Fighting gamers are eating good: I've never been so happy to see the genre flourishing during Summer Game Fest

Street Fighter 6's Year 2 pass reveal with Mai Shiranui, Terry Bogard, M. Bison and Elena
(Image credit: Capcom)

We're truly in the next generation of cool-ass fighting games, folks. It's been just over a year since Street Fighter 6's launch kicked things off, and the 12 months since then have been a real sweet time for fighting game fans.

Despite that, I was surprisingly giddy to see just how packed the first 30 minutes of tonight's Summer Game Fest presentation was with hot fighting game news. Street Fighter 6 came barrelling in with a fantastic anime cutscene of Luke and Jamie before we got a shock SNK season pass reveal with both Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui joining the Year 2 DLC roster. We were then smacked with capo fighter Elena, which is fitting considering Tekken's Eddy has recently joined the fray, before M. Bison was given a spectacularly badass reveal. They just can't keep a dead man down, huh?

I was already more than happy with that, and then almost immediately it was followed up by a glimpse at Sparking Zero, the upcoming Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi fighter along with a release date: October 11. Now, am I a Dragon Ball fan? Not particularly. But I am a fan of watching Dragon Ball fighting games—I always get a kick out of catching a few games of FighterZ when I attend tournaments, and I know that Sparking Zero is about to bring a whole new level of hype to the franchise.

(Image credit: SNK)

Then finally, at the 35-minute mark, we were greeted with a trailer for Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, the first new entry in the Fatal Fury series in 26 freakin' years. That's almost as old as me! We got an awesome reveal of pirate B. Jenet, a woman I most definitely did not have a tiny crush on when I first witnessed her in King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2 (okay, maybe a little bit.)

The trailer was snappy, colourful, and filled with enough hype to carry my excitement for what I felt was a rather tepid remainder of the showcase. The funny thing is, these are all games that are already out, or that we already knew about. Yet I couldn't help but feel a weird sense of pride at just how much these three reveals gave Summer Game Fest an uplifting start, at least for me. 

Fighting games have felt a little underrepresented in the last few years, especially from a competitive standpoint. We're still worlds behind the likes of League of Legends and Dota for grand prizes in tournaments, and we rarely rake in the same player count as the latest shooter or survival game. It's strange because fighting games aren't exactly a niche, not by a long shot. Almost everyone can recall button mashing their way through an old Street Fighter arcade cabinet or hopping on a game of Mortal Kombat with their pals. 

Yet they still repeatedly fail to break ground in a more meaningful way, though things certainly have been changing between Capcom's $1 million prize pot for Street Fighter 6 and Esports World Cup offering the same for its own fighting game tournaments.

(Image credit: Spike Chunsoft)

Despite fighting games being in a weird spot over the last several years, it really was neat to see them taking such prominent placement early on during Summer Game Fest. It's always nice seeing more of what you love, and it was even nicer to dive into the livestream comments and see just how much other people were vibing with the reveals, too.

Ultimately, I feel like it all goes towards bringing fighting games back to the forefront. We're eating damn good with these trailers, after all. Terry and Mai are excellent crossover picks for Street Fighter, and the Year 2 pass seems to be going down pretty damn well with fans over on Twitter. Although there's still a lot of classic Street Fighter characters absent from the roster, it's nice to see M. Bison return, and I'm sure there are some Elena enjoyers out there too. 

Sparking Zero and Fatal Fury are looking incredible in their own right, too. With both serving as the return of long-absent series, I hope it encourages more fighting game developers to dig into their back catalogue and bring back some old favourites. Also, I know it's only been six years, but I think this all leads to the perfect time for a Soulcalibur 7 reveal. Please Bandai? Well, a girl can dream.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.