Surprise! Dota 2 has a built-in fighting game now and it actually looks pretty good

Dota 2 Sleet Fighter screen
(Image credit: Valve)

Dota 2's Crownfall Act 3: The Frosts of Icewrack arrived last night, and along with a new overworld map, "collector's cache" items, and a new comic advancing the story, there's also a very unexpected surprise: A full-on fighting game.

Called Sleet Fighter, in keeping with the snowy theme of the expansion (and, of course, that other popular fighting game you may have heard of), the new mini-game is played from within the Dota 2 client. 

As noted by VG247, players select one of five Dota 2 heroes—Marci, Bristleback, Tusk, Vengeful Spirit and Dawnbreaker—and then square off against other characters in classic 2D fighting action.

It's not a full-blown fighting game that's going to make anyone at Capcom wake up in a cold sweat, but it does look pretty good for a surprise battle pass addition. Each character has a unique list of moves and alternate skins, and it supports both singleplayer and PvP brawling, online and locally.

Here it is in action, courtesy of the Elkun Coding channel on YouTube:

How to Play Dota 2 Fighting Game| Elkun Coding - YouTube How to Play Dota 2 Fighting Game| Elkun Coding - YouTube
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Some Dota 2 fans on Reddit think the Sleet Fighter surprise might be inspired by, or a reaction to, Riot's 2XKO fighting game, which is set to arrive sometime in 2025. Others suspect it's more of a test to see what kind of response it gets: If players really dig it and there's enough demand, Valve could put some real resources into the mode and spin it off as a standalone game. That strikes me as more likely, and more in line with the Valve way: Do something, see what happens, react accordingly.

If you're not currently a Dota 2 player but the prospect of a new fighting game has you curious, you can get the full lowdown on the Crownfall event at And you'll have a little more time to enjoy it than previously expected: Valve also announced today that, "given how much the event has grown since we initially imagined it (and how much it's still growing)," it's decided to extend the event into October.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.