The 2013 Killer Instinct, initially developed by Double Helix before Iron Galaxy took the reins, has had an interesting lifespan. While it launched in something of a rough shape with only nine fighters, it wasn’t long before additional seasons filled out the roster and added new maps. Later additions saw guests from across the Xbox roster like the Arbiter from Halo and General RAAM from Gears of War.
The fantastically-low input lag, excellent visuals, rocking soundtrack, and easy-to-approach aspect for beginners slowly built momentum for the game. Killer Instinct even ended up launching on Steam and crossing 10 million players.
Since 2017, however, support dropped, with a lack of real presence at fighting game events such as Evo (Evolution Championship Series). There’s also been no sign or hint of a sequel happening, with Iron Galaxy doing various porting work for assorted Nintendo Switch titles.
Even so, over the last few months, Killer Instinct appears to be garnering something of a revival. #BringBackKI started trending on Twitter, after community leader and fighting game aficionado Maximillian Dood, aka Maximillian Christiansen, led a campaign to get Killer Instinct noticed again and encourage hope for a sequel.
Then came a bit of surprising news, news that indicates maybe the online fan rallies have had an impact. After the cancelation of Evo 2020, the event was replaced with Evo Online. To the shock and joy of many, Killer Instinct is part of the Evo Online lineup, with an open tournament for players to enjoy. Why exactly is unclear, thought it could be influenced by the aforementioned online attention the game garnered in 2019. This reveal didn’t go unnoticed by Adam Isgreen, creative director at Xbox Game Studios.
— Adam Isgreen (@Ishmae1) May 14, 2020
With all of this happening, Xbox leadership needs to be at least heavily considering a follow-up title. Killer Instinct being at the center of massive online petitions, a newfound presence at Evo, and the possible return of the Killer Instinct World Cup is a clear sign of interest. Killer Instinct earned the respect of fans (including myself) due to its support and depending on how the next few months go, capitalizing on that attention with the announcement of a sequel would be a massive PR win.
It looks like we’ll be hearing news soon, too. Brandon Alexander, head of the Killer Instinct World Cup, recently told fans on Twitter that there was some news coming in the next couple of weeks. Exactly to what scale something will be happening is unclear but after years of silence, any sign provides hope for the Killer Instinct community.
I’m extremely proud of the @KillerInstinct Community for making waves these past few months.
Happy to say that after talking with Dave, we are making moves to get you all an announcement within the next 2-3 weeks. All I can say right now is that, we’re back! #PlayKI #UltraArcade pic.twitter.com/LUfDVmNHV7
— Brandon Alexander (@QuakeViking) May 18, 2020
The Xbox Series X is set to arrive in Holiday 2020. Even if it’s not available until sometime after launch, a next-generation Killer Instinct would be a great show of faith to fighting game fans on Xbox, as well as the hardcore who stuck by Killer Instinct over the last generation.
Choose from every single fighter
Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition includes the 2013 game and all 26 characters from Seasons 1 through 3. If you’re new to fighting games, there’s a dojo where you can go to practice and learn how it all works.