The King of Fighters, officially abbreviated KOF, is the premiere series of fighting games by SNK Playmore, formerly SNK. The series was originally developed for SNK's Neo-Geo MVS arcade hardware, which served as the main platform for the series until 2004, when SNK retired the MVS in favor of the Atomiswave arcade board and will move the series to the Taito Type X2 with the release of The King of Fighters XII. Ports of the arcade games and original The King of Fighters games have been developed for the Neo Geo CD, Neo Geo Pocket, Nintendo Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and Xbox. The most recent game in the series, The King of Fighters XIII, was released on July 14, 2010.
The first game in the series, The King of Fighters '94 was released by SNK in 1994. The game was originally designed to be a dream match of characters from the company's various arcade titles, particularly Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier. The success of the game lead to SNK to release yearly installments of the series and numbered the games for the year they were released. However, this naming system posed problems similar to those with sports games named by year: once the new yearly edition debuts, consumers often perceive the previous year's edition as outdated and less desirable to own. In order to combat this, SNK frequently rotates which characters take part in the current year's edition, encouraging fans of omitted characters to buy and play older editions. Additionally, SNK could not always release its console version of the arcade game in the same year for which it was titled. By 2004, SNK abandoned yearly releases of the series and numbered future games in a more traditional manner; the first main series game released as such was The King of Fighters XI.
In 2004, SNK produced the first 3D installment of the series, KOF: Maximum Impact. The game and its two sequels revises much of the backstory for characters and settings from previous games. The producer of the Maximum Impact series, Falcoon, stated that the Maximum Impact games are in a different canon from the original series of games.
The King of Fighters tournament, the namesake of this series, actually originated in Fatal Fury, a classic SNK fighting game that predated the KOF series. Fatal Fury 2 and Art of Fighting 2 also revisited the tournament before SNK released KOF '94.
The King of Fighters games have had a number of villains as their individual end bosses. The first of these was Rugal Bernstein in '94 who had a tendency to submerge his defeated foes in liquid metal, turning them into grisly trophies commemorating his victories. During the Orochi saga, Orochi is introduced as an ominous demonic force from ancient times bent on revenge on those who imprisoned it who was aided by his four heralds. In later games, a mysterious organization called NESTS attempts to kidnap and succeeds in cloning Kyo Kusanagi in hopes of using his power to take over the world. The leader of NESTS, who called himself Igniz hoped to amass enough power to become a god. Other villains in the series include Geese Howard, Shinobu and Ash Crimson. Other villains in later games include Mukai and "Those from the past" that he affiliates himself with, including Magaki, as well as the Mephistopheles group.
Other Media Edit
A manhua adaptation of KOF titled The King of Fighters: Zillion was created by Andy Seto. Hong Kong artists, Wing Yang and King Tung produced further manhua for the games, starting in The King of Fighters '01 through 2003 along with the Maximum Impact series.
Film and Animation Edit
During August 2005, a short anime series based upon KOF entitled The King of Fighters: Another Day was announced. It debuted at the year's Tokyo Game Show about a month later. Production I.G produced the title as an original net animation. There are a total of four episodes, each about 10 minutes in length (but considerably less, when accounting for the end credits). It has since been released as a bonus DVD, packaged with The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 (The King of Fighters 2006 in the USA).
A live-action movie of The King of Fighters will begin shooting in the first quarter of 2008. The movie will be directed by action director Gordan Chan ("The Medallion," "Fist of Legend"). Production is by Axis Entertainment's Joseph Chou (currently producing upcoming "Appleseed: Ex Machina") and Tim Kwok of L.A.-based Convergence Entertainment ("Wicked City".) and will be jointly financed by Japanese production and rights management group Micott & Basara and Australian-U.S. sales agent Arclight/Easternlight. The screenplay is being written by "Fearless" scriptor Chris Chow.
Card Game Edit
In December 2006, Sabertooth Games released a The King of Fighters 2006 collectable card game set along with Samurai Shodown V for it's Universal Fighting System (UFS) game. Other games like Street Fighter and Soul Calibur III are also included into the series. Character started packs were released for Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui.
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