The King of Fighters 2003 is a 2003 competitive fighting game produced by SNK Playmore for the Neo Geo arcade and home platform. It is the tenth game in The King of Fighters series and the first one produced by the company under the SNK Playmore name. It was also the final KOF game developed for Neo Geo hardware, which has been the primary platform for the series since the first game in the series, KOF '94. The game was ported to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The PS2 and Xbox versions were released in North America in a two-in-one bundle with the preceding game in the series, KOF 2002.
The 3-on-3 Team Battle Format is used once again, but instead of the round-based tournament-style format, in which one member of a team replaces a defeated teammate for the next round, the game uses a Multi-Shift format that allows player to change characters during the middle of battle. When "Change OK" sign is displayed above the Power Gauge, the player can do a Quick Shift and change characters immediately, or perform a Switch-Off Attack against the opponent, which will consume one Power Gauge stock.
The game also features a Tactical Leader System, in which one of member of the team is designated by the player to the Leader, giving the character access to an exclusive move known as the Leader Super Special Move (in addition to the regular Super Special Moves), which usually requires two Power Gauge stocks to perform.
As in the previous game in the series, the player's Power Gauge can hold up to three stocks at the beginning of a match. When one team loses one of its members, the maximum capacity of Power Gauge stocks is increased by one, giving the losing team a handicap against the opposing team.