Making different color palettes for the same character was a very common technique used to differentiate players in case they selected the same character at once in cooperative or versus games. Even today, with arcades and consoles having more storage capacity and the possibility to create different designs, in fighting games it became a tradition to give each character various options of color palettes, that are called “alternate colors” or “2P” (second player) colors.
Kyo color palettes in KOF ‘98
Iori color palettes from Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
In fandom, some people like the idea of using the 2P palettes to create their own versions of the characters—they can become another version of the original character, with a different personality living in an alternate universe, some sort of doppelganger or twin brother, or even a corrupted version of them.
In the Japanese KOF fandom, there are even doujins and novels (fanfiction) featuring “Purple and Blue”, that are the popular 2P versions of Iori and Kyo. Some artists even use this as a premise to create their plot, where sometimes it’s possible to find various versions of the same character.
Some authors took it one step further and made doujinshi about the four alternate colors at the same time, giving each character a name and short backstory:
This trend precedes KOF99’s NESTS saga and the creation of Kyo’s clones. So, understandably, when the clones appeared, they were well received by the fandom.