This Week in Games
Gearing Up Again
by Heidi Kemps,
Phew! I'm back from EVO 2019 and, despite having done nothing but sit and write for the past couple days, I'm still completely exhausted. Between work stuff and personal stuff and running a side tournament, EVO was one of the most tiring and satisfying experiences I've had all year.
A lot of folks watched the main stage finals on Sunday, but there was plenty of stuff happening on Friday and Saturday too, especially on the AnimEVO side of things. If there's any one game that you probably missed that I think you should definitely watch, it's Ultra Fight Da Kyanta 2. Actually, you should play Ultra Fight Da Kyanta 2 too, it's free on Steam and has amazing online. Yes, I know it looks and sounds weird but believe me, this game grows on you hard.
Anyway, Kyanta top 8 has fantastic commentary and expertly showcases how utterly bonkers this game gets at high levels. It's also got cosplay, art, and a lot of goofballery. Go check it out.
Beyond the tournaments, there was a lot of fighting game news that dropped at EVO, so let's talk about everything that was shown!
THE NIGHT GROWS EVER LONGER
Under Night In-Birth was a new addition to the main EVO lineup, and fans of the game turned out to support it in droves. The Under Night love was felt loud and strong throughout the event, and it looks like it's not about to die off anytime soon.
After the Top 8 for the game played out on Saturday morning, developer French Bread and North American publisher Aksys announced that they're already working on the next revision. Titled Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[c-lr] (don't ask about the weird titling and typography – I mean, we're anime fans, we should be used to it by now), this revision will feature a whole mess of balance and gameplay adjustments, along with the newly playable character Londrekia.
The staff also announced that an exclusive T-shirt was being sold over at the 10/0 booth, which resulted in an immediate stampede of Under Night fans eager to get new threads. Seriously, my buddy working there told me it sold out in under half an hour from the announcement. UNIST fans are nothing if not extremely devoted.
Oh yeah -- I had a chance to interview the staff of Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[c-lr] at the event, and we'll have the interview up here on ANN in the next couple days. Please look forward to it!
THE ROSTER OF DRAGONBALL FIGHTERZ CONTINUES TO GROW
Yeah, so Janemba leaked last week, but we didn't actually see the fella in action. Well, Bamco fixed that for us with this new trailer!
What's even better is that he's not the only new addition! Nope, we've got yet another Saiyan variant (and technically another Goku) in the mix: this time it's SSGSS Gogeta!
Also, I thoroughly recommend watching the Top 8 for DBFZ if you missed it. Yes, I know matches in this game take forever, but trust me: you're gonna see some amazing bouts and incredible sportsmanship. Here's the Winner's Finals to give you a taste:
BLAZBLUE X TAG BATTLE BRINGS ON THE BIG GUNS, IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
Those fates just keep on crossing, and more of them seem to get added whenever an EVO rolls around! This year's BBTAG announcements include a significant version update to come later this year and a bunch of new characters, some of who were expected, one of whom was definitely not.
Then there's Yumi from Senran Kagura. Senran Kagura's been rumored for inclusion in the BBTAG universe since day one, and it looks like something's finally happening on that front. I had wondered if some of the recent issues surrounding the boob-tacular ninja combat franchise might have scuttled plans for its inclusion, but it looks like Yumi's bounced into the BBTAG roster just fine. Now I'm wondering if any more of the buxom shinobettes will be appearing later on.
The second new franchise thrown into the BBTAG crossover soup is Akatsuki Blitzkampf. Blitzkampf is one of those fighting games that you've definitely heard of if you play anime fighters (most because the title character Akatsuki is also in Under Night In-Birth), but you'll be hard-pressed to find a consistent group of people who actually play it. Anyhow, people were expecting something from Blitzkampf from various rumors that had been circulating, but nobody expected that one of the new characters would be THE GODDAMN TANK.
Yes, the Blitztank is in the roster. Why? Because it's a HUGE-ASS TANK, that's why. That's all the reason we need. The titular Akatsuki's joining too, but really, you can't upstage a tank.
Finally, Neopolitan from RWBY is joining the gang. I'm not going to pretend I know much about RWBY, but a lot of folks were happy when she was shown off, so I'm glad you all are excited!
SNK ANNOUNCES NEW SHODOWN SPIRITS AND ANOTHER CLASH WITH ROYALTY
We've already had a bunch of upcoming DLC announcements for the recently-released Samurai Shodown, and a new character will be dropping into the roster every month going into 2020. However, SNK's added another fan-favorite character to the list of soon-to-be-released DLC: the umbrella-wielding, deceptively cute boy Shizumaru!
Oh, and speaking of fan favorites, Mina from Samurai Shodown V is going to be part of the Season 2 lineup, along with a few other yet-to-be-identified cast members. No gameplay yet, as she's extremely early in development, but hey, we know she's on the way!
Finally, SNK rounded out their announcements by teasing a new game in their flagship franchise, The King of Fighters XV. We already suspected this was coming, but it's nice to see confirmation that SNK's working on it. Hopefully it looks as nice as Samurai Shodown does, because the rep KoFXIV had of being “ugly” just never seemed to go away.
THE SOUL KEEPS BURNING FOR YOU
The turnout for Soul Calibur VI at EVO this year was strong, and it looks like the game's competitive legs will be long… or at least longer than they were for Soul Calibur V. Despite teasing fans with a “thanks for the good times!”-style trailer at EVO, Bamco's still got a lot of surprises in store for Soul Calibur fans, starting with the addition of Cassandra to the cast in a very, ahem, interesting trailer.
Hey, do you like gameplay updates? Because you're going to be getting lots of them soon in a major balance patch, too! But with big patches come the promise of new roster additions, and SCVI's got a Season 2 of fresh souls coming, one of whom was revealed at the event.
Yup, that's our friend Haohmaru from Samurai Shodown in a guest appearance that feels like it was destined to be! It'll be interesting to see how he fits into the cast, seeing how a lot of people joke that Mitsurugi is basically alternate-universe Haohmaru. Boy, SNK characters sure do get around these days, huh?
DON'T ASK HARADA FOR SH*T (BUT HE'LL GIVE YOU GOOD-ASS TEKKEN ANYWAY)
Katsuhiro Harada lives to troll us. This is fact. But how can you not love him? He got up on stage, complete with props, and lovingly dunked on Yoshinori Ono for the Street Fighter V leaks before teasing us mercilessly with the prospect of new Tekken 7 info.
And there was plenty of it! For starters, there's a major patch incoming (this seems to be a running theme) that's going to add various interface improvements and a whole mess of new moves and adjustments for the already massive Tekken 7 cast. Alongside the gameplay upgrade is DLC Season 3, which promises yet more new stages and characters, two of which were revealed onstage. The first character from Season 3 is Zafina, returning from Tekken 6.
But we also got a brand new character announcement, too! Meet Leroy Smith, an old man from the mean streets of New York who isn't going to take any crap from these punk-ass robots, pretty demon boys, or cat-ear idols.
Of course Leroy concept is my idea. At first I felt that the design was a little sober, so we made various efforts, But we were anxious until we announced. I'm a little relieved because the evaluation from the fan community is more positive than expectedhttps://t.co/vx4d0Zpi3k— Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) August 7, 2019
Tekken character design can be pretty hit-or-miss, but I have yet to see anyone hating on Leroy here. You just kind of stare at him in hushed reverence, because you know that if he thinks you're talking smack that he will absolutely annihilate you. Respect your elders, indeed.
HEAVY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
After the Blazblue X Tag Battle announcements, Arc teased that they'd have something else to showcase later in the day. Boy, If you want a good way to keep butts in seats and eyes glued to the screen at a fighting game event, teasing an Arc announcement is some top-tier attention-grabbing.
Finally, after Tekken finished up and Harada gave his announcements, Daisuke Ishiwatari took the stage. Fans were hoping for something big, and boy oh boy did he ever deliver.
Yes, it's an all-new Guilty Gear game, and holy moly does it ever look amazing. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Arc has practically perfected the 2D-anime-in-3D look at this point, shaming even the CG efforts of numerous big-name anime studios. The visual quality of Guilty Gear Xrd is a high bar a lot of media trying for this look is still stretching to reach… and going from the trailer, the next Guilty Gear is going to make that appear absolutely basic in comparison. Man, just look at the movement and expressions on Sol and Ky, it's so good!
Also, who is this fellow at the end?
I'm sure we'll find out eventually, but for now – new Guilty Gear in 2020! Hell yeah! (Or maybe that should be Heaven or Hell Yeah? …I'll see myself out.)
That just about wraps up every announcement of note from EVO. What was your favorite news from the show? Did you watch any tournament there that you really enjoyed? Discuss away in the forums!
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