When the time is right, Killer Instinct will return. On the latest episode of the Dropped Frames podcast, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that he’d like to revisit the series, but it’s simply a matter of opportunity with regards to the resources and studios that are available to Xbox.
Created in 1995 by a pre-Xbox Rare, Killer Instinct was revived in 2013 for Xbox One. It eventually made its way over to PCs via the Microsoft Store and Steam, but relatively little support has been had for the game since. That’s a shame as Killer Instinct is arguably one of the best fighting games of the last decade, with a tight roster of characters and rollback netcode.
During the interview on the show, Spencer talked about how one of Xbox’s goals is to take creative risks on titles and explore the kinds of games that third party devs might opt out of in favor of more popular and market proven genres. “I like us going and investing in things that we’re uniquely in position to do,” Spencer said.
In response, the hosts pointed to a high profile community member in the chat expressing his passion for Killer Instinct, presumably in the hopes of getting a response from Spencer. And Spencer obliged. “There are so many good games in our catalogue that we’d love to revisit,” he said. “The response when we did KI at the launch of Xbox One was fantastic.”
“Not everybody inside of the Xbox org kind of saw what that game could become. I will just say, Matt [Booty, Xbox Game Studios] and I have discussed many times KI and where we would like to go with it,” Spencer mused. “It’s in our hearts and in our minds that we want to continue to do something with KI […] It’s about finding the right team and the right opportunity.”
Let’s hope that Killer Instinct will return sometime sooner than seventeen years. While Killer Instinct doesn’t have a fraction of the clout of series like Street Fighter, Tekken or even Mortal Kombat, it’s a solid game with a distinct identity that has earned a passionate following. It’s also one of like, a bazillion games on Game Pass, so give it a shot if you haven’t already.