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 released exclusively for Xbox One. 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, 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 follows a specific pricing strategy. Fighters can be purchased individually, or they can all be purchased at once with a "season pass" of sorts. As characters and updates are developed and released they can be bought at any time. A free demo version is also available for download, featuring Jago as the only playable character, along with all game modes. 
The game is only distributed by digital purchase and download, and no physical copies are available.
- Original announcer's voice available (Chris Sutherland)
- Classic costumes available for each character.
| || || |
|Free Version||FREE||Free character available (rotated)|
|Single character||$5/ 4,99€||Price of each character (Glacius, etc.)|
|Combo Breaker Add-On (Season 1)||$19.99 / 19,99€||- 8 characters (Jago, Sabrewulf, Thunder, Glacius, Sadira, Orchid, Spinal and Fulgore)|
|Season 2 Combo Breaker Add-On||$19.99 / 19,99€||- 8 characters (TJ Combo, Maya, Kan-Ra, Riptor, Omen and Agnos w. other content to be released over the season)|
|Ultra Edition||$39.99 / 39,99€|| - Original Killer Instinct game
- 8 Season One characters (As described in the Combo Breaker Add-On)
|Season 2 Ultra Edition||$39.99 / 39,99€|| - Original Killer Instinct 2 game
- 8 Second Season characters (As described in the Season 2 Combo Breaker Add-On)
|KI Complete Collection|| $59.99 / 59,99€|
(Reduced from $79.99/79,99€)
| - Both Killer Instinct Classic and Killer Instinct 2 Classic
- All First and Second season characters
The story continues where Killer Instinct 2 left off, albeit retconning most of the time travel aspects. Important plot points include:
- Jago suffering a crisis of faith after learning his Tiger Spirit was Gargos, and resisting Omen's influence.
- B.Orchid trying her best to put an end to the weakened UltraTech.
- Thunder searching for his missing brother, Eagle. He has resorted to forging an alliance with UltraTech.
- Glacius returning to protect Earth, while also trying to retrieve his ship's stolen power core.
- Sadira being hired by UltraTech to kill the winners of the first Killer Instinct Tournament.
- Spinal searching for the elusive Mask of the Ancients so that he may finally be put to rest.
- Maya and the war golem Aganos hunting down the dark sorceror Kan-Ra.
- Cinder continuing to search for information on the mysterious "Project Cinder" he was forced to undergo.
- 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 an 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.
- 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 Ultratech's attack. Wielding the ancient blades Temperance and Vengeance, Maya sets out to destroy the horror Ultratech released, cutting down any who stand in her way.
- 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.
- 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. His death has been retconned.
- 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.
- 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 an evil organization disturbs her grave, Hisako's restless spirit is awakened, and she seeks vengeance on those who disturbed her peaceful rest.
- ARIA: 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. She was first mentioned in Season 1 and only seen in the hidden ending, and will be the last Season 2 character.
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.
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 3 more characters: 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.
It was revealed in a teaser trailer at EVO 2013 that Chief Thunder would be making a return.
Shortly after Gamescom 2013, a new female character, Sadira, was revealed.
On March 27, 2014, Microsoft Studios announces that Killer Instinct would continue to be supported by Iron Galaxy Studios and will continue the development of season 2.
On October 14, 2014, Robin Beanland released the full soundtracks of Killer Instinct: Season One and the original arcade game Killer Instinct in a bundle on iTunes for $12.49.
- 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.
- ↑ http://www.videogamer.com/xboxone/killer_instinct/news/killer_instinct_pricing_strategy_to_be_announced_at_gamescom.html
- ↑ http://www.vg247.com/2013/08/23/killer-instincts-original-announcer-will-return/
- ↑ http://www.destructoid.com/x10-killer-instinct-3-is-still-a-possibility-163876.phtml
- ↑ http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-15216-E3-2013--Killer-Instinct-is-Free-to-Play--Only-Gives-You-One-Character--Not-Developed-By-Rare.html
- ↑ http://www.rarefandabase.com/exclusive-fresh-details-from-the-developers-of-killer-instinct-for-xbox-one/