If we’re talking about a hypothetical 4th KI game, I’d like to see the following:
Wrath, this is the only substantial part you and I disagree on. I’d want them to maybe keep 40% of their past move set, tops.
Retain every character’s signature special moves, whatever the devs determine them to be, and rebuild their move lists to suit their vision for how they want the character to play. In other words, just because Glacius was a zoner in this game, that doesn’t mean he has to play that way forever.
Keep a few normals / animations as well if that helps give players more of a foot hold of familiarity, but if it’s a new game, keep their core, and surprise me with everything else, otherwise why even make a new game?
If the new characters will be the only new part and the old characters will be 90% the same, isn’t that basically what we’re already seeing in the seasonal model?
Advance the character looks canonically. By that, I mean their look should reflect whatever happens to them during and after the events of the last game, and I really hope they feel empowered enough to reimagine characters in cool and unique ways.
Yes, Thunder has to be Native American and Glacius has to be an ice alien. But what if Kim Wu is a bit older now and isn’t quite so precocious? What if she’s become an Ultratech assassin? How would she look and dress? How would that effect her being the chosen one?
What if Cinder was reverted back to Ben Farris and Aria created an army of clones and Ben is now a mercenary trying to track down and kill these clones? What if one of them were called Meltdown (like in original KI prior to arcade launch) and this one was more of a wild card?
What if Sabrewulf gained the ability to change between human and werewolf? Or if Orchid lost an arm in the battle and now has a mechanical arm, or Jago finds a glowing sword that gives him new abilities, or Maya is made in to a vampire and Mira somehow becomes human again, or if TJ honed his skills in MMA and it opened up some new playsyle for him, or ARIA and Fulgore were upgraded, etc. Bad examples, but you catch my drift.
Yes, some characters will look more familiar than others. Kan Ra will still be a mummy, Aganos a golem, Riptor a dinosaur, etc, but I also want the devs to feel like they can take chances and not just give us “Jago with a new hair style and pants” for every character.
I do NOT want them to change everyone just to change them, but I do think that the story should advance and the characters should as well.
I think that the current gameplay is fantastic, and like most fighting game sequels, should remain largely unchanged. Perhaps remove flipout and stagger and replace them with new, unique mechanics. But otherwise, the gameplay should feel familiar and almost comfortable, with some cool twists and surprises coming from each character.
If they decided to go the seasonal route again, then I’d say do more modes that can be added to in a cohesive way like Shadow Lords. No more changing the method of story delivery from one season to the next.
Have an arcade mode that supplies canon side story info. Have a dojo mode that walks you through every character. Have a mode where character tutorials, combos, tech etc can be shared and viewed. Bring back Shadow Lab with the ability to create more shadows and have a lot more rewards that you can buy with shadow points.
Create a full online, year round tournament league with three tiers, an event schedule that players can sign up for, that’s run by MS, where players are incentivized to play through in-game participation content (everyone gets an exclusive skin plus some KI Gold or whatever), cash and prizes.
More skins, outfits, accessories, colors and other stuff, like weapons for weapon wielding characters (i.e. 20 different kinds of swords for Jago), and give us a color wheel once we reach level 50 so that we can coordinate colors for any item on a character.
Oh and this should probably be said too, but make every accessory unique, not red, purple, green and orange harem pants for Sadira (for example). Also, try to tie stuff like this in to characters stories and background as much as possible.
New stages for everyone. However, I know this will be unpopular, but maybe with so many characters, it might not be the worst thing to finally divorce characters from stages. Don’t just make them random, but have them reflect places in the story or places effected by the story. Maybe this way, people won’t expect a brand new stage with each character? I don’t like it either. I’d prefer a stage per character, but that’s probably not realistic.
Cut all guests and any character that’s not germane to the next game’s story in some way. Maybe Gargos, Eyedol, Omen and Shadow Jago would have nothing to do with the story. Perhaps they come back as non-canon DLC, but I’d say cut the game down by 7-10 characters and bring in 10-15 newbies.
I’d like to see an old sage, a gorgon, a djinn, a magical archer / demon hunter, a witch, a Frankenstein monster, a mad scientist, an Ultratech assassin, a lovecraftian creature, a wendigo, a puppet master, a necromancer, a zombie, a modern wizard / sorcerer and perhaps MMA Fighter.
Not going to bother with specifics, but I will say that I do want a cohesive narrative. I want them to cobble together a discernable throughline for what happened in KI 2013 to every character as well as the main plotline and I’d like that to all lead in to new story threads that are easy to pickup and follow along with, from major themes and events to character objectives and rivalries. I’d like to see more depth, more plot twists, more range of character interactions and plot revelations.
I love the KI novellas, but I’d like to see them find a more organic way to weave the story in to both Shadow Lords as well as the dossiers. Maybe they drop (over time) in order? Maybe they, along with cutscenes, combine to form a bigger, more thorough picture of what’s happening throughout the duration of the story as a whole? Maybe they can incorporate some of the Lost Odyssey “thousand years of dreams” method and provide longer lasting dossiers ttatvhave backgroubd noises, character sounds and location specific ambient sounds etc.
Either way, as far as the story goes, I want it to be more than just a small reward for playing. I get the gameplay loop, but I also want it to be able to stand on its own as a compelling piece that gives more than we’ve received in season one, two or Shadow Lords.
Anyways, that’s some of what I’d like to see.