At RTX I got the phenomenal opportunity to speak with Adam Heart, the Lead Combat Designer for Killer Instinct, about the upcoming titles from Iron Galaxy Studios. The studio is generally known for porting over games from various companies, ie: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online, Borderlands 2 for the Vita, and Darkstalkers: Resurrection. 

First, we had Adam walk us through the new character for Killer Instinct, TJ Combo, “Tj Combo is a crazy character,” Heart stated as he prepped to show us TJ’s move set. TJ is a back forward character keeping the simple input theme from the previous season of Killer Instinct. Currently for season two of KI, TJ combo is the first character to be revealed, and from what I got to play of him, I can see he’s going to be a really fun! The first move that was shown was called Powerline, a dashing punch that goes across the screen with armor when inputting back forward heavy punch, and it even has a few different properties depending upon the button you use. “Powerline does more damage than any other move in the game,” When using kick buttons with Powerline it can let you cancel and dash back to bait your opponent, do a flying knee to dodge projectiles, and even a roll to either get behind your opponent or dodge projectiles, “We’re calling these footwork options.” The light punch back forward is a quick spinning punch opener, and the medium is a dashing throw much like Third Strike‘s Sean. TJ also has the vortex uppercut which, in its current build, when you hold the punch button after initiating it utilizes the follow up hit.

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TJ utilizing his flying knee against Fulgore!

TJ’s throw actually gives him a new feature that is currently only available to him, the throw allows TJ to recapture opponents into a combo despite being tossed in the air. There is a possibility that the characters from season one will also get this ability, Heart went on to explain, “If we get enough interest in it we’ll do it, but it won’t be copy and paste it’ll be tasteful. So it won’t be TJ’s animation on like Sadira, we’ll do it in a way that fits properly.” Off the throw you can then go into either the Ground Pound which is actually a knock down attack, it does no damage but is a low hit. So, it’s a great entry for fighting against Glacius since you can use ground pound from the opposite side of the stage and still hit with it.

TJ’s trait is the Auto Barrage which allows you to alternate autos with a button press. So you can start out the double with a heavy and then move into medium by simply hitting a medium attack, however the longer you go with the barrage the slower the doubles get and thus the easier to break, its even a good counter breaker bait too. There is a bonus damage opportunity though if you can go through all six buttons without overlapping the hits. “Fighting TJ is going to be about how do you make your offense better than his, it will definitely be an offensive match up when going against TJ.”

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TJ’s Powerline attack is a core move for his fighting style.

TJ’s Shadow moves are what you’d expect, but his Powerline Shadow Attack can dash behind the opponent to dodge potential shadow counters, and can then even continue the combo after doing so. His Instinct is called Glory Days, “TJ begins to remember a time when he wasn’t old, and was at his prime moving in a much more agile way,” Heart explained. There is also an additional feature to his Instinct mode, when he is defeated with full Instinct meter he has what is called Last Breath, which lets him refill a small amount of health and keep the Glory Days buff for seven seconds. Lastly TJ’s Ultra has recently been finished, but wasn’t in the current build of the game Adam left it off with, “Its a great throwback to classic KI.”

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The latest addition of Maya revealed at EVO2014

Since RTX, the Evolution Fighting tournament 2014 has happened, in which Iron Galaxy had a panel for Killer Instinct Season 2. At this panel they revealed a new returning character, Maya, whom retains her daggers from Killer Instinct 2. Her daggers can be thrown to continue combos, but if she misses a throw she loses all abilities that utilized the thrown dagger until it is retrieved. With each hit the daggers level up and can later be combined to create one large thrown projectile. So there is plenty of fun to be had with her when Season 2 comes out! They also confirmed during the panel that aerial recapture would be a feature added to every character in Season 2.

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TJ Combo ready and able to join the fight with his own story to tell in KI Season 2!

The netcode is in great hands since Iron Galaxy features some of the best technical minds in the industry. They’re working to continue to improve the online system, “We’ve used GGPO in plenty of our ports, but we didn’t exactly use GGPO for KI, but it does utilize the rollback.” Season two of Killer Instinct will feature eight new characters and will be launching this fall. “It’s planned to be more aggressive with content trickle, instead of months between each character the next eight will hit very continuously.” They’ve yet to set a price point but Adam stated that he’d be surprised if it isn’t the same as the last season.

About The Author

Alex R
Broadcast Team Lead

Alex enjoys long walks on the beach, mountain biking, and spending time in his extensive library reading novels from authors of yore. His hobbies include traveling the world putting small critters into ball shaped capsules, slaying Flying Wyverns, and mastering his wake-up Heavy Shoryuken!