Please, no more "custom combos" and extra nonsense modes.
Go back to the traditional KOF1998 style and keep it that way. 1 gauge - Power Gauge. That's it. There can be a Max Mode that gives a slight power increase and allow you to activate SDM's for 1 extra power stock like in 98 and the Quick Max from 98UM could be in there too.
Super Cancels cost 1 extra bar like in 2k2.
No max cancels/dream cancels.
Perhaps your idea could be better with a little tweaks. Although either keep MAX Cancels or just integrate MAX Cancel to the Super Cancels.
Although I want to keep the EX moves, except it uses 50% of the power gauge to execute it.
Free NeoMAX = Free SDMs from '98UM
As for the sprites...
All I can say is Whip and Shingo might replace Leona (50-50 chance) and Daimon (which they can easily written off as being hired as a Judo varsity coach and is not available) in XIV respectively. Only, and only if XIV is a new saga than a dream match
For the Characters....
AOF Rival Team (King, Mickey, John) (betting on this team since XI came out) Personally, I like King to be in a team not with either Women or Kyokugenryu Practitioners. (On another note: Probably another way to bring Oswald back with no Ash Crimson involved)
Lee Pai Long asks John Crawley to obtain the Dragon Pills, which Oswald is currently finding, due to his former military ties (seems Ralf and Clark knew Oswald before, based in their XI winquotes). Lee needs someone related to the military, so he asked John to enter KOF to find related information of the Pills.
John later visits his friend, Mickey Rogers in his boxing gym and asks him about KOF and strong opponents, with the info given to him by Lee. Mickey agrees and sees KOF as another way to improve his boxing skills.
They later visited King and John offers her to form a team with him and Mickey. King turns them down at first before he could ask her about the info Lee given to him. Because she thought that Mr. Big is involved, John mocks her softness due to her ties with the Kyokugenryu. King later regrets her actions and sees a note John dropped before him and Mickey were driven out of her bar.
With all hope lost, John and Mickey were almost to give up joining KOF until he notices he lost the info Lee given to him. King, wearing a bowler hat, later appears with the note. She forgives John and Mickey on her actions earlier and finally agrees to join KOF.
Another note: Might be the AOF counterpart of the Fatal Fury 1 of (Billy, Raiden, Hwa Jai) a.k.a. the 3 characters you face before the Boss(es).
Also, another plausible team I like to see in XIV is the Fatal Fury 2 Team (Mai, Kim, Big Bear)
Kim sees Big Bear at an airport. Kim "congratulates" Big Bear for unknown reasons. He thought of the previous tournament when he was Raiden back then. Kim is in Southtown to scout somebody to be "re-educated" by him but he finds no luck. Big Bear is about leave Southtown to join KOF and he invites Kim to join him. Kim agrees with Bear's proposal.
Mai, meanwhile was frustrated to hear that Yuri cannot join her (because Takuma asked Yuri to be on their team again) and King already left (after teaming up with John and Mickey) for KOF. Mai does not know though about John and Mickey, so she thought that she teamed up with Mary and Kasumi instead. She still insists that KOF is not complete without her.
Out of her frustration, she rushes back to the airport to go home until Kim and Big Bear met her. Mai explains that she might not be in KOF this time and she is heading home. Out of mercy, Kim and Big Bear invites her to their team. Mai, having tears of joy afterwards, thanks Kim and Big Bear for allowing her to join KOF with them.
As they left on a plane, unknown to them, Hwa Jai arrived on the airport late finding Kim and Big Bear, only to realize that they already left with Mai.