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Best fighting games of 2022

2021 was an outstanding year for fighting games, with 2022 promising to be just as good.
Best fighting games of 2022
The gaming industry is still nursing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. From game delays to console scarcity, players have had to wait longer when it comes to big titles finally making it to shelves and digital fronts.

For fighting game fans, the struggles of COVID have hit even harder, as many titles within the genre were exposed for their lack of competent online infrastructure paired with the expected uncertainties when it comes to new release dates for highly anticipated games.

Regardless, 2021 saw the FGC get their hands on Guilty Gear Strive (which was delayed from 2020), Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, Melty Blood: Type Lumina, and more. On top of this, old releases like The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Fight and BlazBlue: Central Fiction got updated with rollback netcode, making their online component almost undistinguishable from playing offline. 

As we welcome 2022, let's take a look at the most anticipated fighting games of the upcoming year.

Most anticipated fighting games of 2022

For this list, we'll be considering only titles that have either a set release date or a launch window already confirmed. We will try to answer some questions you might also have about certain other popular franchises that could potentially make a comeback. 

On top of the aforementioned, if an older title gets an update of any kind, they'll be featured on the list. With all that being said, let's begin.

The King of Fighters XV

 Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5

Release date: 14th February

kyo
Kyo looking better than ever. (Picture: SNK)

The long-running SNK franchise is finally coming back for yet another outing. Originally scheduled to release in November, KOF XV will compete against some heavy hitters, as it's launching on 14th February.

The initial roster will feature 39 characters, with DLC already confirmed to the surprise of absolutely no one. Some of the standouts include iconic fighters such as Kyo Kusanagi, Mai Shiranui, Terry Bogard, Chermie, and more. 

Of course, like many games post-pandemic (or still midway through) The King of Fighters XV will feature rollback netcode. 

It will be available on almost every major platform, including old-gen and PC. Sadly, Nintendo Switch users will miss out on this one. 

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4.

Release date: 17th March.

persona 4 arena ultimax
A re-release of a very loved title. (Picture: ATLUS)

Originally a Shin Megami Tensei spinoff, the Persona series has arguably become a more popular franchise, sprawling multiple mainline RPG titles as well as ridiculously fun side adventures. 

From rhythm to fighting games, the Persona cast has found themselves way out of their comfort zone, with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax becoming a bit of a cult classic in the process. 

Originally released for the sixth-console generation in 2014, the Arc System Works developed game is making a comeback to newer hardware early in 2022.

Featuring all previous DLC and based on the final Arcade version, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax for PS4, Switch, and Steam, will also debut new ways to enjoy the game, including Golden Arena Mode, a nod to the series' roots as it functions as an RPG, letting players earn EXP and create stats builds for each of their characters.

Phantom Breaker: Omnia

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: 15th March

phantom breaker
Phantom Breaker is finally coming to the west. (Picture: 5pb)

If we're talking about niche fighting games, few are more so than Phantom Breaker. The title, developed by 5pb, initially released in 2011 for the Xbox 360, exclusively in Japan, oddly enough.

That same game was updated for arcades (Another Code) in 2013, and subsequently, an enhanced edition, Extra, was released a year later for the 360 and PlayStation 3.

The English localization was cancelled for undisclosed reasons back in 2011. Now, more than a decade later, the title is set to the entire world with its latest iteration, Phantom Breaker: Omnia.

Don't mistake this for a simple localization effort, as the game will come with new characters, a new fighting style, balance adjustments, and all the story content from the previous versions of Phantom Breaker.

The reveal trailer certainly caught the eyes of many fighting game enthusiasts by being very over the top. Check it out down below.

MultiVersus

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5

Release date: 2022

multiversus
A new platform fighter featuring WB's most iconic characters. (Picture: Warner Bros)

The boom of Smash Ultimate and the possibilities of infinite crossovers has sparked interest in other developers to tackle something similar, with MultiVersus promising a highly ambitious clash of universes. 

Featuring IPs owned by the Warner Media conglomerate, ranging from DC superheroes such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, to cartoons like Scooby-Doo and Adventure Time, and even Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings, MultiVersus has already caught the attention of thousands of players.

To make things even more exciting, MultiVersus will feature both cross-play and cross-progression across its different platforms. Furthermore, developers have confirmed the game will also use rollback netcode for its online functionalities.

Did we also mention the game will be free and has multiple seasons of content and new characters already confirmed to be in development? This is one you don't want to miss out on if you enjoy platform fighters.

DNF Duel

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

Release date: 2022

dnf duel
DNF Duel is a spinoff of a popular Korean franchise. (Picture: Neople)

ArcSys is the top developer at the moment when it comes to fighting games, and just a year after releasing Strive, the FGC will be graced with DNF Duel.

Taking characters from the massively successful beat 'em up Dungeon Fighter Online, developed by Neople, this collaborative effort between ArcSys and Eighting is looking like one of the most flashy fighting games ever made. 

With a focus on striking visuals, character creativity, and a level of polish only ArcSys can deliver, expectations are high for DNF Duel. Sadly, plenty of important information is being kept under wraps, such as the release date or how many fighters will it feature (only 11 have been confirmed thus far).

In fact, most of the game was shrouded in mystery until about a month ago. Revealed at the tail-end of 2020, the devs went radio silent for 11 months, dropping a new teaser and several character trailers in the weeks since.

After a somewhat criticised open beta trial period, mostly for its lack of training mode and connectivity issues, players can't deny DNF Duel looks, and most importantly, plays like a charm. 

The game is set to release at some point during the summer. 

 

Is there anything more?

Yes, if you're a BlazBlue fan, Arc System Works confirmed Cross Tag Battle will be updated to receive rollback netcode in the same way Central Fiction did. 

What about Street Fighter VI and Project L?

Two games that fans are 100% aware are being worked on are both the follow up to the legendary Capcom franchise and a new tag team fighter based on League of Legends.

Sadly, we can safely say that you shouldn't hold your breath for a 2022 release in either case. Capcom decided to come up with Season 5 for SFV to avoid a massive content drought while they are rethinking their approach for SFVI.

Season 5 just wrapped up with the release of Luke, promoting him as the "future" of the franchise. Still, this doesn't necessarily mean VI is right around the corner. At bare minimum, expect a teaser trailer.

For Project L, the developers straight up just confirmed that the game is more likely a 2023 release at the earliest, and even then, the Cannon brothers refused to fully commit to it.

Expect more updates regarding gameplay, and hopefully, a playtest of some kind near the end of the year.

Featured image courtesy of Arc System Works, SNK, Warner, and Atlus.