The King of Fighters XV, also called KOF XV, is a fighting game developed by SNK. It was released on February 17, 2022 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. This is also the first game in The King of Fighters series to use Unreal Engine 4 and the first to use GGPO rollback networking. Taking place after the events of The King of Fighters XIV, the narrative will primarily revolve around two fighters with multiverse-related supernatural powers, Shun’ei and Isla, among other returning heroes facing revived threats. King of Fighters XV generally received praise for its character roster, team-based gameplay, and smooth online performance, but criticism for its story mode, complex tutorials, and mechanics.
Like its predecessors, The King of Fighters XV uses a fighting system involving teams composed of three fighters. The parry system also returns under the name Shatter Strike. It also reincorporates the common MAX Mode system where fighters can use stronger techniques once energy bars are filled. The game features a wide variety of online modes, including Ranked Match, Casual Match, Room Match, and Online Training.
The single button “Rush” from The King of Fighters XIV reappears and is updated to help newcomers perform combos and special/super moves easier. Destructoid compared it with a fully charged Focus Attack from Street Fighter IV. Shatter Strike was designed mainly as a defensive system but it can be used offensively when making use of guard points. It will also be adjusted as it is apparently quite strong in the demo. In XIV, combos from quick activation were the main way max mode was used so the gauge consumption was increased from 1 to 2 to prevent players from being overwhelmed. Neutral state in XIV was not seen often so in XV attack power and guard crush are increased when neutral is activated. Since Max Mode activations in neutral were almost nonexistent in King of Fighters XIV, the developers are giving more incentive to players to not just use it as a combo extender.
The story focuses on the next King of Fighters tournament held after the appearance and defeat of Verse. Following Antonov’s early retirement, new tournament commissioner Anastasia sends out invitations to fighters to join the tournament; the mayhem caused by Verse’s powers resurrects various long-thought deceased fighters from past tournaments as well. Chizuru Kagura gathers Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami in order to look after the seal of the snake demon Orochi. Shun’ei, a teenager with mysterious powers resembling Verse’s, enters the tournament again alongside Meitenkun and Benimaru Nikaido to better understand his powers. During the tournament, they encounter a rival team led by a girl with similar powers to his own, Isla. Isla is being mentored by a woman named Dolores who wishes for her and Shun’ei to stop the appearance of more creatures like Verse, believing Ash Crimson‘s timetravelling in a previous tournament to have caused their appearance. However, a new creature labeled as Re Verse appears as the tournament progresses and targets the fighters, pulling them into another world. Following Re Verse’s defeat, the mysterious goddess Otoma=Raga appears and attacks the teams. Upon Otoma=Raga’s defeat, the fighters escape back to their world and are crowned the new King of Fighters champions.