The King of Fighters series isn’t nearly as prominent as it once was, but there’s still a lot of love for the glory days of one of SNK’s shining star fighting game franchises, particularly the KOF 96 to 98 era, dubbed the Orochi Saga. Perhaps that’s why there’s a CG movie in the works for 2020 that focuses very specifically for that particular era of the franchise’s long history.
A trailer was launched recently that showcases the animation, along with the KOF series star characters Kyo Kusinagi and Iori Yagami. Only in Japanese at this time, the trailer was translated by YouTuber Banden and showcases leader of the Four Heavenly Kings of Orochi and notoriously difficult KOF96 boss Goenitz arriving at a temple to seemingly steal or destroy one of the Three Sacred Treasures that could defeat his master, Orochi. Kyo shows up a flashy and fiery fight ensues, but the outcome is left uncertain. Meanwhile, Iori Yagami is elsewhere in a city feeding a stray cat in homage to classic art of the character when he hears some alarming news about his rival Kyo. You can see the trailer in action below.
The last mainline King of Fighters game was KOFXIV back in 2016 to middling response. That said, with the 2019 reboot of Samurai Shodown having performed a strong return to form for SNK and having done well among fighting game fans, rumor had been going around that SNK could also be returning to the KOF series. SNK hasn’t been shy about letting the KOF characters show up in a whole bunch of promotional content, such the crossover between King of Fighters ALLSTARS and the WWE.
There’s no sign that The King of Fighters: Awaken will be arriving outside of Japan at this time, but with the CG film returning to the classic and beloved storyline of KOF 95 through 98, maybe this is a sign of a reboot coming to the series much like Samurai Shodown.