Killer Instinct for Xbox One is defined by speed, design director David Verfaillie has told OXM - but not to the extent that victory defaults to the combatant with the fastest thumbs. Double Helix and Rare have apparently created a "tournament viable" fighter that's as much about strategy and observation as pulling off six quarter-roll specials a second.
"Killer Instinct was an aggressive game and that's something we've really taken to heart," Verfaillie explained to us as part of a preview you'll read in issue 104, on sale now. "The pace of our game, I think, is faster than almost any other fighter out there, and all the action really happens up close." Maintaining a high frame rate has been a top priority, he said. "The game will run at 60 frames. Definitely. The fighting game community demands it."
There's such a thing as too nippy for comfort, however. "We don't want this to be about who can move their hands the fastest," Verfaillie added later. "We want it to be a bout who can read their opponent the best, who can take control of the fighting space the best."
Among the key DNA strands that mark the new Killer Instinct out from the crowd is the infamous combo-breaker, whereby you interrupt the other player's onslaught by tapping punch and kick simultaneously (fail, and you'll be unable to react for a precious second or two).
This makes for a more fluid interplay between attack and defence, Verfaillie interjected. "When you're in a combo in a lot of other games, it's pretty much a one-way interaction. You just have to kind of sit there and wait until it's over."
In other and slightly less convincing news, lead producer Michael Willette has this to say. "Killer Instinct is almost like a real fight. It begins once you get punched in the face." Hmmm. In my experience, Michael, fights tend to begin with uncontrollable sobbing, thrown crockery and exaggerated claims about children you don't have.
Read Aoife's Killer Instinct hands-on for proper insights from a person who understands fighting games.