Microsoft and Iron Galaxy Studios’ Killer Instinct will get a new multiplayer mode later this year that will be powered by the forthcoming single-player Shadow Lords mode. Power-ups from Shadow Lords will transfer over to the unnamed new multiplayer mode, and Iron Galaxy expects that the system will effectively "break the game" and upset the balance of competitive play.
Shadow Lords will be released on Sept. 20, Microsoft and Iron Galaxy announced during its Evo panel today. That’s the same day Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition arrives on Xbox One.
Shadow Lords, which will be a single-player mode but requires an online connection, will see players build a team of Killer Instinct fighters and take on the evil Gargos. As they play through Shadow Lords, players will be able to unlock and craft buffs and support characters called Guardians, which can power up their team of KI fighters. One example of a Guardian is a character called Snake, who can add a poison effect to your fighter.
Those buffs and Guardians will be instrumental to players’ survival in Shadow Lords mode. Expect to die often in the mode, which Microsoft and Iron Galaxy have compared to an arcade mode-meets-roguelike for Killer Instinct.
All the power-ups that players unlock and earn in Shadow Lords carry over to the game’s new multiplayer mode, which will hit sometime after September. Some Guardians will be exclusive to (or designed specifically for) multiplayer mode, and Iron Galaxy expects the introduction of power-ups to result in some crazy, "salty" online battles.
Finally, a new character for Killer Instinct will be revealed on Saturday, July 16, after the game’s finals at Evo 2016.