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The King Of Fighters Through A Looking Glass In 2020 - 2023

An invitation to the hottest tournament in the world...

An Important Preface

The release of Kim Khapwan and a King of Fighters XIII port for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch had me "dig through the crates" for content that was lost in time. In late 2020, as one of the first projects I've ever done for 1 UP Infinite before we even had a website to publish anything on, I was eager for some King of Fighters 15 news. At the time it was a few years since 14 and fans had a hunger that wasn't sated. Little did anyone know, SNK was already cooking a reveal trailer that followed up with several character trailers throughout the years.

Because this was written in November 2020, a lot of my words and information will be archaic. Especially when I muse about how "there needs to be another King of Fighters!" or "WHERE'S 15." 15 is here to stay, with over two seasons of DLC, but it was a fun period to revisit and introduce myself to every mainline game in the series. I've decided to use the "chapter" approach as it'll be easier to organize everything, but also they will be released in chronological order based on the "Saga" that is introduced in King of Fighters. Ending this preamble, let's now go into the massive King of Fighters timeline and see what I found, two and a half years ago.

That said, to preserve the original message at the time of the writing, these texts will be untouched if not outdated although I will add minor quips here and there in the form of image captions. An example would be this sketch of Isla below, who was announced when KOF 15 was. Please bear this in mind. This will also be a multi-part retrospection separated between each of the sagas within The King of Fighters, starting with the Orochi saga. Without further delay, let's begin.

King of Fighters 15 Isla Sketch by Tomohiro Nakata


With the lack of The King of Fighters 15 news and the birth of a new console generation comes a time of reflection. The King of Fighters is more than just a household name. For many who grew up in the arcades, In recent years, you’d be hard-pressed to enter a laundromat or, in some instances, a game store and not see the iconic red Neo Geo cabinet in the corner. Chances are, it’ll have one of those multi-boot boards that bundle many SNK games, including the entire King of Fighters library. There would also be a high chance to see enthusiasts crowded around the machine in attempts to settle decades-old grudge matches long established past the end of the arcade era. The King of Fighters is one of the rare series of games that stand the test of time to this day, both offline and online.

In total, there are fourteen games in the main series. Compared to Street Fighter, its direct competition, the number of games are equivalent if not more than King of Fighters, believe it or not. This is attributed mainly to the number of updated releases for each Street Fighter game. This is especially the case for Street Fighter 2, which had over seven different iterations of the game, four of which were released consecutively before Street Fighter Alpha in 1995. While KOF is no stranger to different iterations of each title, the series was released consistently up until 2003. Each set of games in King of Fighters is referred to as “Sagas,” as each game in that specific set is related to each saga.

Aside from ‘98 and ‘02 for reasons stated later, the exception to this rule is ‘94. The very first game in the series. I will cover every single main game and give my thoughts on them and provide some history to note. There are games in the series I’ve not played at all while there are some that I’ve had a history with, so my opinions will differ significantly from seasoned vets of the series. Unlike the Samurai Shodown retrospect, I won’t put a date for the games when they came out for the sake of redundancy until we get past ‘03.

It's impressive how far King of Fighters 15 have come, with old favorites like Goenitz returning.

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