KI 3 Design Doc


Taking inspiration from the Street Fighter Perfect project from a few years back I’ve decided to write a design doc for Killer Instinct. This doc will be mainly concerned with global gameplay systems and character specifics of a hypothetical Killer Instinct sequel. My goal with this doc is to build upon the foundations of the first 2 games, take the things that were great about, improve the things that weren’t so great, and change/remove things that I feel don’t work, in addition to adding completely new systems.
I’m a big fan of Killer Instinct. I love the characters, the environments, the animations, the music and soundfx, and of course the ULTRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’S!
Keep in mind this is work in progress so I’ll try and update as often as I can. I know I’m not the only person who has dreamed about a KI sequel so I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions, critiques, and suggestions! So lets begin!


Killer Instinct has always been about the combos and that won’t change. However the combo system has been overhauled and streamlined to make the game more accessible and fun and at the same time technical and engaging! New to the series are EX moves, powered up special attacks and Super Attacks. The ringout concept has been expanded upon with muti-tier stages with breakable walls, floors, and ceilings that lead to new areas where you can continue your fight!


Stunning fully 3D graphics, competitive 2D gameplay. Characters fight to the death on a strict 2D plane.


[]Move - pull joystick left or right
]Block - pull joystick in the opposite direction of the attacker
[]Jump - pull joystick up
]Crouch -pull joystick down
[]Quick Punch (QP)
]Medium Punch (MP)
[]Fierce Punch (FP)
]Quick Kick (QK)
[]Medium Kick (MK)
]Fierce Kick (FK)


Life Gauge

Each player has two lifebars. If a character finishes with his or her opponent’s first life bar, the fight stops and resumes like a round, but the winning character still keeps whatever amount of energy he or she had at that moment. The player who depletes his or her opponent’s second life bar wins the bout.
The first lifebar is green to yellow, the second lifebar is yellow to red.
Also of note the defeated character remains in the same position where he/she is KOed. This means if you get KO’ed in the corner you STAY in the corner.

Super Gauge

Used to power Enhanced Specials, Supers, Ultras, and Ultimates. The meter is charged up by the following actions:
[]Performing Special Attacks (hit, block or whiff)
]Hitting your opponent
[*]Chipping your opponent

[]Getting hit by your opponent’s attacks
The Super Gauge has 4 bars. The Meter Requirements are:
]Enhanced Specials cost 1 bar
[]Supers cost 2 bars
]Ultras cost 3 bars
[*]Ultimates cost 4 bar (also requires 1 Combo Gauge)
Combo Gauge

Used to power [FONT=arial]Linkers. The Ultimate Gauge can only be filled up by performing flashy combos (the bigger the better)[/FONT]

The Combo Gauge has 3 bars. Linker drains 1 bar.

Breaker Gauge

Fills up when you take damage or inflict damage. Combo Breaker drains full bar, then you have to build it up again.


Press Back or Away on the joystick to block. There are 3 different hit levels: High (overhead),
Low, High/Low.


Tap F, F or B, B to dash. Different characters have different types of dashes.
[]Hop/Dash - character leaps forward
]Run - character runs forward, can cover a lot of distance in short amount of time
Chain System

Replacing the ‘Automatic Combo’ system of previous titles the game uses a more open chain system. Basically any punch can chain into a kick of the same strength, and an attack of lower strength can be chained into the subsequent attack of the next strength.
[]You cannot chain Q attack into Q attack. This makes hit confirming a bit difficult and demands you commit to a chain
]You can chain a F attack into M attack i.e. FP>MP or FK>MK
[*]Overheads can be used inside chains but they lose their Overhead properties. But if you start a chain with an Overhead the properties remain the same (similar to KOF) i.e. Cinder’s QP, MK, f.FP can all be blocked crouching but f.FP, MK must be blocked standing.

In addition any normal can be cancelled into a special attack (there are a few exceptions).
Autocombos are still present in the form of multihit normals and certain special attacks with Autohits.
Cancelling is very lenient and you can cancel right after the startup frames of any move. You cannot chain/cancel moves if they completely whiff.

Juggle System

There are no artificial restrictions on juggling. Whatever you can think of you should be able to do. In order to deal with infinite combos I’d like to implement an infinite detection system similar to Skull Girls. Once an infinite is detected you get a free combo breaker.

Special Attack

Perform special moves by inputting directional movements and button presses

Enhanced Special Attack

Endspecials return in the form of Enhanced Special attacks. Press PP or KK when inputting a special move to perform enhanced versions of special moves, requires 1 bar of Super Gauge.

Super Attack

High damage and powerful moves that can only be performed once you have 2 bars of Super Meter.

Ultra Combo

An even MORE powerful attack that can only be performed once you have 3 bars of Super Meter.

Ultimate Combo

The most powerful attacks in the game. They can only be performed when both your Super Gauge and Combo Gauge are full. Also your opp must be at 20% life.

**Retaliation **

Character specific wakeup move, armor frames


QP+QK to execute a parry. You can Parry while standing, crouching, or jumping. Very punishable on whiff, on hit can be followed by a full combo (think Last Blade). Not every character has a parry.


Press F+FP to perform a forward throw, press F+FK to perform a back throw. Press P to break a Forward Throw and K to break a Back Throw.

Combo Breaker

QCF MP+MK while being comboed. Stops your opp combos. You can only break after the first hit in a combo. You cannot break Supers, Ultras, or Ultimates. Costs half meter, cannot be comboed off of.

Different attacks have different breaker windows:
[]normals (small window, hard to break)
]specials (medium window, not so hard to break)
[]linkers (large window, easy to break)
]Supers, Ultras, Ultimates (unbreakable)

QCB MP+MK, interrupts current attack (character specific), can be followed by full combo, costs 2 bars. The Linker can be performed on the ground and in the air, limited tracking ability.



Cinder is one of the most broken characters in fighting game history. For an explanation why check out this vid:
So one of my goals with Cinder is to retain his unique characteristics and fun factor without beating him to death with the nerf hammer and at the same time make him not completely broken.
[]In KI1 Cinder is the only character who can ‘glide’ in the air after a jump. This is a cool feature but its completely broken in its current state, allowing Cinder to dominate in the air with little risk. I’m still thinking about how to balance this feature: either turn it into a command move and make him fall a bit slower so its easier to knock him out of the air OR remove it completely.
]Fireflash (flipkick) flat out beats every move in the game and is very difficult to punish. Also it was immune to projectiles. So in KI3 the priority is toned down and the recovery window increased enough to make it punishable. Also he is very vulnerable to attack from below and the fireball immunity is removed.

[]double air Trailblazer (torpedo). The problem was you could pass behind an opponent and then instantly do a 2nd Trailblazer in the opposite direction. This creates some really messed up crossups, and in the SNES version it was UNBLOCKABLE! To prevent this I have 3 solutions; air trailblazer doesn’t pass through an opponent, trailblazer reverse followup has more startup so its easier to see it coming and react, also it has a smaller hitbox.
]his fierce Trailblazer had a super-hit effect. Meaning it did double stun and knockdown. Well his fierce TB still causes knockdown but it doesn’t have the added stun damage.

[]Trailblazer cancelling/resets is removed.
]Invisibility toned down.

[*]Removed teleport


**QP - **jab
MP -
FP -
QK -
MK - 2 autohits, good poke
FK -
**c.QP - **jab
**c.MP - **poke
c.FP - anti-air jumpers at max range, good poke
**c.QK - **slightly better range than c.QP
**c.MK - **good poke
c.FK - sweep
**j.QP - **
**j.MP - **2 autohits
j.FP - good air-to-air
**j.QK - **
**j.MK - **good air-to-air
**j.FK - ** good air-to-ground


**Fireslam - **F+FP - steps forward and throws a flaming overhand left. OVERHEAD
Blazing Uppercut - B+MP - quick anti-air
2nd Degree Burn - MPx2 - left/right hook combination


Forward Throw** - **Curb stomps opp twice then soccer kicks him

** Back Throw - **Trips opp and sends him tumbling behind


**Trailblazer - **F , F, Punch - Bursts into flame and rushes towards opponent. Air OK
[]Q close, 1 hit
]M medium, 2 hit
[]F far, 3 hits, KNOCKDOWN
]EX far, 4 hits. Manuever up or down slightly with Stick ARMOR, FLOAT
**Afterburn - **P (after Traiblazer) - A followup Trailblazer.

[]Q horizontal KNOCKDOWN
]M diagonal up LAUNCH
[*]F reverse KNOCKDOWN
**Air Afterburn - **P (after Air Traiblazer) - A followup Trailblazer.

[]Q horizontal KNOCKDOWN
]M diagonal down KNOCKDOWN

[]F reverse KNOCKDOWN
**Inferno - **F, F, Kick - a stream of fire propagates from Cinder’s hands. QP is short range, FP is long range.
]Q close, 1 hit

[*]M medium, 3 hits

[*]F far, 5 hits

[*]EX fullscreen, 7 hits

**FireFlash - **DP Kick - backflips, firetrailing his feet. QK is safest and lowest to the ground, FK is unsafe and travels highest
[]Q low, 1 hit LAUNCH
]M medium, 2 hits LAUNCH
[]F high, 2 hits LAUNCH
]EX 2 flips, 4 hits LAUNCH
**Mirage - **HCB Punch - Vanishes into thin air
[*]Q immune to projectiles, lasts 1 secs

[]M immune to projectiles, lasts 2 secs
]F immune to projectiles, lasts 3 secs
[*]EX invisible (embers still visible), lasts 5 secs
Human Fireball (Super) - QCFx2 P - Powered up Trailblazer that carries opp all the way to the corner then explodes. Air OK, UNBREAKABLE

Fourth of July (Ultra) - QCBx2 P - a flurry of hits ending with an upward trailblazer that propels the opponent hundreds of feet into the air, ending with a spectacular air burst. UNBREAKABLE

**Meltdown **(Ultimate) - HCB, QCF P - a flurry of hits that sets the opp on fire, ending with a Trailblazer that blasts straight through the opp chest, leaving a gaping hole. Cinder lifts his fist in victory as the opp collapses in a smoldering, bloody heap. ARMOR, UNBREAKABLE


c.QK, s.MK, c.MK, s.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (16 hits)

FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (19 hits)

F+FP (overhead), s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (30 hits)

air QP Trailblazer, air MP Afterburn, c.QK, s.MK, c.MK, c.HP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, EX Fireflash (launch), FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (37 hits)

****JAGO ****


b+FK - 2 hits, 2nd hit is OVERHEAD


Forward Throw** - **

** Back Throw - **


**Endokuken - **QCF Punch - Chucks some plasma with palm.

[*]Q short range burst (kinda like Ryo), 1 hit

[]M fireball dissipates at midscreen, 1 hit
]F fullscreen fireball, 1 hit

[*]EX double fireball, 2 hits
**Windkick - **HCB Kick - “HOYAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” Jago kicks opp right in the face.

[*]Q short range, 1 hit

[]M midscreen, 1 hit
]F fullscreen, 1 hit

[*]EX fullscreen, 3 hits

**Shaolin Sword - **HCB Punch - Jago executes 2 graceful swipes with his sword.

[*]Q 2 hit

[*]M 2 hits

[*]F 2 hits

[*]EX 4 hits, ARMOR

**Thousand Strikes - **QP (after Sword Slash) - stabs opp repeatedly, 6 hits

**Lifting Slash - **MP (after Sword Slash) - launches opp into the air, 2 hits, LAUNCH

**Low Slash - **FP (after Sword Slash) - must be blocked low, 1 hit, KNOCKDOWN

**Tiger Fury - **DP Punch - Dragon Pawnch!

[]Q 1 hit LAUNCH
]M 2 hits LAUNCH
[]F 3 hits LAUNCH
]EX 4 hits, uppercuts with sword, launches opp in the air, slashes 3 times with sword, last hit KNOCKDOWN

** (Super) -** QCFx2 P - UNBREAKABLE

** (Ultra) -** QCBx2 P - UNBREAKABLE

** (Ultimate) -** HCB, QCF P - ARMOR, UNBREAKABLE


QP, MP, MP, f+MK, FP Shaolin Sword, Lift Slash, j.MK, j.FK, FP, FK, FP Tiger Fury, Linker, j.MK, j.FK, MP, FP, FK, FK Windkick, Linker, MP, FP, FK, FP Tiger Fury (30 hits)


Killer Instinct Manual:

On the dark theme, this post is just a bunch of white dots, one sentence, and the random word “unbreakable”

i love the esotheric auto combo system of the previous KI games :confused:

i’m pretty sure there is a specific sub-forum for this kind of things.

hmmm honestly don’t know how to fix that

Really? I mean yeah it was unique but I couldn’t remember half of the wacky rules regarding autodoubles, linkers, end finishers, and the rock/paper/scissors combo breakers. I’ve never been able to pull off a combobreaker in my life lol. The chain system just frees you up to be creative with your combos. You don’t have to remember a bunch of rules about which button follows which attack. All you need to know is QP chains to MP to FP, and any normal can be cancelled into any Special (with a few exceptions).
Anyways my goal wasn’t to completely remove autocombos, just to repurpose them in the form of certain normals and special attacks. For instance Cinder’s MK is a 2 hit autocombo, his Trailblazer has a punch followup that adds an extra hit, and his EX Fireflash does 2 flips, 4 hits altogether.
Simplified the Linker system. Its function is similar to an FADC or a Roman Cancel. You can cancel any normal or special and extend your combos. You can even do it in the air!
Simplified the Combo Breaker. Basically all attacks are breakable except for Supers, Ultras, and Ultimates. Different attacks have different breaker windows:
[]normals (small window, hard to break)
]specials (medium window, not so hard to break)
[*]linkers (large window, easy to break)
Both Linkers and Combo Breakers cost 50% meter.
I’m thinking of making 2 meters: Super Meter powers EX moves and Super moves, Ultra Meter powers Breakers, Linkers, Ultras, and Ultimates

Okay maybe a mod could move this there?

Edit the post, click on the A on the upper right of the box to switch to BBCode more and then take out all of the [COLOR] tags.

well, iirc the rules were quite simple actually, the flow for the auto combo wasnt that hard to remember, and making combo breakers was quite easy actually, that its why you barely saw combos higher of 4 or 5 at high level ki play
the only real thing that i thought back in the day that ki needed was throws, but because the staff members of rare were scrubs that disliked them that its why you never saw them on the game

btw making the auto combo more like a chain/link system like youu describe would hurt the combo abilities of many chars, you wouldnt be able to do stuff like
[4]6mk, mk, 321mk mk 321mk mk {whatever ender you wanted to do}, cuz you wouldnt be able to make recursive auto combos for example

Thanks! Fixed it (hopefully)

The KI combo system is NOT simple at all! Can you explain the rules to me in less than 3 sentences?

Making the the autocombos into a chain system will not hurt the combo abilities at all. The combo you described would still be possible in a fashion. It would probably look a little something like this:

QP, MK, c.MK, FP, FK, FK Cyberdash, Linker, MK, FK, FP, FK Cyberdash, Linker, MK, FK, FP, FK Cyberdash, PlasmaSlice

Here are some Cinder combos I came up with based on my proposed combo system. NOTE: due to pushback the opp will probably be out of range after 4-5 hits in a chain unless you have a normal that travels forward a bit.

c.QK, s.MK, c.MK, s.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (16 hits)

FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (19 hits)

F+FP (overhead), s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (30 hits)

air QP Trailblazer, air MP Afterburn (must be blocked high), c.QK, s.MK, c.MK, c.HP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, Linker, s.FK, s.FP, c.FP, FP Trailblazer, MP Afterburn (launch), s.MPx2, s.FP, s.FK, EX Fireflash, FP Trailblazer, QP Afterburn (37 hits)

Your game system has both Parry AND Combo Breaker?

This is going to be a really bad game.

LOL why is that? Keep in mind this isn’t a 3rd Strike type parry, this is more like Last Blade parry. Meaning High Risk. Think of it like Gouken’s parry in SF4. Very situational, very risky and punishable.

Parry as a mechanic is pretty terrible, while having it AND a combo breaker means you’re going to get a pretty subpar game as far as offense goes.

Just drop the parry idea. Combo breaker is fine by itself.

Hmm you kinda have a point there… While I don’t agree that parry’s are “terrible”, it might make the game too defensive.

The parry mechanic wasn’t terrible. Parry>Focus Attack.

oh hey, another “game doesn’t exist, here’s what I wish it was FAPFAPFAP” thread

Really? We are talking about SF3 Parry, right? Compared to parries, FA is the most genius fighting game mechanic in decades.

Yeah you got a problem with that?

Focus attack is just a combination of a parry and a roman cancel, but I feel like it could have been implemented better. You still haven’t explained why SF3 parry’s are so terrible. I agree its not perfect, it could use some tweaking.

Before SF3, what defined the SF series was the fireball game.

SF3 came and said “Fuck your fireballs”

Before SF3 a stupid jumpin would cost you health, in most cases a lot

SF3 came and said "Fuck your extremely unsafe jumpins.

Before sf3 when you made a lot of bad desicions you were check mated

SF3 came and said "Fuck getting outplayed"

Before Sf3, I enjoyed every sf game.

Negative-Zer0 came and said "Fuck your SF3."
It isn’t bad, but I still don’t like it.

Pretty much this. The way parry was implemented in SF3 completely destroyed character archetypes, strategies, and downplayed the entire idea of a ‘mind game’ (not that most people on SRK know what that means anymore).

SF3 without parries would be alright (aside from some of the annoying hit confirms into super, but that’s a whole other topic.)

Focus attack is MUCH more than Parry + Roman Cancel. It allows you to absorb a single move (though it can actually BE BEATEN by certain moves, important distinction) at the cost of both a temporary loss of life AND limited options afterward.

I agree SF3 parry kinda dominated everything else. If there was ghost-life and parry-breaking moves that would have helped considerably.
Have you ever played Last Blade? I think they implemented parry’s quite well.