SNK has unveiled the first brand-new character for the upcoming The King of Fighters XV. This new fighter, a young woman named Isla, is a "rival" to Shun'ei, who was the hero of The King of Fighters XIV.
Revealed during a special video program amid the first day of Tokyo Game Show 2021, Isla's most striking feature is a pair of "phantom hands" which hover beside her at all times. This makes sense for a rival to Shun'ei, who is famed for his own oversized phantom hands – although his ones only deploy during certain moves. Isla's "hands" are closer to human-sized and are always visible. Most of her attacks make use of them, giving her an array of long-range moves. In that sense, Isla more closely resembles Verse, the monstrous final boss of KOF XIV, who also had glowing ghostly gauntlets floating next to him.
Is Verse coming back to KOF XV? SNK isn't saying, but Isla is the first wholly original character in the game to receive a full introduction, and she was prominently featured in a trailer introducing various characters hanging out in Tokyo. "The story revolves around Isla and Shun'ei, so they both play a large part," said KOF XV creative director Eisuke Ogura.
As far as the rest of the lineup goes, SNK has promised that KOF XV will feature 39 characters split into 13 teams, of whom 30 have been officially revealed so far (31 if you count Heidern appearing on posters). However, during today's video the team did mention that a KOF XV "Deluxe Edition" will include two teams of DLC characters (six fighters total) and early access to the game as a preorder bonus. Early purchases also include a free DLC costume for Terry Bogard based on his look in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, while those who purchase digitally will get a free costume for Leona based on her classic outfit in the ’90s KOF games.
SNK had already announced that The King of Fighters XV will feature rollback netcode for online matches, but today they revealed that rollback netcode is also coming to The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition on Steam as part of a "major update" this winter. KOF XV chief producer Yasuyuki Oda said that the company will hold a beta test soon and invited players to join.
The King of Fighters XV is scheduled for a worldwide release on February 17, 2022 on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10, Steam, and the Epic Games Store.
Diamond Feit is a writer/podcaster in Osaka, Japan who uses Twitter and Twitch as feitclub.