Best Upcoming Fighting Games 2021 (And Beyond)

Here are the best upcoming fighting games coming out this year and beyond. The next Tekken? The next Mortal kombat? Other games? They're all here.

As the next era of gaming draws nearer, new games with better graphics and more robust gameplay mechanics are on the horizon.

Fighting games, in particular, stand to benefit from technological advancements that help minimize latency and reduce game load times.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best upcoming fighting games you can look forward to playing at tournaments, with friends, or online against total strangers in 2021.

We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any games!

Related:Best Upcoming PC Games 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming PS5 Games 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming Xbox Series X Games 2021 (And Beyond)

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The next entry in Arc System Works cel-shaded fighter is expected to release at some point this year and aims to deliver the biggest and best Guilty Gear experience by far.

Guilty Gear Strive sees the return of fan favorites like Sol Badguy, May, and Ky Kiske in addition to series newcomers, including a mysteriously unknown samurai.

The game is a continuation of Arc System Works’ commitment to flashy combat and gorgeous 2.5D graphics that utilize dynamic camera angles.

From a gameplay perspective, Strive looks to offer the smoothest battling experience to date with new combos and more fluid stage transitions than previous entries.

Drawing inspiration from Bushido Blade, Way of the Samurai, and Dark Souls, Die by the Blade is a demanding 1v1 sword-fighting game currently in production.

It uses a one-hit kill system that emphasizes parries, blocks and counters and punishes players for making mistakes.

Unlike many other fighting games, Die by the Blade separates its fighting styles from characters, instead associating each one with a specific weapon.

No word on a release date but its confirmed the game will include a singleplayer mode as well as local and online multiplayer.

Phantom Breaker is a fast-paced 2D fighter with a cult following that’s stuck with the game for over a decade now.

Throughout that time, the game has received numerous updates and even a chibi-style beat ’em up spinoff called Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds.

Phantom Break: Omnia plans on being the most definitive version of the game to date as it sees the return of past fighters along with two new challengers.

Efforts are also being made to update the game’s soundtrack, introduce a new fighting style called Omnia, adjust gameplay balance, and offer both Japanese/English voice acting.

Some could make the argument we simply don’t have enough fighting games with hats; sure, some game characters happen to wear hats, but what if losing your hat resulted in your character dying?

Enter King of the Hat, a 2D arena fighter that’s expected to release for PC and Nintendo Switch in “Mid 2021.”

Described as a “fast-paced, hat-based fighting game,” King of the Hat sees up to four players duking it out in frantic battles where the goal is to destroy your foe’s hat using your own.

Seeing the game in action is a sight to behold as attacks have no startup animations, and characters can easily die in a split-second.

As of now, we don’t have much information about the fifteenth installment in The King of Fighters series besides the fact that it’s being developed by fighting game legend SNK.

The King of Fighters XV was first teased in 2018 and later confirmed during EVO 2019 and is expected to release sometime in 2021 for all major platforms.

At the moment, it’s unclear what new features or fighters are being added, however with a history as extensive as KOF, don’t expect any significant changes to the core experience.

For those unfamiliar, the fighter sees an array of SNK characters from classics like Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury coming together for a competitive fighting tournament.

Metal Revolution is a new project from indie developer NEXT Studios that’s catering to fighting game newcomers by streamlining the tedious process of memorizing button inputs to perform flashy combos.

The game features a simple control layout tailored to each fighter’s playstyle and allows you to chain together powerful attacks with singular button presses.

The “Metal” part of its title stems from a diverse roster of interesting-looking android combatants who each have a preferred fighting style and exclusive ultimate ability.

Ultimates in Metal Revolution function similarly to Fatalities in Mortal Kombat and see fighters performing highly-cinematic death-dealing finishers on their opponents.

What do you get when you cross samurais, guns, and pixel art? If you’ve ever played the original Samurai Gunn, you’ll already know the answer.

Here’s how it works: each player is assigned a sword, a gun, and three bullets to use wisely as they face off against opponents in hazardous 2D platforming stages.

Following the critical success of the first game, designer Beau Blyth of Teknopants has begun working on a sequel that’s jam-packed with new content and quality-of-life improvements.

Samurai Gunn 2 adds new princess, golem, and knight characters to play as across two game modes: Adventure and Classic Versus.

Touhou Sky Arena developer Area Zero plans to continue exploring their fondness for aerial combat and anime witches in their next project, Valkyrie of Phantasm.

Also set in the Touhou universe, the game will see players flying through the sky, dodging a barrage of projectiles, and firing back at opponents.

The game looks nothing short of stylish and the latest trailer does an excellent job of highlighting a slew of improvements, including better-looking environments and more fluid movement and combat.

There’s still no set release date for Valkyrie of Phantasm as of yet, but the game seems to be coming along just fine.

League of Legends developer/publisher Riot Games is working on a variety of new projects which for the most part have remained shrouded in mystery.

Aside from the upcoming tactical shooter currently known as Project A, the company also has a fighting game in the works under the moniker Project L.

While Riot has shared some clips of gameplay footage, it’s still too early to tell what the final product will be like considering this is the developer’s first foray into the genre.

So far, we know it features a roster of fighters from League of Legends and highly stylized 2D graphics that give help it stand out from other fighting games.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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