Fighting Games Friday: The Fighters of 2018

Last year was a good one for fighting game releases and announcements. Titles like Injustice 2, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, and Arms were released by different developers and publishers, and several others were announced. Though whether 2018 will be on par with 2017 in terms of overall video games in history is arguable, that will be the case with fighting games. After a couple of years in the doldrums, this year will continue to show how the genre has once again resurged.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT| PlayStation 4 | January 11 (Japan), January 30 (West)

Dissidia NT is the home version of the Dissidia Final Fantasy arcade game released in Japan in 2015, which makes several changes compared to its PSP predecessors. The biggest is how it’s primarily a three-on-three title instead of one-on-one, and its stages have been adjusted to accommodate for the increased amount of characters battling it out. “Primarily” because a one-on-one option is still included, but the three-on-three format is the one being heavily promoted. Characters from every mainline Final Fantasy title are also included, with Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis being added to the PS4 version, along with Ramza and Ace from Final Fantasy Tactics and Type-0, respectively.

If you want to try it out before it releases, an open beta session will be held from January 12th to the 21st.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition| PlayStation 4, PC | January 16th (west), January 18th (Japan)

Now that Street Fighter V is nearly two years old and has received piles upon piles of DLC, Capcom figured now is a good time to rerelease it. SFV’s core gameplay is good, but it was sharply criticized for lacking content and characters compared to its predecessors and other fighting games when it first released in February 2016. Arcade Edition will remedy that by launching with the original 16 characters and 12 DLC characters released since then, and will finally include an Arcade Mode. Unfortunately, anyone purchasing this will still have to pay extra for the stages and most outfits released after the original game’s launch. It’s still a good deal for $40, though not a great one.

The game’s third season will start on the same day, which will feature six more characters. It will start with Sakura, this time thankfully bereft of her schoolgirl uniform as her default outfit — though it’s still a purchasable option.

Dragon Ball FighterZ | PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC | January 26th (west), February 2nd (Japan)

With Dragon Ball FighterZ, Arc System Works granted the wishes of several Dragon Ball and fighting game fans. After a respectable outing with 3DS fighting game title Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden, they announced a considerably higher-budget one for current gen consoles and PC. They’re putting the graphics techniques they mastered with the Guilty Gear Xrd titles to good use given its aesthetics, and its three-on-three battles are inspired by the also-popular (well, sans Infinite) Marvel vs. Capcom titles. It’s a dream come true for potential players, and a labor of love from the developers, even though some comparatively unimportant fan favorites are missing from the

The game will contain several characters from Dragon Ball Z like Goku, Cell, Tien, and Android 18, along with some surprise faces from Dragon Ball Super. Similar to other Arc System Works titles, it will also have a story mode, this time containing an original plotline with already-popular character Android 21. It will release worldwide on January 26th, though before that, an open beta will be held between January 14th and 16th — though those who’ve preordered will get to start it on the 13th.

Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle | PlayStation 4, Switch, PC | 2018

Instead of simply making another Blazblue game, Arc System Works had the idea to take characters from multiple sprite-based fighting game franchises and insert them into one game — with one extra franchise also joining the mix. Cross Tag Battle is a two-on-two fighter with characters from Blazblue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth (whose installments Arc published), and web series RWBY — characters in the last of which are making their first fighting game appearance. The game features asset reuse on par with Marvel vs. Capcom 2, unless they’re deliberately hiding some special parts of the game that will be revealed later; but like that game, this won’t be a problem if the resulting game is fun.

Soulcalibur VI | PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC | Late 2018

The Soulcalibur series was once thought dead after Bandai Namco did very little for its 20th anniversary in 2016, but little did we know that the fan reaction led to them green lighting the sixth installment behind the scenes. Previous mainline title Soulcalibur V was credited with putting the franchise on ice, thanks to its divisive character and story choices, and its 2D fighter-like gameplay features to a lesser extent. SCVI will deal with this by… ignoring it entirely, and will essentially be a retelling of the original Soulcalibur’s events. The title was revealed less than a month ago, so only Mitsurugi and Sophitia have been revealed; but there will be far more than them, including new characters despite the title’s place in the timeline.

Fighting EX Layer | PlayStation 4 | 2018… maybe

The contracts for the Street Fighter EX games developer Arika made with Capcom were strange compared to others — though in a good way for the former company. Though they added several new characters to the Street Fighter universe alongside familiar faces, Arika retained the rights for those characters. With the resurgence of the fighting game genre, Arika felt now was a good time to use those characters to create their own fighting game title with Fighting EX Layer. It features the return of familiar faces like Kairi, Garuda, Skullomania, and Blair Dame, all with familiar (though not entirely identical) techniques. Its mechanics also bear more of a resemblance to the EX games rather than Arika’s other fighter: Fighting Layer, whose characters they also retained rights to despite Namco publishing it.

The game hasn’t been confirmed for a release this year, but there’s a good chance it will, especially if they’re willing to start out with a small cast and work their way up to a higher count.

In addition to these, existing fighters will also receive DLC. The characters of Injustice 2’s third character pack are still on the way, and Enchantress will be the first to arrive next Tuesday — though anyone who wants to purchase her as a standalone character will have to wait until the 16th. Also, Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis Lucis Caelum will arrive in Tekken 7 sometime in the spring. The King of Fighters XIV will receive a new character named “Najd” from a Saudi Arabian artist, and a new stage called the “Masmk Fort Arena” from an Oman artist, after two artists from Arab countries won SNK’s contest. There’s also the aforementioned SFV content, and Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite could have some coming if Capcom hasn’t abandoned it already.

Basically, 2018 will be good for fighting games, and it will be tough to dedicate time to all of these for anyone still playing last year’s fighters, especially when post-release DLC is a big trend these days. Have fun!

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