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The King of Fighters (KOF) is a series of fighting games by SNK that began with The King of Fighters ’94 in 1994. The series was originally developed for SNK’s Neo Geo MVS arcade hardware, which served as the main platform for the series until 2004, when SNK retired the MVS in favor of the Atomiswave arcade board. Two King of Fighters games were made for the Atomiswave platform (The King of Fighters Neowave and The King of Fighters XI) before SNK decided to discontinue using the platform for the series. The last arcade hardware for the series is the Taito Type X2, with its first usage coming with the release of The King of Fighters XII. Ports of the arcade games and original The King of Fighters games have been released for several video games consoles. The latest entry in the series, The King of Fighters XIV, was released for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows in 2016. The next game, The King of Fighters XV, is set to be released during 2020.
The story of the games focuses on the title tournament where fighters from multiple SNK games take part. SNK also created original characters to serve as protagonists from each of their story arcs while still interacting with the member from Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury among others. Multiple spin-off games such as the R duology from the Neo Geo Pocket, the Maximum Impact for the PlayStation 2, among others have also been released. There have multiple cross-over games where the SNK cast interacted with characters created by Capcom while some characters have been present as guest characters in other games such as Geese Howard in Tekken 7, Kyo Kusanagi in Fighting Days among others.
The King of Fighters was originally conceptualized side-scrolling beat ’em up, titled Survivor until SNK changed it to the fighting game that took the subtitle from the first Fatal Fury game: Fatal Fury: King of Fighters. Though originally released as yearly releases starting from arcades for the Neo Geo to video game consoles, ever since The King of Fighters XI, the company decided take more time to develop their games. Critical reception to the video games has been generally positive to due its usage of teams to fight, balancing in gameplay though critics were divided in the challenging boss fights.