That other 2D fighting game franchise, SNK Playmore's King of Fighters series, will be coming to PS3 and 360 this July, sporting high-def 2D sprites sure to please old-school purists.
While Street Fighter is celebrating its 20th anniversary by burning up the charts with Street Fighter IV and uh, not doing so hot with Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, SNK's long-running King of Fighters series will be commemorating its own 15th anniversary by releasing the latest entry in the franchise and the first to hit next-gen systems, King of Fighters XII, in July.
While SFIV adopted a 3D style on a 2D plane that still hasn't completely won over every fighting fan, KOFXII's big sell is that it's keeping with tradition by utilizing 100% hand-drawn 2D sprites and backgrounds but getting modern by putting them in glorious, newfangled HD. "To make this a truly unique fighting game, we've revolutionized the graphics by creating state of the art visuals - and made no compromises in that process whatsoever," Masaki Kukino of SNK Playmore said.
Ignition Entertainment, who will publish the game on 360 and PS3, weren't shy about taking jabs at their competitors. "While other fighting games have abandoned the time-consuming process of creating beautiful 2D art, KOFXII fully embraces the refined aesthetic beauty that only human hands can produce," Shane Bettenhausen of Ignition and formerly EGM, said in a little bit of trash talk.
I guess it all comes down to your personal preference (I personally like both art styles), but the results of SNK Playmore's artistry are extremely impressive, as you can see from this trailer. Sprites are amazingly detailed and animate beautifully. As much as I love SFIV's art style, I can't help but imagine what it'd be like to see another Street Fighter done up in this level of 2D.
In the end though it'll come down to how the game plays to see if KOFXII will manage to tap into what seems to be the gaming populace's reignited passion for fighting games. KOF has never had the same mass appeal that SF has, so we'll see if this new art will be enough to take it beyond the realm of the hardcore.