As a KOF fan I’m honestly very disappointed in this new sprite style they’re using. Some characters look fine(such as Shen Woo), but some look quite awful. King, Yuri, and Mai are some of the worst spritework I have ever seen in a high end 2d fighter. First off, King and Yuri are way way too skinny, namely their arms. They actually have skeletal looking arms. Mai seems fine, but she shares the same godawful face that both Yuri and Athena have, it makes them look like really ugly loli/dolls or something. King’s hair is poofy looking, it doesn’t even match her ingame art! We already know the problems with Clark and Ralf, so we need not mention that.
The stages are no better. They look really uninspired and bland, there’s nothing all that interesting about them. We went from fat people stages and that large generic looking stadium in XII, to that weird japanese arena surrounded by sumo, an elephant party in India, and some really bland UK stage that just looks boring(it oddly resembles that really boring America stage in kof 2001). Why no really cool stages like the ones from kof 99, or 96? The sewet stage in 99 was really interesting and looked to have much more thought put behind it than these stages, which seem to be just SNK slapping tons of weird looking people into generic bgs.
The sprite style itself just isn’t that good honestly. Old school kof had very realistic looking sprites with realistic proportions on characters. These sprites just look really odd and like some weird anime, even the shading has taken a dive(if you notice, some sprites the shading seems off and not as detailed as in old kof sprites). What SNK should have done was make sprites in a style more similiar to the following games:
Art of Fighting 3
All three of these games have a much better art direction with their sprites, the characters have more realistic proportions and actually look good. I’d prefer if SNK had done XII and XIII in the style Daraku Tenshi used, it would have fit kof much much better. These current sprites feel more like something ArcSys would make, just with slightly more shading to be honest. I think for XIV SNK should go back to the drawing board, and redo these sprites in a more realistic style. I realize this would be hard, so they can simply edit the current sprites they have into something better. Perhaps hire Shinkiro or Hiroaki to work with the spritework. Anything but what they are currently doing, it just doesn’t look that good to justify the time wasted on it.