From Dragon Ball FighterZ to Soul Calibur 6 and a new Super Smash Bros, 2018 is a great time to be a fighting game fan; let's break down all the games

Yes, that also includes Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[St]

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • March 12, 2018 at 10:37 a.m. PDT

The fighting game genre lost its footing after finding much success in the early 90's with the waning popularity of arcades in the latter half of the decade, along with suffering from market over-saturation from the abundance of good fighters plus all of the just plain bad ones to be found out there.

Going into the early 2000's, the genre seemed to continue to diminish aside from the mainstay releases of Tekken and Mortal Kombat games with games like Street Fighter 3: Third Strike and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 keeping the competitive side alive until things picked back up again.

Street Fighter 4 brought with it the seeming Renaissance of the genre, re-igniting the spark in the old guard while bringing in the new blood the scene desperately needed.

Now almost a decade later, the fighting game genre is shining again with releases and support for games large and small.

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for fighting game fans with new games like Soul Calibur 6 and the recently revealed Super Smash Bros. for Switch, as well as games receiving continued support like Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition and Injustice 2.

Let's take a look at every fighter coming out and receiving support this year.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Starting out with perhaps the big guns here, we have Bandai Namco and Arc System Works' crown jewel collaboration. DBFZ had been garnering hype since its initial reveal and that train has not stopped since.

The game came out back in January and has sparked the community and built bridges across fanbases from other games to form some new sort of salty harmony. We've seen the likes of TSM|Leffen, FOC|SonicFox, IFCYipes, and CAG|GO1 all embrace the game to give us new possible rivalries moving forward.

DBFZ shipped over 2 million copies after less than a month on store shelves and has done gangbusters in digital sales as well. Starting off their DLC season with Broly and Bardock seems to be a great move to keep the games momentum moving forward plus the six remaining that we know nothing about (but are rumored to be base-form Goku and Vegeta, Cooler, Android 17, Zamasu and Vegito).

FighterZ has rightfully earned a spot in EVO 2018 this year in August. Though it will remain to be seen how it will perform at majors starting with Final Round, we can assume that this may be the biggest new (if not the biggest overall) fighting game this year.

Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition

Going into its third year since launching in 2016, Capcom is not slowing their support for Street Fighter 5. They gave the game its biggest update to date back in January keeping good on their promise of players only needing to own one disc for the game's life cycle.

Updated visuals and a beefy (if not super duper late) arcade mode addition along with new extra battles, new V-Triggers and awesome crossover costumes were all added to the game to keep players coming back to play more regularly.

Six new characters are also being added this year with Sakura and Blanka having already come out plus Sagat, Cody, Falke and G coming later down the road in the coming months.

Capcom has stated their interest in advancing their eSports division, so don't expect the Capcom Pro Tour to go away any time soon either.

Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch

This is the newest addition to the list of games coming out this year, so it's also the one with the least information to go off of. All we know for sure is that it is supposed to launch sometime in 2018.

We assume by the new logo and statements from Nintendo so far that Smash Bros. for Switch will be counted as a new title and not just an updated port of the Wii U and 3DS titles that came out in 2014.

Aside from the Inklings from Splatoon, Mario, some silhouettes and Link in his Breath of the Wild design, we will have to see how the roster and mechanics shake up.

We probably will not hear much more about the game until E3 rolls around in June this year.

Soul Calibur 6

It has now been over six years since the last numbered Soul Calibur game was released upon the world to very mixed responses. The changes in roster and poor story mode did not sit well with many fans, even though the games online features shined.

Now we are stepping back into the past, with 6 taking place around the same time as 1 and 2, bringing back many fan favorite characters including Mitsurugi, Ivy and Zasalamel (who has not been seen in quite some time).

It appears Soul Calibur 6 will launch sometime this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC with at least 20 characters and early previews from players seem very positive so far. Bandai Namco seems quite confident in what they have been putting out for the game.

Geralt from the Witcher series is also rumored to be one of the guest characters appearing in the game.

Injustice 2

The game originally came out a little under a year ago, but has been getting steady updates to its content up until this point.

The Legendary Edition of the game is set to release in a few weeks on March 27 and will come with all previous content for the game including characters like Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. New gear will also be made available with this new edition.

Injustice 2 will retain its competitive position as the latest NetherRealm game with a spot on the mainstage at EVO 2018 and other majors this year.

Also, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition launched in November 2013 and Mortal Kombat X was revealed in June the next year, so a reveal of a brand new game would not be out of the (nether) realm of possibilities at some point this year or next.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle

Cross Tag Battle is a new crossover fighting game from ArcSys combining characters from BlazBlue, Under Night In-Birth, Persona 4 and RWBY for some 2v2 action.

This title has come under fire for the way it is handling the roster and DLC for the game before it even launches. That has largely been quelled now that the developers have announced the game will cost just above a standard retail game to get the full roster of 40 characters.

The game is set to release in June on PS4, Switch, and PC in North America, and though it is not out yet, Cross Tag Battle also has a spot at EVO 2018.

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

We have another 2v2 crossover fighting game this time coming from SNK featuring (you guessed it) all of the fan-favorite ladies from SNK's properties duking it out in cat, genie, and bikini costumes.

The game features some simplified controls and interesting hit sparks among other customization options to make this a more casual friendly affair though this is still SNK, so there is likely going to be enough depth there for those that look.

SNK Heroines is supposed to release sometime this Summer on PS4 and Switch.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Dissidia Final Fantasy has been out in Japanese arcades now for a few years as the 3v3 follow-up to the previous two PSP titles. Now, the game has finally made its way onto the PS4 for this spin-off series' first home console release.

Players can choose from dozens of their favorite Final Fantasy heroes and villains throughout the storied franchise and fight it out with teams online, or play the games odd take on story mode that picks up after the events of the previous games.

NT and the arcade version are set to receive new characters this year as DLC with the first to be revealed on March 13.

Tekken 7

Speaking of Final Fantasy characters in fighting games, Noctis from Final Fantasy 15 is coming to Tekken 7 soon. Information on the character and his upcoming release will drop this week on March 14.

After the release of the Prince of Insomnia, the road map for Tekken 7 gets a little hazy, as we do not currently know if the game will get more DLC moving forward.

We do know though that the Tekken World Tour is back again this year with over a dozen official events starting with Final Round and Thaiger Uppercut, plus finals and a spot at EVO.

Pokken Tournament DX

Moving along to another Bandai Namco developed fighter, Pokken Tournament will turn three-years old in 2018, and the game is still being updated with new content.

The Switch version of the game, Pokken Tournament DX, released last year and Aegislash was added as a playable character back in January alongside Rayquaza and Mimikyu as supports. On March 23, Blastoise will be added to the roster alongside supports for Mew and Celebi.

It's nice to see the game still supported after multiple years, but support for the game will likely be waning after these latest packs.

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[St]

Here it is, the game you've all been waiting for. The latest Under Night In-Birth game came out in the West last month and is an updated version of the previous game that came out here in 2015.

UNIST added new characters like Enkidu and Wagner along with new features like a new "proper" story mode for the game and an in-depth tutorial system that throws everything at you and the kitchen sink.

The dedicated group of Aksys fans will likely keep this game and series alive as long as the developer wants to keep supporting it.

Fighting EX Layer

After first showing the game off as an April Fool's joke last year, developer Arika has been toiling away making the latest entry in the Fighting Layer franchise.

Included in the game are much of the fan favorite characters from the oft forgotten/ looked over Street Fighter EX series like the greatest salaryman turned Super hero of them all. Skullomania.

The game is set to launch on PS4 this June with light and full versions of the game available to get your Gougi on.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

This massive collection includes 12 games from the legendary franchise all on one disc with new bonuses and goodies that is sure to tickle every Street Fighter fan's fancy.

Included are the arcade versions original Street Fighter, five versions of Street Fighter 2, and all three versions of Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter 3. Online features will also be available for Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

The new anniversary collection is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC in May 2018. Players will get their first hands-on time with the collection at Final Round.

Other games worth mentioning

Super Smash Bros. Melee and Wii U continue their competitive charge this year and show no signs of stopping (until the Switch game comes out at the very least) while retaining their respective EVO spots for 2018.

The King of Fighters 14 did not make it to the EVO mainstage this year, but SNK is still supporting the game with new characters like the recently revealed Heidern and Oswald, and two more DLC characters to be unveiled. We can expect them to being releasing this April.

Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 retains its EVO spot this year and ArcSys continues to patch the game.

Them's Fightin' Herds is a unique fighting game running on the same engine as Skullgirls that is also testing the waters with early access fighting game releases (I don't want to see any comments that Street Fighter 5 already beat them to it).

The big question mark this year is Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. It released just this past September, but it did not get a mainstage spot for EVO 2018 nor is it running alongside Street Fighter 5 for Capcom Pro Tour 2018. Capcom has also been silent as of yet whether the game will receive a second wave or DLC or updates moving forward.

Did we miss any games? What do you think was the single strongest year for fighting games? Let us know in the comments below.

Load comments (35)