Exclusive interview with Atlus and SNKPlaymore

1. Netcode, netcode, netcode. Will the game feature lobbies, clans, ranked matches, etc.
SNK/PLAYMORE: “Quality online play” is our development team’s top priority, so I’m confident that we’ll meet your expectations. As for the details of the Network mode, we do have ranked matches. It will have no clan support, however; we believe that for this game it’s best for each player to go head to head with others. Whether it is a ranked match or a casual player match, this game’s online play will be a truly enjoyable experience.

2. Will the game be rebalanced?
SNK/P: Because of the new additional characters, we’re treating the console version of KOF XIII separately from the arcade version, and as such, we have rebalanced the game. While we kept the appealing qualities of each character intact, we made adjustments to them so the game is better balanced, and players will have a wider choice of characters for their teams.

3. Will there be a tutorial mode? Challenge mode?
SNK/P: There is a Tutorial mode to teach the novice players the basics of the game, and a Trial mode that challenges the players to perform crazy combos. Even if you can’t pull them off, you can watch a demonstration of each combo for your enjoyment or research. There are other modes as well, such as Time Attack and Survival, allowing the players to enjoy the game for a long time in a variety of ways.

4. What sort of training mode options will be in the game (programmable dummies, block after first hit option, etc.)?
SNK/P: Options that are common in other fighting games will be available in our Tutorial mode. You can do many things, from recreating various situations to practicing combos using the 1-hit block option. A mock battle with an AI opponent is quite useful, too.

5. New characters/stages/content?
SNK/P: So far we’ve announced two new characters (Billy Kane and Saiki before transformation). There will be more characters, so please look forward to them. We’ve added many stages to the console version. There are many other features in the game. The Story mode immerses the players deeply in the world of KOF XIII, while the Gallery mode offers many new pieces of art made for the console version. The Customize mode lets you change the color scheme of your favorite characters to your liking.

6. Will there be a special edition? Pre-order bonuses?
ATLUS: In what is the biggest pre-order bonus we’ve ever offered in our 20+ year history, folks who reserve their copies at participating retailers (while supplies last) will receive a 4-CD soundtrack compilation featuring music spanning the 15+ year history of KOF. It’s the ultimate collectible for series fans, and truly a tremendous value.

7. Will there be English voices? Can languages be changed per character, like in SFIV?
SNK/P: I regret to say that it will be Japanese voice only. We believe that will provide the players with the best KOF XIII experience.

8. Can games be recorded for replay?
SNK/P: There is, in fact, a Replay mode. You can play frame-by-frame, pause in the middle, skip the entire round, etc. It’s a perfect tool to analyze matches.

9. How will button configuration work?
SNK/P: We’ve covered all the basics regarding button config; you can assign button functions that match your particular setup.

10. Are there plans for a strategy guide?
ATLUS: There are no plans for a strategy guide for KOF XIII.

11. Are there plans for a KOF arcade stick?
ATLUS: There are currently no plans for a KOF arcade stick, although it is something we have explored and will continue to do so.

12. What are your plans for publicity/advertising? Are you interested in sponsoring tournaments?
ATLUS: Our goal is to reach every last KOF fan, to directly connect with them in the KOF communities they’re active in. We want to be active in as many major events as we can, hence our presence at the EVO 2K and Otakon shows in July, in which we’ll offer fans an opportunity to go hands-on with an early version of the console release months before it’s out in stores.

KOF XIII is a return to form for the franchise. We need to do our best to convey this to the fans, particularly the ones who weren’t thrilled with the previous entry in the series, and that’s really at the heart of everything we’ve done and will do.

13. Will there be a closed beta?
ATLUS: There are no plans for that at this time.

Dream Cancel: Special thanks to Aram Jabbari for making this interview happen!

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