16 Things You Might Not Know About Killer Instinct

By Mike Fahey on at

Did you know Donkey Kong Country was instrumental in the development of Rare fighting game Killer Instinct, or that female fighter Orchid was once simply called "Wanda"? You do now, and there's more where that came from.

It's kind of uncanny, really. I was just flipping through my Xbox One games and decided to screw around in the new Killer Instinct's practice mode. It was the first time I've screwed with the game in ages. Then Did You Know Gaming shows up with this video. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Here's some of what they tell you.

  • Killer Instinct began as a street punk-themed fighting game called Brute Force.
  • While coming up for ideas for the planned fighting game, Rare's Kevin Bayliss started fooling around with 3D rendering software, which led to the game's 3D look and feel.
  • Rare's pitch for the pre-rendered 3D Donkey Kong Country prompted Nintendo to ask what else the developer was working on using the technology. What else was Killer Instinct.
  • TJ Combo was developed for a pre Killer Instinct boxing game prototype.
  • Several characters, specifically the fire and ice duo of Cinder and Glacius, were developed after Rare started getting fancy with their rendering software.
  • Cinder was originally planned to be more lava-based than fire-based, and Bayliss toyed with the idea of letting him switch between the two forms.
  • Orchid was originally a blonde in a red costume, and went by the names "Roxxy Rave" and "Wanda."
  • Riptor was once called "Toxin. "
  • Spinal was named "Argo" at one point, in reference to the classic fantasy film Jason and the Argonauts, which famously featured stop-motion skeletal warriors.
  • TJ Combo was once called "Mr. Fist", and I am sad they changed it.
  • Cinder had the most alternate names, including "Meltdown", "Magma", "Heatshade" and "Pyrotech."
  • Sabrewulf is named after the game Sabrewulf, a Rare hit from back when they were called Ultimate Play The Game.
  • Though Spinal's bio states he is thousands of years old, Chief Thunder's ending suggests Spinal is actually his long-lost brother, Eagle. Confusing matters further, in the comic books, Fulgore turns out to be Eagle in a suit. So confused.
  • The Killer Instinct arcade game was a first, requiring a harddrive to store its full-motion video sequences and CD-quality sound.
  • Killer Instinct was advertised as if it were running on Nintendo's Ultra 64 hardware. Hahahahahahaha.
  • Cinder's famous infinite combo glitch was such a big issues that a ROM patch had to be issued for every Killer Instinct arcade machine — some 17,000 units. Even better, the patches had to be performed on-site by Nintendo teams. That's one expensive patch.