When Microsoft announced that beloved ’90s fighting game Killer Instinct was making a comeback on Xbox One, fans of the franchise were thrilled… until they heard about the business model. Killer Instinct was released as a free-to-play game where gamers could fight as a character or two for no charge but would have to pony up money for additional fighters and content. Initial reviews were middling, but a funny thing happened over the course of the past two years. The free-to-play model combined with the monthly release of new content has kept the game feeling fresh and the KI community engaged.
Now, as the game nears the end of its Season 2, developer Iron Galaxy has offered fans a look at concept art for the next character to be added to the game. Fans of the original Killer Instinct will have no trouble recognizing this character. Cinder, aka Ben Ferris, is finally making his return.
This isn’t the first time Cinder has been teased, as there was a short reveal at the end of the Hisako trailer just last week. But now, fans can get a more in-depth look at what Iron Galaxy has done with the classic character thanks to a post on Ultra-Combo.com, aka the official forum for the game’s community.
The post offers a fascinating look at not just the final model the team came up with for Cinder, but a detailed walkthrough of the steps they took to get to that point. It includes concept art of early prototypes, including a Cinder with four eyes.
The post goes on to show that while Cinder has been updated with modern graphics, the developer has also worked hard to maintain the character’s original look in the arcade with a retro version.
“So for those of you that wanted the true “dude on fire” from KI Arcade, there you go. We have built within all possible reason to KI’s new style, retro Cinder AS retro Cinder.”
Check out the post on Ultra-Combo for more Cinder artwork. The post also includes a long Q & A where Microsoft Studios responds to questions from fans.
With the release of Cinder, Killer Instinct‘s Season 2 is nearing its end. There is no official word yet on whether more characters will be coming in a Season 3, but it’s probably a safe bet. Killer Instinct has gone from being a free-to-play joke to one of the Xbox One’s best exclusives.
Iron Galaxy did tease at PAX East that news about the next season could come later this year, as well as mentioning that the game might see an eventual release on PC. In the meantime, longtime KI fans are no doubt going to be happy that the final holdout from the original Killer Instinct is about to make his comeback.
Killer Instinct is available now on Xbox One.