It's been a good year for fighting game fans with major franchises coming back with new entries, and Killer Instinct players also got a surprise at EVO 2023 today. While not a sequel, Microsoft announced a major update to the classic Xbox fighting game to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. This will carry the title's first balance changes in five years, as well as updated servers, official support for the latest generation Xbox consoles, "and more".
James Goddard Head of Killer Instinct showed up on stage at EVO to announce the surprising return, and also revealed that Microsoft is teaming back up with Iron Galaxy to develop this update. The studio jumped in to support 2013's Killer Instinct following the original developer Double Helix's acquisition by Amazon, delivering two seasons of content.
Iron Galaxy's Adam Heart, the lead combat designer of Killer Instinct, said this is "amazing and unprecedented to be able to revisit a game that kind of had the dust settle for this long."
While the finer details, and possibly other surprises, will be revealed later, the Anniversary update will do a balance pass on the fighters, matchmaking upgrades, as well as official 4K support for the Xbox Series X|S, which have been utilizing the Xbox One version via backward compatibility. These server updates were already announced in May, with legacy servers being migrated to Microsoft's Azure PlayFab services for smoother online play.
"You guys made this happen!"— EVO (@EVO) August 5, 2023
We are honored to share the stage with the head of Killer Instinct, James Goddard, to bring the news about the massive update coming to KI!https://t.co/pRm0CRum2y | #Evo2023 pic.twitter.com/lXlLfYIaan
"You guys made this happen," added James Goddard, speaking to the crowd at EVO. "This is why we are doing a balance update and a major, major upgrade to all PlayFab services so your matchmaking is a lot smoother, tournaments are easier, and more KI for the next 10-years. Let's go."
Killer Instinct's 10th Anniversary Update does not have a release date yet, but it is coming sometime later this year to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Game Pass subscribers to continue their combos.