The biggest gaming surprises of 2012

It doesn’t matter how closely you follow the news or how often you refresh your browser; some companies can still manage to catch the gaming public completely unaware. Here are some of our picks for the biggest surprises of 2012.

Team Ninja studio head talks DLC costumes and Tekken vs. Dead or Alive

Team Ninja, an in-house development studio owned by Tecmo Koei, is best known for its work on the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises. The last major entry in the Dead or Alive fighting game series, Dead or Alive 4, was released one month after the launch of the Xbox 360 in late 2005. Since then, Team Ninja has focused on ports, such as Dead or Alive Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS, Ninja Gaiden sequels for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and even brought their unique style to Nintendo’s Metroid: Other M, to mixed results. Now, with notorious figurehead Tomonobu Itagaki having left the company amid sexual misconduct allegations and a well-publicized lawsuit, Yosuke Hayashi has taken over as studio head and is charging into 2012 at full-speed with Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5.

Review: King of Fighters XIII is right where the franchise should be

King of Fighters XII, released in 2009, was notable for administering a much-needed graphical overhaul, something the 15-year-old series was sorely in need of. While it had the looks, it came up short on content, eschewing any story element whatsoever and, among other things, limping in with a paltry 22 characters, one of the lowest in the franchise’s history. Two years later and King of Fighters XIII is upon us. Has developer SNK learned anything? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”