Happy Holidays, Killer Instinct Fans! ‘Tis the season of early reveal glitches (Gold and Terror Skins, anyone?) and lots of cool new customization options! A big reason why these customization options we’re created was directly due to our favorite survey of all the time, last summer’s KI Community Survey.
We loved it so much, of course, was because we broke survey records with 9,155 responses, but also of course because of the epic question asking if you wanted Eyedol right as we were polishing up his horns and putting him in a box.
Seriously though, the best thing about this survey is that it gives all of you, the community, a voice in what comes next. That doesn’t mean that the #1 choice automatically means that something is being made, there’s a lot of other creative, business, and logistical factors that go into it. Think of a top 3 showing as giving us a really good shove in the right direction. At the end of the day, we want to make all of you happy.
Here we go – the last chunks of the Killer Instinct Community Survey!
Rank the five reimagined characters in the order you most wanted to play them. Sttarting from most 1st place votes to least:
• Shadow Orchid
• Cinder Pre-Transformation (He got the most 2nd place votes)
• Sharkman (more on this guy in a question below)
• Aganos ENT (this wasn’t clear in the survey, the idea was a tree version)
Poor Aganos. I guess we want to keep him just the way he is!
Next up, you ranked 9 ALL-NEW characters in the order you most wanted to play them. Here’s the order, starting from most votes to least:
• Eyedol (hahaha)
• Joanna Dark
• Eagle (He got the most 2nd place votes)
• Halo Brute
• Magic Archer
• Crackdown Agent
Lovecraftian was a strong 4th. After that, the dropoff was dramatic.
And finally, we asked how interested you were in seeing more of these types of content in Killer Instinct. Again, the list, starting from most votes to least.
• Tied at 3rd : Colors & Accessories
• Character Taunts
• Character Icons
• Shadow Lab Slots
The difference in first place votes between Costumes and Ultimates was very small. The 3rd place slotting here doesn’t do Colors & Accessories enough justice – they got a lot of votes. We suspect Shadow Lab slots would receive more votes now that Shadows in Shadow Lords has launched!
So that’s it for the rest of the Community Survey! We have fulfilled our promise!
Now onto your questions. Adam Heart @thekeits, our Lead Combat Designer, is going start us strong by taking the first few:
How are the potential damage changes being considered? The changes I mean are those like combo breakers restoring less potential damage and it taking more time to recover. What I mean is, how likely are the changes to come in 3.6 if at all?
First, I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback and discussion on the topic of the Breaker/PD change. We’ve continued to test internally, and the results of this testing paired with your enthusiasm for the change sealed the deal. I’m happy to announce that this change will go live in 3.6!
For those maybe out of the loop, I’ll paste the system change directly from the 3.6 patch notes here so you can see exactly what is going to happen, why we did it, and start speculating over how the change will affect the game.
• Breaking a combo now restores 50% of your potential damage (was 100%)
• Passive potential damage regeneration now begins after 3 seconds (was 1 second) [Huge thanks to the community for their feedback on these changes. We are looking forward to seeing how they affect the game in your hands, and to hearing your thoughtful feedback after playing for a few weeks. For those that missed the discussion, these changes are intended to lessen the reward for a successful combo breaker and raise the value of longer combo attempts. They are also intended to lessen the chaos after a successful breaker by leaving the players in a predator/prey situation that favors the player who was able to open his opponent up. As a result of the PD lingering for longer and breakers not restoring all PD, you will also see some tuning to the characters that specialize in dealing lots of PD in this update.]
I’ve also seen a lot of questions and worries about how this change will effect Aria. Here are her notes from the 3.6 changelist:
• [Developer’s note: We feel Aria may be the strongest in the game, but we didn’t want to change her interesting playstyle when trying to reel her back in. The PD/Breaker change was intended to impact Aria more than other characters, encouraging Aria players to switch bodies more often. This is a playstyle Aria was designed for, but we simply are not seeing out of successful Aria players. This adjustment may be a difficult one, but we feel strongly that Aria has a very large amount of untapped potential in keeping all three bodies alive for more of the match, in more frequent switching, and in more direct “counterpicking” by playing the bodies in different orders. Experiment, learn, and give this one a little time.]
Our hope is that the Aria players will come together to share information and help eachother adapt to a style that has them switching bodies more often. Help each other out!
Jago has seen some changes in his damage to better balance his already solid playstyle. With that said, and based on all the feedback and evidence with local and standout Jago mains, do you feel as if he needs to continue revisions/balances, or are you currently comfortable with him?
Tuning is a constant process. We aren’t looking to rearrange the tiers, really, but we are always looking to compress them so that the bottom and top are as close together as we can reasonably manage in such a diverse game. Jago and Fulgore are still very powerful characters, despite many small nudges downward. Jago will receive a few more small nerfs in 3.6, including a change that leaves him punished on block at point blank range after a Shadow Endokuken. Fulgore will be getting a larger change in 3.6 that reworks his Instinct mode to promote a more thoughtful, meter conscious playstyle. More details will be coming soon.
The Ninja Ostrich
Have any of the characters on the Survey (Excluding Eyedol) been considered as a character? Or was it more ideas on where to go next?
A little of column A, a little of column B. We wanted a to get a snapshot of what the community wanted, so ultimately if the opportunity arose to make a bunch of new stuff, we’d already know what kind of stuff was desired. Obviously you can tell from the specificity of some of the options that we’ve had some ideas that we’ve been throwing around.
Will there be more skins like Mimic and Shadow?
I am going to guess that by ‘like’, you mean colors with particle VFX. We don’t have any more of this variety planned – these served a really good fictional purpose. Obviously Mimics were needed to differentiate canon characters vs. copies. We always wanted to make Shadows look different, and putting them in Shadow Lords gave us the opportunity to revisit those. That said, the best way to get more of what you love is to vote by using them. It’s the strongest vote of support you can give something you love, and data doesn’t lie.
Will Shadow Lords receive more cinematics for characters who doesn’t have them?
One of the beautiful things about Shadow Lords is that the system can accommodate new character cinematics and story missions quest chains pretty easily (text and matches). The promise of Shadow Lords is to keep it updated, and we are planning on adding additional character question chains down the line. Kim Wu is getting more of those, and I hear that Tusk may be up next. We don’t have any plans for cinematics, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Can we see some of these Terror Skins soon?
I believe they’ll be available in later December. If you ask Rukari nicely, maybe you could get him to take some nifty snapshots.
Did Kan-Ra do anything wrong?
Absolutely not. He’s just misunderstood.
When will shadow jago and omen accessories and colors come?
Omen really deserves some additional colors doesn’t he? He just doesn’t seem complete yet.
Are more cosmetic options coming soon?
Yes! Please see Rukari’s post here. December is going to be a great month!
I’m sure you guys have heard the relatively steady request from fans regarding stages for Mira and Eyedol. Is this still a “no go” for you guys or would you consider changing course?
Nothing in KI is set in stone. That’s the nature of this living fighting game! I’d personally love to see an Eyedol stage. He’s such an interesting, cool character.
Would it be possible to add a guest from an IP not owned by MS? Like if, say, Kain or Raziel from the Legacy of Kain / Soul Reaver franchise?
We’ve discussed it, but not that character specifically. It would be a complex process, as you might imagine.
Why did you remove the common mission names in shadow lords? (every mission had a name pre-release). I’m tired of checking the description of each available mission looking for the one that gives me ceremonial daggers
Good observation. Basically it was for usability reasons. Players were having trouble distinguishing quest chains from the garden variety missions. We added icons, we played with colors. Ultimately we went with proper names for quest chains, and territory for regular missions because it made Quest Chains stand out and also had the added benefit of helping you quickly understand what territory the mission would help stop corruption in.
Can we get an option to not open a Skeleton Chest if we don’t want to?
Heh, this is something we want to do, and just haven’t found the time. The good news is that the Skeleton Chest loot is really good, but chest to chest doesn’t vary a ton, so that opening one vs another won’t impact you in a strong negative or positive way.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Watching all of you play and talk about the game. That’s why I do these.
Is a Character or Player Level Cap increase being considered?
James Goddard, the MS design director, @djamesgoddard, and I talk about whether we should raise the Player Level cap maybe every six months. What it really comes down to, I think, is that we’re excited about the idea of doing it. But it’s not a simple thing – if we raise the cap, we also want to do it the right way, with rewards and such, and the right time. Level 50 is still a rarity!
In Shadow Lords is there a chance we can see more the those character specific artifacts that the S3 characters gotten?
Definitely possible. It’s something that the mode was built for. I hope you’re enjoying the Eyedol missions.
Are there more plans to explore the Killer Instinct lore that have not been announced already?
I can’t speak to stuff like comics, etc. But as mentioned before, there are plans for new Quest Chains. Once the lore is written and created, the system is very friendly on how it can be put in.
@BlitzedKraig Anyway you can comment on my request to change the Exhibition search criteria? Is this a possibility and what are your thoughts on this idea cutting down on people leaving the match up screen due to fear of playing higher ranked players.
I wasn’t aware of your post, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. You’ve given it some serious thought, and it off hand, it seems to make sense. I’m going to email it around to our team for consideration. Thank you.
What can we expect to see for the game in 2017?
A lot more players, and surprises.
How many Shadow Lords updates can we expect? Good question. One huge goals of the mode is to keep it alive and fresh. We hope to keep that going as long as possible.
If Microsoft asked you to work on a sequel to KI 2013 for the Xbox One Scorpio or just a sequel in general, how willing would you be to work on that next iteration of the game?
I can understand if you guys are a little burnt out, but for what it’s worth, I think you’ve done well keeping the game updated and going for these past 2 years.
Keits and I have discussed this in length. KI 4 life!
Is @TheKeits a robot?
Of course. So in theory, if he’s KI 4 life, he could work on it for a very, very long time. If he adheres to a rigorous maintenance schedule.
Will there be another COMMUNITY FUND?
I really don’t know. We want to do one. That’s something you should ping @Rukizzel about and let him know what you think would work best.
Are there any new ‘christmass’ costumes coming this year?
We had some a couple years back. Good idea, we’ll investigate to see if we can make those available again.
What’s your favorite Chicago style thin crust pizza? Favorite deep dish?
Peoquads by far. The crust is godlike. And it’s close to the Chicago office, so bonus.
Is it possible that we can send in requests for future unreleased Terror skins bundles? Like certain color palates or patterns we’d like to see? And if so, who would we forward these to? Myself and a few others have had some killer ideas.
Forums are the best place. We can’t take direct submissions for a variety of uninteresting reasons. We check those forums from time to time, and agree – there is some pretty good artwork out there.
Why are the gold “skins” listed in a different menu, they’re just colors aren’t they?
Kinda, sorta. We realize the terminology is loosey-goosey. There’s so much content in the game now that we wanted to make it easier to find the new stuff, instead of seeding it in the old. We hope it works.
Any plans to improve mimics/shadows?
We’re fixing a few visual bugs and tweaking a couple. I know Cinder is getting a few adjustments. His flames are tricky!
Can you tell us anything about the long term plan?
As overly simple as it sounds, it’s to grow the community as much as possible so that we can keep making more. The only thing we try to do is to disrupt and try new things - push the boundaries. That’s how we ended up with Shadow Lords, for example.
Has Anyone considered backstory inspired costumes?
Whats up with the Shark TJ is that a thing?
Adam Isgreen, MS’ Creative Director @ishmae1, helped me out on this one – We have seen requests through the years for a sharkman type character and thought if we build one, we’d start with a move set that’s somewhat similar to TJ’s setup – rushing and punching (or biting for a sharkman) – for inspiration.
And another for Adam Isgreen!
Are there going to be more monster characters in the future? I would love to see a Medusa/Gorgon/Lamia-like character design introduced.
Adam Isgreen, @ishmae1 - We love the mix of human and non-human characters that KI embraces, so we’re always thinking about what fiendish things we could add to mix up the gameplay. Medusa / Gorgon is a classic monster with unique powers, so we’d certainly consider one if we add more characters in the future.
Tournament mode for SP and MP?
Have you tried the new XB1 Arena platform feature? Lots of KI love there. I just saw a link from the main dash the other day.
When does a game like KI become too complicated for casual players?
We always obsess about this question. We’ve tried to address this in two ways; Obviously, the first one is Combo Assist, a feature that has helped us tremendously. The next is by having a diverse cast. Yes, ARIA and Kan-Ra are very likely not going to be characters that a beginner excels at. But characters like Rash and Riptor are. And if we give players enough low-barrier-to-entry characters, our hopes is eventually they will try others.
Will we be getting any more shadow slots? I would like to have 3 one for each season main.
Yeah! Shadows in Shadow Lords has really increased the demand for these. We plan on opening up at least one more slot, maybe more very soon. Not for the next update. But probably the one after.
Will any of the funds received from the upcoming skin packs be going towards the future development of this iteration of the game or something different down the line?
This is a very good question. We have a huge, huge cast of characters now, so not every one is currently planned to get every skin type. We’re watching which skins types, colors, and Guardians that the community uses so that we can determine what we should make more or less of. We started by asking the community what they wanted more of, listened to that feedback, and you’re seeing the fruits of those responses with new customizations like the Gold Skin Packs and Terror Skin packs.
I can’t emphasize enough about how the popularity of these influence what comes next. If there’s something you really like, you can consider making a hard vote by equipping it. All of you ultimately have the power (more than even Keits or I) to determine the course of where KI goes in short and long term.
Happy Holidays folks! Over the next week or so I’ll try to answer a few more inline.