Killer Instinct is preparing for Season 3, with one classic character and one Battletoad already revealed. But as mentioned earlier today, Iron Galaxy is taking a sledgehammer to the game's characters for a massive balance overhaul prior to the start of Season 3.
"We want to encourage player creativity in playstyles, setups, and combos," lead combat designer Adam Heart said prior to the balance showcase on Maximillian's Twitch channel. "When you guys find something that's really cool, we want it to be practical, we want you to be able to use it in matches, and we want there to be lots of stuff to be able to find with every characters. I want to be able to look at four different Sabrewulf players and know who they are just by watching them playe, because their styles are so unique. Of course, we want to adjust the existing character balance against the Season 3 roster, while also giving players who are going to stick with Season 1 or Season 2 characters new tools to explore. Does that mean new toys for every character? You're damn right it does!"
The concept of risk and reward is also being pushed with individual characters and the stream did not disappoint. Each and every character were given significant nerfs, but also some notable buffs. While PC players may not feel the sting, given that they'll be seeing Killer Instinct for the first time in March, this could potentially rock the Xbox One version as players currently know it.
In addition to character changes, there are few system changes set to be introduced across the board, as well. That includes a new 'Stagger' system, which will operate similarly to the current Wall Splat system. Certain attacks can make opponents stagger briefly, offering a short window for follow-ups or throws. There is no early escape for this, but tech throws are still functional, as long as your character isn't locked out. Also, juggles have been reworked slightly, as certain attacks will instead make opponents flip around and land on their feet, offering additional follow-up opportunities. These flip out moves vary by character. Also, and most importantly to players of the current game, unbreakable combos have been removed entirely. Even if there are no breakable moves over the course of the combo, the Combo Breaker window moves to the combo's ender move. That's a small sample of what's coming, but those are some serious changes to the KI game as a whole and create a more intriguing and more level playing field.
While the Season 3 balance notes for individual characters have been posted in full over on the Ultra Combo forums, Heart does note that everything is subject to change. These changes are currently in place over at demo stations across both the Killer Instinct World Cup and PAX South and certain changes are subject to be scrapped, depending on player feedback.
The full rebalance demonstration can also be found below, courtesy of Maximillian's Twitch channel. It's over an hour long, to give an idea of just how many changes are being made. And of course, as a final reminder, Xbox Live Gold members have one last chance to pick up the Killer Instinct Ultra Combo Edition for free as part of Games With Gold this weekend. Not only will it better prepare players for Season 3 in March, but those characters can also be brought over to the PC version when it releases.