The State of the FGC in 2020

The State of the FGC in 2020
Date Published: 29 May, 2020

The year 2020 for the Fighting Game Community (FGC) is ironically a year that saw factors that led to both forward progress with regards to game theory, as well as an impediment to the competitive landscape.

There is often a theme in the FGC within any given year, be it the feeling of the guard changing in 2017 or the presence of esports in 2019. However, while only being halfway through the year 2020, it is already comprised of multiple major themes that have to be taken note of.

The Future of the “Big 3”

It could be argued that the three most prominent fighting games in the FGC today are Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. As it currently stands, the “Big 3” are all faced with interesting paths ahead, some that are led with optimism, and some that are followed with a slight concern.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 01

Fighting Game: Dragon Ball FighterZ (DBFZ)
State in 2020: Globally active online, professional world tour postponed.
Positive: Consistent developer support, popular intellectual property
Negative: Delay based netcode, roster lacking variety
Recommended to: Dragon Ball fans, versus fighting game veterans

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the youngest of “Big 3”, and it possibly also has the brightest future as well. Two year’s into the game’s lifespan, and it is without a doubt still a prominent force in the FGC.

The game features iconic characters from the Dragon Ball universe, and implements a slightly more modernized version of a Versus title, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom, though, it is also quite unique with its heavy influence of trademark Arc System Works mechanics and speed.

Dragon Ball FighterZ has gone through waves of adjustments that had to do with homogeneous gameplay, match length, and some criticism of its universal mechanics such as Super Dash.

Nevertheless, with time, the game has matured and managed to stabilize some of its inconsistencies, using both player data and community input. Currently, the most vocalized criticism of the game is its lacking variety in its roster.

As of May 2020, Dragon Ball FighterZ has multiple duplicate characters, some to note are the six different forms of Goku, and three different forms of Vegeta. Despite the various duplicate characters being equipped with dissimilar fighting styles, the want for roster diversity has been echoed by the community.

It is important to note that albeit not perfect with its design, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the first iteration of a true fighting game community staple incorporating the iconic property.

Its development has had some criticism, however, considering it is still a relatively new franchise, and its management on both the publishing and development wings is handled by two established companies within the FGC, the future for Dragon Ball FighterZ should be met with optimism, be it by the continued support and polish to the current title, or improvements which will be made to a possible sequel.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 02

Fighting Game: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (SFV:CE)
State in 2020: Aging title, professional world tour postponed.
Positive: Large roster, active player base
Negative: No variety in gameplay speed
Recommended to: Fans of Capcom’s fighting game division

Street Fighter V is not technically the oldest title among the “Big 3”, however, it certainly feels like it. The game is currently on its second expansion, and fifth season, and at this time it is unknown if the Champion Edition iteration of the game was planned for a lengthy term or a short stint.

To put it frankly, Street Fighter V is, and has been quite a polarizing fighting game title in the community, practically since its initial release. The direction of the game was not what many were expecting post the Street Fighter IV era, and Capcom’s development woes since, are all well documented.

However, after making a much needed improvement with the second iteration of the game; Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, the game had stabilized some, and while it was not reformed to a degree where it took the FGC by storm, the product in hand was without a doubt a comprehensive package.

The momentum of SFV:AE continued through its journey to Capcom Cup 2019, and eventually into the announcement of Street fighter V: Champion Edition. Some of the significant improvements to note included more gameplay options, and of course additional characters.

Soon after the release of SFV:CE, Capcom made improvements to the online stability of the game, however, not without controversy, as it had first removed a community made patch which stabilized much of the online experience, only to take fixing matters in their own hands roughly a month later.

Approaching five years since its introduction to the FGC, Street Fighter V and Capcom have continued going through the same path of taking one step forward, yet two steps back. They must be commended for continuing to rebound, and adjust to the criticism received, however, they also must be held accountable for the continuous questionable decisions they have made on the development side.

It is unclear what the next step for Capcom and Street Fighter is, especially considering their momentum has been halted with the postponement of one of the major professional circuits in the FGC—Capcom Pro Tour.

All things considered, the idea of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition extending its lifespan for another few years would not be a bad one, as it could be argued that the game has reached its utmost potential with its current version.

The eventual transition to the presumed Street Fighter VI, could signify an enormous step forward for the FGC, especially after coming off a successful tail-end to Street Fighter V, something Champion Edition is quite capable of doing.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 03

Fighting Game: Tekken 7 (T7)
State in 2020: Aging title, professional world tour postponed.
Positive: Large roster, active player base
Negative: Match pacing imbalance post season 3
Recommended to: Tekken fans, martial art fans

Tekken 7 is possibly the most popular fighting game among the “Big 3”, however, it is also the oldest. While it has only been in the hands of consumers for just under 3 years, the game has been in sight since 2015.

By spending over two years in open development, the game managed to ensure a successful launch, and consequently, also set a precedent of building and troubleshooting the game with the help of its direct community.

Throughout the last 3 years, the Tekken 7 development team has been one of the leading examples of responding to both player and spectator feedback, and have made adjustments accordingly.

But the criticism of Tekken 7 as of late, has not been whether gameplay issues will get fixed or not, but the frequency in which they have been occurring. The introduction of the game’s third season also introduced multiple gameplay issues and inconsistencies that have been uncharacteristic, considering the game’s track record.

In a similar vein to Street Fighter V‘s early criticism, Tekken 7‘s Season 3 changes made the game quite difficult to play at different speeds. The increase in factors such as overall damage, and wall carry, has pushed the pace of play to a much higher gear than in previous seasons.

In the last six months alone, Tekken 7 had to deal with Leroy Smith’s absurd dominance post release, the questionable properties of moves like ‘Hell Sweep’, and is currently dealing with hurt-box inconsistencies with the newest addition to the roster—Fahkumram.

Though, in fairness, the inability to test both the changes made in Season 3, as well as the new additions to the roster, due to the postponement of the Tekken World Tour, is a major factor in both the delayed response by Bandai Namco to correct certain issues, as well as the over-reaction made by much of the community.

Nevertheless, despite Tekken 7 being an aging title, it is still one of the most popular ones in the landscape currently, speaking to its excellence, recent faults notwithstanding. But, even with that said, there are two questions the game is faced with as we move forward.

“What style of Tekken does the community want in the future?” Is the original version of Tekken 7: Fated Retribution the mold to model the next game in the franchise, or perhaps a faster pace of play introduced in both Season 2 and Season 3 more appealing?

The other major question is, “What should the structure be of the next game in the franchise?” There have been many clamoring for another individual Tekken game, presumably to be Tekken 8.

There are also those who are interested in another tag-match game, which would be presumed to be Tekken Tag Tournament 3, and lastly, there is some speculation of the resurfacing of the previously planned versus title, Tekken X Street Fighter.

It is important that Bandai Namco and the Tekken team finds the answers to these questions before moving on from Tekken 7, to ensure another great Tekken experience to follow.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 04

It is without a doubt that the “Big 3” are extremely impacted by the postponement of their professional circuits, especially with two aging titles in Street Fighter V and Tekken 7, and one looking to maintain its momentum in Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Upon the return to a normal competitive schedule, it will be interesting to see what kind of narratives are in store for the “Big 3”, and if any changes are made to their future plans.

Can you see me now?

After an unexpected turn of events, the FGC, along with the rest of the world had to adjust to the times, by dealing with a global pandemic. The indefinite postponement of professional circuits, to go along with the inability to gather in large groups, and having to socially distant from one another, has forced the FGC to look at ways of continuing on remotely.

The emphasized change of prioritizing remote ways of competing, led the FGC to re-evaluate which games are qualified to do so, and which are not. As a result, a theme in the fighting game landscape which has garnered momentum even prior to the global pandemic, resurfaced even greater—the need for a reliable netcode in fighting games.

There has been an apprehensiveness to move away from the traditional model of delay-based netcode used in most fighting games for multiple reasons. The first being the fact that online connectivity in regions like Japan, where most of the signature fighting game titles hail from, and South Korea where the esports movement is quite prevalent, is not as big of an issue compared to regions like the United States, parts of Europe, etc.

Outside of avoiding the cost by having to restructure the online component of many legacy titles, the experience with Street Fighter V and its own version of rollback netcode, may have been a deterrent for many Japanese game developers, after witnessing the displeasure of many players for years.

A similar thing happened during the early days of Mortal Kombat X, and NetherRealm Studios’ own version of rollback netcode, however, as of October 2019, Tony Cannon—developer of GGPO, announced that the proven rollback netcode was now open source and available under the MIT License.

The importance of reliable netcode in the FGC became no more apparent when the announcement of the transition of EVO 2020 to EVO Online came in mid-May, and the declaration of the four games that will make up the open online tournaments, all which use a form of rollback networking, and two which use GGPO.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 05Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath (MK11)
State in 2020: Added to EVO Online, professional world tour completed.
Positive: Active, reliable online infrastructure
Negative: Roster balance
Recommended to: Legacy NRS players, MK fans

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath may have the most momentum of any fighting game in the landscape at this particular time. The game just recently released its story expansion, along with new characters, as well as receiving proper recognition with the recent addition to EVO Online, after originally being excluded from EVO 2020.

Mortal Kombat 11 has done a lot right in the relative short time since its release, it has included some of the more iconic guest characters in pop culture to its roster, it has managed to integrate a story mode perhaps superior to any other fighting game on the market, and it has continued to innovate on the aspects that make Mortal Kombat such a fan favorite.

Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the only games to actually complete its professional season after a long world tour, ending with SonicFox defeating Ninjakilla in an excellent grand final set at Final Kombat 2020 in early March of this year.

It has been mentioned before, however, despite being able to consistently win over a large portion of the mainstream gaming community, NetherRealm Studios titles, including both the Mortal Kombat and Injustice series’ respectively, seem to find themselves in a unique position of being in a separate, yet powerful circle in the FGC.

The games haven’t shown as much pull of garnering interest from other communities within the FGC to cross pollinate, in comparison to titles like Tekken 7 and Dragon Ball FighterZ, but in fairness, staying true to nature of the mechanics and presentation of the games have much to do with why they are consistently at the top of the charts in the years which they are released.

If not for the relative short life-span NRS games have seemed to model their development cycle around, and the barrier between the hardcore community, and the casual fandom of the game, Mortal Kombat 11 would most definitely earn a spot as the 4th game to join the “Big 3”, though, it could also be said that with regards to momentum, Mortal Kombat 11 holds more of it, than all of the “Big 3” combined.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 07

Fighting Game: Skullgirls 2nd Encore (SG)
State in 2020: Added to EVO Online, resurgent community
Positive: Active, reliable online infrastructure
Negative: Offensively chaotic for newcomers
Recommended to: Fans of versus style games

Officially the oldest game on this list, Skullgirls 2nd Encore may be its most deserving. After coming up just short of making an appearance at EVO 2013, Skullgirls has always been a bridesmaid, never a bride, but that all changed, albeit seven years later, as Skullgirls 2nd Encore got the nod as one of the four games added to EVO Online’s open tournament.

The game oddly has been one of the best kept secrets in the FGC as it holds one of the best tutorials in fighting games, an excellent online experience which continues getting improved upon, and is arguably the most visually and audibly stylish fighting game to come out in the last decade.

Match pacing in Skullgirls can be quite chaotic considering its versus tag style mechanics, however, with excellent character scaling, battle options, and readily available resources offered by the game’s comprehensive package, the road to better adjusting to both playing and spectating the game is made much easier.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore may have gotten its flowers later than anticipated, but 2020 may be the year it is appreciated the most considering it will attract much of the competitive focus with the upcoming kickoff of EVO Online, and as the old saying goes, it is always better late than never.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 08Fighting Game: Killer Instinct (KI)
State in 2020: Added to EVO Online, resurgent community
Positive: Active, reliable online infrastructure
Negative: Limited console availability
Recommended to: Traditional 2-D fighting game fans

Killer Instinct enjoyed a three year stint on the main stage, the last being its appearance at EVO 2016, and while the game has continued in smaller circles since, the game’s quality has spoken for itself repeatedly throughout the years with its mechanic versatility alone.

Known for being equipped with excellent offline modes which aid newcomers in understanding the game’s offensive and defensive options, but it has also been a leader with regards to its online infrastructure, thanks to its use of rollback netcode.

The inclusion of Killer Instinct at EVO Online is a nice resurrection for a game which has had its time in the limelight, yet never really felt to truly capture the wider circles in the FGC, predominantly to it existing exclusively on one publisher’s platform, only adding Steam as an additional home for the game at the tail of 2017, to go along with Xbox One and Windows 10.

As a mature game, Killer Instinct is expected to showcase its player talent during the upcoming open tournament, which could perfectly time momentum towards a new console generation, and perhaps reignite the possibility for another iteration in the franchise.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 09Fighting Game: Them’s Fightin’ Herds (TFH)
State in 2020: Added to EVO Online, upcoming community
Positive: Unique concept, reliable online infrastructure
Negative: Limited console availability
Recommended to: My Little Pony fans, fighting game fans

Owning one of the most compelling narratives for a fighting game in recent years, Them’s Fightin’ Herds is the spiritual successor to the originally planned fighting game—Fighting Is Magic.

However, after a cease and decease letter received from the My Little Pony IP owner, the project restarted, and fast forwarding nearly a decade later, with both the character design help from one of the original MLP animators, and a successful crowdfunding campaign, the official launch of the game was made a reality in late April of 2020.

Now despite the game being less than a month old, it has already garnered much attention in the FGC, reasons having to do with its unique take on fighting game characters, its use of GGPO, and lastly, but perhaps most glaring reason, its inclusion to EVO Online.

Them’s Fightin’ Herds is a charming indie fighting game that may have found itself in the right place, at the right time. With the FGC’s focus on online experience, and the move to a remote competitive structure for the time being, the game’s fighting future may be in good hands.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 06

The response to netcode reliability by the largest fighting game tournament in the world—Evolution, could very well be a catalyst for the future of fighting games with regards to making a change to every game in the landscape, regardless of development origin, the timing will be there, however, capitalizing on the moment will be up to the FGC.

The Best of the Rest

If not for a global pandemic, professional world tours would spotlight many other games the FGC has to offer in 2020, and so while they may not be not currently have a stage, these games certainly still have a presence.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 10Fighting Game: Granblue Fantasy: Versus (GBVS)
State in 2020: Active, professional world tour cancelled
Positive: Popular Japanese IP, exceptional visuals
Negative: Limited console availability
Recommended to: Granblue Fantasy fans, Arc System Works veterans

Granblue Fantasy: Versus had started out strong out of the gate, it was aided by the fact that its IP is a recognizable force in East Asia, as well as its captivating presentation which has become a staple in almost every Arc System Works developed title.

Its inclusion to the Arc World Tour would have been another step forward concerning its momentum, if not for its cancellation in its entirety due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, the game has been praised for its character design and unique version of its story campaign.

With continued developer support which has included balance adjustments, and a steady release schedule of additional characters, the game has managed to grab the interest of both Arc System Works veterans, and newcomers alike.

The game employs some unique mechanics such as Skybound Arts, as well as a guard button to make the game more accessible to newcomers, however, still holds enough character match-up depth for veterans.

Some early criticism of the game has been with roster balance and slow match pacing, however, considering Granblue Fantasy: Versus is only a few months old, there is plenty of time to improve the game’s overall quality.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 14Fighting Game: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (BBTAG)
State in 2020: Mildly active in small circles, professional world tour cancelled
Positive: Multiple characters from various franchises
Negative: Lacking of singular character depth
Recommended to: Arc System Works veterans, versus style fighting game fans

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle‘s future is in an interesting position. The game has continued to receive developer support, exemplified by the roster and fate expansion that saw characters from Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Arcana Heart, and even Senran Kagura join the fold.

The game was also the other title along with Granblue Fantasy: Versus to be spotlighted at the Arc World Tour prior to its cancellation. However, the game’s player pool has vastly lessened in numbers as of recent months, and overall interest in the game has not seen much growth, arguably for two reasons.

The first is the mere fact that there are simply more options on the fighting game market, naturally taking away some of the game’s consistent player pool, and spreading it across newer titles.

The other reason is the one criticism BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle has had since its initial release. Despite the innovative and well made use of tag battle mechanics, the game had sacrificed singular character depth for duo synchronization.

The additional fates added, and balance changes made for the game’s second season failed to address its biggest fault, therefore, by that same process, it not only failed to attract more players, it even failed to retain many of which make up its concurrent player base.

It is unknown what the future has in store for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, a possible third season is not out of the question, however, if there is a game that has been hurt most by its competitive season ending prematurely, it could very well be BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 11Fighting Game: Soulcalibur VI (SCVI)
State in 2020: Active in small circles, professional world tour postponed
Positive: Well implemented guest characters
Negative: Inability to capture a wider player base
Recommended to: Legacy Soulcalibur Fans

Soulcalibur VI has to be the recipient of the worst timing award, as months before the global pandemic forced tournaments to shut down, the announcement that Soulcalibur would finally get a professional circuit in the form of the Soulcalibur World Tour 2020 was made in December of 2019.

With halted momentum, Soulcalibur VI has continued its run in relatively smaller, yet dedicated circles in the FGC, and has seen yet another well fitted guest character join the fray, this time being Haohmaru from the Samurai Shodown franchise.

While it’s not known for making as much noise in the FGC compared to some other titles, the word on the game, arguably since its initial release, has been nothing but positive. Soulcalibur VI should be commended for its ability to ingratiate newcomers with aspects such as character creation, as well as acknowledge its veterans with both legacy mechanics, and modernized ones as well.

With plenty to offer with regards to gameplay, spectator appeal, and one of the best examples of incorporating guest characters in any fighting game, Soulcalibur VI seems to just be needing some luck, in order to truly fulfill its potential.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 18Fighting Game: Samurai Shodown (SS)
State in 2020: Active, professional world tour postponed
Positive: Deep offensive and defensive mechanics
Negative: Lack of PC release
Recommended to: Fans of slower paced, neutral focused fighting game

Along with Granblue Fantasy: Versus, Samurai Shodown features something that isn’t seen as much anymore in the FGC, that being an emphasis on slower match pacing, and the focus on the neutral aspect of fighting games, but with damage accountability.

With some of the most unique mechanics in fighting games, Samurai Shodown truly stands apart from any other fighting game on the market, making it a one-of-a-kind with regards to both a gameplay experience, as well as a spectator’s one.

Despite not prioritizing extended combos or any tag components, the game is quite deep with its bevy of offensive and defensive options available to a player, which consequently may require a longer adjustment period, which is often not extremely receptive to newcomers.

Be it the musical score, gameplay pacing, mechanical priority, and character design, both including the original cast and the extended roster introduced in its season pass, Samurai Shodown distinguishes itself as a more mature, darker themed fighting game.

Its few shortcomings have to do with its unstable online experience, and absence on the PC marketplace. Its audience may be more specific, however, Samurai Shodown should be heralded as one of the few games in 2020 to truly march to the beat of its own drum.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 20Fighting Game: Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[cl-r] (UNICLR)
State in 2020: Mildly active in small circles
Positive: Unique GRD mechanic
Negative: Roster playstyle imbalance
Recommended to: Arc System Works veterans, Under Night In-Birth fans

Under Night In-Birth has had an interesting journey for nearly a decade in the FGC, and the game finally seemed to get its deserved moment in 2019. UNIST seemingly stole the show at many tournaments, and the game’s quality truly spoke for itself, both through competition on stage, and experience at home.

Moving to February of 2020, and the game has gone through another major update, this time in the form of Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[cl-r]. The update introduced a new character, a favorable U.I. change, and an overall balance update.

While UNICLR is very much still similar to UNIST, it has not grabbed the FGC with the same amount of interest. Some of the suggested reasons, subjective as they may be, have to do with the instability of its online experience, and its discrepancy between the zoning heavy portion of the roster, and the rushdown portion of the roster.

The game has never shied away from rewarding the ability to hit the opponent from far away, however, with ability to control momentum with the game’s unique GRD system, defensive countermeasures were equally rewarded.

The changes made to the game, both systematic and character specific, seemingly widened the gap between characters just enough to create an imbalance between the efficiency of the zoning gameplan vs the rushdown gameplan.

Regardless if it’s a better or worse version of UNIST, Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[cl-r] at its core, still holds many of the properties that made the game so enjoyable, and as it has been demonstrated for years, the game’s community is likely going nowhere.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 19Fighting Game: Dead or Alive 6 (DOA6)
State in 2020: Mildly active in small circles, development ceased
Positive: Multiple characters from various franchises
Negative: Lacking of singular character depth
Recommended to: Arc System Works veterans, versus style fighting game fans

Dead or Alive 6‘s narrative is an unfortunate one, however, not an unpredictable one. The initial reveal of the game had the FGC intrigued in its possible change of direction of emphasizing its priority on gameplay, and competition, rather than customization options and glorified physics.

Though, the optimism did not last long, as the game dealt with much criticism with regards to DLC practices, and has made a share of questionable PR decisions. The game however, did complete its professional circuit, crowning Hoodless as the world champion back in November of 2019.

From a technical standpoint, Dead or Alive 6 has been praised for its take on 3-D mechanics, as the core gameplay allows for creativity both on offense and defense. Though, the backlash on Koei Tecmo’s handling of downloadable content eventually led to the announcement that patch version 1.22 will be the game’s last, and that development will officially cease as of late March, 2020.

The abandonment of Dead or Alive 6 is sad, but expected. Despite offering much from an FGC standpoint, it left much to be desired from a general consumer standpoint, leading to a bad situation turned worse, and eventually sealing the game’s fate.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 15Fighting Game: Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (BFTG)
State in 2020: Active, available on multiple platforms
Positive: Rollback netcode
Negative: graphically underwhelming
Recommended to: Versus style fighting game fans

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid does a lot right. It applies innovative versus style mechanics, it implements rollback netcode, and it uses a recognizable IP. The game’s largest criticism had to do with its lack of content at launch, and underwhelming graphical presentation.

However, with the addition of characters and content through its season passes, the game has attracted more interest around the FGC, especially from versus fighting game fans as the game does take some inspiration from the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise.

With momentum pushing towards reliable online experience in the FGC, and the recent announcement of the game’s third season pass, to along with its ubiquitous availability, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’s future may be quite bright.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 17Fighting Game: Fight of Animals (FOA)
State in 2020: Small player base

Positive: Unique characters, rollback netcode
Negative: Little exposure to a wider audience
Recommended to: Fighting game fans

Fight of Animals‘ concept sells itself, it is comprised of hilarious animal memes as its core roster, and as a game, takes itself anything but seriously. This fun little indie title features rollback netcode and accessible gameplay mechanics for more of a beginner target audience.

The game’s presentation, while minimalistic, is charming, and compliments the overall aesthetic of the characters. While it may not be announcing any world tours any time soon, the FGC always has room for a lighthearted and fun themed fighting game, and Fight of Animals is certainly that.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 16Fighting Game: Fantasy Strike (FS)
State in 2020: Small player base, limited platform availability
Positive: Unique fighting game mechanics
Negative: Lacking ability to attract a wider audience
Recommended to: Novice fighting game players

After spending quite some time in the early access space, Fantasy Strike‘s full release very much delivered on what was promised. The game features unique fighting game mechanics, which emphasize the importance of reflex and reaction, and removes the need for long and complex combos, by introducing dedicated action buttons.

Fantasy Strike consists of a modest, yet variable cast, which are categorized into four different groups, those being zoner, rushdown, grappler and wildcard. Although the game may be limited in the search of potential opponents considering install base, the use of GGPO rollback netcode is definitely a positive in ensuring a stable online experience.

With as much competition in the landscape, Fantasy Strike may live in small pockets in the FGC, however, with a charming artistic character design, and newcomer friendly components, it may serve as a great introduction for those interested in exploring what fighting games have to offer.


On the horizon

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 12

Fighting Game: Metal Revolution (MR)
Slated Release: TBD (In development)
Developer: NEXT Studios
Known Information:
Rollback netcode, 2-D traditional gameplay, meter based, 13 characters announced/teased, coming to PC.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 22Fighting Game: Guilty Gear: Strive (GGS)
Slated Release: Early 2021 (Delayed due to COVID-19)
Developer: Arc System Works
Known Information:
Closed beta launched in April of 2020, rollback netcode, 10 characters announced/teased, coming to PC/PS4.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 13Fighting Game: Punch Planet (PP)
Slated Release: TBD (In early access)
Developer: Sector-K Games
Known Information:
2-D traditional gameplay, GGPO rollback, 6 characters announced/teased, coming to PC/Apple Arcade.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 21Fighting Game: E’s Laf 2 (EL2)
Slated Release: TBD (Early access via Patreon)
Developer: Free-Yosimiduka
Known Information:
2-D traditional gameplay, 7 characters announced/teased, coming to PC.The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 23Fighting Game: The King of Fighters XV (KOFXV)

Slated Release: TBD (In development)
Developer: SNK
Known Information:

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 24Fighting Game: Shaolin vs Wutang 2 (SVW2)
Slated Release: TBD (In early access)
Developer: J.Bowman
Known Information:
Martial arts inspired gameplay, 16 characters announced/teased, coming to PC.

The State of the FGC in 2020 WP 25The Conclusion

We’re in the middle of the year 2020, and the FGC has already had its fair share of headlines. The themes which have seemed to resonate the most are the ones which lead to unanswered questions.

The FGC’s response to the global pandemic saw the cancellation of both small and large tournaments across the globe, the postponement and cancellation of multiple world tours, and lastly, the increased emphasis on a reliable online infrastructure.

The questions that arise from the first theme are “When will the FGC be able to compete at offline venues again?”, “Will developers and publishers notice the need for change with regards to delay based netcode?” and if not, “What action does the FGC take so they do?”

The FGC is also in a position where two of its “Big 3” are aging fighting game titles, and with the PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X looming, one would assume fighting games will have to follow the new hardware eventually.

The question that arises from the second theme is a simple one of “What is in store for the FGC’s aging titles?”

In closing, the FGC is faced with many uncertainties as of right now, some questions to be answered sooner, and some later. Though, one thing is for certain, the fighting game community in 2020 has continued making efforts to move forward, when many have remained stagnant.

Fighting games are arguably home to the most interesting narratives in gaming, and the year 2020 is no exception. There is no doubt that the future of the FGC will be comprised of many unique fighting game titles, players, community leaders, and fans alike, each one an essential piece that makes up the completed puzzle we call the fighting game community.

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