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A ridiculous King of Fighters 15 roster 'leak' is starting to look very real after last night's The Game Awards reveal

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • December 10, 2021 at 11:21 a.m. PST • Comments: 62

Now, we have seen some very interesting "leaks" come across our desk, but this one for King of Fighters 15 is certainly something never before seen. SNK's announcement of seemingly newcomer Krohnen at The Game Awards was enlightening not only because it unveiled another piece of the launch roster puzzle, but it also might have singlehandedly added credibility to a supposed roster leak that has been floating around for a few months now.

The leak in question, at first glance, is entirely ridiculous as the creator doesn't quite directly list or show who is being added to the game. Instead, they added images of relative characters to symbolize the actual KOF contenders over their spots on the character select screen, and through some deciphering the launch roster, three of the DLC teams, and one extra combatant are supposedly leaked. Naturally, potential spoilers lie ahead.

This leak goes back to late October / early November when users on Twitter and Reddit began discussing it. The earliest posting of it seems to be traced back to a Twitter user named silenthooper.

It doesn't quite look like hooper is the creator of the roster mock up as they say along with the image, "whoever made this must know something we don't lol". Hooper does note that this leak was allegedly created somewhere after Gamescom 2021 and before Kukri's reveal — late August to early September.

As mentioned previously, the image in question doesn't share direct pictures of the characters supposedly set to be added to the roster. Instead, we get references to them — some of them fairly strange references — but when looked through the King of Fighters lens make sense.

For example, the slot that is now occupied by Kukri features a photo of major Nintendo fan and founder of competitive gaming team Empire Arcadia, Isaiah "TriForce" Johnson. The connection here is that TriForce is famously wearing a hood in this photo, and as far as hooded KOF characters goes, it has to be Kukri.

All of the references have connections like this, whether they feature an image of a character who shares the same name or looks/acts like the alleged KOF roster member. The internet has gone through and interpreted all of them, and before Krohnen's reveal last night, this supposed leak list looked completely ridiculous and was being written off entirely.

You see, Krohnen is very clearly a reworked version of past King of Fighters character, K9999. Back in the King of Fighters 2002 days, K9999 was a fighter that was a blatant and unabashed copy of Tetsuo Shima from the legendary anime/manga, Akira.

Out of fear of legal action, SNK quickly scrubbed the franchise of anything related to K9999, and they have never brought the character back for obvious reasons. Well, the leaked roster mock up included an image of none other than Tetsuo, which was inevitably interpreted as K9999 and due to the character's history immediately made this list bunk.

But now with Krohnen's reveal, fans are starting to look back at this list as potentially a very real thing. It's far too lucky to guess a character that would never be included in a future KOF title (for good reason) would make their way onto the roster as an entirely new, reworked contender.

Outside of Krohnen/K9999, other characters on the roster were properly predicted, some of which even being placed in the proper team slot. Angel, who was symbolized by The Rock — which is one of the strangest connections, but I suppose it's because they are both wrestlers — was officially revealed late last month, and even Heidern was placed on the correct team.

If this leak is indeed accurate, that means we might have a glimpse into who the first three DLC teams comprise of. Below is a full list of the predicitions, their references, and the potential connections between them courtesy of our very own Nicholas "MajinTenshinhan" Taylor.

DLC Team 1
- Reimu from Touhou, has the same ribbon/hair as Nakoruru from Samurai Shodown
- Mitsurugi from Soul Calibur, samurai just like Haohmaru (+ Haohmaru crossed over to their game)
- Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, presumably hints Darli Dagger since she is also a pirate and has similar hair decorations and the bandanna

DLC Team 2
- Feather, a Rock Howard homage from Granblue Fantasy. Obviously Rock Howard.
- Nami from One Piece, greedy pirate similar to B. Jenet who's from Garou just like Rock.
- Anavel Gato from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. Refers to Gato from Garou.
(all three Garou characters have previously been in KOF too)

DLC Team 3
- Todd Howard, the maker of Elder Scrolls, refers to Geese Howard.
- Axl Low from Guilty Gear has similar clothing and hair color to Billy Kane.
- Ryuji Goda from the Yakuza series, refers to Ryuji Yamazaki who also happens to be a yakuza.

Ash Team
- Oscar François de Jarjayes from Rose of Versailles. Refers to Elisabeth due to very similar clothing.
- EMP Triforce. Demeanor refers to Kukri.

K' Team
- Terminator. Refers to Maxima from being a Cyborg.
- Indiana Jones' whip. Refers to Whip.

Isla Team
- Military guy with eyepatch (unsure of source). Refers to Heidern.
- Master Raven from Tekken. Refers to Dolores.

Kula Team
- Me!Me!Me! girl. Refers to Kula Diamond.
- The Rock. Refers to Angel somehow.
- Tetsuo from Akira. Refers to K9999.

- Ray Park as Rugal in an abomination of a movie. Refers to Rugal.
- Inverted Verse, King of Fighters 14's boss.

Ridiculous King of Fighters 15 leak starting to look real image #1
Click images for larger versions

While this supposed leak is starting to look more likely, the final character shown is a bit of a red flag. Next to Rugal, who is suspected to be a secret character, we have King of Fighters 14's boss, Verse.

For some reason, the image is a photo negative of the character, and we're not exactly sure what that's supposed to signify. Still, there are several reasons why Verse on this mock up doesn't make sense.

Most importantly, the slot that Verse is occupying here does not actually exist on the actual character select screen like all the others do. The creator simply added Verse there next to Rugal with no real explanation.

Additionally, it was Verse's demise in KOF14 that led to previously dead characters like Shermie coming back in KOF15. From a story standpoint, it doesn't really add up that Verse would be on this roster — especially not as potential DLC.

Verse's inclusion does seem to pull away from the credibility of this list, so take that as you will.

As with any potential leaks and rumors, it's best to take these things with a large grain of salt. Having said that, this particular mock up is definitely interesting, and KOF fans will definitely be keeping an eye on it as more characters continue to get revealed for King of Fighters 15.

Heavy contributions to this story made by Nicholas "MajinTenshinhan" Taylor.

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