The very first game in the Killer Instinct series was released in 1994, followed up by Killer Instinct 2 and Killer Instinct Gold a couple of years later. Then, there was a long drought before 2013’s reboot of the series, simply titled Killer Instinct, published by Microsoft Studios. It was a launch title for Xbox One, and has since found its way over to the PC, originally through Windows 10, and now via Steam.
If you take a walk down memory lane to the earlier years of this series, it was a simpler time in gaming. Consoles weren’t connected to the internet, so the game you got on launch day was the same game you’d have years later, there were no patches or updates except the occasional Game of the Year edition later on. There also wasn’t any DLC to nickel and dime you, you didn’t have to pay extra to unlock bonus items… you just had to play the game. Rather than a free-to-play game that tempted you to spend money to get the full experience, you’d just buy a game and enjoy it, it was that simple. Those days are long behind us, and one of the biggest reminders of that is when older franchises are rebooted in the modern era. It’s a good thing that developers can put out patches and fix issues with games, but it has also opened up the doors to some not-so-great side effects as well, like constant controversies surrounding paid DLC.
There’s some good news and some bad news in this case. The good news is that Killer Instinct has cross-network play, so you can play with friends who own the game on a different platform. This is something we’ve seen with a handful of titles in recent years, but something we’d still like to see a lot more of, too. In this case, Xbox One owners and PC gamers can play together. We’re still waiting for the days where Xbox, PC, and PlayStation cross-network play will be a common feature, but every step forward is a good thing. After being exclusive to Xbox One and Microsoft’s Windows 10 store, it’s about time that Killer Instinct came to Steam, but there’s another aspect that left some people feeling a little disappointed, too. For one, the cross-network play isn’t available in the ranked game mode.
Killer Instinct is free on Windows 10, with the option to buy additional skins and such, or available for around $40 for the ‘definitive’ version. When it comes to the Steam version, there’s no free-to-play option, you’ve got to pony up the cash and you’ll get all 29 characters from the game (including the newly released Eagle, plus Kilgore and Shin-Hisako remix characters), all 20 stages to play through, all of the costumes, all colors, and all available game modes. If you have existing save games on another version of the game, you’ll have to start from scratch on your Steam version. Some people have been feeling slighted that the skins are included on Steam, if they’ve already had to purchase them separate. The KI team addressed that on a Q+A on their website to clear things up:
“Currently, skin packs have been a purchasable product on Xbox and Windows. The reasoning behind having them bundled into Steam is beyond my developmental comprehension, but what I do know is that we didn’t have a perfect solution for everyone. Bundling them in with Steam means that those who purchased the packs may feel slighted,” the developer explained. “Leaving the packs out of Steam meant that a subset of players wouldn’t have access to the wonderful Gold & Terror skins. Ultimately we decided on the following, and most important part of this paragraph: all Gold and Terror skin packs will be free for KI: Definitive Edition owners in the coming days.
“If you’ve already purchased the skin packs, we very much thank you, and hope you enjoyed using them to your heart’s content. Now you can enjoy any packs that you may have missed out on without having to purchase them (if you’re a DE owner – just reiterating). There are still a few remaining skin packs, and they will be rolled out in the coming months. Gold Skins for Rash, Kilgore, Shin Hisako, and Eagle. Be on the lookout!”
If you’re a fan of the original games and you haven’t checked out the newer one yet, is having it come to Steam enough to encourage you to do so, or would you rather just grab the free version for Windows 10 instead, and aren’t too concerned about all of the paid extras?