Between Mortal Kombat X, Street Fighter V and the in-development King of Fighters XIV, it's a good time to be a gamer with a fondness for the iconic fighting franchises of the 90s. One of the most rewarding revivals thus far has been the 2013 reboot of Killer Instinct, a "free to play" title that sells individual characters and content to players looking to expand their experience. A new pack of characters was released for season 2 of the title, giving players further access to both new characters and classics from the original two arcade classics, and now season 3 is looming with a new set of characters and a new twist: "guest-fighters" from other series.
Case in point: While a new trailer focuses its attention on returning Killer Instinct 2 fighter Kim Wu, last seen in 1996, the reveal grabbing fan's attention is a post-trailer "stinger" revealing an entirely new challenger from Microsoft's Halo franchise.
Once Kim Wu has finished showing off her formidable nunchaku skills, the trailer cuts to black before booting back up to a firefight clearly taking place in the Halo universe and scored by the series' iconic choral soundtrack. The feet, legs, and torso of an armored alien creature are seen stomping into frame before a hand swoops down to arm a Sangheili Energy Sword before cutting to the "KI" logo; seeming to announce that Thel 'Vadamee, a.k.a. "The Arbiter," is coming to the Killer Instinct Tournament.
'Vadamee joins Rash from Battletoads as the second non-KI-originating fighter to join the roster. Exactly what type of attacks or fighting style The Arbiter will make use of in Killer Instinct is unknown, though as a playable character in Halo 2, 'Vadamee made use of stealth and lethal hand-to-hand combat expertise in contrast to the run-and-gun gameplay associated with playing as Master Chief. The anime feature Halo Legends featured a story set on the Elite homeworld, which was depicted as similar to feudal Japan and featured a similar Arbiter to 'Vadamee displaying martial-arts prowess inspired by samurai weapon-mastery.
Originating as a Nintendo-exclusive series from Rare (now owned by Microsoft) first developed to showcase the "Ultra 64" technology as an arcade engine, Killer Instinct involves a megalomaniacal corporation that organizes fighting tournaments in order to protect its interests. The 2013 version involved a reboot of the series' convoluted mythology, which allowed for aliens, robots, humanoid dinosaurs, skeletons and other strange creatures to appear as characters. The Arbiter (and Rash for that matter) should have no difficulty fitting in, given that the series is already home to a werewolf who may or may not be the descendant of 1984 PC game hero Sabreman. It remains to be seen whether or not the chance to join the battle as Thel 'Vadamee will draw new fans to the series or convince existing players to buy the new characters -- while popular within the Halo mythos, many gamers and critics were less than fond of the "Arbiter sections" in Halo 2 on its initial release.
Killer Instinct: Season 3 will release in 2016.
Source: Killer Instinct