Killer Instinct for the Xbox One isn’t free-to-play despite how the game is being marketed in some segments. Ken Lobb, creative director of Microsoft-published Xbox One games, told Eurogamer that the option to download the next-gen fighting game and play through it as Jago is just “the world’s most generous demo.” Additional characters are $4.99 each, or you can buy the Killer Instinct Combo Breaker pack for $19.99, which comes with all six launch characters and two post-launch DLC fighters. (There’s also a $39.99 version that comes with a load of extras.) Lobb explained that the pricing scheme is meant to encourage the growth of the fighting game community.
“What we’re trying to do is get the most people possible back into fighting games,” Lobb said. “When I worked on KI1, when the Super NES and Mega Drive were at their peak, there were millions more fighting game players. The community is super robust right now, with a lot of fans, but it’s smaller than it used to be.
“I want all the people who will be like, oh yeah, KI, I loved that! But I don’t know if I can learn it again. Play Jago. See if you like it. That’s the idea.”
Microsoft plans to release Killer Instinct in two seasons. Season 1 is the launch version with six characters and two DLC additions. Season 2 is scheduled for 2014 and will include another eight characters. Additionally, like League of Legends, Killer Instinct’s free character will be swapped with another selection after a few months.