gaming

Our Ultimate 'King of Fighters XV' Roster Wishlist

andy bogard mobile
SNK

SNK is back, baby!

The longtime Japanese gaming publisher/developer has gotten back into fighting form thanks to releases such as The King of Fighters XIV, Samurai Shodown (2019), and their continued mobile gaming efforts. Now that the company is back on a more solid footing these days, SNK is answering their passionate fans’ requests by presenting an entirely new entry in the KOF franchise. And based on the ending of the last game, all bets are off - it doesn’t matter if a character met their demise in the series' past since Verse’s demise revived a good majority of them. KOF games tend to go big when it comes to their final roster count, so we know KOF XV is going to “shatter all expectations” by featuring a huge mixture of expected faces, shocking returns, and cool newbies.

Based on our previous experiences with past SNK fighters, we know which characters would be perfect for a welcome comeback. This is our ultimate KOF XV roster wishlist.

1. Rock Howard ('Garou: Mark of the Wolves')

rock howard
SNK

Never mind all that chronological order business when it comes to who’s too old or too young to make it into a KOF game. KOF XIV added Garou: Mark of the Wolves’ poster boy to its roster and he looked/played as good as his 2D counterpart. We’re hoping that SNK took notice of how popular Rock ended up being thanks to his 3D reintroduction and makes the wise decision to upgrade him for inclusion in KOF XV. If there’s anyone we’d love to see play the part of leader for a returning Mark of the Wolves team, it’s the mega-powerful son of Geese Howard/rising apprentice of Terry Bogard.

2. B. Jenet ('Garou: Mark of the Wolves')

bjenet
SNK

The second Garou roster member that should get an invitation to KOF XV is everyone’s favorite lady pirate, B., Jenet. She’s a major fan favorite among SNK fighting game devotees, so her addition to the game’s roster would be accepted by most. She already knows a thing or two about team synergy since she appeared in KOF XI alongside Tizoc and Gato. It’s about time she got to join all the three-on-three festivities and show off her skills for the world to see once again.

3. Hotaru Futaba ('Garou: Mark of the Wolves')

hotaru futaba
SNK

And for our final fantasy Mark of the Wolves team member, we went with the ever so peaceful yet still dangerous Hotaru Futaba. She might seem like the sweetest little girl you’ve ever seen, but she packs quite the punch. Her swift and graceful approach to combat mystified us during her debut in Garou and we’re sure her moveset would look even better with a 3D paint job. Hotaru’s stance-based Tai chi and Baguazhang arsenal need to be part of the Mark of the Wolves Team's formidable arsenal.

4. Shen Woo ('The King of Fighters 2003')

shen woo
SNK

Shen Woo likes to punch people...a lot. He’s a well-dressed brute that ended up being one of our favorite characters during his tenure in KOF 13. His street boxing tactics are overdue for a comeback at this point, which is why we think he’d be the perfect character for a KOF XV revival. There’s a simple joy we get from simply charging up Shen’s punches and unleashing them on our helpless opponents. And that’s something we’re dying to replicate in an all-new KOF game.

5. Ryuji Yamazaki ('Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory')

yamazaki
SNK

You can’t leave our guy Yamazaki out of the KOF XV equation. Especially since he popped up in the last game as one of its better DLC roster inclusions. Yamazaki’s a lovable thug that derives a ton of fun out of stabbing people with pocket knives, kicking up dust, and viciously slapping people in the nether regions as hard as possible. It’d be pretty awesome to see him aligned with a fellow hothead like Shen Woo, but we’d also be fine with him teaming up with a fellow Fatal Fury roster member.

6. Blue Mary ('Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory')

blue mary
SNK

You can’t just leave out Miss Mary from this new batch of KOF goodness. She made quite the splash when she got the DLC nod for the last game in the series and we’re very open to seeing her join its latest installment as a launch roster member. Blue Mary and her wide assortment of sick grapples have always been super hype, so it’d make all the sense in the world for SNK to spruce them up for the latest generation of KOF.

7. Hon-Fu ('Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory')

hon fu
SNK

Aren’t y’all tired of this man being forced to play the background role in most SNK fighters? We know we are. Hon-Fu has and always will be nasty with his trusty pair of nunchaku. And it’s about damn time that he got to hop back onto the battlefield to show everyone how it’s done. Hon-Fu’s Kung Fu skills could definitely get an upgrade of some kind that would pair him up nicely with his other Fatal Fury brethren in Yamazaki and Blue Mary.

8. Wolfgang Krauser ('Fatal Fury 2')

wolfgang krauser
SNK

If there’s one trait about the KOF games that we’ve always appreciated, it’s the random sub-boss encounters that pop up based on your team’s performance. We surely hope that element returns for KOF XV. We’ve got three supremely powerful individuals that would be perfect for that “boss before the real boss” lineup. The first of those three threats is Fatal Fury 2’s valiant warrior, Wolfgang Krauser. The man is a towering beast that we’d love to test our skills against and add to our team once again. Krauser and Terry are destined to go head to head once more, wouldn’t you say?

9. Rugal Bernstein ('The King of Fighters '94')

rugal bernstein
SNK

Verse’s death freed a lot of the deceased souls that gathered throughout KOF’s long lineage. And it’s pretty clear that the superhuman monster known as Rugal Bernstein is back in the world of the living thanks to the KOF 14 boss’ demise. We say Rugal should come back adorned in his swaggy red suit to deliver those vicious God Press’, Genocide Cutters, and Kaiser Waves we’ve missed so much. Just ease up on the CPU difficulty for this guy a bit, SNK...

10. Nameless ('The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match')

nameless
SNK

Thanks to the rollback netcode update for The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, a lot of fighting game fans have gotten back into the game as a whole. And one of the more noteworthy characters from that game’s massive roster is the fire and ice powered K’ clone known as Nameless. The man just oozes cool factor and we’d totally be open to him getting a nice 3D touchup. Besides being a cool sub-boss option, Nameless would look right at home in a Boss Team setup alongside the last two characters we’ve mentioned.

11. Li Xiangfei ('Real Bout Fatal Fury 2')

li xiangfei
SNK

SNK has to bring back the super cheerful Kung Fu mastermind known as Li Xiangfei. You can’t help but love her endearing personality every time she’s featured in a KOF game. Besides her love for Asian cuisine, Li also gets a kick out of brutalizing her opponents with some forceful strikes and a nice mix of Drunken Fist maneuvers. We’re more than ready to see her brought back into the KOF fold.

12. Tsugumi Sendo ('Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition')

Tsugumi Sendo
SNK

We’re going to move into the often ignored 3D realm that SNK took most of its fighters into back in the day. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition is one of those games and one of the characters that made their debut in that overlooked fighter was the high school wrestler known as Tsugumi Sendo. Her unnatural strength is at odds with her diminutive stature, which made her one of the more interesting fighters on the roster. Sendo’s nasty footwork and grapple expertise are top-notch and worth reviving for KOF 15.

13. May Lee Jinju ('The King of Fighters 2001')

may lee
SNK

WE NEED A HERO! And her name is May Lee Jinju. She fights in the name of justice and does it masterfully with the tried and true martial art of Taekwondo. Besides her basic fighting stance, May Lee also has the ability to switch into a Hero Mode that equips her with a whole new set of skills. Kim Kaphwan is practically a lock when it comes to being featured in KOF15. We say change up his team lineup once again and have him kick everyone to death alongside Miss May Lee. That would certainly shatter everyone’s expectations, right?

14. Jhun Hoon ('The King of Fighters '99')

jhun hoon
SNK

And here’s the third prospective member for our dream Kim Team. Jhun Hoon is tailor-made for a fruitful partnership with Kim and May Lee that could lead them to victory for the KOF XV tourney. We hope that intriguing possibility can become an exciting reality if SNK’s reading this. Jhun does nothing but land vicious kicks and looks good while he does it. Getting to see Jhun Hoon as a 3D model would be pretty hype now that we’re sitting here and fantasizing about it.

15. Najd ('The King of Fighters XIV')

najd
SNK

Najd emerged as the winning character design for a KOF 14 contest promoted between SNK and Manga Productions. And after we spent some time labbing her mastery of darkness and the shadows that come with them in the lab, we grew to appreciate her unique combat stylings. Najd’s inclusion in a KOF game shouldn’t be left to a one-time appearance - she should definitely get a wardrobe update and get the chance to link up with two other lethal ladies as a team for KOF 15. Speaking of...

16. Luong ('The King of Fighters XIV')

luong
SNK

Do you know who ended up being one of the most badass debuting females in KOF 14? “The Enchanting Beauty” known as Luong, who claimed lives by landing some of the quickest kicks we’ve ever seen. Luong made for a great team member when she ran around with Kim and Gang-il, but we think she’d fit in even better with two other equally lethal ladies. Linking her up with Najd works extremely well, in our opinion. And as for the third member of that new team, we think that should be filled by the next member on our list.

17. Mian ('The King of Fighters XIV')

mian
SNK

The ever so graceful master of Sichuan Bunshinryu is another one of those debuting KOF 14 characters that deserve to get another shot in its upcoming sequel. Mian’s original costume is a bit much, which is why we’d love to see her make a comeback with her main duds from SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy. The powerful collective of Najd, Luong, and Mian would make for the perfect team alignment that could give Yuri, Mai, and King a run for their money.

18. Vanessa ('The King of Fighters '99 Evolution')

vanessa
SNK

Vanessa has vicious hands for days, months, years, etc. Out of all the boxers that have gotten caught up in all the madness that comes with a KOF tournament, she takes the honor of being our favorite. She got called up to the KOF 14 roster as a DLC character and got the opportunity to punch anyone and everyone into an unconscious state. Putting Vanessa back with Ramon sounds like the perfect package deal to us. And to make that duo even better, SNK should throw Angel into the fray.

19. Moe Habana ('The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood')

moe habana
SNK

We’re getting super obscure with the next three picks on this list, so bear with us here. SNK dropped two KOF games on the Game Boy Advance and one of them is The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood. While that portable fighter and its sequel took place in an alternate timeline for the KOF series, we still think SNK should throw the exclusive characters from those games a bone. Moe Habana hails from the game we mentioned earlier and is readily deserving of a spot in KOF 15. Moe’s got some nasty rekka specials within her moveset, plus she’s got a pretty sick character design that would look so crispy in 3D.

20. Reiji Oogami ('The King of Fighters EX2')

reiji
SNK / Un Bit Pequeño (YouTube)

Reiji Oogami is pretty much the perfect combination between Kyo Kusanagi and Chizuru Kagura. The man is a heavy-handed brute that can attach flames to his many maneuvers and also has the ability to create mirror clones of himself to throw off his opponents. Now’s the perfect time to expose him to a larger audience via a welcome return to KOF 15. Reiji’s the perfect powerhouse member of a team that includes him, the character we mentioned beforehand, and the next combatant on our list.

21. Miu Kurosaki ('The King of Fighters EX2')

miu
SNK / Un Bit Pequeño (YouTube)

Moe, Reiji, and Miu would make for the perfect trio. And we’d like to christen them EX Team. Miu stands out as the fastest member of the three - when she’s on the move, she dishes out damage with some dizzying energy attacks. With the ability to cut down her foes with her signature Feather Attack and Slashing Aura specials, Miu definitely presents herself as a daunting opponent for anyone that mistakenly underestimates her.

22. Zarina ('The King of Fighters XIV')

zarina
SNK

“The Dazzling Smile” was most definitely the standout member of the debuting South American Team back in KOF 14. She danced all over her opponent's bodies with a wide array of slick  Capoeira-inspired attacks. Since she got a starring role in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, it’s clear that SNK sees her as someone that’s going to stick around for so much longer. This tells us that she has a high chance of coming back with her fellow teammates or different squad members altogether.

23. Kukri ('The King of Fighters XIV')

kukri
SNK

Kukri is that super cool, super mysterious sand dude from KOF 14 that captured everyone’s imaginations once they got ahold of him. We reckon that his trippy moveset would look far more impressive thanks to a well-deserved KOF 15 glow-up. If Ash ends up in the game as well, it’d be pretty cool to see Kukri link up with him and Elisabeth since she hired Kukri to locate him in the first place. Side note - KOF 14 sure had a bunch of likable new characters, didn’t it?

24. A Guest Characters Team

street fighter
Capcom

The last Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable gave us high hopes of even more shocking crossovers in the near future. We’re hoping that a larger sense of camaraderie between those teams means non-SNK fighting game developers are willing to add a guest team from their associated franchise. Imagine the hype that would accompany an announcement of a World Warriors Team from Street Fighter that features Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li. Or a Tekken Team composed of Heihachi, Kazuya, and Jin. A KOF 15 team that features nothing but guest characters would make our heads explode!

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