In a time when cultural insensitivity is at a high it is nice to see, even though unexpected, to see that Killer Instinct is trying to keep things traditional for fans of the game. Not in terms of gameplay and mechanics here as that is something that Iron Galaxy Studios is always working and tweaking for us but in the way that they have taken the Nez Perce character of Thunder and made him fit more with the traditions instead of what is thought to be traditions. At least as close as Killer Instinct can be with the current state of the tribe. They definitely aren't as warlike as they used to be thankfully for most.
Anyways, as you will be able to see just below, when working on Thunder's redesign for Killer Instinct the team went out and had some one-on-one collaboration with the leaders of the Nez Perce tribe to make sure that they could effectively represent the tribe in the game. Things from the hair style down to the specific patterns on his wardrobe were taken into account and in the end we have a new looking and feeling Thunder for the game. One that is also something the tribe claims they can "look up to" in video games as Native Americans are generally misused in video games or horribly represented. As you can see with the past versions of the character in the Killer Instinct franchise.
Have a look for yourself and then wonder when other games will truly start doing the same thing. Not that some don't but it is rare that we even see characters in fighting games like Killer Instinct properly represented that it is something to take note of. I'm looking at you other fighting games…
Killer Instinct — Reimagining Thunder
The Legend of Thunder costume is a 100% authentic to the cultural traditions of the Nez Perce, developed through months of personal collaboration between the team at Microsoft Studios and the indigenous Nez Perce community of Lapwai, Idaho.
What are your thoughts on all of this now that you've seen just how Thunder has changed for Killer Instinct? Do you think it will have the impact that Iron Galaxy Studios was going for or will the majority of the gamers out there not even see past it? Do you think that even more titles should do this even if it isn't one of the cornerstones of the game from the original design? Let us know what you are thinking and then discuss down in the comments. For more on Killer Instinct and topics like this, be sure to keep checking back in here as we'll keep those updates flowing out and you should want to catch them all.