Is SFV PS4’s Answer To Killer Instinct?

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By Patrick Toworfe – 13th June 2015
Is SFV PS4’s Answer To Killer Instinct?

Let me just start by saying that no I don’t think SFV is directly copying Killer Instinct. A lot of fighting games borrow ideas and this often makes them more interesting. Game genres often do this in general regardless. This article is purely my opinion and conjecture, and is not based in fact. With that preface out of the way, let me get to it.

Street Fighter V was announced to be a PS4 exclusive, much to many people’s disappointment. The game still looks fun and it’s still in development, so we can hold final judgements till then. Many have remarked, from what little we’ve seen so far, that SFV is going the way of the new Killer Instinct for Xbox One. The new ‘V-Skill’ and ‘V-Trigger’ mechanics seem very similar to that of KI’s ‘Instinct’ mode.

Obviously, SFV isn’t copying KI word for word, and this is simply a speculative comparison. The game currently borrows a lot from SFxT and Alpha series, expanding upon SFIV. The comparisons to KI come from the V-Skill in particular, but there’s more to it than that. The character reveals are reminiscent of the KI character trailers, which each contained a character tease at the very end. Also, Capcom’s insistence on this being a PS4 exclusive forever is also confusing, when the Street Fighter series has always been multiplatform, and the SFIV series was popular on both Xbox 360 and PS3.

(The Nash character reveal is as stylized as KI’s reveals, with the tease at the end too. However, the comparisons end there)

It might be that Sony was looking for a direct competitor to the prestige of KI. Granted, Xbox One isn’t the most popular console, nor is KI the most popular fighting game, but its impact is considerable. KI is certainly one of the most prevalent games in the FGC right now, with a dedicated fanbase, awesome support from the developers and hype tournaments. It was also the first ‘next gen’ fighting game to release and it managed to do a good job.

Since then, many hit fighting games have come out such as Guilty Gear Xrd and Mortal Kombat X, each with its own relative importance in the competitive scene. No matter which way you look at it, SFV had a lot to prove since fighting games were already doing well on current gen. Perhaps Sony’s backing of SFV might have been a way to give it an edge, not just over the other fighting games but to directly compete with KI. In doing this, it establishes SFV as a PS4 game.

bayonetta_2_2014_game-wide(Bayonetta was once a multiplatform game, but its sequel is a Wii U exclusive. Many consider Bayonetta 2 to be a ‘Nintendo game’ now. Console exclusivity is a strange beast.)

However, this is odd. SFV is also coming to PC, so the whole ‘exclusivity’ deal seems awkward. There doesn’t seem to be any real indication why the game isn’t coming to Xbox One. I wrote some time ago about how the PS4 might be the FGC’s first choice for current gen fighting games and I legitimately believe SFV was made an exclusive to tip the scales. Despite that, the presence of the game on PC is the perplexing caveat to the whole scenario

Overall, SFV being an exclusive does mean that your purchasing of a current gen console will be biased based on what you prioritize: Killer Instinct and other cross platform fighting games, or SFV alongside GGXrd and cross platform games too. If anything, SFV might be a chance to build upon what makes the presentation and style of KI good, and make it work within a SF game.

But what do you think? Is SFV’s existence as an exclusive solely to stand up against KI? Let us know in the comments.


Dedicated gamer, member of the Fighting Game Community and sometimes a hobby photographer. Follow me @JusticeSoulTuna

  • Mr0303

    On one hand it is a usual strategy to create exclusive games of the same genre as the competitors so that they don’t have an experience that your system doesn’t. Nintendo got Bayonetta and MS got Scalebound to counter Sony’s God of War. Killzone was created to oppose Halo. MS bought the timed exclusivity for Tomb Raider to do battle with Uncharted.

    That being said I don’t think this is the only reason. I think it is a smart business move, since SF is the most popular game in the FGC and it will be featured in all tournaments, which will be free advertising for PS4. Plus it is a household name at this point which would somewhat elevate the value of the console in the average consumer’s mind.