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Killer Instinct will modernize and separate fighting styles

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Microsoft's upcoming Killer Instinct reboot for Xbox One will offer a more modernized version of the game by separating the fighting style of different characters, more so than in previous titles, producer Torin Rettig told Polygon.

We spoke with Rettig during PAX Prime 2013, where he explained that when recreating Killer Instinct, the team had a very specific aesthetic, gameplay style and tone they wanted to capture. However, the last Killer Instinct game was released nearly 17 years ago — something that Rettig and his team are well aware of.

"Fighting games have come a long way since then, and we wanted to make sure we were making a modern fighting game in addition to making a game that was true to the original [Killer Instinct]," Rettig said.

According to Rettig, one of the most important perhaps different things Microsoft is doing with the remake is giving each character a more defined fighting role. Characters in fighting games, Rettig said, are typically separated into a few categories: rush-down characters who get in your face, zoning characters who keep their distance, a grappler who relies on a deadly grab and hybrids.

"Every character had a lot of the same kind of tools."

"Most of the characters in the original game, while they had unique moves, tended to play in a rush-down gameplay style," Rettig said. "They tended to get in your face, do a lot of big combos and be done. Every character had a projectile; every character had a lot of the same kind of tools. We wanted to make each character a little bit more distinct."

In the new Killer Instinct, Jago will be a hybrid of rush-down and his "own style," Rettig said. Thunder is a grappler, while Glacius, one of the "biggest changes," is a zoning character. Rettig added that the franchise has a lot of "rich history to build on," and that part of the challenge is pinpointing what fans loved best about those titles.

"When you bring back something that's classic that people remember so well, it's interesting because it is a challenge," Rettig said. "People tend to remember things a little bit differently than they actually were. They tend to highlight certain aspects of the experience. That helped to guide us in terms of what was most important — what do people remember most fondly about the game — and to make sure that we were getting those things down."