A decade after launching as a free game on Xbox One, Killer Instinct is going free-to-play on PC

Rash the toad delivers a kick
(Image credit: Xbox Games Studio)

There are two things I know about Killer Instinct. In the original '90s fighting game, Orchid had a finisher where she flashed her chest at the opponent, giving them a fatal heart attack, and in the 2013 reboot, Rash from Battletoads was OP.

Killer Instinct was a bigger deal on Xbox than it was on PC, the reboot a well-received Xbox One launch title with seasonal updates including the one adding a frog who was too powerful. Killer Instinct arrived on PC more sedately a few years later, on the Windows Store in 2016 and Steam in 2017, this time with a price tag. To our surprise, instead of being shut down the PC version actually migrated to new servers this year. And now, developer Iron Galaxy has announced as part of its 10th anniversary that Killer Instinct is getting a new patch and will become free-to-play on PC.

Anyone who bought Killer Instinct on PC gets the Anniversary Edition for free, which will include all 29 fighters as well as their holiday accessories. The Anniversary Edition also includes a double XP booster. Players who download the free version on its release, meanwhile, will instead have access to a single fighter, who will rotate among the cast weekly.

The patch notes for the upcoming update, which will bring Killer Instinct to version 3.10, are mostly individual character buffs and nerfs. Rash's moves, like Wrecking Ball and Shadow Big Bad Boot, have been toned down substantially. "This may seem like a lot," the patch notes say, "but in practice, Rash is still a menace that easily circumvents most of the game's zoning, has a strong pressure game, and can deal difficult to break damage. Let's hope his overall risk matches his reward a bit better after all of this."

A release date for Killer Instinct 3.10 has not been announced yet. The current version is going for 67% off on Steam until November 28 though, meaning it's only $13.19 while the Anniversary Edition will be $29.99 when it comes out. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.