The power of the Street Fighter brand is hard to ignore. The fighting game genre goes through peaks and troughs – as do most genres – but never has it been more evidently controlled by the hype of one series. 2009’s home console launch of Street Fighter IV brought fighting games back into homes unlike with renewed vigor. And now, in 2023, Street Fighter 6 is having that same impact all over again.

Times have changed in the 14 years between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter 6, however. At the time of the former’s launch, it was considered a brave move to revert to 2D fighting. Much of the genre was still trying to find the way to execute established formulas in 3D, and fallen behind titles such as Soul Calibur, which had been born into the 360 degree movement opposed to having to adapt to it. In comes Street Fighter, boldly bringing a big budget back to traditions. And being hugely successful with it.

Many of its peers, including Mortal Kombat, took the appropriate inspiration. The 2D fighting game was no longer inferior, sitting side-by-side with their 3D brethren.

What’s more, the industry isn’t the same as it once was. A spell of years under the lock of Covid-19 changed the way games are consumed. Street Fighter 6 has made a concerted effort to embrace this, featuring prerecorded commentary from many eSports commentators. Whether other franchises will follow suit – or have ideas of their own – remains to be seen.

The Fighting Game Genre in 2023

There are numerous fighting games that have or are launching in 2023. However, it’s hard to look past the big names in the genre as almost all of them are following Street Fighter 6’s lead. 2023 is the year to stake their claim. And what’s more, most are targeting only current-generation hardware. Street Fighter 6 skipped Xbox One, and Mortal Kombat 1 isn’t supporting the previous-generation of consoles at all.

But before we get into the big guns, there’s one other fighting game franchise that’s still rubbing shoulders with the genre leaders…

The King of Fighters XV DLC keyart

The King of Fighters XV Going Strong

The King of Fighters XV launched back in February 2022. However, the strength of this title should not be underestimated. The game launched with 39 playable characters, with additional characters available as paid DLC. This DLC is being delivered in “seasons” of content, with the strategy still making it’s play right up to this day.

It’s not currently known when the brakes will be put on The King of Fighters XV DLC. However, the fact that new characters are being released with a regular cadence has fans hoping it’s not going to be anytime soon. And even if it is, there’s always the ‘super/ultra/gold’ package with all DLC included ready to light up the charts again.

Street Fighter 6 Fighting Game

Street Fighter 6 Breaks New Ground

Street Fighter 6 arrived globally on 2nd June, 2023. And with it, ushered in a modern era for fighting games. Universal acclaim for the game mechanics came quick, and post-launch many have praised the ‘modern’ control system as a path to bring new players into what is often seen as an overly complex genre.

Mortal Kombat broke the mold with it’s Story Mode in 2011’s reboot. However, Street Fighter 6 upped the ante with a fully explorable world. The World Tour mode certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s a new chapter for fighting games, and one which most should be looking to follow.

Mortal Kombat 1 Kenshi

Mortal Kombat 1 Gets a Violent New Beginning

As stated above, Mortal Kombat already received a reboot back in 2009. However, Mortal Kombat 1 is being considered a ‘soft reboot’. The closure of Mortal Kombat 11‘s storyline saw Liu Kang becoming a god and resetting time. It’s almost as if they’d planned this all along…

Mortal Kombat 1 came sprinting out of the gate with news of a release date, pre-order bonus and beta test all at once. Since then, we’ve had the first Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay trailer and leaks about the character line-up coming in fast. Mortal Kombat 1 is certainly getting our attention in the run-up to that September 2023 launch.

Tekken 8 Fighting Game

Tekken 8 Has a Lot to Prove

While the Tekken franchise remains popular, it’s hard to deny it’s not the powerhouse it once was. This was a series born in the 3D era of fighting games, and it’s coming back to ensure that it still offers something new to the genre. A Tekken 8 Closed Beta is coming soon, however there’s no release date for the final game as of yet.

What we do have is a number of confirmed characters. Jin, Kazuya, Paul, Law, King, Lars, Jack 8, Xiaoyu, Nina, Leroy, Lili, Asuka, Hwoarang, Bryan and the newly announced Claudio are all set to brawl it out in the near future. Can Tekken remain relevant amongst the influx of high quality 2D fighting games? If ever there was a time to find out, it’s 2023.

Categories: Games