The ongoing and ever-rising COVID-19 cases in Japan causes SNK to delay The King of Fighters XV from 2021 to Q1 2022.
The King of Fighters series is one of the original fighting games to mold the genre. Originally developed by the Japanese studio, SNK, the world saw the first title in the series back in 1994 with The King of Fighters '94. At the time, and with new releases, it was deemed by many as one of the best fighting series. The last title that saw the light was The King of Fighters XIV back in 2016. A few months later, director Yasuyuki Oda teased a potential The King of Fighters XV. Sadly, the title that was supposed to release this year has been pushed to Q1 2022.
King of Fighters XV moves to Unreal Engine 4
The King of Fighters XV will mark the first entry in the franchise to be developed using Unreal Engine 4. Of course, this doesn't come without complications. There is a lot for the development team to learn and ensure they deliver the best experience to their fans. Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 situation within Japan isn't helping as well. The rising cases has pushed the development timeline passed its initial plan. SNK doesn't want to compromise The King of Fighters XV's quality just to meet the launch deadline.
"There are many fans who are anticipating the release of KOF XV in 2021, however at this point in time, we unfortunately have to announce that KOF XV will now be launching within the 1st quarter of 2022. The development timeline we set out to reach in the beginning has been affected by the ever-still rising cases of COVID-19 within Japan. We have made the ultimate decision in the end that the product’s quality must come first, and so with that decision comes an altered release window," explained KOF XV producer, Yasuyuki Oda.
It is incredibly unfortunate to hear of the constant development delays due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the safety of the personnel and the studio's staff should always be everyone's top priority.