The original Killer Instinct, like many older video games, didn’t pay a lot of attention to cultural detail. The reboot is intended to change that.
When Killer Instinct was rebooted in 2013, Microsoft and Double Helix Games worked with the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) community of Lapwai, Idaho to try and turn the original game’s stereotypical indigenous character, Thunder, into something more respectful and accurate.
Although their first effort was pretty good, there was room for improvement – so new Killer Instinct developer Iron Galaxy went back to the community, and particularly consultants Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham and Thomas tátlo Gregory, to have another go.
Through the generosity of the Nez Perce, Iron Galaxy was able to examine loads of reference material and put together a new look for Thunder in a free Killer Instinct add-on. According to Iron Galaxy, here’s what’s been changed and why:
- Headdress has been removed: we learned that headdresses are mostly worn for ceremonial events vs battles or combat
- Hair: Thunder now has a traditional warrior style pompadour hairstyle, based off historical photos
- Added arm braces and a belt with traditional Nez Perce beadwork in the common color palette of pink and green with geometric pattern
- Buckskin pants with the same traditional Nez Perce beadwork in pink and green with geometric pattern
- Traditional moccasins: worn for more agile combat and handcrafted from raw materials
- Traditional metal-work axes
Killer Instinct is now in its third season.