Novriltataki and Re-Defining "Footsies"

Novriltataki usually creates really in-depth guides on his channel for various fighting games (with Guilty Gear being the most notable series they consistently do work with) and has also done a pretty good breakdown of KI a while back that is a must watch for people trying to get into the series, but we’re not here to talk about that today.

He recently uploaded a video called, “Exploring Fighting Games ep.01: Redefining Footsies” in which he goes over how the term “footsies” came about and how the term itself is actually hindering people from understanding the concept itself. In the video, he talks about how the term “footsies” makes people think of what should be going on instead of what the concept itself is trying to portray. “Footsies” makes you think of ground-based neutral with an emphasis on poking with normals, but that doesn’t apply to games like Melty Blood or the Marvel vs. Capcom series where there’s a lot of air movement that dictates what happens in the neutral.

After watching the video, it got the ol’ noggin’ a joggin’ and I thought to myself, “Hey, this video applies to KI as well” because KI is unique in that:

Killer Instinct has a neutral that is controlled with the use of strong special moves in conjunction with normal moves!

In the video, he ends up giving a very concise definition of what the term “footsies” is trying to entail:

1. To predict where the opponent’s hurtboxes are going to be at a given time, and control that area with your hitboxes

2. To make your location difficult to predict, so the opponent will not be able to do #1 to you

This (to me) is the most concise and to the point definition to footsies that I have ever seen in my entire life and this goes hand in hand with KI’s strong special based neutral. Specials that can help control the neutral game or manipulate your own hurtboxes (like Thunder’s Ankle Slicer being a low crush or TJ Combo’s use of Powerline cancels for movement and whiff punishing) need to be considered part of what helps shape KI’s neutral game instead of the constant arguments that KI doesn’t have a neutral game because “It’s not like Street Fighter”.

I can’t do the video justice by writing what I saw, it’s better for you guys to watch it yourself:

I hope that not only the people in this forum, but everyone that plays Killer Instinct in general gives this video a watch and we can start working towards finally trying to help people being more accepting to how KI’s unique neutral plays because it doesn’t fit an arbitrary definition that might have been passed on from a different community or something else.

Thank you for making it this far if you read through all of this!

Also spoiler alert: He never actually gives a replacement term for footsies


I really appreciate this definition - both because people use the term without defining it so frequently, and because I like it. It’s a reductive definition which, as you point out, doesn’t dictate how the outcome is supposed to look or suggest any sort of value judgment.


Great video suggestion. Interesting take on the term of footsies.

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Nice! Thanks for sharing!

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Interesting video. I think this is probably a better way for people to think about “footsies” as shorthand; it’s a looser framework than what’s normally applied, and so better encapsulates a lot of the neutral interactions that people really mean when they throw out the word.

There can be some merit in segmenting the term into a more specific (say, Street Fighter-esque) paradigm, but a lot of times people use that more specific definition to try and define all neutral, where if you’re not falling into the SF paradigm you’re suddenly no longer playing “true” neutral. Which is of course silly.