The fighting game community is going to bask in a lot of goodness in 2022.
And that’s due in part to a wealth of brand new entrants into the thriving genre of fighters and the ongoing updates for previously released fan favorites. This new year brings with it the 15th mainline entry in the long-running The King of Fighters franchise, a highly-requested rerelease of an Arc System Works anime fighter, a brand new brawler based on a Korean beat ’em up MMORPG, and so much more.
As the year winds down, we’ll make sure this list of 2022 fighting games stays updated as new developments are made. This shall be the definitive listing of the upcoming fighting games slated for the new year!
Guilty Gear Strive – ongoing Season 1 DLC character releases (Baiken & Testament), ‘Combo Maker’ mode, additional Season 1 battle stages (‘Lap of the Kami‘ & ‘White House Reborn’), ‘Digital Figure’ mode, ‘Another Story’ expansion, ongoing Season 2 DLC character releases, and crossplay between PS4/PS5/PC – Steam players.
Dragon Ball FighterZ – ongoing DLC character releases (Lab Coat Android 21).
Street Fighter V – final Battle Balance Adjustment, new graphics filter modes (cel-shading & pixelation) for offline modes only, new tracksuit colors, CAP-JAMS remixes (Dan, Rose, Oro, Akira, & Luke), and Capcom Pro Tour 2022 DLC.
Skullgirls 2nd Encore – ongoing DLC character releases (Umbrella & Black Dahlia).
Melty Blood: Type Lumina – ongoing DLC character releases (Dead Apostle Noel, Aoko Aozaki, Mario Gallo Bestino, & Powered Ciel).
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl – ongoing DLC character releases (Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jenny from My Life as a Teenage Robot, Hugh Neutron from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, & Rocko from Rockoâs Modern Life).
Brawlhalla – ongoing DLC character releases (Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe and Ken, Dhalsim, M. Bison, Sakura, & Luke from Street Fighter).
It’s all been leading up to this. The hype character trailers, team composition reveals, and open betas have all done a bang-up job in regards to SNK’s next major fighting game release. The 15th mainline installment in The King of Fighters series is dropping this year and it looks to be a more refined (and more importantly, graphically impressive!) version of The King of Fighters XIV.
The King of Fighters XV features a more cohesive roster filled with longtime veterans, returning fan favorites, and alluring newcomers. The gameplay itself feels even fluid and gratifying than ever before thanks to the ability to pull off EX special moves without being forced to enter into a separate power mode. The addition of the “Shatter Strike” maneuver and MAX Mode makes this game’s bevy of team-elimination clashes incredibly exciting. Thank god this one has good rollback netcode!
Shout out to development studio Visual Concepts for taking its time with crafting the latest entry in the WWE 2K franchise. And by the looks of everything shown off from the wrestling simulator thus far, it looks like fans actually have a lot to look forward to this year. This in-ring brawler comes with a revamped gameplay system, a stronger graphical presentation, and a whole host of modes that longtime fans should be immensely satisfied by.
WWE 2K22’s 2K Showcase Mode centers around its cover star Rey Mysterio, which means you’ll get to play out his legendary career through his most famous matches. Besides that destination mode, players can also hop into MyRISE, MyFACTION, Universe Mode, Creation Suite, and the welcome return of MyGM. Fingers crossed that WWE 2K22 truly “hits different.”
So get this: Phantom Breaker: Omnia is an updated version of a Japanese-only fighting game that’s actually a spinoff of a beat ’em up called Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds. The wait for this new and improved version of Phantom Breaker has been extremely long (since 2012, to be exact!), but it’s finally slated to land on American shores in 2022.
For those not in the know, Phantom Breaker: Omnia is your typical 2D anime fighter whose roster is filled with a majority of charismatic ladies. Each member of the game’s roster has access to three distinct fighting styles that alters the way they behave in combat – Quick Style, Hard Style, and Omnia Style. So choose your favorite fighter, take a trip into the lab to familiarize yourself with each style of play, and emerge with all the know-how needed to dominate the competition.
Fans have been clamoring for a current-gen rerelease of this Arc System Works anime fighter for far too long now. But thankfully, the powers that be have decided to grant that longstanding wish and finally bring Persona 4 Arena Ultimax over to PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.
What makes this rerelease that much more intriguing is the fact that it’ll incorporate the final batch of character/gameplay balance updates, which were previously exclusive to the arcade version of the game. A lot of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax’s shortcomings were addressed in those updates and chief among them were the changes made to the alternate “Shadow” versions of the game’s main roster members. If you haven’t played this Arc Sys fighting gem before or are just ready to hop back in for old time’s sake, this rerelease should definitely be on your radar.
Oh, and by the way – Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is getting a rollback netcode update on PS4 & Steam later this summer!
The NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection series has been such a blessing for fighting game fans thus far. Handheld brawlers such as SNK Gal’s Fighters and SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millenium have been pushed back to the forefront thanks to that cool SNK initiative. The latest retro game to get added to that lineup is a little-known portable wrestling game called Big Bang Pro Wrestling, which is way better than you’d initially expect.
10 in-ring greats that come in all shapes, sizes, and gimmicks are at your disposal here. And the action unfolds via action-packed bouts that are filled with death-defying maneuvers. The two big specialty matches you can take for a spin here are the Coffin Death Match and the Reward Death Match, which you’ll get a ton of fun out of. Local multiplayer is on deck, but online play isn’t included sadly.
During the 35th anniversary of Street Fighter, Capcom is going out of its way to show some appreciation for the rest of its fighting game catalog. And they’re doing just that by releasing the Capcom Fighting Collection, which comes with 10 different retro fighters that all can be played online via rollback netcode.
This throwback compilation comes with the following classics – Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Night Warriors: Darkstalkersâ Revenge, Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire, Vampire Hunter 2: Darkstalkersâ Revenge, Vampire Savior 2: The Lord of Vampire, Red Earth, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, and Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness. This tribute to Capcom’s 2D past also comes with a gallery full of dope art, a training mode for every game except for Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Spectator Mode, and more.
DNF Duel came out of nowhere to grab the attention of fighting game fans everywhere in 2021. After months of radio silence following the release of a short but sweet trailer in 2020, this gorgeous anime fighter put forth a steady trailer reveal information rollout in 2021 that garnered tons of positive feedback.
After players left DNF Duel’s open beta with largely positive feedback, the game managed to shoot itself up the list for the most anticipated fighting game of 2022. And it’s easy to see why – DNF Duel’s crisp 2D visuals, awesome interpretation of the source material’s class-based avatars, and the easy yet equally complex battle mechanics all help it stand apart from the competition. We can’t wait to slam fools as the Grappler all over again once this game finally comes out! And yes, rollback netcode has been confirmed for this one.
Now that Masahiro Sakurai has finally concluded his long and epic journey with the development of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, new party fighters are attempting to enter the fray and make major headlines themselves.
Besides Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, there’s the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment published and Player First Games developed MultiVersus. This 2v2 team-based party brawler will feature a who’s who of WB property-themed characters, such as Batman, Bugs Bunny, Steven Universe, and so much more. Keep in mind that MultiVersus will also allow for 1v1 and free-for-all skirmishes, so you’ll have plenty of battle options at your disposal within this free-to-play platform fighter. Rollback netcode is definitely in place for this fighter as well.
Blazing Strike looks and feels like a long-lost SNK fighting game that we unknowingly passed by in the arcades. And that’s part of the reason why we’re so intrigued by it. Publisher Aksys Games and development studio RareBreed Makes Games have come together to produce a 2D fighter that pays homage to the golden age of the genre itself.
Alongside retro stylized visuals, Blazing Strike will implement modern-day fighting game conventions such as heightened mobility, flashy super moves, and comeback mechanics. The game’s “Rush” system also offers something fresh and unique for this throwback fighter as it allows each character to utilize even more special moves, move faster, and jump much higher than before. Hopping online to enjoy some heated battles in Blazing Strike should be a joy thanks to its usage of GGPO rollback netcode.
Breakers and Breakers Revenge are regarded by many as two of the most slept-on fighters from the 90s golden age of fighting games. Now, both games are being compiled together in a sick compilation package thanks to the efforts of publisher/developer QUByte Interactive.
Visco Corporation’s two underrated fighters stick close to the best parts of Street Fighter II and rely on fast-paced gameplay to keep players’ attention. Traditional special move inputs are in place here, so FGC vets will have little issue getting used to Breakers Collection’s style of gameplay if they’re playing it for the first time here. GGPO rollback netcode is a go, so this game’s online battles will surely play like a dream!
Yes, there’s totally a LEGO-themed fighting game out there that’s patterned after Super Smash Bros. And if you’re just learning about it now, you can actually take it for a spin if you look for it through the iOS Apple Arcade. LEGO Brawlers is a pretty wild platform fighter that actually lets you craft your own minifig characters. And you’ll engage in some zany clashes with rival minifigs across eight different arenas (one of them happens to be themed after Jurassic World!).
When it comes to utilizing items during each match, you can build them on the fly and immediately activate them. The match options at your disposal here are a 4v4 team-based variation and one that’s a free-for-all battle royale. We never knew we wanted a Super Smash Bros. game that’s all about LEGO characters, but here we are. We can’t wait to take it for a spin on home consoles and PC this year.
One of the more unexpected fighting game reveals and planned releases for the year comes from Bandai Namco in the form of an update for a 2013 brawler. JoJoâs Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R arrives with some major enhancements that are set to improve its gameplay mechanics to appeal to more hardcore fighting game fans.
The game features more hitstop and an improved input buffer applied to reading combos & common input shortcuts, which means players will be able to perform special moves faster. The onscreen action will feel and look a lot smoother now that it’ll perform at 60 FPS. With 50 characters set for the roster, that means JoJo diehards are getting nine more characters. And on top of all that, this anime-fighter is also getting a tag system, new stages, a full game rebalance, an air dash mechanic, and a wealth of gameplay modes.
Them’s Fightin’ Herds has been enjoying a nice bout of success since launching on PC. The complete version of that game has become a haven for fan-favorite features for the FGC, such as a full-fledged Story Mode, strong rollback netcode, and a free-form combat system that welcomes player creativity with every character on the roster.
Now PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo console owners will be able to engage in the game’s fur-filled battles when it finally launches on last- and current-gen hardware. Both the base game and Deluxe Edition will become available on consoles – the later version will come with the Season 1 Pass that’ll throw four new furious critters into the arena, new stages, and a whole bunch of extra costumes.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on Them’s Fightin’ Herds since its Early Access launch period in 2018 and have been wanting a console release, your wish has finally been granted.
One of the greatest indie-made fighting games of all time is none other than the wonderfully animated and long-running spectacle known as Skullgirls. In its most current state, players have been treated to a wealth of balance adjustments and additional characters via Skullgirls 2nd Encore on PlayStation consoles and PC (the mobile version has also gotten the same welcome treatment).
Xbox console owners will now get the chance to check out all the fresh content that’s been delivered through Skullgirls’ latest updates. This team-based fighter has it all – an eccentric cast of characters, flashy combos that are just as fun to watch as they are to pull off, a super catchy soundtrack, and so much more. Black Dahlia is definitely looking like a worthy addition to everyone’s main Skullgirls squad!