Killer Instinct (2013 video game)
Season One retail cover art
|Developer(s)||Double Helix Games[a]
Iron Galaxy Studios[b]
Killer Instinct is a fighting video game, the third in the Killer Instinct series, developed by Double Helix Games, Iron Galaxy Studios, Rare and Microsoft Studios under supervision of Ken Lobb, and released as a free-to-play launch game for the Xbox One in 2013. The game is a reboot of the series, though some plot elements from Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2 have been retained. Development of the game involves individuals with histories in fighting games on both the developmental and competitive sides. It received positive reviews for its mechanics and engine, but was criticized for its initial lack of content. A second season of characters was released between 2014 and 2015. A third season, along with a port of the game for Windows 10, has been released on March 29, 2016.
Killer Instinct is a return to the series which retains its traditional combo-based gameplay. The main mechanic of combos are the openers (special attacks that start combos), "Auto-Double" (button presses following special attacks will create automatic combo hits instead of each individual hit requiring player input), linkers (required between auto-doubles to extend the combo), finishers (solidify the potential damage of the combo) as well as "Manuals" (attacks that don't fit in the preceding combo system). A signature feature of Killer Instinct, the Ultra Combo, is included (an Ultra Combo is an automatic combo that can only be done to end a match and consists of a long string of attacks). "Combo Breakers" also return (attacks that, when executed properly, can stop an opponent's combo), with the new addition of "Counter Breakers" (the ability to reverse an opponent's Combo Breaker into a "Lockout" instead, the failure state of a Combo Breaker which prevents another breaker attempt for three seconds or when the current combo ends). The Season Two update added the ability to use Combo Breakers and Counter Breakers even when in the air, as well as an "Aerial Recapture" option that allows certain characters to attack opponents in the air and pull them down to the ground to continue their combos. A two-segmented meter enables the use of "Shadow" moves that have upgraded hit properties and can cause more damage/combo hits, though certain characters' meters function differently. All characters can use a Shadow Counter, a variation of Alpha Counters from the Street Fighter Alpha series, while blocking to instantly cancel into a shadow attack.
Another new feature to the Killer Instinct gameplay is the addition of "Instinct Mode". By filling up a secondary bar beneath the character's lifebar, each character can trigger a unique enhancement for a limited period (such as Glacius covering himself in ice armor for better damage resistance, or Thunder's dash becoming invincible and moving farther). The enhancements are built around complementing the character's playstyle traits. Instinct Mode can be used to perform an instantaneous cancel during a combo and also reset the "knockdown value" (a meter that appears during a combo that determines how close the engine is to automatically ending a combo). Instinct Mode can also be used to stop an Ultra Combo in order to chain it to other moves and even into another Ultra for an even more stylish finish than a simple Ultra Combo can provide.
Killer Instinct features an in-depth tutorial (labeled the 'Dojo' mode) that not only introduces new players to Killer Instinct's systems, but also the basics of fighting game gameplay up through the intermediate and higher levels. A training mode is also included, which features a recordable CPU dummy, in-game frame data, as well as viewable hit-boxes.
The game's online multiplayer features a monthly tier-based ranked league. Each tier is listed as follows: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Killer. After first reaching the landing page, a player plays 10 qualifying matches to determine their initial tier placement on the ladder system. Afterwards, players only play against other players of the same tier until they rank up. 'Killer vs. Killer' matches feature a best '2-out-of-3' match setup. After each month, the Killer tier is reset and the top 32 Killer players at the end of the month are rewarded PRO Status, which immortalizes them in that month’s leaderboards, in addition to unlocking special 'Player Card PRO' stars. The game's online netcode, developed with assistance from the creator of GGPO, is based on GGPO-style rollback functionality.
Killer Instinct also features the 'Shadow Lab' - a mode that studies how a player plays the game and then uses that information to create a 'Shadow' fighter, an AI for any character which is specifically based on that player's playstyle and techniques for that specific character, complete with that player's gameplay mannerisms (even going as far as imitating a player's taunting) and flaws. Players can create Shadows to play against other players online, even when the player is not present. Shadows attempt to adapt to fights the way their owner would. Shadows for a player's specific character grow stronger the more that player plays.
An additional single-player mode, "Shadow Lords", was added to the game via a free update on September 20, 2016. Serving as the story mode to Season Three, Shadow Lords requires players to assemble a team of three playable characters and choose between a series of procedurally-generated scenarios and battles against Gargos's mimic fighters, similar to a roguelike. Winning these battles will grant the player additional rewards, including items that provide temporary stat boosts when used, Guardians that provide new abilities when equipped such as parrying and armor, and exclusive character skins. Defeating certain opponents will also allow players to remove abilities and effects from Gargos, making him easier to defeat in the mode's final battle. Rewards are carried over between playthroughs of Shadow Lords, and additional content is planned to be added to the mode via future updates. An accompanying multiplayer mode allows players to use their items and guardians earned in Shadow Lords during online player battles.
The game features the ability to unlock and use retro Killer Instinct music in the game's training mode, as well as character accessories and classic costumes for use in place of characters' standard appearances. Chris Sutherland, the announcer from the first two Killer Instinct titles, is featured as an optional announcer available for use, while original Killer Instinct art director Kevin Bayliss designed a set of eight costumes for the game's second season. The game uses Kinect's facial recognition software to save players' personalized game settings.
Killer Instinct runs at 90 FPS (frames per second) while rendering at 60 FPS in order to make both offline local and online play more fluid. Killer Instinct's input lag is limited to 81 milliseconds (compared to 122 ms for Street Fighter V for PlayStation 4, 89 ms for Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- for PS4, and 105 ms and 107 ms for the Xbox One and PS4 versions of Mortal Kombat X, respectively).
Plot and characters
The game is a reboot of the series' fiction, though several elements of the prior games' plots, such as a prior Killer Instinct tournament and Jago and Orchid's knowledge that they are siblings, have been retained. Arcade Mode in Season One features story-based campaigns for each character, culminating in a final battle with Fulgore. Fulfilling certain conditions allows players to access a secret battle against Shadow Jago in its place. Season Two added "Rivals" Story Mode, an expanded campaign that continues after the events of Season One, with more story content and unique sequences of opponents for each character. Like Killer Instinct 2, the game features multiple endings in Season One based on the player's actions, with multiple cinematic sequences in both story modes.
The game currently features twenty-nine playable characters, with twenty-four characters spread across three "Seasons" of content and five additional characters exclusively available separately or via special offers. One additional characters is currently planned for release in 2017. For the first two seasons, each character was given an accompanying stage, while only four stages were added in Season Three.
- Jago – Killer Instinct (1994): Suffering a crisis of faith following the discovery that the Tiger Spirit guiding him was actually Gargos, Jago now seeks to purge himself of whatever remnants of Gargos remain within him.
- Sabrewulf – Killer Instinct (1994): Still trying to regain his humanity, Sabrewulf has almost completely submitted to his feral side and torn out his cybernetic implants, restoring his arms through the use of dark arts and developing an addiction to the medicines and artifacts used in the process.
- Glacius – Killer Instinct (1994): Glacius has landed on Earth to recover his alien technology before it can fall into the wrong hands, while also searching for the thief who stole his ship's power core after landing.
- Thunder – Killer Instinct (1994): Having learned that his brother Eagle was killed in the first Killer Instinct tournament but not knowing how or why, Thunder seeks to locate Eagle's remains and finally receive closure.
- Sadira – Killer Instinct (2013): Sadira and her assassins are ordered by ARIA to hunt and kill the former competitors of the Killer Instinct tournament. ARIA also tells her to "prepare the way" by taking Glacius's power core and using it to open a dimensional rift.
- Orchid – Killer Instinct (1994): Having been disavowed by her agency, Orchid emigrates to Eastern Europe to establish a rebel group, and fully commits herself to exposing and eliminating UltraTech.
- Spinal – Killer Instinct (1994): Resurrected by an artifact known as the Mask of the Ancients, Spinal seeks to find the mask so as to remove the curse causing his immortality and allow him to finally rest in peace.
- Fulgore – Killer Instinct (1994): A new Fulgore prototype is constructed to protect UltraTech from its enemies, but it begins to develop self-awareness due to the residual memories of the human mind used in its construction.
- Shadow Jago[c] – Killer Instinct (2013): A sinister version of Jago under the possession of Omen, who later manifests as his own being and acts as Gargos's minion.
- T.J. Combo – Killer Instinct (1994): Having lost his cybernetic implants and been scorned by the public after they are exposed, T.J. seeks to get revenge on UltraTech and earn redemption.
- Maya – Killer Instinct 2 (1996): After UltraTech's attack on her hidden city wipes out her clan and releases Kan-Ra, Maya sets out to destroy him once and for all.
- Kan-Ra – Killer Instinct (2013): Freed from imprisonment during the attack on the Night Guard's city, Kan-Ra now seeks to restore his power and control the world.
- Riptor – Killer Instinct (1994): A new line of Stalker units augmented with cybernetics and led by Riptor is developed by Ultratech to operate in conditions not suitable for their Fulgore line.
- Omen[d] – Killer Instinct (2013): Now able to manifest on the mortal plane thanks to his time spent in Jago's body, Omen seeks to herald the return of his master Gargos, destroying all who would oppose them.
- Aganos – Killer Instinct (2013): Given the task of finding and killing Kan-Ra thousands of years ago, Aganos continues to pursue him, hoping to one day fulfill his master's last request.
- Hisako – Killer Instinct (2013): When UltraTech disturbs her grave, Hisako's spirit is reawakened, and she seeks vengeance on those who disturbed her rest.
- Cinder – Killer Instinct (1994): When he is caught trying to steal Ultratech secrets, Ben Ferris is forced to serve ARIA, being transformed into the half-alien Cinder.
- ARIA – Killer Instinct (2013): Deciding that humanity has become weak and vulnerable, ARIA decides to force human evolution by any means necessary.
- Rash – Killer Instinct (2013): A guest character from the Battletoads franchise. An anthropomorphic toad who can transform his body in order to do damage.
- Kim Wu – Killer Instinct 2 (1996): Chosen by her family's guardian dragon spirit, Kim Wu takes up her ceremonial nunchaku and trains to prepare for Gargos's invasion.
- Arbiter – Killer Instinct (2013): A guest character from the Halo franchise. A proud warrior of the Sangheili race.
- Tusk – Killer Instinct 2 (1996): Granted immortality millennia ago, Tusk is tasked by the gods with stopping Gargos.
- Mira – Killer Instinct (2013): Transformed into a vampire, Mira is ordered to retrieve an artifact that will aid in Gargos's return.
- Gargos – Killer Instinct 2 (1996): Trapped in another dimension for millennia, ARIA's machinations allow Gargos to finally reach Earth.
- General RAAM – Killer Instinct (2013): A guest character from the Gears of War franchise. A military leader of the Locust horde.
- Eyedol – Killer Instinct (1994): Once the only challenge to Gargos but was slain, now resurrected by Kan-Ra but proves too powerful to control.
- Kilgore – Killer Instinct (2013): An Ultratech prototype abandoned in favor of the Fulgore line, Kilgore is reactivated to help fight against Gargos.
- Shin Hisako – Killer Instinct (2013): Granted her father's guardian katana, Hisako's spirit is purged of her vengeance, freeing her from the bonds of her grave
- Eagle – Killer Instinct (2013): After years of imprisonment and experimentation, Eagle is finally freed from Ultratech's clutches.
For many years after Killer Instinct 2's 1996 release, rumors of a possible follow-up continued to swirl around the Internet. In March 2010, Ken Lobb, Microsoft Studios creative director and co-designer of the original Killer Instinct games, announced that they are not working on Killer Instinct 3, but may some day bring the game back. In July 2010, Lobb said Rare wants to make Killer Instinct 3. Rare studio manager Mark Betteridge said that Rare would like to bring Killer Instinct to the Xbox Live Arcade. In an August 2012 interview, Rare veteran Donnchadh Murphy said, "We all wanted to make KI3, but Microsoft [was] more interested in broadening their demographic than making another fighting game. So it never got made, I doubt it ever will."
In September 2012, Microsoft applied for renewal of the Killer Instinct trademark. In an October 2012 interview, Rare veteran Lee Musgrave, who was the former head of art at Rare, spoke on the issues of making Killer Instinct for XBLA: "We came close to firing off a conversion of Killer Instinct a few times, but there were licensing obstacles to that, and it never really had enough perceived interest to push it forward." In December 2012, Microsoft's renewal for the Killer Instinct trademark was rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office due to the possibility of the game being confused with the unrelated TV series of the same name that lasted for one season in 2005. Microsoft had six months to respond to the ruling. The trademark dispute was settled when Microsoft and Fox reached an agreement in April 2013.
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013, Microsoft and Double Helix Games announced Killer Instinct exclusive for the Xbox One. A trailer showed the series' mainstays Jago, Sabrewulf and Glacius. Ken Lobb said more characters would be announced at upcoming events such as Evolution Championship Series 2013, during which Chief Thunder's return was teased. Two polls conducted by Double Helix asked fans what characters they would like to see return. The development team also expressed a desire to introduce brand new characters into the franchise, particularly female ones.
Development of the game involves individuals with histories in fighting games on both the developmental and competitive sides. They include former Capcom developer and Weaponlord co-creator James Goddard and former competitive player and tournament organizer Adam "Keits" Heart as combat designers, former Street Fighter developer and Weaponlord co-creator Dave Winstead as character designer, competitive Street Fighter player Campbell "Buktooth" Tran as a producer, and former Tekken community manager Rich "FilthieRich" Bantegui and tournament organizer Alex Jebailey as community managers.
A live demonstration of the title at E3 2013 between producer Torin Rettig and Xbox community manager Ashton Williams was poorly received by a number of bloggers, journalists and developers, including Jonathan Blow. The demonstration had the two competing against one another and exchanging banter in a manner that some viewers interpreted as scripted and alluding to rape. Williams later commented that the dialogue was unscripted and no ill intent was meant on the part of either individual. Nevertheless, Microsoft's Phil Spencer issued an official apology stating in part that at Microsoft "bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously."
Following the announcement that Double Helix Games had been purchased by Amazon, Microsoft confirmed that support for Killer Instinct would continue, later announcing Iron Galaxy Studios as the developer of its Season Two content. A port of the game for Windows 10 was announced at E3 2015; the PC version was developed in-house by Iron Galaxy and supports cross-play and cross-buy with the Xbox One version.
At Gamescom 2015, a third season was announced, which released in March 2016 alongside the PC version; Rash from the Battletoads series was also announced as a playable character for Season Three, and was made available free to all players for a brief test period prior to the season's launch. The second guest character is the Arbiter from Halo, announced at the 2016 Halo Regional World Championships. The final guest character, Gears of War's General RAAM, was announced during Microsoft's E3 2016 press briefing and released following the presentation's conclusion. Mick Gordon, the composer for the first two seasons, did not return for Season Three, with Atlas Plug and Celldweller assuming the role in his stead.
Killer Instinct was released on November 22, 2013 as a free-to-play game that includes all available game modes but only one playable character, with the ability to purchase additional fighters individually. The sole playable character in the free version rotates on a regular basis. Season Two was released on October 15, 2014, and Season Three was made available for pre-order March 18, 2016, then released later that month on March 29.
Players who purchased a 12-month Xbox Live subscription during the launch of the Xbox One received access to Shadow Jago, a variation of Jago with the same moves but unique voice and visual effects. The character was later integrated as a secret boss, given unique moves and properties not accessible by the playable version. In May 2015, Microsoft began a fundraising campaign to raise money for supporting Killer Instinct tournaments, making Shadow Jago available for purchase for two weeks as an incentive. The fund ultimately raised $100,000 in three days; as a result of its success, Iron Galaxy confirmed that they would be updating Shadow Jago later in the year, giving him the moves used by his boss incarnation. The new version of Shadow Jago was released December 4, 2015, and was made available for general purchase between December 18 and January 15, 2016, then permanently available on April 5, 2016.
While most characters can be purchased separately, Killer Instinct also offers season-based character bundles for a discounted price; these bundles will unlock each character from the season as they are completed, allowing players to access them two weeks before they are released to the general public. Each season offers a "Combo Breaker Pack", which includes all eight characters for that season, as well as an "Ultra Edition", which includes the same 8 characters as well as their respective retro costumes and premium accessories. The character Omen is only available as part of the Season Two bundles and is not available for separate purchase, while Shadow Jago is not included as part of any bundle release. Each season's Ultra Edition bundle also includes a unique bonus: Season One and Season Two include digital Xbox One ports of the arcade titles Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2 respectively, while Season Three offers additional colors for its 8 new characters and a double XP booster. A "Supreme Edition" was released alongside Season Three, containing all the content featured in the three Ultra Editions, with the exception of Killer Instinct Classic and Killer Instinct 2 Classic for the PC release. Players who purchased the Season 3 Ultra Edition or the Supreme Edition within a limited window received 18,000 "KI Gold" currency for use in the in-game store.
A retail version of Killer Instinct was released on September 23, 2014. This physical release includes all the content included in the Season One Combo Breaker Pack, as well as early access to Season Two fighter T.J. Combo. An official arcade stick made by Mad Catz was released to coincide with the game's launch. Beginning in 2016, a series of collectible character figures was released by Ultimate Source, with each figure including a code to unlock an exclusive in-game color for their respective character. Dynamite Comics will publish a Killer Instinct comic book series, written by Ian Edginton with art by Cam Adams, that takes place after the events of Season Three. The first issue is scheduled for release in September 2017.
A second retail release, Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition was released on September 20, 2016 for Xbox One. This release includes all 26 characters and all the content featured in the digital Supreme Edition bundle, along with additional behind-the-scenes content, a soundtrack disc, and two exclusive gold and silver character colors for Gargos.
The soundtracks for Seasons One and Two were composed by Mick Gordon, and Season Three by Celldweller and Atlas Plug, based on the originals by Graeme Norgate and Robin Beanland. A double-album set, containing the official Season One soundtrack and the Killer Cuts album, was released digitally on October 14, 2014. A second double-album set, including the Season Two soundtrack and the Killer Instinct Gold Cuts album, was released on August 4, 2015. The soundtrack to Season Three was later released on October 25, 2016.
|Killer Instinct: Season One Soundtrack + Original Arcade Soundtrack|
|1.||"Touch me and I'll break your face (feat. Ali Edwards)" (Orchid's theme)||Mick Gordon||5:49|
|2.||"The Instinct"||Mick Gordon||6:54|
|3.||"Hinnamatoom" (Thunder's theme)||Mick Gordon||5:52|
|4.||"Warlord" (Spinal's theme)||Mick Gordon||6:27|
|5.||"The Tiger Warrior" (Jago's theme)||Mick Gordon||5:04|
|6.||"Type-03" (Fulgore's theme)||Mick Gordon||5:23|
|7.||"Shatterhail" (Glacius' theme)||Mick Gordon||4:45|
|8.||"Ballet of death" (Sadira's theme)||Mick Gordon||5:13|
|9.||"Lycanthropy" (Sabrewulf's theme)||Mick Gordon||9:17|
|10.||"The End"||Mick Gordon||2:59|
|11.||"The Way U Move [SeamlessR Remix]"||Robin Beanland||4:32|
|12.||"K.I. Feeling (Original Arcade Soundtrack) (feat. Faye Newborough)"||Robin Beanland||3:45|
|13.||"The Way U Move (Original Arcade Soundtrack) (feat. Faye Newborough & Chris Sutherland)"||Robin Beanland||3:58|
|14.||"Controlling Transmission (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Graeme Norgate||3:54|
|15.||"Oh Yeah (Original Arcade Soundtrack) (feat. Ken Lobb)"||Graeme Norgate||3:21|
|16.||"It's A Jungle (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||3:05|
|17.||"Do It Now! (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Graeme Norgate||3:57|
|18.||"Full Bore (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Graeme Norgate||3:16|
|19.||"The Instinct (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||4:55|
|20.||"Yo Check This Out! (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||1:35|
|21.||"Freeze (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||2:11|
|22.||"Trailblazer (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||1:51|
|23.||"Tooth & Claw (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||3:08|
|24.||"Ya Ha Haa (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||3:01|
|25.||"Rumble (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||2:11|
|26.||"The Extreme (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||2:31|
|27.||"Humiliation (Original Arcade Soundtrack)"||Robin Beanland||0:39|
|Killer Instinct (Original Game Soundtrack), Season 2|
|1.||"I'm Back (to Rise!) (feat. Omega Sparx)" (T.J. Combo's theme)||Mick Gordon||8:50|
|2.||"Village of Whispers (feat. Erika Mariko Olsen)" (Hisako's theme)||Mick Gordon||7:16|
|3.||"Inferno (feat. LittleVMills)" (Cinder's theme)||Mick Gordon||7:16|
|4.||"Temperance & Vengeance (feat. Ali Edwards)" (Maya's theme)||Mick Gordon||8:11|
|5.||"Polemos" (Aganos' theme)||Mick Gordon||6:42|
|6.||"Sandstorm" (Kan-Ra's theme)||Mick Gordon||6:02|
|7.||".execute" (ARIA's theme)||Mick Gordon||7:30|
|8.||"Hatchery 09" (Riptor's theme)||Mick Gordon||3:42|
|9.||"Herald of Gargos (feat. Christopher de Leon)" (Omen and Shadow Jago's theme)||Mick Gordon||8:56|
|10.||"Killer Instinct Title Theme (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||1:18|
|11.||"Character Select (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||0:54|
|12.||"Maya - Game Version (Vintage Score) (feat. Mark Betteridge)"||Robin Beanland||2:09|
|13.||"Maya - Remix (Vintage Score) (feat. Mark Betteridge)"||Robin Beanland||5:15|
|14.||"Sabrewulf (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||1:52|
|15.||"Jago - Game Version (Vintage Score)"||Robin Beanland||2:20|
|16.||"Jago (Vintage Score) (Shakuhachi Remix)"||Robin Beanland||2:12|
|17.||"Combo (Vintage Score) (feat. Faye Newborough, Kev Bayliss & Team Rare)"||Robin Beanland||1:39|
|18.||"Tusk (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||1:59|
|19.||"Kim Wu (Vintage Score)"||Robin Beanland||1:57|
|20.||"Orchid (Vintage Score) (feat. Faye Newborough)"||Robin Beanland||2:33|
|21.||"Glacius (Vintage Score)"||Robin Beanland||1:46|
|22.||"Fulgore (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||2:05|
|23.||"Spinal (Vintage Score) (feat. Team Rare)"||Robin Beanland||2:55|
|24.||"Gargos (Vintage Score) (feat. Grant Kirkhope)"||Robin Beanland||2:52|
|25.||"Training Mode (Vintage Score)"||Robin Beanland||6:29|
|26.||"Character Select (Vintage Score) (Alternate Version)"||Robin Beanland||1:08|
|27.||"Combo (Vintage Score) (Early Demo Track)"||Robin Beanland||3:09|
|28.||"Maya (Vintage Score) (Early Demo Track)"||Robin Beanland||1:17|
|29.||"Killer Instinct Title Theme (Vintage Score) (Alternate Version)"||Robin Beanland||3:20|
|Killer Instinct Season 3 (Original Soundtrack)|
|1.||"A Warrior's Journey"||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||2:07|
|2.||"The Dragon Spirit" (Kim Wu's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||5:19|
|3.||"For the Horde!" (General RAAM's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||5:12|
|4.||"Enter the Battletoad" (Rash's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||4:25|
|5.||"Kneel to Your God" (Gargos' theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||5:25|
|6.||"Nocturne in Blood" (Mira's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||4:28|
|7.||"The Champion of Sanghelios" (Arbiter's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||5:43|
|8.||"Watchman of the Gods" (Tusk's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||4:48|
|9.||"A Shattered Eyedol" (Eyedol's theme)||Celldweller and Atlas Plug||4:59|
Season One received fairly positive reception at launch, scoring a 73/100 and a 75% approval rating from aggregate review sites Metacritic and GameRankings respectively. Lucas Sullivan of GamesRadar called the gameplay "accessible enough for a newcomer while still providing the depth that the hardcore scene craves", while Vince Ingenito for IGN enjoyed it more than the original titles, calling it "fluid, deep, and well informed by the mistakes of its predecessors". Jeff Gerstmann of GiantBomb stated that the game is "still ridiculous, the announcer still screams his head off, and the combos are wild... but actually executing KI's combos is a good time, too, making this download-only fighting game an exciting turnaround for the series." Chris Carter for Destructoid did not take issue with the game's new pricing model, calling it "a far cry from an abusive free-to-play scheme" yet still criticized the initial content at launch as "bare-bones". Anthony Severino, reviewing for Game Revolution concluded that "if only there were more of it across more characters that had a story, Killer Instinct would be gold".
Season Two was more positively received, scoring 85/100 on Metacritic and 85% on GameRankings. Season Three was also similarly positively received with Patrick Hancock for Destructoid praising the new addition and overall the development the game had made since its original release, stating that "Killer Instinct has slowly become one of the most competent fighters in the genre".
Orchid's theme (Touch Me and I'll Break Your Face) won 'Best Original Vocal Song: Pop' at the 12th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards.
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