The King of Fighters XIV is the fourteenth installment of The King of Fighters series. It was first announced during the SCEJA Press Conference 2015. The game was developed for the PlayStation 4 and released in August 2016, it was later ported to the Microsoft Windows and Japanese arcade cabinets in 2017. This game is the first chapter of the 4th canonical saga for the series. Garou: Mark of the Wolves battle designer, Yasuyuki Oda, is the director.
Oda said in an interview with 4Gamer that the main goal for this title is to make it "the easiest to play" of the series. According to him, the two major reasons for making the transition to 3D is to adapt to high-end machines and give 3D experience to SNK so they can compete in the console market again. He thinks it's difficult to properly convey the KOF cast's charm in 3D but expects the models to continue improving from its initial revealing. Oda hopes to cater to fans of KOF '98, KOF 2002 and KOF XIII with this game's mechanics and improve the online matchmaking for this entry.
A graphical patch (Ver 1.10) to boost the game's visuals is released on January 11, 2017. On April 5, 2017, the 2.00 update is released along with 4 additional DLC characters and 2 free classic stages. On April 12, 2018, the 3.00 update is released along with another 4 additional DLC characters and 1 new stage.
After considering the current market and the future, the staff agreed that things would be best if they challenged 3D right now and started building up experience, knowledge and libraries in their company.
- The game engine was internally developed by SNK. They were considering using the Unreal Engine but decided not to because SNK didn't feel confident after overviewing the potential risks and budget at that time. Four years later, SNK finally decided to use Unreal Engine, starting from developing Samurai Shodown (2019).
- They decided against cell-shaded graphics due to wanting to emulate the look of '94. Originally the game used a more realistic style, but it was eventually tweaked so it would not clash with certain characters' designs. The cel-shaded graphic is then utilized in Samurai Shodown (2019) via Unreal Engine four years later.
- Hitboxes are added manually in 2D.
- Ogura has no remorse in leaving behind pixel art since it was a method to bring out the best in low-resolution graphics. Now that times have changed, even if doing 2D he'd rather take a different approach than pixel art.
- Making the game run in full 60fps proved to be difficult and as a result, the flashier looking graphics and effects were cut. There was the option of having a variable framerate, but the team decided to keep it consistent partially due to concerns about the quality of the online multiplayer.
- They only had 3-4 designers but Oda decided to have 50 characters in the game. To save production time and budget, he allowed for three characters to obscure their faces so they would not require facial animations.
SNK has a lot of development teams especially in the mobile/smartphone side of things, but they only have two studios. One of them is making the KOF series, and they barely had enough staff to make XIV.
The King of Fighters has become a major business, generating huge profits and numerous spin-off tournaments worldwide. However, this led to a lowering of the overall quality, and voices began to rise across the globe demanding the formation of one unique, worldwide KOF competition.
A billionaire self-proclaimed “first champion” bought out all the rights for the KOF Tournament. The announcement of a new KOF Tournament created unprecedented enthusiasm around the world. This excitement reached many of the classic participants of the legendary tournament directly in the form of an official invitation...
Unlike previous main entries, which employed hand-drawn sprite animation,The King of Fighters XIV uses 3D models more akin to the KOF: Maximum Impact series. However the fighting area remains on a strictly two-dimensional plane and keeps the same basic mechanics as its predecessors.
New Max mode systems allows players to access the EX special moves; activating this state requires one bar of the power gauge. EX super move can also be executed with just one attack button, instead of two.
Using three bars of the power gauge can allow players to unleash Climax Desperation Moves, the current "Strongest Level DM" in this game that follows somewhat in the prior Neo Max's footsteps. Some characters gain new moves as a Climax DM, while others instead have their prior Neo Max reprised as a Climax DM.
Super Cancels are now based on 2003 along with XI's Dream Cancel, except it is now available to all members and has new traits available, such canceling a normal DM to an EX or Climax DM, or EX DM into a Climax DM.
Repeatedly hit the light punch button to perform an automatic combo attack called Rush mode; this will do lower damage compared to normal combo attacks. However, there some conditions involving Level gauge:
- If the Level gauge is 0, the fourth Rush mode combo goes to a certain special move.
- If one Level gauge is filled, the fourth Rush mode combo goes to a certain Super Art.
- While entering Max Mode, the fourth Rush mode combo goes to an EX version of a certain special/super moves.
CD/Blowback attacks now cause opponents to hit the wall with a unique form of wall-slam, which causes them for a period of time to remain vulnerable to follow-up attacks.
Online multiplayer mode will feature a Party Battle mode which will allow three players to form a single team together to challenge another three player team. Players will be allowed to choose the same character if they wish while forming teams. The lobby is designed to support up to twelve players so spectators can join to watch the match up with an integrated voice and text chat. A "Crowd SE" option is additionally available for spectators will allow them to root, applaud, and boo their favored competing teams.
Players will be allowed to set their online profiles to be private. An online training mode is available as well.
XIV also marks a huge change for the series in that the large majority of the returning cast now sport new voice actors, including those who have been voiced by the same actors since their debut or for several years. The exceptions include Benimaru, Athena, King, Kula, Maxima, Geese, Chang, Choi, Whip and Oswald. Characters with recent changes, such as Kim, Nakoruru, Mai and Ralf still retain their new voices.
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Official Invitation Team
South America Team
South Town Team
Psycho Soldier Team
Ikari Warriors Team
Another World Team
Women Fighters Team
Special Edit Teams
Tung's Disciples Team
- Terry Bogard
- Geese Howard
NESTS Girls Team
- Kula Diamond
- Sylvie Paula Paula
"Lucky Sevens" Team
- Mui Mui
- Love Heart
- Andy Bogard
- Mai Shiranui
- Bandeiras Hattori
- Chin Gentsai
- Tung Fu Rue
- Ryo Sakazaki
- Mui Mui
- Sie Kensou
- Robert Garcia
- Joe Higashi
The Mysterious Newcomers
- King of Dinosaurs
Beautiful Longhair Team
- Athena Asamiya
- Kula Diamond
- Note 1: In this game, the stages are again associated with the teams and the bosses, which hasn't happened in a canonical game of the series since KOF '96 (and in a game of the series since KOF 2002 UM).
- Note 2: When the player fights in DLC stages or in the Training Stage (exclusively available in Versus and Tranning Modes), the music of the stage is associated to the first character chosen to fight. In the Story Mode and Versus Mode against CPU, it's the first character in the right team; in Versus Mode with two players and we fight in the Training Stage, it's the first character of the left team.
- Neo Esaka — Japan Team & Oswald: Set on a raised platform overlooking the Esaka Station area of Osaka, Japan. Numerous sponsorship boards line the arena along with low fences to keep the fight contained to the platform. In the background, a billboard with portraits of the active fighters can be seen.
- Industrial Area — Yagami Team: An industrial rooftop covered with pipes with a large refinery in the background. The stage takes place at night, with dark clouds and a crescent moon visible in the sky. Similar to the Rivals Team stage in The King of Fighters '95.
- Navajoland — Fatal Fury Team & Mary: Takes place amidst the gas station pumps of a truck stop diner in the middle of the desert of Arizona (the dinner visible on the right side of the stage). Spectators are casually gathered around to witness the battle and semi-trucks can be seen parked on the left side of the stage. Also features, in the background, the Monument Valley. Similar to the South Town stage in KOF '96, Terry and Rick's shared stage in RBFF2 and to the Big Bear's stage in Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury Special.
- Maple Garden — Art of Fighting Team: A patio-like area next to a maple tree forest, with a small Japanese temple on the right side, a small waterfall at the left side and two wooden braziers in the center. There is a view over a calm bay in the background, and the stage takes place at night, with the sky filled with black clouds and a small full moon in the distant background. Similar to the Korea stage in KOF '94.
- Hotel Marine Paradise — Kim Team: A submerged restaurant and a hotel reception with large pillars. The battle takes place in a roped-off area in the center of the restaurant. In the background people can be seen sitting and observing the aquatic life swim by the large glass panes that separate them from the water outside. Marine life, such as whales and sharks, can be seen passing outside. Similar to Aquarium stage in The King of Fighters 2000.
- Underground Prison — Villains Team: A dungeon-like area with ruined, crumbling stone walls strewn about and prisoners observing the fight. There are two suspended cages, an empty cage on the left edge of the screen and another cages with a prisoners inside near the center and in the left.
- Masquerade — Official Invitation Team: A high-class opera house. The battle takes place on the stage and the wealthy elite mill around at ground level and in the upper balconies, all wearing face masks to keep with the masquerade theme. Banners with sponsorship logos can be seen surrounding the stage and Pegasus statues are situated at opposite ends of the stage.
- Iguazu Falls — South America Team: The Iguazu Falls, in Brazil, near the Triple Frontier. The stage is set on a balcony in the midst of several rainforest plants such as palm trees. In the distant background a large waterfall can be seen cascading down the sheer cliffs. The balcony is covered in glowing blue hexagonal tiles and there are several domed structures erected on the cliff-side. The closest dome has a banner with yellow text that reads "KING OF FIGHTERS in Latin America".
- Guanajuato Dynamite Ring — Mexico Team & Vanessa: A large wrestling ring situated in the town square of Guanajuato, Mexico. The ring ropes are colored red, white, and blue and the turnbuckles have print on them with phrases such as "KOF IN MEXICO" and "LUCHA LIBRE". Spectators are seen at the ground level watching the brawl. Día de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") decorations adorn the town square and a King of Dinosaurs banner is draped over one of the buildings. In the background, can be seen the Cathedral of León.
- Geese Tower — South Town Team: The Geese Howard's inner sanctum at the top of his skyscraper, overlooking the city of South Town. An elaborate centerpiece of Buddhist statues adorns the middle of the room and thick, red, Asian-inspired columns flank it to the left and right. A pair of vases and a large ceremonial drum are placed in the area in front of the centerpiece. The floor is composed of finely polished wood and rainfall can be seen outside. An American flag banner is hanging from the awning, alluding to Geese's affinity for blending American and Asian culture.
- The Great Wall of China — China Team: A wide stone platform on the Great Wall, with the wall itself in the background curving across to the right. The platform has a pagoda-like gold sculpture on the right side, whilst the left side has an archway with some sort of decorative tassel hanging in the center.
- The Bund — Psycho Soldier Team: The Bingjiang Da Dao riverside, near the Huangpu River, in Shanghai, in a celebration to the Chinese New Year. This stage takes place at night with a full moon, and the city's downtown district is visible across the river in the background. The river features a multi-decked boat with a large dragon-shaped prow.
- Heidern Fleet — Ikari Warriors Team, Whip & Heidern: A large aircraft carrier with bunting depicting army flags strung in the air. Jet fighters are positioned in the foreground, whilst the carrier's control tower is in the background. Similar to John Crawley's stage in the first Art of Fighting.
- Dream World — Another World Team: Some kind of amusement park. The fighting area is surrounded by a castle like stone wall, with numerous red and gold banners hanging from the wall; the banner in the top-center reads 'THE KING OF FIGHTERS'. There are several costumed figures, including two stilt-walkers, standing in the foreground watching the fight, with the central figure wearing a large cartoonish bodysuit of a patchwork animal in a witch's hat holding a staff. There are three dioramas of fairground rides just behind the costumed figures; the one on the left is of a 'teacup' ride, the one on the right is of a roller coaster, and the one in the center is of a carousel. The carousel has a large sign on the bottom reading 'THE KING OF FIGHTERS SPECIAL PARADE'.
- Derelict Church — K' Team: An abandoned church where one wall has crumbled away. The pews can be seen up the center while statues and stained glass windows adorn the side opposite the crumbled wall.
- Old Castle — Women Fighters Team: The gardens of a large castle, with the castle itself taking up most of the background. The stage takes place at sunset, and there are two small fountains, one on each edges of the stage, with the fountain on the left being in the foreground and the fountain on the right being further away. Similar to the Women Fighters Team stages in KOF '94 and The King of Fighters '94 Rebout.
- Antonov Super Arena: Similar to the arena where the concluding battles of The King of Fighters '96 take place. An outdoor stage area surrounded by packed grandstands and cameras both on the ground and raised above the fight via boom arms. In the background a platform can be seen, presumably where the winning team will receive their commendation. Associated with Antonov.
- Destroyed Arena: A destroyed variant of Antonov Super Arena where the final boss battle takes place Can be seen a cloudy sky and Clemence Bellamy's cameraman. Associated with Verse.
- Training Stage: A sparse arena used for training. The back wall is covered in white tiles whilst the floor is covered in grey tiles. There are several thick black lines painted across the tiles, including vertically across the center, the left edge and the right edge, as well as horizontally across the floor; the combatants stand upon this horizontal line whilst fighting. The vertical line across the center features a small gold shield positioned halfway up the wall, with the letters 'KOF' engraved across it. The update 1.10 (graphical update) adds a customizable digital billboard beneath the KOF shield, much like the one in the Neo Esaka stage. In manga adaption’s chapter 19 (A New Beginning), it's revealed to be located in Antonov Super Arena, provided for the fighters to train for the next matches.
- Transcontinental Railroad — Rock: Terry Bogard's stage from Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury Special. The differences between the versions of the stage are: the logo in the wagon floor, outdoors over all the stage and can be spotted crates, barrels and bags.
- Note: When Terry fights in this stage, the song "Kurinkunton Flavor" plays, no matter in which order and team he was chosen to fight.
- City Circuit — Yamazaki: Monaco stage from The King of Fighters '97. The differences between the versions of the stage are: the crowd, the sponsors, flags, an animated panel with Antonov's photo and can be seen a yatch and two trucks passing, one with covers of SNK's first editions of games in the carriage.
- Note: The truck with cover games of SNK appears only in the end of the round, and only for three winner characters: Terry (Fatal Fury), Ryo (Art of Fighting) and Nakoruru (Samurai Shodown).
- Riyadh — Najd: The terrace of the Masmak Fort, overlooking the skyscrapers of the capital city, highlighting the Kingdom and the Al Faisaliyah Centers, besides the Al Majdoul Tower. Can be seen the AMBC's cameraman, a zeppelin broadcasting images of the fight, some people also present in the City Circuit and Navajoland stages, besides flags with the championship logo and the sponsors.
On January 31, 2017, SNK announced a manhua which would cover the game's main story. The first chapter is released on February 1, 2017. The series ended with only 8 chapters released.
A new manga series titled A New Beginning illustrated by Kyoutarou Azuma is released on January 1, 2018. The series is published bi-weekly on Pocket Shonen Magazine online and is collected monthly on the Shonen Sirius magazine.
Team Gameplay Trailers
DLC Characters Trailers
DLC Characters Fighting Demonstration Trailers
This videos appears only during the DLC Season 1.
DLC Season Trailers
DLC Contents Trailers
KOF STATION CHANNEL
KOF XIV DREAM MATCH Videos
- Official Japanese website
- Official English website, Atlus Official website, Deep Silver Official website
- PlayStation Experience 2015 trailer
- Official Facebook
- 4Gamer Interview
- Steam Special page
- The King of Fighters XIV Steam Edition
- The King of Fighters XIV Galaxy Edition