology ~Orochi Shūen~
  • The King of Fighters '97: Anthology Comic ~97 Kyo vs. Iori Fight!~
  • The King of Fighters '97: 4-koma Gag Battle ~Sanshu no Jingi-hen~
  • The King of Fighters: Best Selection
  • The King of Fighters Chō-2: '97-'98 Kikaku Hon!!
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (4-koma Ketteihan)
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (Comic Anthology) ~Gun'yūkakkyo~
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (Comic Anthology)
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (4-koma Kings)
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (Short Comic Kings)
  • King of Fighters R-1: Gag Paradise
  • King of Fighters R-2: Gag Paradise
  • King of Fighters R-2: 4-koma Gag Battle ~Perfect~
  • The King of Fighters Chō-3: '98-'99 Kikaku Hon
  • The King of Fighters '99 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters '99 (4-koma Kings)
  • The King of Fighters '99 (Comic Anthology)
  • The King of Fighters '99: Evolution (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters 2000: Short! ~Comedy Show Stadium~
  • The King of Fighters 2000 (4-koma Gag Battle)
  • The King of Fighters 2000: 4-koma Manga ~Comedy Show Stadium~
  • The King of Fighters 2000: Comic Anthology ~K' no Yukue~
  • The King of Fighters 2000 (4-koma Kings)
  • The King of Fighters: Moe ×2 Fighters+ (Anthology Comic)
  • The King of Fighters 2001 (Anthology Comic)
  • The King of Fighters 2001 (4-koma Kings)
  • The King of Fighters 2000 (Comic Anthology)
  • Nettō! The King of Fighters 2000
  • The King of Fighters: A New Beginning - Made by Kyoutarou Azuma about KOF XIV's Story
  • The King of Fantasy: Yagami Iori no Isekai Musō ~Tsukio Miru Tabi Omoidase!~
  • The King of Fighters Side Story: The Origin of Flame - Shingo Travels Through Time! Let's Go! - Made by Kyoutarou Azuma about Shingo Yabuki

Manhuas

Manhwas

Novels

  • The King of Fighters '95 (Novel)
  • The King of Fighters '96 ~Rumbling on the City~
  • The King of Fighters '97: Jōkan ~Owarinaki Natsu no Saigoni~
  • The King of Fighters '97: Gekan ~660-nen-me no Futari~
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends ~Nokosa Reta Mono-tachi~
  • The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends ~Saidai Tasū no Saidai Kōfuku~
  • The King of Fighters '99 ~Beyond the "K"~
  • The King of Fighters 2000: Icicle Doll
  • The King of Fighters 2000: Strikers Strike Back
  • The King of Fighters 2001: Jō ~More Than Human~
  • The King of Fighters 2001: Ge ~The Gods Themselves~
  • The King of Fantasy: Yagami Iori no Isekai Musō ~Tsukio Miru Tabi Omoidase!~

Drama CDs

Films & Animations

Card Games

  • The King of Fighters 2006: Collectible Card Game - It is a collectible card game that was released in December, 2006, originally designed by Sabertooth Games as part of the Universal Fighting System (UFS). Other games like Samurai Shodown VStreet Fighter and Soul Calibur III are also included into the series. Character started packs were released for Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, and eventually Rock Howard.

Characters Introduced

To the characters and teams' participation of each character on the series, check the pages of each saga.

Prologue

KOF '94

Original Characters
Brought from other games

Orochi Saga

KOF '95

Original Characters
Brought from other games

KOF '96

Original Characters

Brought from other games:

KOF '97

Original Characters
Brought from other games:

NESTS Chronicles

KOF '99

Original Characters
Brought from other games

KOF '99 EVO

Original Characters
Brought from other games

KOF 2000

Brought from other games

KOF 2001

Original Characters

KOF 2002

Original Character

Tales of Ash

KOF 2003

Original Characters
Brought from other games

KOF XI

Original Characters
Brought from other games

2002 UM

Original Characters

KOF XII

Brought from other games

KOF XIII

Original Characters
Brought from other games

Shun'ei Saga

KOF XIV

Original Characters
Brought from other games

KOF XV

Original Characters

KOF Maximum Impact series

KOF MI

Original Characters
Brought from other games:

KOF MI2

Original Characters
Brought from other games

MIRA

Original Character
Brought from other games:

Spin-Off Games

KOF Kyo

Original Characters

KOF EX

Original Character

KOF EX2

Original Characters

NPC Characters

Anniversary Logos

Trivia

External links

SNK games
Major series Fatal FurySamurai ShodownThe King of FightersMetal Slug
Minor series Micon KitIkari WarriorsAthenaBeast BustersBaseball StarsSengokuWorld HeroesArt of FightingSuper SidekicksFighter's HistoryFu'unTwinkle Star SpritesThe Last BladeNeoSNK vs. CapcomDragon GaLDays of MemoriesSuper OtousanSky LoveSister QuestDoki MajoKamitamaSNK Gals Island
Duologies VanguardAlpha MissionJongbouTouch Down FeverPrehistoric IsleKing of the MonstersQuizCrossed SwordsPuzzle BobbleStarStakes WinnerPuzzle de Pon!Shock TroopersPuzzle LinkUnitronCool CoolKentei Mezase!KyujiNanairo Mirai
Crossovers ADK WorldSNK Gals' FightersNeo Geo Battle ColiseumNeo Geo Heroes: Ultimate ShootingSNK Dream BattleThe Rhythm of FightersSNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
Standalone developed YosakuSafari RallySasuke vs. CommanderThe Monkey / Monkey FriendSatan of SaturnFantasyPioneer BalloonLassoMunch MobileMarvin's MazeMahjong ClassroomGladiatorJumping CrossMain EventMad CrasherHAL 21T.N.K. IIICanvas CroquisBermuda TriangleGuerrilla WarWorld WarsPaddle ManiaFighting SoccerFighting GolfChopper IIron TankP.O.W. - Prisoners of WarGold MedalistCountry ClubMechanized AttackStreet SmartThe Next SpaceSAR: Search and RescueCrystalisNAM-1975Mahjong KyōretsudenTop Player's GolfDexterityLittle League BaseballRiding HeroThe Super SpyCyber-LipPuzzledLeague BowlingGhost PilotsRobo ArmyFootball FrenzySoccer BrawlMutation NationLast Resort3 Count BoutTop Hunter: Roddy & CathyRoads EdgeXtreme RallySonic the Hedgehog Pocket AdventureMezase! Kanji OuGanbare Neo Poke-KunOgre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia PrinceBig Bang Pro WrestlingZupapa!HanasakariVait LordKimino YushaTsukibito
Standalone published Ozma WarsAtom SmasherMeijinsenTime SoldiersSky SoldiersGang WarsSky AdventureSatomi HakkendenSuper Champion BaseballMagician LordNinja CombatBlue's JourneyEight Man2020 Super BaseballBurning FightThrash RallyNinja CommandoAggressors of Dark KombatMaster of SyougiNeo Turf MastersOver TopNinja Master'sRagnagardPleasure Goal: 5 on 5 Mini SoccerIroncladZintrickThe Irritating MazeMelon Chan's Growth DiaryPocket TennisCrush RollerDoko Demo MahjongNeo Poke Pro YakyuuParty MailShigeru Mizuki's Yokai Photo AlbumDynamite Slugger
Console published Legend of Success JoeMinnasan no Okagesama DesuBakatono-sama Mahjong Man'yukiAndro DunosViewpointSpin MasterWindjammersGururinFight FeverJanshin Densetsu: Quest of JongmasterAero Fighters 2/3Zed BladePower Spikes IIStreet HoopGoal! Goal! Goal!Bomberman: Panic BomberGalaxy Fight: Universal WarriorsDouble DragonKabuki KlashIdol Mahjong Final Romance 2Voltage Fighter GowcaizerChibi Maruko-chan Deluxe QuizSuper Dodge BallTecmo World Soccer '96Magical Drop II/IIINeo Drift Out: New TechnologyWaku Waku 7BreakersMoney Puzzle ExchangerNeo BombermanNeo Mr. Do!Battle Flip ShotGanryuCaptain TomadayShanghai MiniDive AlertPac-ManPuyo PopDensha de Go! 2KoudelkaFaselei!Strikers 1945 PlusPocket ReversiNightmare in the DarkCool Boarders PocketFantastic Night Dreams: CottonPicture PuzzleEvolution: Eternal DungeonsSuper Real Mahjong Premium CollectionRage of the DragonsPower Instinct MatrimeleePochi and Nyaa
Other Neo CarnivalNeo Geo CD SpecialSNK World-iSNK Slot Panic iN•A•K•E•R•UNeo Geo Online CollectionNeoGeo Pocket Color Selection
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