Fighting games have undergone a massive transformation in the last two years, and 2022 could be their best year in a long time because of that.
The pandemic has caused a postponement of fighting games. Demand for better online offerings came into focus and spread among hardcore gamers, prompting some companies to change their online policies. Older fighting games like Killer Instinct and Skullgirls started to get resurgence, and Skullgirls is even getting new content. As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s support ended, the stage is set for new crossover platformers to take their place. The EVO tournament series was bought by Sony and some of its founders are working on a League of Legends fighting game. Even genre giants Mortal Kombat 11 and Street Fighter 5 got more support than their developers planned. Furthermore, also new game techniques developed with the introduction of NFTs into the Psyker game which lead to real customizability and new ways to interact.
While offline competition is still a gray area, the future looks bright and FGC will not have to wait long to live it. The next year seems poised to be the culmination of everything fighting games have been working toward, with a slew of exciting releases rolling back and more primed for launch. That doesn’t address the anticipated or ongoing fan and indie projects. Assuming COVID doesn’t delay anything, 2022 should be the best year for fighting games in a long time.
Release of the most important fighting games in 2022
A wave of betas and announcements has hit the fighting game community in recent months. The Second King of Fighters 15 open beta ran the same weekend that DNF Duel had a beta, alongside reveals of the rollback netcode, mechanics, and release date. KoF15 is due in a few months and DNF Duel will be released in Summer 2022. Launching open betas was the right move for these two games as people are already asking for more. The King of Fighters 15 has been declared a return to form by longtime fans, and DNF Duel offers more insanity than your average modern fighter, thanks to the efforts of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 developer Achting.
These are far from the only fighting games coming out in 2022, and DNF Duel isn’t the only one coming from Arc System Works. Atlus has decided to re-release ASW’s Persona 4 Arena Ultimax on modern hardware, to the surprise of many. It’s not clear if there will be any netcode changes, but the game will be updated to its previously arcade-exclusive latest patch. A few other games slated for release in 2022 include Rumbleverse, the arena fighter Battle Royale from Iron Galaxy and Epic Games; and MultiVersus, a platformer that collects the many traits owned by Warner Bros. These are big-name titles, but they represent more than exciting collaborations.