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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
The King of Fighters
The King of Fighters
The entire series is an alternate universe of Fatal Fury.
The primary piece of evidence for this is that Geese Howard, who died after being knocked off the top of Geese Tower by Terry Bogard, is still alive as late as KOF 2003. In the Fatal Fury series, he's as dead as a doornail, which is why Terry adopts Geese's son Rock. Characters from the latest game in the FF series (Garou: Mark of the Wolves) have shown up in the KOF games, but Rock has not. Either Terry has not killed Geese yet (which doesn't make sense, seeing as in 2003 he has his Garou look, which he adopted after he killed Geese and adopted Rock), or he never will (which removes his purpose for adopting Rock in the first place).
  • Rock has shown up in KOF, albeit as a pre-teen and only in a couple of Terry's ending poses. However, since Garou took place in 2008, we can probably expect him to join you in the fights within the next game or two.
  • More proof for this is that Ryo is supposed to be older than Terry, due to Art of Fighting taking place before Fatal Fury. From my understanding Ryo should probably be the 2nd Mr. Karate by now in The King of Fighters.
    • The first statement is technically true. Fatal Fury 1 and 2 have "The King Of Fighters" in their character select screens, meaning the the King Of Fighters tournament started in 1992, with the events of the original Fatal Fury. The King Of Fighters 1993 tournament saw more international participation, before it turned into KOF '94. Anything Fatal Fury-wise is localized in South Town.
    • I thought that this was a given. Chronologically, the Art of Fighting series (most specifically, the second game) leads into Fatal Fury. After 2, Fatal Fury spun off into The King of Fighters and the two timelines split (certain events happened in the original timeline, such as Geese's death, which would conflict heavily with KOF). About Rock Howard possibly joining you in the future, three things to point out: 1. Every character has had their ages frozen since '95. Thus, Rock, who appears in 2001 and 2002 as a six or seven-year-old (as apposed to being 17 in Garou), will stay that age in KOF; 2. According to Word of God, the developers are saving him up for the next Garou (which will probably never happen), hence his appearances in Maximum Impact (another Alternate Continuity where Geese is again dead), Capcom vs. SNK 2, and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum; 3. SNK gives Terry's birthdate (at least by Fatal Fury standards) as March 15, 1971 and he's 35 in Garou, which would mean that Garou would be set in 2006 (ironically, that was the English title for Maximum Impact 2; maybe SNK is trying to tell us something). If they really wanted to, they could just Retcon this and age up Rock, but that would be odd considering that the rest of the cast are in their teens and twenties when they should really be in their twenties and thirties.

Ash Crimson is a metafictional character written by Kula Diamond in an attempt to cope with her hatred of fire and get along better with K'.
His "flames" are an extremely non-fiery green, he's known to be out to get Kyo and Iori (both fire-users Kula doesn't hang around with) but not K' (who Kula does hang around with), and check out what a dead ringer Kula's Normal E costume in Maximum Impact 2 is for the guy. He's so important to the plot because Kula needs to give him lots of screentime in order to maximize his author-therapy value.
  • By extension, the current 2D KOF storyline looks so much like the one before the NESTS saga because it's all metafictional, and Kula is not a very original writer. The Maximum Impact games are where continuity actually goes after the NESTS saga ends. (Note that this WMG chain is a joke response to something in the series' Headscratchers entry. Mostly.)
    • Unfortunately, with the roster additions in Maximum Impact 2 Regulation A, either this (rather amusing) theory is trashed, or Kula's creation has transcended his meta-fictional nature to join the tournaments proper. Granted, this would be a very Ash thing to do...
    • Maybe they were subjects to the same cloning experiment, that might explain the resemblances. Also, don't forget that Ash took Chizuru's mirror, so, he's just taking the other two talismans... Perhaps he's an AU Death Buster?

Okay, okay... who is Gato's father?
I cannot stop thinking, for no reason I can adequately explore, that it's Heidern...
  • Doubtful. Given their ages, Heidern would be 17 when Gato was born.

Original Zero from 2001 is Chris from '97
Per their shockingly similar idle stances. His change in appearance is what's left of his transformation into Orochi after Orochi is resealed (white hair, not being a small kid). Possibly, after exploding in the ending of '97, Kyo, Iori, and Chris are all picked up by NESTS, who clone Kyo, don't clone Iori, and make Chris a high-level executive.
  • There's also always the more classic fan-theory that Garou: Mark Of the Wolves Freeman is an older, much more embittered and insane Chris who for whatever reason lost his Orochi powers. Granted, the theory is based on his stand-up animations and some of his attacks, the fact that Freeman's alternate colour schemes include the colours for Chris and Orochi Chris, the more recent revelation that flameless Iori and Freeman share many moves, and (most importantly) the fandom's unwillingness to accept that anyone actually dies in the series. But if we're going to toss out "Chris never died" theories, this editor felt this oldie was worth mentioning.
    • It's also worth mentioning that people have suggested Yashiro is Mukai, by dint of white hair and earth powers, and that the Orochi clone in Neo-Geo Battle Coliseum is indicative of... something in canon, usually that Chris is fine and the New Faces Team's return is imminent. Again, despite the fact that maybe a dozen people have actually died in the whole series, the fandom is entirely unwilling to accept even that small number of deaths.

There is more than one King of Fighters tournament a year, and the series thus far has taken place over only three years.
To date, every single KOF tournament has served as a cover-up for some villain's schemes. It's gotten to the point that the Heidern Mercenaries automatically go into full alert when an invitation arrives, and various other characters have started wondering why they can't have a normal tournament for once. Now notice that no one has ever aged over the course of the series; Athena, Terry, Andy, Kyo, Robert, Billy, King, Benimaru and Kensou are about the only characters who so much as change outfits. Every tournament that is contained in a single arc, therefore, occurs in the same year - '94, '95, '96 and '97 are all held in one year, '99-'01 are the second year and '02, XI and XII are the third.

  • Wasn't KOF '96 sponsored by Chizuru Kagura for the sole purpose of finding fighters strong enough to defeat Goenitz?
  • Yes, but I don't see how that's relevant. Anyway, three words: Comic. Book. Time. Every tournament is a new year (and thus XI, XII, and XIII would likely be 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively), but having each character be their actual age would make most of the currently youthful cast jump up about a decade in years.
    • If I recall, isn't XII not canon since they don't mention Orochi nor Those from the Past, and it being an Obvious Beta?
    • The latter, yes. That (and XII's low headcount) is also why there were no official teams in the game. That still wouldn't refute the idea, as '99 and 2003 took place in their respective years despite KOF going on a hiatus the year before in both cases.

The Geese Howards that appear in various games are actually different people taking on the "Geese Howard" name. The original died a long time ago (perhaps killed during Art of Fighting 2!), but used this plot in a Magnificent Bastard-style Legacy Character plot to continue his legacy of crime, as well as having surgery to resemble him, martial arts training to learn his techniques (With some making new ones to explain his knowledge and use of the Deadly Rave and Rashoumon) and mental conditioning to have his personality and knowledge of the Bogards.

  • Well, if people deny his whole "being immortal" story, then this might make good enough sense.

Rugal is Not Quite Dead and may have been in league with NESTS

  • This theory has been around for ages, but not on here. Well, here it is. Firstly, its not stated if it really IS the real Rugal in 95. The real one could be alive and in hiding until he has enough power to get revenge on Kyo and all those who opposed him. Secondly, there is artwork of a number of '95-era Omega Rugals in various stasis containers. Secondly and most blatantly, in 2000, when a dead Striker is called upon, they fade away in some form (Chris flickering away, Goenitz exploding into a tornado), but when Rugal is summoned... he jumps off. The only Strikers to do this are still living ones and its our understanding that Rugal DIED in '95. Also, non-canon as it is we have his winquote to the NESTS team in 2002: "There are those who you just can't betray", hinting that if he IS alive, NESTS had something to do with it. This is exemplified with the end picture in 2002, showing Rugal sitting on a throne, surrounded by NESTS members (Krizalid, Igniz, Original Zero and various others).
    • For one instance, he could have not only survived his boat's explosion in '94, but had been an Olympic Champion swimmer and made it to shore where one of his followers helped him out. Then he had a clone masquerade as himself, complete with Orochi power. The reason Rugal exploded was probably 'cause if it were a clone then they couldn't possibly handle the power that Rugal could manage flawlessly.
      • Even though it's non-canon, when you fight Omega Rugal in '98, you see him emerging while covered in wires. Possibly it is either a clone, or a now feral Rugal who was recovering in a stasis tank that got somewhat damaged by the sinking of his boat. His win portrait shows his arms as being held by a number of wires while his face is a perfect example of insanity.
      • Then his intro in 2002, wherein it shows him in his plane. He is wearing a coat attached to various wires. Could it be a NESTS clone, or the real thing, with a larger semblance of sanity than his '98 self, which was clearly prematurely re-awakened and therefore unstable?
      • This theory may hold water, because in the console-exclusive SkyNoah stage for XIII, the ship's monitor feed is hijacked in the final round and shows Rugal's face, clear as day, on the monitor.
      • Rugal's face appearing on the monitor might actually be for fanservice reasons.

Time runs in a different cycle in the KOF's Earth, as it's an Alternate Universe of our world.
Their year mark might be a completely different thing as well. It would explain how much years passed and nobody got older. Well, nobody except Rock Howard. But this might be explained that they age to teenagers quicker than our planet's humans, too. It would make Bao's absence open a field to imagination; he probably is a Bishōnen after a couple of (our) years.

Adelheid and Rose Bernstein's mothers are Mature and Vice, respectively
It's in the personalities of Rugal's kids, really. Adel is honorable and sporting, mirroring Mature being the classier of the secretary duo. demeanor. Meanwhile, Rose's Rich Bitch-to-the-hilt act clearly takes from Vice's wild, borderline-insane personality. As to how this happened... you don't think Rugal simply had Mature and Vice just do secretarial work when he hired them, did you?
  • That would also make Adel and Rose part-Orochi, and thus susceptible to the Riot of the Blood. Given that Orochi's seal was already broken, and fellow halfas Leona and Iori have already experienced the RotB (in 2003 and XI, respectively), this could make for an interesting concept in the next game.
    • Assuming they were conceived after Rugal fought Goenitz, wouldn't they already have some minor Orochi power? I'd always assumed the Genocide Cutter was a result of the Orochi claw powers demonstrated by Iori, Leona, et al.
    • Looking back on things, even with Comic Book Time in effect, Adel and Rose (given their ages) would have to have been conceived before the start of the series, which could possibly coincide with some unspecified period after Goenitz ran into Rugal, cut out his eye, gave Rugal a portion of the Orochi power, and then sent Mature and Vice to keep watch over Rugal. That being said, it seems more likely that Mature is both of their parents, as she's the only one of the pair with an explicit attraction to Rugal (after all, Vice didn't get an intro pose where she blew a kiss to Rugal, now did she?).

Freeman from Garou: MotW is Iori after he lost his power.
Freeman looks a lot like Iori with his claws attacks, and he is a bit insane too. Now, if you look at Iori's new KOFXII outfit, it does match with Freeman's outfit ...
  • Jossed. None of their biographical information (DOB, age, nationality, etc.) matches up. Plus, Iori gets his powers back at the end of XIII.

Ash Crimson is Orochi, or some manifestation of him (possibly a Hakkesshu).
Think about it: Ash/Orochi has been unsuccessful in taking out the clans and their descendants thus far, so this time around he wants to take away what makes them a threat- their powers. As much as his fighting ability's been trotted around, he really isn't that proven. He stole Chizuru's power while she was weakened and unaware, and he beat Iori in RoTB. With some connection to Orochi, he probably could have easily beaten him by restricting him, or with his general control over him. And it could just be me, but it seems like he's starting to look better, more vital in each of his subsequent appearances, though this could just be art style.

The children of Goenitz, Igniz, and Original Zero could be eventually be contenders in a future KOF, possibly seeking revenge for the death of their fathers.
I'll dissect this wacky, yet oddly plausible theory piece by piece.

Goenitz first. As we all know, Mr. KOKO DESU KA? was the leader of both the Hakkesshu and the Four Heavenly Kings. He was also 41 in '96. While no implications were given, he could have had a family at that time; he was definitely old enough to be a father. Also, would you have expected Geese and Rugal of all people to have children? Me neither. A lot of you are probably aware of Goeniko, the Midnight Bliss'd version of Goenitz from SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos. Naturally, Fanon and M.U.G.E.N have already come up with multiple backstories for her. Originally, she was supposed to be a clone of Goenitz used by Rugal in his attempts to again gain the power of Orochi. Then, there were more and more riffs on who she was, with additional versions of Goeniko popping up, such as Wind (the daughter of Goenitz who was possessed by Orochi) and Reas (simply a transformation). Again, despite Goenitz being a priest (we don't know what denomination he belonged to, though, even if Christian is a likely bet), he could have possibly settled down. Gaidel, the biological father of Leona, did just that (additionally not wanting anything to do with Orochi). At the end of 2003, it's revealed that the seal on Orochi was broken, possibly allowing for the Wind version (or some variation thereof). With the exception of maybe Gaidel, I'm throwing out the possibility of being a reincarnated Hakkesshu member because everyone except for Yamazaki either died in '96 or '97, which would mean that their reincarnations would be (at the oldest) eight by the time of XI.

Then, there's Igniz. As we all know, Igniz was fifty-six-freakin'-years-old (in 2001) despite being (arguably) the biggest bishie in KOF history. He also had a lover named Misty (that woman with the short white hair who appears in his win poses). For all we know, she could either be close in age to him, or much younger. The key word in the equation is "lover". They weren't married, but for all we know, they could have consummated their relationship countless times over (and if the whole they're both Older than They Look thing applies, they could have been doing this thing before most of the cast was born). Who knows? Maybe (in the most cliched of romantic plot developments) they mated before "lovable" Igniz bit the bullet in his failed Colony Drop. Depending on what happened, they could already have a child, or she could have just given birth. I honestly don't know (and it wouldn't explain why said child hasn't shown up yet). This is SNK we're talking about. Additionally, she comes from the NESTS saga, the KOF arc dealing with a Nebulous Evil Organization that resorted to cloning, genetic manipulation, and bionics. Many playable characters from NESTS had bionically/genetically-enhanced bodies or relied on technologically advanced battle suits. For all we know, both Misty and Igniz could have had their bodies altered to the point that having a child would result something along the lines of Sephiroth (inserted with Mako cells in the womb) or maybe even Vulcan (stillborn baby that was revived and rapidly sped up to a viable age). Again, who knows? It doesn't explain why she's with Ron (a guy whose taken interest in the MacGuffin sealed within Kensou's body), but then again Misty was a very obscure character.

Original Zero had no children of his own so to speak, but in his profile, it's said that he likes raising children, so he probably adopted a few. He's also a mild case of a Noble Demon. Oh, and he's dead. To be honest, K' & co. didn't kill him; Zero simply let them go on as he went down with the blimp.

Anyway, it might be cool to see the next generation of SNK Bosses (hopefully, they wouldn't be as cheap). Rock and Adel were pulled off quite well. About getting revenge, it may or may not come into play, considering that Rock and Adel are quite different from their fathers (and don't seek revenge for their deaths), thus subverting a case of Generation Xerox and You Killed My Father. Maybe they can all form a "Evil Legacy" Team or something...

  • Actually, in this Troper's opinion, an "Evil Legacy" team would be more along the lines of Adel Bernstein, Rock Howard, and Alba Meira (if he ever makes it to a 2D KOF).
    • The only problem really holding Rock back is that he's only a kid in the main KOF series. You'd have to scroll up his age by about ten years for that to work. I'd also question what Alba Meira's "evil legacy" would be, unless you're referring to his past life of sorts as Judeim (yes, Alba and Soiree are Fate's adopted sons, but Fate was a gang leader who actually strove to keep Southtown peaceful after Geese's death in the MI timeline).

Heidern is a bit of a coward.
  • It would explain why he suddenly stopped entering KOF tourneys at 1996, sending his daughter in his stead: He's actually a tremendous pansy that hides under a table when and if things get hectic. He looks the right age for a good 7 years more of service and I don't think he was mentioned in Word of God's canonical ending to '95. If anything, 2001 marked the time when Ralf finally had enough and dragged that cycloptic buffoon kicking and screaming to the registration counter.
    • That you, Mighty Kombat? :P Or maybe... Heidern is behind everything. His "being captured" by two weird kids at the end of XI is a part of some unspecified grand master plan. In the end, Heidern will step out of the shadows, say "Just as Planned", and will become the worst SNK Boss of all time. Of all time!
    • Considering his power in '94 and '95, I wouldn't put it past him. Then again, I don't know HOW to explain how Clone Zero's clone managed to hold him at gunpoint... unless that was planned for too.
      • He's the commander. It's not his job to fight, he gives the orders.
      • But he's still capable of fighting (after all, who else do you think taught Leona?), he just chooses not to. All according to plan, naturally.

The only reason Yamazaki didn't betray Billy Kane and Blue Mary back in KOF '97 is only because he was still expecting payment from Geese Howard.
  • In KOF '97 the New Faces Team (Yashiro, Shermie and Chris) offered Yamazaki a job in the Hakkeshu when you play as the '97 Special Team (Yamazaki, Billy Kane, Blue Mary). However Yamazaki refused and was more interested in beating them up instead. Though their mistake was not expecting Yamazaki to be willing to betray his teammates their biggest mistake was thinking he'd do it for free. Because in the '97 Special Teams ending for KOF '97 Yamazaki attacked Geese and Billy Kane as he was demanding Geese to pay him for his services. Granted to be fair one could wonder if the New Faces Team could have been able to out-do Geese Howard in payment (or even if Goenitz would've been able to do something about it before KOF '97 occurred as well).

XIII will have some unexpected characters as mid bosses.
  • Jossed. :(
    • Billy Kane in the console version.

Yuri is a mentally scarred and unstable Stepford Smiler.

Charlotte is King's ancestor.
  • Both are blonde, blue-eyed, masculine, badass, classy, French and voiced by Harumi Ikoma.
    • Given how vague SNK is on how connected all of its universes are, I wouldn't put it past them. It's already been hinted that Eiji is Zantetsu's descendant, that Mai is (somehow) descended from Gen-An, and that Kim Hae-Ryeong and Kim Sue II are Kim's respective ancestor and descendant, so why not?

Mai dresses the way she does to distract male opponents.
  • How else can you explain the outfit? I'd say it would work on me, that's for sure.

SNK will give the older game series' characters more sense of a presence in the next The King of Fighters saga.
  • One complaint about The King of Fighters series recently is due to how SNK did seem to be downplaying the fact that the KOF series is supposed to be a big crossover of earlier SNK game series' such as Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting. However in KOF XIII a good portion of the older character did get a bit more of a presence in that game. But while SNK probably won't go so far as to do a Continuity Reboot (kind of like what Mortal Kombat did) now that the Tales of Ash saga is now over with there is a decent chance that SNK would give their older characters a bit more of a chance to shine.
    • The only older characters who I think are in need of exposition are not from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting (they never had any importance in KOF's bigger plot); the only older characters who had importance were Ralf and Clark, who are still playing their minor part in the story by Heidern's command, the others are Athena and Kensou, these two are the ones left hanging about Ron planning bigger schemes and the Dragon Spirit thing, since XI they stalled for Ash's eventual climax, now that it is over, I think it should be brought back to focus again.
  • Well whether if SNK reboots the KOF storyline or not there is a good chance that the Hakkeshu will get more of a spotlight again ever since Vice and Mature have been brought back in the KOF storyline in XIII. In other words the C.Y.S band (Chris, Yashiro and Shermie) along with Goenitz and Yamazaki. Yamazaki will actually work with the Hakkeshu this time (in which Goenitz will have him be well paid for his work) and Yamazaki will be an absolute Troll in the games as well if SNK continues the pre-battle banter from KOF XIII.
    • Aside of the fact that a reboot (which sounds a bit unlikely IMO; I'm the same guy as below if you're wondering) would probably revert things to around the time of the Orochi Saga (which would render the need of having every Hakkesshu member not named Yamazaki come Back from the Dead somewhat pointless), you're forgetting that Mature and Vice immediately depart back for the afterlife in their team's ending. Whether or not Shermie and Chris actually came back or are just random stage cameos is debatable, but what happened to Mature and Vice would probably apply to CYS as well. Plus, there's the fact that the seal on Orochi was restored after XIII. It's possible, if not likely, that Mature and Vice only were able to return from the afterlife because Orochi's seal was broken. And Yamazaki is still a Wild Card when it comes to the Hakkesshu; he has no real interest in helping out the others (now, yes, money could possibly sway him, but Yamazaki still has no interest, especially when he has other potential employers like Geese). Changing the past most likely would not change around his personality (and the same would probably apply to the other Orochi defector, Gaidel).

SNK probably will give the series a Continuity Reboot after the end of KOF XIII.
  • The storyline in KOF XIII seems to be strongly giving off the impression that this is likely due to Ash giving himself a Cosmic Retcon out of existence in which the potential consequences will be a bit more than just making the "Tales of Ash" saga no longer happening.
    • How so? The only implications of the ending is that all of the major events of the entire saga somehow still happened, but without Ash being there because he Ret Goned himself due to the Temporal Paradox he pulled with Saiki. Just about every ending, especially the ones that tie-in the heaviest to the story (i.e. Elizabeth Team, Japan Team, Yagami Team), and the ending scenes of the Story Mode in the console version seem to take place after the tournament and (more importantly) after the Cosmic Retcon. In addition, nothing so far suggests that the absence of Those from the Past in the timeline would conflict with the events of the Orochi Saga or the NESTS Chronicles. It's not impossible, but it also sounds unlikely. Given Saiki's pre-battle dialogue to Kensou (and if SNK is smart), it'd make the most sense to finally bring Ron back into the spotlight. The Dragon Spirit and Hizoku subplots have been dangling over our heads since the NESTS Chronicles started back in '99 and have become more and more complex as time went on. With Orochi sealed again and Those from the Past out of commission, there's really nothing stopping SNK from revisiting that.
  • Alternatively, Elizabeth pulls a Please Don't Leave Me a-la-Shiro, being the only one who remembers Ash, if you believe the console edition's intro.

All of the Dream Match Games are daydreamed up by Shingo.
For the record, this idea isn't entirely mine; it draws from/builds on the theory that '98 was based off the notes Shingo scribbles down in that book of his.

It's somewhat straightforward. Shingo simply jots down facts about all of the fighters he's met, fought against, seen in action, or heard tales about. Of course, Shingo might not always be 100% accurate, leading to minor discrepancies (i.e. movesets, EX characters, the various arenas, edit teams, etc.). Upon learning that he needs to fill in the blanks in certain areas, Shingo revisits his notes and makes an addendum or two, which is how we got '98 Ultimate Match and 2002 Unlimited Match. In particular, the K9999-Nameless switcheroo was Shingo still trying to fit K9999 into his overall idea, but skirting around the fact that he died. Or perhaps he just didn't like the guy and replaced him with an OC of his with similar powers and a more tragic backstory.

Now what about XII, which was touted as a "dream match" much like '98 and 2002? That one's easy. Remember that Shingo was savagely brutalized by Orochi Iori in the previous game and was hospitalized as a result. Who's to say that his notes weren't damaged and outright destroyed during the fight? Shingo tried to reconstruct things from scratch as best he could, but his faulty memory led to "inconsistencies" such as the drastically lowered roster count and characters fighting with movesets that were either reworked or missing moves from previous titles.

Oswald is a member of the Assassin's Guild.
We're talking about a guy who uses playing cards to lethal effect. When compared to a vampire who only needs his fists, a man who can manipulate his own shadow, a woman whose locks are a sentient weapon, and a billiards player, Oswald fits right in.

The NESTS organization are Well-Intentioned Extremists who are manipulated by a Manipulative and/or Magnificent Bastard, Igniz

Ash will be brought back in a future The King of Fighters game.
Insert your own theories regarding this here, because I got nothing.
  • Outside of a dream match, bringing back a character who erased himself from the timestream would cheapen his death in a way worse than when Shadow was revealed to have survived his fall in SA2. And given that it took until XIII for Ash to lose most of the ire he's been incurring since 2003, something like that might just bring him right back to square one with meteoric speed. Time travel might make it possible, but I'm not so sure that'd be for the best.

We will finally get a King of Fighters game with decent English voices.
  • Guess that depends on their budget. Still, you'd think that if SNK can get Norio Wakamoto (among other notable names in the industry) on board for a few of their games, their efforts at dubbing would be of a higher quality than what we've been subjected to for the most part.

The next game after XIII will be a Dream Match Game.
... And we'll finally be able to play as the characters who were Dummied Out of XIII, and we may be able to play as the American Sports Team again for the first time in years.
  • Those characters, if I'm not mistaken, would be Adel, Chang, Malin, Momoko, and Oswald, all of whom were playable in at least one previous installment of the Tales of Ash and thus would already be on the list for inclusion in a real dream match. As great as it'd be to see the American Sports Team back, that's more dependent on how the game would be structured. If it's like '98(UM), then probably not since they weren't in any of the games from 2003-XIII. If it's like 2002 and 2002UM, however, they might stand a chance, as those titles also included characters from previous arcs (i.e. Mature & Vice, the New Faces Team, Billy, Yamazaki, Geese, etc.) alongside all of the playable fighters from the current one. Of course, the biggest problem any of these kind of games faces is the sheer amount of time it'll take to redraw everyone in the new art style. Counting EX characters and the PS2 exclusives in XI, there's still a good 30-something characters uncounted for from the Tales of Ash alone (although the trading cards for XIII hint at not only a few of the missing guys from this arc, but the likes of Geese, Heidern, Orochi, and Igniz, which may be evidence for a 2002-style dream match).

A future Story Arc will revolve around a Death Seeker character.
Basically, the guy had gotten involved in something that caused him to become immortal (obviously), and now that he's several hundred years old, he's grown tired of living, and now wishes to die. He holds the tournament(s) to find someone powerful enough to rid him of his immortality and kill him. The sub-bosses and regular bosses of his arc (other than him) are simply others that he had manipulated/befriended in an attempt to meet his own ends. Naturally, the arc ends with one of the teams finally granting his wish and pulling a Mercy Kill on him. Bonus points if his wish to actually die causes him to freak out Iori, Ryuji, and Silber (if the latter two become playable).
  • Or maybe it'll end with the guy giving up his own existence in exchange for another's (this would be the closest thing he has to death). Whose existence is exchanged for his? None other than Ash Crimson. His explanation is that his time was up centuries ago, but Ash still had his whole life ahead of him. (Note: Yes, I realize how little sense it makes and just how obscene it sounds.)

We will meet the originators of Rugal's other moves.
We already know that he copied the Reppuken and Kaiser Wave techniques from Geese and Krauser, respectively, so maybe the rest of his moves were also copied from others? This theory is based upon the fact that Rugal was originally meant to copy your moves as they're used against him in '94, but was ultimately dropped, and the inclusion of those two moves were a nod to that concept.
  • Dark Barrier could possibly be based off of Athena's Psycho Reflector, though it's dubious unless Rugal could mimic fighting technique simply by seeing them in action. Likewise, Mature's Heaven's Gate DM could have been the basis of Gigantic Pressure (a touch more believable, as Mature was one of his secretaries, although that would imply he fought Mature at some point off-screen).

The Tales of Ash saga isn't done yet.
Despite Ash managing to more or less kill Saiki, the other members of Those From the Past are still around. Shion appears in XIII's Stinger, Shroom and Rimelo were still hanging around last we heard, and Botan is seen walking amidst a crowd in XIII's ending. Not to mention the fact that there appears to be even more members than those faced in the games. Maybe the next game will deal with them trying to resurrect Saiki and/or attempt to bring about his goal?
  • Word of God says XIII was the conclusion of Ash's story, in line with the previously-established convention of three canonical games per arc, followed by a "dream match" (though XII likely messed up the pattern for the Tales of Ash). However, that doesn't mean leftover plot points can't resurface in the next saga. Then again, seeing as there's still no clear sign of the Hizoku/Dragon Spirit subplot (introduced way back in '99 and 2000, with Ron implying the latter to be a really big deal) coming to the fore, piling on more story threads that'll probably never be resolved could prove unsatisfying. And either way, the members not named Mukai, Shion, Magaki, or Saiki may just end up being The Unfought until the end of time.

The American Sports Team are the canonical winners of the King of Fighters '94 tournament.
In their team ending, Brian had decided to go back home, and Heavy D! and Lucky had decided to continue street fighting. The reason they hadn't reappeared in any of the subsequent games (minus '98) is because they simply decided not to partake in any of the other tournaments.
  • I'm pretty sure that the canon KOF '94 winners were the Japan Team. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense for them to have the only pre-Final Boss talk that includes a character non-related to Rugal's entourage: the one where Kyo finds his father Saisyu gravely injured after he loses to Rugal... and is the basis for Saisyu becoming a Brainwashed and Crazy sub-boss in KOF '95.
    • OP here: Yes, I know that Team Japan are the canonical winners, I was simply coming up with an explanation for the US Team's Put on a Bus status.

The VERY final King of Fighters game's boss will be Rugal.
And they reveal that they were Not Quite Dead and were simply biding their time until they were powerful enough to rule the world, and that it was simply a clone that was defeated in '95.

Nameless will become a canon character in the King of Fighters games.
If we ever get around to the Dragon Spirit Arc, it could be revealed that one of NESTS' remnants is Nameless. He will be working alongside Ron because Ron promised that he'll resurrect Isolde if Nameless did what he was told. The game's ending could have it to where Nameless realizes that he had been lied to, and that Ron didn't plan on holding up his end of the deal, but instead had planned on killing Nameless once he got the Dragon Spirit. When Ron's at the player team's mercy, he pleads with Nameless to help him. Nameless either denies Ron any help, or he kills Ron. Either way, he realizes that Isolde will never be brought back from the dead. As he walks away, he tells the now-concerned player team to just go home and forget about him.

SNK will do something big for the series in 2014.
2014 is The King of Fighters' 20th anniversary. My guess would be that it will be a HUGE Dream Match game that encompasses all of the games in the main series. I mean, what better way to celebrate 20 years of King of Fighters?
  • The cast of XIII would remain, with the need of a huge balancing act. Here are some new (probable) teams:
    • Boss Team: Geese Howard, Rugal Bernstein and Igniz.
    • Second Southtown Team: Rock Howard, Kain Heinlein and Billy Kane.
    • Samurai Shodown Team: Haohmaru, Nakoruru, and Genjuro.
    • Ash Team: Ash Crimson, Oswald and (*insert original character here*).
    • Orochi Team: Saiki, Orochi and Mukai.
      • Please make this true, a pachislot machine is not enough.
      • The idea is certainly within the realm of possibility, but whether it happens this year is the real question. As mentioned above, redrawing the characters is a vastly time-consuming effort, taking 16-17 months for 10-11 artists to finish a single fighter. SNK decided to switch to hand-drawn, higher resolution sprites around 2005/2006, and they ended up with the smallest playable roster in the series when XII was released for consoles in 2009 note . Two or so years later, we received an additional 14 for XIII, though five of them note  were Palette Swaps. Going by the XIII-styled trading cards, we know that some of the suggested parties are in the works, but how far along are they? And what about the 30+ characters from 2003 and XI who missed out on XIII? As for the various pachislot games (and that Theatrhythm-style KOF mobile game), that's probably what SNK hopes will generate the revenue that will undoubtedly go right back into development costs.

Kingdoms of Amalur: ReckoningWMG/Video GamesKirby

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