Where the hell is Killer Instinct 3? In fact where the hell is Killer Instinct in general? Seriously how is it that as of 2013 we’ve still yet to receive anything Killer Instinct related, no sequel and no ports of the originals. This franchise is for all intents and purposes completely dead with it’s the lastest release dating all the way back to 1996′s Killer Instinct Gold for the Nintendo 64. In order to look ahead we have to look back in order to see how this entire mess came to be.
During the early 90′s Rare became a fan favourite amongst Nintendo fans, the release of Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo really put Rare on the map even though they were also responsible for other top titles such as the legendary Battletoads. Around the time of Donkey Kong Country’s released Rare also developed an arcade fighting game that on paper was just Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat fused into one but those who played it knew it was much more than just a simple clone.
Killer Instinct was released in 1994 for the Arcades, Rare developed the title, Nintendo was the publisher and Midway handled the arcade side of things. I want you to remember these three names because we’ll get to that later on.
The early 90′s were all about fighting games with Street Fighter II leading the way, Killer Instinct arrived at the perfect time to join in on the craze. At the time Killer Instinct was a technical masterpiece using the same pre-rendered sprite technique seen in Donkey Kong Country to create a what looked like a 3D model when in reality it was just a sprite. It also meant that the game didn’t bear a cartoon like apperance that many games at the time had and it also didn’t resort to digitized sprites either, it had it’s own style and truly looked several generations ahead of anything at the time.
As impressive as the visuals were the gameplay in Killer Instinct is what stood out borrowing from Street Fighter II whilst making sure it had plenty of it’s own unique ideas. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, if there’s one game that really embraced the combo system it was Killer Instinct where 10 hit strings were the norm. Each character also had an ultra combo as if the regular ones were not enough and these normally ranged from 30 to 40 hits. No need to worry though as it wasn’t all offensive related, the infamous C-C-C-Combo Breaker mechanic made sure that combos had a weakness to them as well.
One aspect that many fighting games screw up is the music, I’m actually going to go out and call many of the composers who work on fighting game soundtracks complete idiots. It’s a fighting game, people are beating the crap out of each other and you want me to listen to your slow ass forgettable soundtrack? When I play a fighting game I want the music to get me pumped and no game did that better than Killer Instinct, just listen to this.
That’s just the opening theme, every track in the game is insanely good and extremely memorable, the the kind of stuff I want to fight to. Equally impressive was the announcer who was just the icing on the cake, he was capable of making anything and everything sound awesome with his voice alone. Any time I think back to the characters in the game I can hear the announcer calling their names in my head, “SPINALLL”.
Speaking of characters, this is something that Killer Instinct also got right with a host of unique and interesting characters. We all have our favourites and whilst from a gameplay point of view Jago has always been my guy I will admit no one is cooler than Cinder. If there was a way to sum up Killer Instinct it’s just that, it’s just a damn cool game all around and it doesn’t feel forced.
The game was somewhat broken from a competitive tournament point of view but it never mattered as Killer Instinct was never designed to be the most balanced fighter on the market. Killer Instinct was all about the fun, everything in the game simply contributed to the fun factor. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, when Killer Instinct was released in the 90′s it was the shit.
So we’ve taken a brief overview of what made Killer Instinct great but this isn’t a Retro Corner, it’s not so much about my memories with the game but rather what’s happened since. Well the original Killer Instinct was an arcade release which was supposed to launch on Nintendo’s Ultra 64 as a game that would show off what the system could do. Nintendo’s Ultra 64 saw both a delay and name change to what we now know as the Nintendo 64 so the original Killer Instinct made it’s way to the Super Nintendo instead.
Killer Instinct on the Super Nintendo was an impressive title though it wasn’t on par with the arcade original as the Super Nintendo just never had the power to pull off a game like Killer Instinct. The game had to be downgraded in many areas, mostly visual but the final product was something that still played like Killer Instinct at it’s core so it was all good. Killer Instinct on the Super Nintendo was the game most gamers played and stands as one of the most respectable arcade to home console ports at the time. They also bundled in a Killer Cuts CD which contained the soundtrack which totally sweetened the deal.
After the success of Killer Instinct a sequel was put into production and saw release in 1996. This game was even more technically advanced than the original and even now still manages to impress onlookers when they see it running. Killer Instinct 2 can be best described as more of the same and that’s not always a bad thing though the game did little to push the series forward. In fact Killer Instinct 2 rarely receives the same praise the original does even though in my opinion it’s pretty much just as good as the first game really. Some characters have been removed and replaced with new ones which wasn’t too bad as Tusk is all kinds of awesome but removing Cinder is the dumbest decision in gaming since Sega’s 32X.
By the time Killer Instinct 2 arrived so did the Nintendo 64 which meant that finally Rare could get round to doing that awesome home console port which never ended up happening either. Long story short, Killer Instinct 2 used a lot of FMV in the arcades and the Nintendo 64 used cartridges which were pretty crippled in their ability to holds much data meaning much like the original Killer Instinct had to be reworked. The end result was Killer Instinct Gold, a perfectly playable version of Killer Instinct 2 that was sadly missing a lot of the visual flair that made the arcade version so great.
That’s basically your Killer Instinct history lesson, oh you want me to mention Killer Instinct on the GameBoy. Well it’s Killer Instinct on the GameBoy, it works about as well as you would expect. It’s pretty cool seeing a mini version of Killer Instinct running a GameBoy but it’s not something you’ll spend much time with. In all honestly what I remember most about Killer Instinct on GameBoy was the cool Nintendo wallet you got with it.
Killer Instinct 3, that’s the name of the game on everyone’s mind for over a decade now and in case you don’t read the internet much it’s not looking good. Perhaps the first thing we should do is look at how each game in the series did before taking a look at Killer Instinct 3.
Killer Instinct Arcade
Awesome game, everyone loved it but being an arcade title not everyone played it. Considered by many the best game/version in the series.
Killer Instinct SNES
Awesome game, everyone loved it and everyone played it. The biggest success in the series though the arcade version was obviously better.
Killer Instinct GameBoy
No one cared, probably did okay. Free wallet is still cool.
Killer Instinct 2 Arcade
Not as awesome as the first, not as many people played it. Still a great game and it looks stunning, Tusk is awesome.
Killer Instinct Gold
No one cared because 3D was the big thing at the time so the game got lost. It was also a watered down port of the arcade original.
Right so it’s generally accepted that the first game is the one everyone liked and played, the sequel was a victim of bad timing so a Killer Instinct 3 isn’t the worst idea right?
Well after the 3D craze kicked off 2D fighters went dead for a while, that’s why something like Street Fighter III was a failure. It’s a great game don’t get me wrong but at the time got it’s teeth kicked in by Tekken and SoulCalibur so bad that the series went missing for the next decade. Eventually Capcom grew some balls and green lit a Street Fighter IV to which they saw great success, I wouldn’t say it “brought back fighting games” but it did bring back Capcom fighters at the very least. The rise of online gaming has helped the genre as has events such as EVO which help create buzz around the fighting game community.
If there was ever a time to bring back Killer Instinct it’s now, fighting games are pretty popular these days and watching top players on YouTube certainly helps break down what can be considered a complicated genre. I understand as a fan it’s easy to ask for things and overlook the business side but I honestly feel Killer Instinct has a place in today’s market. Fans are still not giving up on a Killer Instinct 3 and it’s surely the most requested game that people want to see from Rare.
Let’s take a moment to stop dreaming about a Killer Instinct 3 and focus on why there has been nothing since 1996.
The best way to get a Killer Instinct 3 off the ground is to re-release the originals, generate hype and see how well it sells. Remember you’re still selling old games here so you can’t expect massive sales from such a thing, you have to be smart about how you gauge consumer interest. There’s sadly one stupid dumb problem stopping the originals from being re-released and it all comes down to licensing.
Remember I told you to not forget Rare, Nintendo & Midway? Well this is the part where that all comes into place, good old damn licensing issues. I’m not an expert on the subject but I’ll try my best for the following.
Nintendo isn’t as much of a factor as some would think, both Banjo Kazooie titles made their way to XBLA so as long as it’s something Rare developed and own the intellectual property then they are pretty good to go. Getting the arcade versions of both Killer Instinct titles would need some looking into as Midway are no longer around but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Microsoft. Sounds pretty good, so how comes they’ve not done this sooner?
As far as I’m concerned the second Microsoft increased their XBLA size cap Killer Instinct should of been the first title right out of the gate, Killer Instinct ARCADE on Xbox Live ARCADE. Seriously it’s what the damn service was supposed to bring us in the first place, licensing aside it’s basically free money on the table.
I’m going to have to ask that you try to contain yourself during this next part, it’s one of the most rage inducing things you’ll read all week. There did appear to be a hint of hope not too long ago when Microsoft actually announced that they were going after that license.
With all due respect to our friends in the media who like to frequent trademark sites, we thought we’d break this one ourselves.
Our legal eagles have authorized us to say: “We have either renewed or refiled a trademark application in various jurisdictions.”
That’s it! Have a good Monday!
After so many years of hoping it seemed that our prayers had been answered, no idea if this meant Killer Instinct 3 or Microsoft were interested in releasing the originals, probably the latter but still we would take what we could. Sadly this was too good to be true as Microsoft were denied the Killer Instinct trademark because it would cause confusion with a TV show with the same name.
The TV show which aired in 2005 some 11 years after the first Killer Instinct launched is somehow the rightful owner of the Killer Instinct name. Even worse is that the show was cancelled after one season, people associate Killer Instinct with the bloody game not the the blink and you’ll miss it TV show. Just type Killer Instinct on Google image search and see for yourself.
You’re more than welcome to type in “Killer Instinct TV Show” and it will still display all sorts of content from the game, words cannot express how pissed off I am. So many years of waiting for something only to be denied over the dumbest reason ever but if Duke Nukem Forever can come out then I’m not giving up hope yet.
To my knowledge Killer Instinct 3 has never been in development, the impression I get is that Rare has always been interested in doing the sequel but never have thanks to Microsoft. Rare was and still is a very creative developer so I would love it if Microsoft released their death grip on them so they could get working on some stuff they’d actually want to do. I don’t mean to speak on behalf of Rare but I’m sure they are just more than a “Kinect Developer”.
Many gamers are still pissed about the Microsoft buyout from 2002 and yeah I’m one of them but the hate does appear to be misinformed. The popular opinion is that all of Rare’s talent left and they are a shadow of their former self but I disagree. Development teams change over the years, just take a look at what’s happening at Retro Studios and they’ve not yet released something that’s anything less than amazing. The Rare of today isn’t the same as the one from the 90′s but I still think that’s a lot of good talent under that roof.
Kameo Elements of Power, Banjo Nuts & Bolts, and both Viva Pinata were all games that I enjoyed, the Kinect Sports games for all the crap they get are not bad at all considering how limited Kinect is. I welcome the idea of a Killer Instinct 3 developed by Rare assuming the team are all up for it, let’s see what this new blood have got to offer. Even though I sound very pro Rare I admit that I still laugh my laugh off at this video every time, how far from the truth can it be?
Going back to where it all started, where the hell is Killer Instinct?, I admit I’ve basically answered that myself but the question still remains. It’s been more than 15 years and still no Killer Instinct 3, even worse they can’t see to get a re-release of the originals off the ground which is truly upsetting. I love Street Fighter II as much as the next guy but growing up Killer Instinct was THE fighting game for me, it was straight up glorious 90′s arcade fun.
It simply blows my mind how something like Killer Instinct can be left to fade away but so long as there are fans out still playing the games and letting their voices be heard then the series will live on. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to do some research, I need to track down the asshole who decided to get rid of Cinder in the sequel.
Killer Instinct Artwork Source: Rare Gamer