2020 and 2021 haven’t seen the release of a massive number of fighting games, but those that did release were particularly good. 2022 already promises to be a much more exciting year not only in terms of quantity but also quality, with the release of new entries in beloved franchises, a highly-requested remaster, and brand new IPs that have the potential of becoming series down the line. If Capcom released Street Fighter VI this year, it would only be the icing of a delicious cake.
Here are our most anticipated fighting games releasing in 2022.
DNF Duel (Summer)
Dungeon Fighter Online is a fascinating title combining classic side-scrolling beat’em up gameplay with MMORPG features that has resonated quite well with Eastern audiences, but not as much with Western ones. A fighting game developed by a studio that never fails to deliver exceptional experiences is the natural step to make the DNF universe more popular worldwide.
Arc System Works has proved with Persona 4 Arena, Granblue Fantasy: Versus and Dragon Ball FighterZ that they can create gameplay mechanics that fit universes not designed by the studio, and DNF Duel will not be much different in this regard. The playable roster will include playable classes lifted from Dungeon Fighter Online. All will come with a unique moveset that makes them roughly fall into certain archetypes like rushdown, grappler, all-rounder, and so on.
With unique mechanics like the MP and Conversion Systems added into the mix, and the same rollback netcode that powers the Guilty Gear – Strive – online multiplayer, DNF Duel promises to be one of the most solid fighting games releasing in 2022.
MultiVersus has been rumored to be coming for a good while, but all the leaks still didn’t prevent people from being surprised to watch Superman and Batman getting beat up by Tom and Jerry, Finn the Human, and Jake the Dog in the game’s first gameplay trailer.
Trying to set itself apart from the undisputed king of platform fighters, Super Smash Bros., MultiVersus will feature an innovative 2v2 co-op-focused experience alongside 1v1 and 4-Player Free for All, customizable perk loadouts, and solid online play with dedicated servers for seamless online gameplay. Add in full cross-platform play support and rollback netcode, and we have all the ingredients for a very solid game.
While there is still a lot we do not know about MultiVersus, such as how much the free-to-play mechanics’ implementation will impact the experience and how it will be supported after launch, there is no denying that the potential for a massive success is definitely there. Even if the game somehow turns bad, it wouldn’t be surprising to still see it becoming extremely popular. With a roster like this, it would be very hard not to.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (March 17th)
Persona and fighting game fans teamed up some time ago to ask SEGA and Atlus to bring back the amazing Persona Arena series, and in 2022 they will finally get their wish granted, although not precisely in the way they had hoped.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is finally hitting PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in a few months, complete with its engaging story that brings Persona 3 and Persona 4 together, its amazing 2D gameplay that features, surprise surprise, Personas, and an expanded cast that features Shadow versions of multiple characters as well as some welcome newcomers over the original Persona 4 Arena like Rise Kujikawa, Tohru Adachi, and Ken Amada & Koromaru. The new version of the game will not stop at just bringing the original’s features to modern gaming hardware, as it will also bring features that were not in it, like the Golden Arena Mode that blends the fighting game experience with the RPG mechanics seen in the Persona series, like skill customization and Social Links.
While the lack of rollback netcode, at least at launch, is definitely an issue, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax has so many good things going on for it that a few months wait for a more solid online mode would be a small price to pay. And even if the game ends up not getting rollback netcode, supporting it is likely the only way to show SEGA, Atlus, and Arc System Works that Persona 5 Arena is a game that needs to be made.
Phantom Breaker: Opera Omnia (March 15th)
Phantom Breaker: Opera Omnia did not make it in 2021, but the delay hasn’t diminished the anticipation fans of the series have had since its announcement. And it couldn’t be any other way, considering it marks the series’ official debut in the West.
Phantom Breaker: Opera Omnia is among the most traditional fighting games releasing in 2022, sporting a fast-paced 2D experience featuring everything anime fighting games fans love, including a full-fledged story mode that will let them delve deeper into the story of each of the playable characters, explosive full-screen attacks and intricate combos that will be difficult but highly satisfying to pull off in an actual match.
With the inclusion of three different fighting styles that impact characters in some significant ways, Phantom Breaker: Opera Omnia will be the game to get for those who love traditional anime fighting games and are ready to delve deep into intricate systems. Delay-based netcode will be a limiting factor, that’s for sure, but hopefully, the franchise’s western debut will not suffer too much because of it.
The King of Fighters XV (February 17th)
The King of Fighters series has gone from being pretty much done in 2010 due to SNK leaving the video game industry behind to being one of the most popular of the modern gaming age, all with a single game. As such, expectations are high for The King of Fighters XV, but it seems like the new entry in the series will meet them and possibly even surpass them.
With a vast launch roster of 39 characters, which include many of the series most important characters, some newcomers and some surprising returns, a story mode that continues from that of the previous game, and plenty of local and online game modes, The King of Fighters XV already sets itself apart from most modern high-profile fighting games that launch with limited content and character rosters that only get expanded after launch.
With the series’ signature 3-on-3 team battle system intact, new Max Mode, the Shatter Strike mechanic that adds a welcome new defensive option, and rollback netcode, The King of Fighters XV has a very solid chance of indeed becoming the true king of fighting games in 2022.
- Blazing Strike
- Die by the Blade
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