King of Fighters XII Strikes Worldwide In July

The beautiful hand-drawn graphics of King of Fighters XII are coming to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 near you, as SNK Playmore and Ignition Entertainment announce a worldwide release for July.

The King of Fighters series finally makes the jump to current generation hardware with The King of Fighters XII, coming this July to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It's the first title in the series since 1996 to feature completely new graphics, though by way of trade off it currently only boasts 20 combatants - the lowest in the history of the franchise. It's a bit like what Capcom did with the recently-released Street Fighter IV, bringing the game back to a core set of characters, relaunching with a new look but retaining the classic feel.

The July release further clarifies the Summer 2009 target shown in the game's latest trailer.

"I couldn't think of a more appropriate way to commemorate The King of Fighter's 15-Year Anniversary than with a gorgeously animated, high-definition installment that updates the KOF legacy for a new generation." said Shane Bettenhausen, New Business Development Director of Ignition Entertainment. "While other fighting games have abandoned the time-consuming process of creating beautiful 2D art, KOFXII fully embraces the refined aesthetic beauty that only human hands can produce."

Other fighting games have abandoned 2D? Whoever could Shane be calling out there?