We have dutifully inquired about the whereabouts of one Mai Shiranui and halted an analogy to ripening fruit.
While it's been established that I know little about The King of Fighters series, I am not without a sense of reportorial obligation to cover the series well. So when I returned from my E3 meeting with The King of Fighters XII publisher Ignition without having asked about Mai Shiranui's whereabouts in the game, I vowed to make amends and did so when I met with Ignition folks in New York today.
I did want to know why she was in such heavy demand. Not that I hadn't seen pictures of her and couldn't guess. And, sure enough, I was informed that it was not because of her love of making boxed lunches (which I have verified). It is assumed it is because she has large breasts. (87cm, 55cm, 91cm according to the official site, that first number converting to 34 inches).
OK, then. So, she's not in the game. Any expectations to the contrary due to her recently being featured on The King of Fighters anniversary website should not be seen as proof of anything, I was told. But perhaps she'll be in DLC?
Ignition's director of business development, Shane Bettenhausen, to me: "SNK has not divulged plans for downloadable characters at this time."
Bettenhausen said that while there will be downloadable content, it's not been clarified whether that content will be new characters, levels, or who know's what.
I questioned SNK's decision to leave their popular character out. Bettenhausen likened it to Capcom leaving their most popular female fighter, Chun-Li, out of the original release of Street Fighter III. He theorised: "I think the thinking is that they are making you wait because you want her."
He then started making a fruit analogy. Something about waiting for fruit to ripen. Not wanting fruit to go rotten. That was enough on that. No further questions.