Annual fighting game tournament EVO returned as an in-person event for the first time since 2019 this year. As well as the competitions, including the first MultiVersus tournament, EVO 2022 included some welcome quality-of-life announcements from Bandai Namco and SNK: rollback netcode is coming to both Dragon Ball FighterZ and Samurai Shodown.
SNK broke its news via a brief but flashy Samurai Shodown trailer (opens in new tab) that told players to EMBRACE DEATH and EMBRACE ROLLBACK, which will come in an update next year. Bandai Namco simply brought out producer Tomoko Hiroki during the Dragon Ball FighterZ grand final to announce that "we have decided to implement rollback netcode to Dragon Ball FighterZ," which the crowd certainly appreciated.
A message to the DBFZ community from Hiroki-San at #Evo2022! pic.twitter.com/R79RemTHQ9August 7, 2022
Rollback netcode is a big deal in the world of online fighting games, and a feature frequently demanded by their community. With traditional delay-based netcode, button presses aren't acted on until they're received by your opponent, which means both players see the same thing at the same time but experience lag between input and action. With rollback netcode each player sees their moves immediately, while seeing a simulated prediction of what their opponent's doing that will be corrected if it proves wrong. Hence: rollback.
Sometimes a rollback just means skipping the first few frames of an attack animation, and sometimes it can result in noticeable teleporting, but it's still preferred over the mushy feel of delay-based input—especially when network delays can fluctuate unpredictably, resulting in choppiness.
Rollback netcode has been implemented in a wide variety of games like Killer Instinct, Injustice 2, Lethal League, Street Fighter 5, and Them's Fightin' Herds. Even Spelunky 2 uses it (opens in new tab). Notable holdouts include Tekken 7 and Soulcalibur 6, though perhaps its addition to Dragon Ball FighterZ means it'll come to future games in Bandai Namco's other fighting game series as well.
We may not have to wait long to find out, as EVO 2022 also made time for a teaser for a new Tekken game.