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Killer Instinct (Xbox One)

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Killer Instinct (Xbox One)
Release date
November 22nd, 2013 (Season 1)
October 15th, 2014 (Season 2)
Double Helix Games
Rare Ltd.
Iron Galaxy Studios
Microsoft Studios
David Verfaillie
Adam Heart
James Goddard
David Donatucci
David Hall
Mick Gordon
Windows 10

Killer Instinct, also known as Killer Instinct 3 or Killer Instinct (2013), is a 2013 fighting video game developed by Double Helix Games under the supervision of Ken Lobb and with input from Rare. The game is published by Microsoft Studios and was originally released exclusively as a launch title for the Xbox One, and since then a PC port for Windows 10 has been announced. It is divided into two separate phases of development called "Seasons", the first being produced by Double Helix and the second by Iron Galaxy Studios, following the acquisition of Double Helix by Amazon. Each Season contains a new set of characters, stages, game modes, and other features.

The game itself serves as a relaunch/reboot of the franchise after enduring a 17-year hiatus since its last title, Killer Instinct 2, was released.


Killer Instinct was released as a free-to-play game that includes all available game modes but only one playable character, with the ability to purchase additional fighters individually. The sole playable character in the free version rotates on a regular basis. Alternatively, players can purchase the "Combo Breaker Packs" for a single fee, which provides immediate access to all eight characters of a certain Season and early access to new characters as they are released. Players can also purchase the "Ultra Editions", which includes all eight characters of a Season, sixteen additional character accessory packs, eight additional costumes, and playable versions of the original Killer Instinct or Killer Instinct 2 arcade games.

Price strategy

Free Version FREE One free character available (rotated monthly)
Single character $5.00 / 4,99€ A character of your choice to unlock (Glacius, Thunder, etc.)
Combo Breaker Add-On (Season 1) $19.99 / 19,99€ - Season 1's eight characters (Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Sadira, Orchid, Spinal, and Fulgore)
Combo Breaker Add-On (Season 2) $19.99 / 19,99€ - Season 2's eight characters (TJ Combo, Maya, Kan-Ra, Riptor, Aganos, Hisako, Cinder, and ARIA)
Season 1 Ultra Edition $39.99 / 39,99€ - Original Killer Instinct game
- Season 1's eight characters (as described in the Combo Breaker Add-On)
- Costumes for each character
- Accessories for each character
Season 2 Ultra Edition $39.99 / 39,99€ - Original Killer Instinct 2 game
- Season 2's eight characters (as described in the Combo Breaker Add-On)
- Omen bonus character
- Costumes for each character
- Accessories for each character
KI Complete Collection $59.99 / 59,99€
(Reduced from $79.99/79,99€)
- Original Killer Instinct game
- Original Killer Instinct 2 game
- Season 1 and Season 2's sixteen characters (Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Sadira, Orchid, Spinal, Fulgore, TJ Combo, Maya, Kan-Ra, Riptor, Aganos, Hisako, Cinder, and ARIA)
- Omen bonus character
- Costumes for each character
- Accessories for each character


The story continues where Killer Instinct 2 left off, albeit retconning all time travel aspects. The events of the game take place in 2015 C.E., where Gargos has been defeated by Jago and Ultratech has been crushed by Orchid. However, Gargos' presence is beginning to resurface as his power grows, and Ultratech is starting to regain its former glory under the command of the mysterious ARIA. A great clash is about to occur.

Returning characters

Season 1:

  • Jago: Suffering a crisis of faith following the discovery that the Tiger Spirit guiding him was actually Gargos, and now seeks to purge himself of whatever remnants of Gargos remain within him. He continues to fight the influence of the dark spirit Omen and resist turning into Shadow Jago.
  • Glacius: Has returned to Earth to recover technology he was forced to abandon on his last journey before it can fall into the wrong hands, while also searching for the thief who stole his ship's power core after landing.
  • Sabrewulf: Still trying to regain his humanity, has almost completely submitted to his feral side and torn out his cybernetic implants, restoring his arms through the use of dark arts and developing an addiction to the medicines and artifacts used in the process.
  • Thunder: Having learned that his brother Eagle was killed in the first Killer Instinct tournament but not knowing how or why, resorts to making something of an alliance with new Ultratech head ARIA in order to locate Eagle's remains and finally receive closure.
  • Orchid: Despite their apparent destruction at her hands, believes that Ultratech is still active, and fully commits herself to finding and eliminating what remains of them. Having been disavowed by her agency, she emigrates to Eastern Europe to establish a rebel group. She also apparently suffers from paranoia to some extent.
  • Spinal: Resurrected by a dark artifact known as the Mask of the Ancients, seeks to find the mask so as to remove the curse causing his immortality and allow him to finally rest in peace.
  • Fulgore: A new prototype is constructed to protect Ultratech from its enemies, but it begins to develop self-awareness due to the residual memories of the human mind used in its construction.

Season 2:

  • TJ Combo: Having lost everything and being scorned by the public, has removed the cybernetic implants from his arms and seeks to earn redemption in the latest Killer Instinct tournament.
  • Maya: A member of a secretive clan of monster hunters, Maya ventures out of her hidden city after an attack by Ultratech. In the chaos of the siege, an ancient evil was unleashed from his prison. Wielding the ancient blades Temperance and Vengeance, Maya sets out to destroy the horror Ultratech released, cutting down any who stand in her way. As time travel has been retconned, she no longer originates from the past.
  • Riptor: A brand new series of genetically and cyberneticlly enhanced raptors created by Ultratech has been unleashed. They were modeled after the original, but have been vastly improved on with flame breath, laser claws, and a telescopic tail weapon.
  • Cinder: Ben Ferris, a wanted mercenary who was hired to steal data from Ultratech regarding a mysterious "Project Cinder". He was eventually discovered, and as punishment Ultratech decided to use him as a guinea pig for the experimental project. After realizing the potential of the powers he was given, he became loyal to Ultratech and now serves them faithfully. His death has been retconned.

New characters

Season 1

  • Sadira: Leader of the Red Eyes of Rylai assassins, she and her clan are ordered by ARIA to hunt and kill the former competitors of the Killer Instinct tournament. ARIA also tells her to "prepare the way" by taking Glacius's power core and using it to open a dimensional rift.
  • Shadow Jago: The dark version of Jago, a transformation he undergoes when he is being controlled by Gargos' harbinger, Omen. He serves as the hidden final boss of Arcade mode.

Season 2

  • Kan-Ra: An ancient, evil, decomposing Babylonian sorcerer who was sealed away by Maya's people. He was accidentally freed by UltraTech during an attack on the city. He seeks to undo a curse that has left him rotting and achieve immortality, all while eluding his old enemy Aganos.
  • Omen: The Herald of Gargos who had been inside Jago's body and controlling him as Shadow Jago. Once he's finally purged from Jago's body and the corruption is incomplete, he enters a physical form to face and defeat Jago personally.
  • Aganos: Animated by a group of powerful artisans for a purpose lost to time, this war golem, the last of its kind, has been a prized possession of warlords, power mongers, and kings. Its violent history is written across the battlefields of Europe and the Middle-East, and its current goal is to find and defeat Kan-Ra.
  • Hisako: When Ultratech disturbs her grave in a search for treasures, Hisako's restless spirit is awakened, and she seeks vengeance on those who disturbed her peaceful rest.
  • ARIA: The main antagonist of the game, ARIA is an artificial intelligence created by Ultratech founder Ryat Adams sixty-seven years ago. The new leader of a revived Ultratech, she plans to eliminate the former winners of the last contest and to use Glacius' power core to open a rift to another dimension.

Development History

On March 16, 2010, Kenn Lobb announced that they were not working on Killer Instinct 3 and that they might bring Killer Instinct back someday.[1]

On September 17, 2012, Microsoft applied for renewal of the Killer Instinct trademark. In an October 2012 interview, Rare veteran Lee Musgrave, who was the former head of art at Rare, spoke on the issues of making Killer Instinct for XBLA: "We came close to firing off a conversion of Killer Instinct a few times, but there were licensing obstacles to that, and it never really had enough perceived interest to push it forward." On December 4, 2012, Microsoft's renewal for the Killer Instinct trademark was rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office due to the possibility of the game being confused with the unrelated TV series of the same name that lasted for one season in 2005. Microsoft had six months to respond to the ruling. The trademark dispute was settled when Microsoft and Fox reached an agreement in April 2013.

On June 10, 2013, at the Microsoft E3 2013 Press Conference, Killer Instinct was announced as being an exclusive Xbox One title, developed by Double Helix Games. The revealed trailer shown 3 returning character from the franchise: Jago, Sabrewulf and Glacius. An interview with the development team also revealed that 3 more characters would be returning in the future: Cinder, Fulgore and Spinal. Developers also said that they would like to bring more female characters to the Killer Instinct franchise. In an interview, Killer Instinct will use a specific marketing strategy. After the initial release, a free demo would be available, featuring Jago as the only playable character (including his Story, Training and Online mode against other fighters). Players would be able to purchase the full game pack or fighters individually.[2]

Only July 14th, 2013, it was revealed in a teaser trailer at EVO 2013 that Chief Thunder would be making a return.[3]

On September 24th, 2013, Sadira's official trailer and Orchid's teaser trailer were released.

On October 31st, 2013, Orchid's official trailer and Spinal's teaser trailer were released.

On January 30th, 2014, Spinal's official trailer and Fulgore's teaser trailer were released.

On March 27th, 2014, Fulgore's official trailer was released. Microsoft also announced that Killer Instinct would continue to be supported by Iron Galaxy Studios due to the acquisition of Double Helix, and they would continue with the development of Season 2.

On June 9th, 2014, TJ Combo's official trailer was released. The trailer also revealed that Season 2 would begin later in that Fall of 2014.

On September 17th, 2014, Maya's official trailer and Kan-Ra's teaser trailer were released, marking the beginning of Season 2. Maya was set to be available at the launch of Season 2 alongside TJ Combo on October 15th, 2015.

On October 14th, 2014, the day before Season 2's launch, Robin Beanland and Mick Gordon released the full soundtracks of Killer Instinct: Season One and the original arcade game Killer Instinct in a bundle on iTunes and Google Music for $12.49.

On November 21st, 2014, Kan-Ra's official trailer and Riptor's teaser trailer were released. Kan-Ra was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners on November 23rd, 2014.

On December 15th, 2014, Riptor's official trailer and Omen's teaser trailer were released. Riptor was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners on December 17th, 2014.

On January 24th, 2015, Omen's official trailer and Aganos' teaser trailer were released. Omen was set to be available exclusively to Ultra Edition owners on January 30th, 2015.

On February 20th, 2015, Aganos' official trailer and Hisako's teaser trailer were released. Aganos was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners the next week on February 27th, 2015.

On March 26th, 2015, Hisako's official trailer and Cinder's teaser trailer were released. Hisako was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners the next day on March 27th, 2015.

On April 27th, 2015, Cinder's official trailer and ARIA's teaser trailer were released. Cinder was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners on April 30th, 2015.

On April 30th, 2015, the same day as Cinder's launch, the Shadow Jago Community Fund was announced. For two weeks a Shadow Jago pack was available for purchase that yielded the Shadow Jago character and 75,000 KI Gold. All proceeds from Killer Instinct profits during these two weeks were donated to the competitive tournament scene. When the Killer Instinct Community Fund reached its goal of $100,000 by only May 4th, it was announced that Shadow Jago would be getting his own unique moveset by the end of 2015.

On May 27th, 2015, ARIA's official trailer was released. ARIA was set to be available to Ultra Edition owners on May 29th, 2015.

On June 16th, 2015, Phil Spenser announced at E3 2015 that Killer Instinct would eventually be ported to Windows 10 for PC, and would feature cross-platform play with the Xbox One. No date was specified at the event.[4]


  • Three members of Sadira's clan can be seen in the upper left corner of Assassins Cave wearing a white version of Sadira's old costume. They are on a balcony watching the battle.
    • This currently appears to be the only instance in the game where there are spectator characters in the background of a stage (excluding the robotic orb in the background of The Crash Site).
  • Broken tents and other materials are lying around on Devil's Landing.
  • An alien orb is observing the battle in The Crash Site.
  • Statues of tigers can be seen in Tiger Lair.
  • In one of Chief Thunder 's retro costumes he is wearing a Killer Instinct Vest that shows logos of Rare and KI.
  • In Glacius 's alternate color costume he has a slight resemblance to Spawn with green eyes and a black color.
  • When the characters don't move during the fight, the music will slow down and play a remixed version from the original Killer Instinct Cuts
  • As seen in Fulgore's concept art, you will see words engraved in his left chestplate saying "Unit 3". This could possibly mean he is the third Fulgore in the series. 



Game Cover



CG Renders

Season One

Season Two

Characters Release

Season One

Season Two




External Links


Killer Instinct Franchise
Games Killer Instinct · Killer Instinct 2 (Gold) · Killer Instinct (2013)
Soundtracks Killer Cuts · Killer Instinct Gold Cuts
Comics KI Nintendo Power · KI #1 · KI #2 · KI #3 · KI Special #1 · KI Special #2 · KI Special #3
Characters Aganos · ARIA · B. Orchid · Chief Thunder · Cinder · Eyedol · Fulgore · Gargos · Glacius · Hisako · Jago · Kan-Ra · Kim Wu · Maya · Omen · Riptor · Sabrewulf · Sadira · Shadow Jago · Spinal · TJ Combo · Tusk
Minor Characters Eagle · Ryat Adams · The Mask of the Ancients
Organizations Ultratech
Gameplay Combo Breaker & Counter Breaker · Combo System · Frame Data · Instinct Mode · Knockdown Value · Lock out · No Mercy · Rivals Mode · Shadow Counter · Shadow Meter · Shadow Moves · Ultra Combo

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