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Fighting Games (& DLC) To Look Forward To in 2021


Let’s be real here: 2020 was hot garbage overall.

We did see some releases for games such as Granblue Fantasy Versus, Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[cl-r], Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Samurai Shodown Neo Geo collection that gave us the unreleased Samurai Shodown V Perfect, a game that was supposed to be the final update to Samurai Shodown V Special. In addition to that, Tekken 7 began Season 4, while Samurai Shodown (2019) began Season 2.

As for the FGC moments… Well, it’s hard to talk about it because every event was cancelled that year due to the pandemic. The only thing we can talk about in regards to FGC moments was when Leroy-Mania was running wild in Tekken 7 Season 3 since there were a total of seven players in Top 8 that used Leroy Smith, as well as Go1 winning the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals.

But let’s be real here: 2020 was not a good year for the fighting game community, period. All events were cancelled and transitioned to online tournaments and there were several allegations that happened within the FGC, especially with EVO’s own, Mr. Wizard. That moment led to companies such as Bandai Namco, Capcom, and others pulling out from the event, as well as cancelling the event overall, with Wizard stepping down from his position.

Before we begin, we’re gonna do something a bit different. Since the COVID situation has gotten worse than before, I will not do the “Will It Be at EVO” bit since we don’t know if it’ll happen. Let’s hope that things will go back to normal and we can start doing offline events again.

2020 may have been the worst year ever, but we will leave that year in the past. Now it’s time to talk about what fighting games and DLC we’re expecting in 2021.

Guilty Gear -STRIVE-

We were supposed to get this game for Late 2020, but it was delayed due to the COVID outbreak that went on that year. Instead, we received a closed beta of the game.

The details are the same as what I posted last year, but there has been a few changes to the mechanics since the beta. Dust attacks have been altered compared to the Xrd series, removing the side launching follow-up feature and the air-launching aspect only works on counter hit. Sweep attacks can now bounce on counterhit mid combo. The Blitz Shield/Attack and Danger Time mechanics from the Xrd series are now gone in -STRIVE-, but the R.I.S.C. Gauge makes a return. Chip damage still exists, but they do not kill a character similar to the Street Fighter V series.

Also mentioned before is the Wall-Stick/Hit State mechanic in which the character will stick to a wall and slowly slide down once they get knocked into a corner. The opponent has an option to either continue the attack or break a wall that will cause a stage transition. 

Fifteen characters are confirmed to appear on the base roster, bringing back fan favorites such as Sol, Ky, May, Faust, Potemkin, Chipp, Zato-1, Millia, Axl, Anji, I-NO, Leo, and Ramlethal. Joining the cast are two newcomers: Nagoriyuki, a noble vampire samurai who wields a bloodsucking blade, and Giovanna, an officer in the special operations unit accompanied by her wolf spirit, Rei.

Guilty Gear -STRIVE- will be coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on April 6, 2021 for Deluxe and Ultimate Editions, followed by the basic edition on April 9, 2021 for the same consoles and PC via Steam. An arcade release for this game will come out later this year in Japan.

The King of Fighters XV

We didn’t hear much from this game at all last year after the EVO 2019 reveal, until now.

Early in January, SNK finally revealed a trailer for The King of Fighters XV, showing brand new visuals and a more fleshed-out story this time around. We don’t know much about the gameplay, but it seems that they are going back into using elements from KOF XIII, while retaining some of the elements from KOF XIV.

As of now, the confirmed characters in the roster so far are Kyo, Benimaru, Shun’ei, Mai, Leona, K’, Meitenkun, Iori, Joe, and Chizuru. The first team to be confirmed in this game is Team Hero, consisting of Shun’ei, Meitenkun, and Benimaru, followed by Team Sacred Treasures, consisting of Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru.. Each character will be revealed every Wednesday.

To hype up the release for KOF XV, there will be an anime short which will be directed by the legendary Masami Obari, who has worked on the Fatal Fury movies and Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer.

KOF XV will be coming to consoles and PC sometime this year.

Upcoming Games & DLC

This one was recently announced after Christmas. If you don’t know what Dungeon Fighter is, it’s a hack-and-slash Action RPG developed and published by Neople in South Korea back in 2005. It started to spread to other countries between China, Japan, Taiwan, and North America from 2006-2010. Then it finally got a Worldwide release on August 9, 2016, one year after they released a beta. Since then, it spawned an anime series, manga series, and several ONAs. And now, they’re taking on fighting games.

DNF Duel is a fighting game that is being co-developed by Neople, Arc System Works, and Eighting. Look forward to more information on this game this year.

I talked about this during Virtua Fighter Month, so here it is again. After the release of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, it’s been over 10 years since we’ve seen a brand new installment from the Virtua Fighter series. That was until the Tokyo Game Show 2020 where SEGA announced a brand new project called Virtua Fighter x eSports. According to SEGA themselves, this project serves as an eSports reboot, but what does all of this mean? We’ll find out soon enough.

Aside from the KOF15 reveal, SNK has finally announced Season Pass 3 for Samurai Shodown (2019). Like every new season, this will contain balance patches and fixes, along with four additional characters. The biggest change for this season is the addition of Guard Crush, thanks to Hayato Konya, who is the new director of the game. 

The first two characters confirmed for Season 3 are Cham Cham, a returning character who was last seen in Samurai Shodown V Special and Perfect, and Hibiki Tabane, a guest character from SNK’s underrated gem, The Last Blade 2. A few of you guys might have seen her from Capcom vs. SNK 2. 

If you already own a copy of the Xbox One version, it is a free upgrade as a Series X|S title, meaning that all of your DLC and saves will transfer over. Not to mention, this game will now run at 120FPS. Season 3 of SamSho, alongside with the Xbox Series X|S port of the game, will be released on March 16, 2021. Cham Cham will be the first character to join the roster once Season 3 kicks off. Also, a collab between SamSho and Guilty Gear has been announced.

Continuing on with the Season Pass topic, we are halfway near the end of the Fighter Pass 2 for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. So far, we’ve seen Min Min from ARMS, Steve from Minecraft, Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, and the most recent addition to the roster: Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, who will be joining the roster in March.  Now with two characters yet to be revealed, who will be the next fighter to receive an invitation letter to Smash this year?

Tekken 7 is currently on Season 4 right now with updated gameplay, improved netcode, and two additional characters joining the roster. As of right now, we’ve seen the debut of Kunimitsu II, the daughter of the original Kunimitsu from past Tekken games, as well as a stage to go along with it. And now the second character, who was teased, is supposed to be a female Prime Minister of Poland with a fighting background. Who is she, you ask? We'll find out soon enough.

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is not only entering the fifth and final season, but this year marks the 5th Anniversary of the release of Street Fighter V as a whole. Based on what was shown on the Winter Update stream, Season 5 will introduce a brand new mechanic to the V-System called V-Shift. This defensive mechanic allows you to be invulnerable to throws, projectiles, and regular strikes while you backdash. V-Shift costs one meter from your V-Gauge, so use it wisely!

In addition to the new mechanic and game patches, it’s known that five characters will be appearing in this season, such as the returning favorites of Dan, Rose, and Ono, and also Rival School’s Akira joining the fray. Eleven will be added to the roster as a bonus character, but the fifth and final character remains a mystery. Season 5 of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition will go live on February 22, 2021, with Dan being the first character of the season.

Thanks to the second Japanese Fighting Game Roundtable Discussion, ARIKA recently announced Fighting EX Layer: Another Dash for the Nintendo Switch. This game now includes a brand new EX mechanic that allows three different types of usage: EX-Dash, EX-Arrow, and EX-Illusion. Fighting EX Layer: Another Dash will be coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year.

While we can’t travel for tournaments this year due to the pandemic, video game publishers and several TOs continue to rely on online tournaments in the meantime until it’s safe to go back to offline events again. But don’t worry…  because even though we won’t be seeiung offline events until 2022, we have all of these fighting games to look forward to this year.

Until then… Train Up, Fighters!

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About Virtua Kazamaone of us since 12:55 PM on 07.05.2014

Twitch Affiliate, Let's Player, FGC player, and the host of Virtua Fighter Takeover. I play games: mostly fighters, platformers, beat em' ups, Japanese, Retro, and Modern.

Never miss a livestream! https://twitch.tv/virtuakazama