2019 may not have the most releases for fighting games, but they were a blockbuster indeed. We witnessed the best DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Joker, Hero, Banjo, and Terry. Netherrealm made a comeback with Mortal Kombat 11. Koei Tecmo and Team NINJA released Dead or Alive 6, along with SNK guests Mai and Kula. Samurai Shodown made an epic return that year, bringing old school fighting game players back.
In addition to that, we saw the release of Kill La Kill IF, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle 2.0, Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid, Season 3 of Tekken 7, Season 2 of SoulCalibur VI
In regards to the FGC, we witnessed Arslan Ash becoming the first player to win EVO twice in a row: EVO Japan 2019 and EVO 2019 for Tekken 7. Not to mention, he put Pakistan on the map for Tekken players. In addition, we saw the best rivalry between SonicFox and Go1 for Dragon Ball FighterZ, the collaboration between CEO and AEW that once again brought fighting games and professional wrestling together,
2019 had a lot to offer for fighting games, but now it’s time to see what’s in store for 2020 this year.
When Daisuke Ishiwatari revealed the newest Guilty Gear game at EVO 2019 last year, fighting game fans all over the world lost their collective minds. Then at ARCREVO World Tour, the official name was revealed as Guilty Gear -STRIVE-.
According to Ishiwatari, -STRIVE- is neither a return to roots or evolution, but it’s a brand new experience for Guilty Gear fans and a full-frontal confrontation with the essence of the Fighting Game genre. The traditional button layout of Punch, Kick, Slash, and Heavy Slash will return, alongside with Dust, which was introduced in the Xrd series. The inputs for Throw and Dashing will be handled differently this time around.
As seen in the trailer, there will be a Stage Transition in which players can knock their opponent through an invisible wall and into a new area. Roman Cancelling will be handled differently this time around and simplified, but it will still work the same way it did in previous installments.
Only six characters have been confirmed so far in the roster, including Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, May, Axl Low, Chipp Zanuff, Potemkin, and Faust. There’s also one new character who will be making their debut, but he is nameless at the moment. Arc System Works handles each character reveal by showing them off at either major tournaments or any other gaming event. The next one won’t be until Final Round 2020.
Guilty Gear -STRIVE- is stated for a Late 2020 release for the PS4, PC, and arcade. There will be a beta test for this game sometime in Spring 2020.
Will it Be at EVO?: It was stated as a Late 2020 release, but it’ll be there as an exhibition.
At the end of Grand Finals for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] at EVO 2019, Arc System Works and French Bread officially revealed the latest update known as Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. We’ll call it UNICLR for short.
UNICLR will feature new additional moves for the entire cast, alongside with balance changes. There will be one additional new character, Londrekia, and also an update to UNIST’s Chronicle Mode.
UNICLR will be coming out to consoles on February 20, 2020, for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Fans that already own UNIST will receive the game as a free update, however, Londrekia is paid content.
Will It Be At EVO?: Given how successful UNIST was in tournaments, it might have a possibility that it’ll show up again this year.
We talked a lot about Granblue Fantasy Versus during last year’s blog, and I’d like to talk about a couple of changes from the development of the game.
I mentioned last year that the controls would be simplified with a press of a button. That was incorrect since each character’s moveset will still use the traditional fighting game inputs like QCFs, etc. That won’t be much of a problem.
The story mode is a combination of Action RPG, Beat ‘em Up hybrid, with exclusive bosses to fight and more. It will also have co-op mode. Lastly,the character roster will have 11 characters at launch, plus four characters for Wave 1 DLC and one more character for Wave 2.
Granblue Fantasy Versus will be released on February 6, 2020 for the PS4 in Japan, followed by a later release in the Western countries.
Will It Be At EVO?: It’ll probably be there as a side tournament.
Capcom released another update to Street Fighter V, titled Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. SF5CE brings together all the previous DLC that was available from the past, alongside two additional characters: Gill from Street Fighter III and Seth from Street Fighter IV. All characters now have a second V-Skill to choose from alongside with additional gameplay changes. If you are looking forward to wait and jump into SF5, the retail copy will be released on Valentine’s Day 2020 for $30. If you already own SF5, it’s a free update.
We still haven’t heard any information about The King of Fighters XV since the announcement of their development at EVO 2019, but we expect to hear some news about the game soon.
Season 2 of Samurai Shodown was announced during EVO 2019 last year. Expect to see some balance changes and more along the way. We recently learned that while Mina is coming to Season 2, Sogetsu, Iroha, and a mystery character will be joining the roster soon during the trailer at EVO Japan 2020. While we wait on the release of Season 2, the Switch port of Samurai Shodown will be released on February 25, 2020. If you pre-order the game, you’ll receive the classic Samurai Shodown! 2 for the Neo Geo Pocket Color as a bonus.
And speaking of Samurai Shodown, SoulCalibur VI Season 2 is currently underway right now with Hilde currently released. Haohmaru is the next guest character that will be appearing soon to the roster, along with two additional characters coming soon. A trailer for Haohmaru has surfaced, complete with his own stage and his moveset that makes him feel right at home. Haohmaru will be joining the roster for Season 2 in Spring 2020.
Tekken 7 is currently in its third season with new and returning characters such as Zafina, Ganryu, and newcomer Leroy Smith. There will be one more new character that will be joining the roster in the Spring, which is the Muay Thai fighter, Fahkumram.
Mortal Kombat 11 has two more characters left that will be joining the roster soon: DC Comic’s Joker and Image Comic’s Spawn. And for those wondering, yes Keith David will be reprising his role as Spawn once again. Joker will be joining the roster on January 28, while Spawn will be joining the roster in March.
Nintendo revealed the 5th and final DLC character for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter Pass, which is Byleth from Fire Emblem Three Houses. Byleth brings the authenticity of the Weapon Triangle System that the series is known for, using a lance, ax, and a bow and arrow. After the reveal, Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that there will be a second Fighters Pass with six DLC characters. Byleth will be joining the roster on January 28. Pre-orders for Fighters Pass 2 will also happen on the same day. Players who pre-order the DLC pass will receive the Ancient Soldier Gear costume from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as an added bonus for the Mii Swordfighter.
There is a lot to look forward to for fighting games and there are no signs of slowing down, too. And with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 coming out this year, we will be seeing new fighting games on the new consoles in the future, so here’s hoping to see what fighting games are appearing for those consoles.
Until then… Train Up, Fighters!