As the next generation of gaming draws nearer, new games with better graphics and robust gameplay mechanics are on the horizon. Fighting games, in particular, will benefit from advancements like reduced latency and faster load times.
Here, we’ll be highlighting the best upcoming fighting games you can look forward to playing at tournaments, with friends, or against total strangers online throughout 2020 and beyond. Make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new entries and while you’re here, consider reading through our other curated lists:
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Release Date: July 16, 2020 – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1 | Switch
Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of studios take the Super Smash Bros. approach to arena fighters, minus the all-star cast of recognizable Nintendo mascots. Instead, games like Brawlout, Indie Pogo, and Rivals of Aether focus on more niche indie properties to create a diverse roster of fighters.
Bounty Battle is the latest contender and by far the most promising, at least when it comes to representation. The 2D fighter features 30 characters from well-known indie games like Guacamelee!, Darkest Dungeon, Dead Cells, and many others. Along with 16 distinct levels, the game will include an array of modes such as Tournament, Versus, Challenge, and a Training Room for practicing combos.
King of the Hat
Release Date: 2020 – Platform: Switch | PC
Some could make the argument we simply don’t have enough fighting games with hats. Sure, some games feature characters that happen to wear hats, but what if losing your hat resulted in your character’s death? Enter King of the Hat, a 2D arena fighter that’s already available on PC and expected to release for Nintendo Switch later this summer.
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 defeat your enemy by crushing their 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. The game features a diverse roster of 14 hat-wearing fighters to play as in both local and online multiplayer.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON
Release Date: 2020 – Platform: PS4
The Gundam series is known for its flashy mech-based combat across all forms of entertainment, including animated TV, movies, and in this case, video games. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON sees players strapping into the cockpit of their favorite Mobile Suits from the franchise’s extensive history for thrilling 2v2 arena battles. The game was already released in Japan, but this year it’ll be making its way worldwide on PS4.
Considering it’s the first new Gundam game in over two years, following 2017’s Gundam Versus, fans are excited to see how the arcade brawler’s combat compares to the last game. In comparison, Versus focused on one-on-one bouts, Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON emphasizes co-op based battling with gameplay systems like “EX Burst,” which allows two players fighting on the same team to increase their power by working together drastically.
Guilty Gear Strive
Release Date: 2021 – Platform: PC | PS4
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 who makes an appearance in the reveal trailer.
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. If you’re a Guilty Gear veteran, then you already know what to expect, but if this is your first go, make sure to brush up on your skills before the game releases.
The King of Fighters XV
Release Date: 2020 – Platform: PC| PS4 | XB1 | Switch
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 2020 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.
Release Date: TBA – Platform: PC
Metal Revolution is a new project from indie developer NEXT Studios that’s catering towards 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.
Samurai Gunn 2
Release Date: TBA – Platform: PC | Switch
What do you get when you cross samurais, guns, and vibrant pixel art? If you’ve ever played the original Samurai Gunn, you’ll already know the answer is an addictive and fast-paced 2D action game that’s infinitely more fun with friends. 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, a cooperative campaign for up to two players, and Classic Versus, which sees up to four players battling on a variety of hazardous 2D platforming stages.
Valkyrie of Phantasm
Release Date: TBA – Platform: PC | PS4 | Switch
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, VoP 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. This includes highly-detailed background environments as well as more fluid movement and combat. There’s still no set release date for VoP as of yet, but the game seems to be coming along just fine.
Tekken X Street Fighter
Release Date: TBA – Platform: TBA
Tekken X Street Fighter has had a long and messy development cycle, and at this point, we’re not even sure the game is ever going to see the light of day. Announced during SDCC way back in 2010, the game was supposed to be one of two planned crossover games, including characters from both popular fighter franchises, with Street Fighter X Tekken releasing first. However, Bandai Namco would end up going radio silent about the second game pretty soon after, even up until Street Fighter X Tekken hit store shelves.
The latest piece of information regarding Tekken X Street Fighter comes from the game’s producer, Katsuhiro Harada, who recently took to Twitter to confirm there was still a strong desire within the company to put out the game but that it may no longer make sense from a business standpoint considering most of the community is still actively playing Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V. While releasing a new game would divide the playerbase and definitely impact sales, it’ll be a bummer if Tekken X Street Fighter never releases.
Release Date: TBA – Platform: TBA
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 contains a roster of fighters from League of Legends and is played from a 2D perspective and features stylized graphics that give the game a distinct look and feel compared to what’s currently on the market. It’s unclear when Project L will be released or even given an official title; however, rumors suggest the game might not launch until 2021 at the earliest.