The King of Fighters XIII is the upcoming thirteenth installment of The King of Fighters series published by SNK Playmore. There was an official preview of the game that was held on March 25, 2010 at Akihabara. The game will also be the conclusion of Ash Crimson's story arc which started in The King of Fighters 2003. The game design director, Yamamoto, states that he wants the game to be played by the fans of the series who would be able to use their experience from previous titles. Additionally, however, he does not want the game to be too similar to its prequels, though he and his staff's aim for the game is to capture the charm from previous titles.
The game removes some of the gameplay systems used in the previous game; the Guard attack system, the Critical Counter system, the Clash System as well as the dynamic, zooming camera. In their place however, there are new systems that have been confirmed to be added, the first of the three is the new EX Mode, which convert each characters' super moves into more powerful versions that allows one bar from the player's power gauge for EX Special Moves and two bars from the player's power gauge for EX Desperation Moves. Another new addition is Hyper Drive mode, which gives the player unlimited use of Drive Cancels for a while once the Hyper Drive Gauge has been maxed, and the last new feature confirmed for the game is the Drive Cancel system, which opens up new combo possibilities. The game also marks the return of the multi-bar power gauge that was introduced in The King of Fighters '97. In addition to standard and EX Desperation Moves, a new class of Desperation Move entitled "NEO MAX" are included in the game and require that three stocks of gauge be exchanged in order to perform one. These can also be canceled from standard Desperation Moves, making them similar to the "Dream Cancels" from The King of Fighters XI.
The game takes place after The King of Fighters XI. The fighter Ash Crimson has absorbed the powers from two of the descendants of the clans who sealed the Orochi away 1,800 years ago, Chizuru Kagura and Iori Yagami, while Kyo Kusanagi is to be his last victim. As Elisabeth Blanctorche prepares to stop Ash, fighters receive an invitation to another King of Fighters tournament hosted by a person labelled as "R".
The roster of The King of Fighters XIII will feature all the characters who appeared in The King of Fighters XII, including the two console-exclusive characters, Elisabeth Branctorche and Mature. In addition, at the Akihabara event, three new characters were announced in the form of The King of Fighters '94 Women's Team (Yuri Sakazaki, King, and Mai Shiranui). Unlike The King of Fighters XII, all of the characters will be organized into proper teams this time with the exception of Ash, who is now a single entry character.
On April 22, 2010, Famitsu reported the addition of two new characters to the game: Vice for Iori Yagami's team and Takuma Sakazaki for the Art of Fighting team. The official website was soon updated with the changes as well as adding a storyline for Iori's team, and on the April 23, 2010 location test at Hong Kong, Hwa Jai from Fatal Fury: King of Fighters has been confirmed to be in the game as the final member of Kim Kaphwan's team. The first member of the final team (K') was revealed on April 30 with his addition to the roster page. Maxima was also revealed as the second member of K's Team via addition to the roster page on May 7.