2023 is heating up!
The 2023 fighting games lineup is heating up as we enter a new generation for the genre. The big guns like Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 12, and Tekken 8 are all on the horizon.
There are also some anime adaptations and indie titles to keep an eye on, as well. Here are all the upcoming 2023 fighting games, and a peek into what’s after that.
Street Fighter 6
Let’s start with the king of fighting games, Capcom. The Japanese developer/publisher is launching Street Fighter 6 on June 2. Capcom has promised “the next evolution of Street Fighter” and from the trailers so far, it’s hard to deny that. It has stunning graphics, a rollback netcode system, a big story mode to explore, and new commentators based on the FGC personalities we know around the world. The new characters like Kimberly and Jamie also look unique and add a new twist to the formula. After a disappointing Street Fighter 5, Capcom seems to have learned its lesson as SF6 seems jam-packed with content available to play from day one.
AEW Fight Forever
WWE 2K23 is already out (or about to be, by the time you may read this), but AEW Fight Forever hopes it can carve its own niche in the market. Rather than going for a simulation-like focus, AEW Fight Forever is going all in on the arcade-style gameplay we know from the Nintendo 64/PlayStation era. It will have all sorts of modes as well, including Single, Tag Team, 3-way, 4-way, Ladder, Casino Battle Royale, Falls Count Anywhere, Unsanctioned Lights Out, and Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch. There’s also a “deep career mode,” according to the Steam page. This game is also developed by Yuke’s, the studio behind the WWE video game series for decades before Visual Concepts took over. No release date has been set, but it will likely come out in 2023.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi
The long-awaited sequel to the Budokai Tenkaichi series is coming almost two decades later. There is a small teaser for the game that was released, and the graphics look true to the anime. Not much more can be said, other than that Bandai Namco is working on it. You just need to know the new Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi will likely be a 3D arena battler, dissimilar to the 2D Dragon Ball FighterZ. No release date is out yet, but it would be great on the list of 2023 fighting games.
Die by the Blade
Seemingly taking inspiration from Bushido Blade and the Deadliest Warrior fighting games, Die by the Blade has no health bars. Instead, you need to place a critical strike to finish off an enemy. Just one hit can finish off a fight. That rush of every hit mattering will likely make fighting game players excited. There will also be parrying and dodging in the game, elevating the stakes. The game is set in a unique environment, blending the traditional samurai era and cyberpunk together. Die by the Blade is set to release sometime this year. This fighting game will be out in 2023.
Garou: Mark of the Wolves sequel / New Fatal Fury
A new game in the Fatal Fury franchise was announced back in August 2022, but no news has arisen since. We do know Rock Howard will be featured in the game, but no other details have been announced other than it being a new Fatal Fury or a sequel to cult-classic Garou: Mark of the Wolves. No release date has been provided as of the time of writing, but SNK’s recent offerings like The King of Fighters XV and Samurai Shodown show promise.
Mortal Kombat 12
Like Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi, few details are known at the time of writing about Mortal Kombat 12. However, during an investor call, it was revealed that Mortal Kombat 12 will be released in 2023. “And there’s lots more to come, including the highly-anticipated Mortal Kombat 12 and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, games also set for release this year with ambitious launch projections,” said Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. It’s possible we could hear more news for MK12 at E3 or during Summer Games Fest.
Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections
Bandai Namco will be remastering all of the Ultimate Ninja Storm games into one package when Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections releases sometime this year. There will be a massive character roster when it releases with over 124 fighters, letting you match Naruto with the likes of his son Boruto, Sasuke, Kiba, Konan, and many others. The collection will have the highlights of the entire story of the series in game form, so you can follow through with the campaign in one complete set.
Pocket Bravery might be one of the biggest fighting game surprises of this year. The sprite-based graphics are animated in an impressively fluid way, and the gameplay itself requires some training to master. It has exciting special moves and a surprising amount of depth for an indie title such as this. Each stage starts off with an engaging cinematic and then as each round passes, the scenery changes. For example, you’re on top of the Empire State Building on the New York stage, and the time of day passes from day to night. It’s a neat touch, and you’ll be left analyzing every piece of the stage to see what’s changed. Pocket Bravery is slated for 2023, and there’s a Steam demo for those intrigued. If the demo is anything to go by, you don’t want to skip Pocket Bravery.
A League of Legends tag-style fighting game is in the works. It will bring the beloved characters over to the 2D fighting realm, and so far, Project L looks slick. “Gameplay with quick, fluid movement is important to us,” said game director Shaun Rivera. The developer also wants you to enjoy the game “right away” but it also wants you to spend time mastering the systems on offer. Characters like Ecco look promising because they’re dashing all over the map, using their quickness to their advantage. Meanwhile, Darius seems to be a slower, heavier character that wields a massive axe with massive reach. No release date has been given for Project L yet, but we do know it will be free-to-play like Riot Games’ other titles League of Legends and Valorant. Hopefully, it’s going to be on the list for upcoming 2023 fighting games.
If you ever wondered what would happen if you blend Nidhogg with fighting game mechanics, you get Resistance 204X. This game by Julio Quiroz is oozing with potential. The combat feels clean with plenty of flashing on-screen references to fighting game mechanics like cross-ups, smooth animation, and a standout Jet Set Radio-esque art style. Each character has their own moveset to offer as you try to get to the other side of the arena. Don’t get too greedy with your distance, however, as your opponent can land on top of you in an instant. This is one of the most promising indie fighting games to come on the near horizon. Like many other games on this list, there isn’t a definitive release date, but at the time of writing, there is a playtest you can take part in through Steam.
What we do know is that Tekken 8 will be launching on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S. Yes, it’s ditching prior-generation hardware, so you know this fighting game will be packing some gorgeous visuals. The graphics have been elevated, and the story seems to have also. Heihachi is seemingly no more, and the series is now set on the rivalry between Kazuya and Jin. Maybe Kazuya will throw Jin into a raging river instead of a volcano; who knows? Unfortunately, no official release date has been given, but it’s possible we could see Tekken 8 in late 2023 or early 2024.
Those missing the Fight Night series may want to get their gloves ready, because Undisputed is due this year. The game is currently in Early Access and currently holds a Mostly Positive rating on Steam. The game seems to be the ultimate boxing simulator. It touts “revolutionary footwork mechanics” so you can float like a butterfly, and throw over 60 different punches from “multiple angles and directions.” You can also fake a punch to trap your opponent. Talking about “stinging like a bee,” you can play as the legendary Muhammad Ali, in addition to Sugar Ray Robinson, Tyson Fury, and over 50 licensed boxers. Female boxers like Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas are also featured in Undisputed. You can check out the Early Access version of the game now, but publisher Steel City Interactive says it will release the full game “when [it feels] it’s ready.”
No one has cracked the code when it comes to a Smash Bros-like crossover game for indie characters. (Indie Pogo excluded as it’s not a traditional platform fighter.) However, Fraymakers may be the one to finally break the curse. The developer of Super Smash Flash 2 is on the project alongside Team Fray. So far, the roster has varied movesets that pay great tribute to the characters of their original games. For example, Octodad has long-reaching attacks with his tentacles, while Welltaro from Downwell uses his rocket boots for traversal. It’s currently in Steam Early Access and is slated to release in approximately two years.