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3 major roadblocks, besides being an Xbox One exclusive, that held Killer Instinct back from its full potential


Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • November 19, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. PST • Comments: 94

2013's Killer Instinct seems to get nothing but praise from those who have played it as the gameplay, online experiences, and development are often highlighted as being especially in tune with modern fighting game community standards and expectations. That said, it also never really took off to the kinds of heights its apparently burgeoning potential led us to believe it would.

So what happened? Those of us in the FGC know that question pops up, Matt McMuscles is the go to source for a good answer. What's more, the content creator has teamed up with Maximilian, who actually got to work on the game, to offer us as vivid a picture as possible of Killer Instinct's peculiar story.

Easily the most commonly articulated reason for KI's stunted success was the fact that it was restricted to just one console: Microsoft's Xbox One. This system proved not to be Microsoft's crowning achievement, and the added fact that Capcom would side solely with Sony just a few years later and make Street Fighter 5 a PlayStation 4 exclusive surely didn't help at all on this front, either.

While there's no doubt that Killer Instinct would have done better had it been available to a wider audience, there's more to the picture than just console exclusivity. As you'll hear about in the video, the creators of KI adopted a bold model for the fighting game genre that was something of a hybrid between free to play and more traditional approaches.

This model is widely seen as relatively successful to this day, but pre-launch coverage by IGN led the masses to believe KI 2013 was a fully free to play title. The issue with this stemmed from the fact that, especially for audiences in 2013, "free to play" very often meant "pay to win," which was a big turn off for many.

Though developers ensured that Killer Instinct very much was not a "pay to win" title, this early coverage still followed and haunted the game for quite some time. This wouldn't be the only reason fans were hesitant to have faith, but we'll let Matt and Max do the rest of the talking.

Though it ran into many obstacles, Killer Instinct still saw impressive levels of success leaving many of us to truly wonder just how high it could have flown given the right conditions. Be sure to share your reactions, especially if your perspective changes after having watched, in the comments once you've finished the video.

Thanks to darkblade13 for sending this in.

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