Since its first title, for the most part, The King Of Fighters series has always been a 3 vs 3 turn based fighting game. This means, as you probably know, the payer will choose the order of his three characters and then use one character at a time, getting access to the second and third character only after the defeat of the previous one. This is a system that we all have grown used to and one that we love as it also adds a level of depth and strategy, as you try to choose your characters order wisely. But what if maybe this system is also presenting a barrier to mass adoption of the title? What if, maybe, it is time to go into full tag battle mode?
A known fact to all of us: The King Of Fighters series remains a niche among the fighting game community. While the KOF series is huge in South America, Asia, and north Africa, it remains moderate in Europe and very small in North America. This fact is easily proven when you look at the number of online rooms in the KOF14 lobbies and their locations. And if SNK wants to increase their market share with the likes of Street Fighter, and reach a bigger fan base there definitely needs to be some changes in how the game is marketed. The company’s recent efforts in mobile gaming and anime (Watch The King Of Fighters Destiny Anime or GTFO, because it is really awesome) are definitely steps in the right direction, but the truth is KOF is still a bit intimidating to the newbies and kind of hard to pull of great looking combos when compared to games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom, etc. SNK also tried to make the game more accessible to new players with the inclusion of the “Easy Combo” in The King Of Fighters XIV, a tool we hated so much that we included it on our Top things we don’t want in KOF15. But what if using a tag gamelay mode is the key to taking the franchise to the next level?
Tag battle mode is the ability to change your character within the match. The feature is becoming quite popular lately, with the recently launched Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite using it, as well as the highly anticipated Dragon Ball FighterZ. The feature allows for quick dynamic character changes and team up combos that, when done correctly, look quite spectacular. Just look at the below team combos from the Dragon Ball FighterZ:
The KOF franchise used the Tag mode gameplay in The King Of Fighters 2003 and The King Of Fighters XI. Tagging your character in or out required special requirements, and the multi character combos were almost non existent. Employing a full tag gameplay in KOF15, where a player soulc switch between his characters at will, and add some flashy team combos could definitely bring in new players, just how a huge number of fans who have never cared about Dragon Ball Z, are now impatient to get their hands on the game. The Tag feature is also what made people forgive Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite horrible outdated graphics and laughable story mode. But we have to be careful! introducing such a massive gameplay change might and probably will alienate some old school fans of the series (me being one of them), who grew up on the series and believe that choosing your character order is a startegic layer that is the defining key and feature of The King Of Fighters Franchise. So it is delicate fine line, and tough question to answer. Should SNK gain more fans at the expense of losing some old ones? Is losing some old fans worth for the longevity of the series and increased sale number? Is it possible to do both?
So what do you think? Let us know what you think in the comments section below and let’s have a fun informative discussion!