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Last night, during the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable, notable figureheads from the biggest fighting game developers discussed the improvement of online play in Tekken 7, showcased the DLC 18 trailer and the next DLC character for Samurai Shodown, Cham Cham, was seen for the first time.

The roundtable included Daisuke Ishiwatari, Mori Toshimichi and Akira Katano joined from Arc System Works. Yasuyuki Oda, the main project manager for King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown joined from SNK. Shuhei Matsumoto and Takayuki Nakayama, the producer and director respectively of Street Fighter V came from Capcom. Katsuhiro Harada, the Tekken Series Chief Producer, was joined by a representative for Yasuda Esports from Bandai Namco. Akira Nishitani, the producer of Fighting EX Layer from Arika, was present.

The first half of the roundtable was each member of the panel discussing the difficulties and challenges of developing fighting games during the pandemic.

Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable
Screenshot from Street Fighter Youtube

Improving online play in fighting games

Bandai Namco had a lot to say on the topic of improvements in online play during the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable, specifically in Tekken. Since Tekken 7  Season 4 launched with a much requested Wi-Fi indicator, and their data showed that the number of LAN users increased over ten percent compared to players on Wi-Fi. The developers themselves even encouraged players to use wired connections during online play. The number of ranked matches in Tekken 7 during season 4 also increased. This data shows that features like the Wi-Fi indicator have increased online stability among players, as well as increased the level of competitiveness for online play. Arc System Works confirmed that Guilty Gear Strive will also have a Wi-Fi indicator.

Every developer on the panel discussed rollback netcode in some capacity, except for Oda from SNK, which has led many to worry that KoFXV will not feature rollback netcode. Fighting Game commentator James Chen said that it was “unsettling” that Oda “dodged the netcode conversation.”

The discussion then moved onto the lack of tournaments during the pandemic last year. Matsumoto and Nakayama from Capcom said that having to cancel the Capcom Cup finals, which were supposed to take place in the Dominican Republic this year, was a big loss.

Bring on the trailers

Tekken kicked off the trailers at the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable with a very short video for DLC 18 which showed off a new character.

This character is the female Prime Minister of Poland in the Tekken universe. Michael Murray said that Bandai Namco contacted the Polish embassy in Japan to help in development with the character, often conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the culture they want to represent. A longer, full trailer is set to be revealed at an online tournament next month.

Nishitani from Arika announced an updated version of Fighting EX Layer titled Fighting EX Layer: Another Dash. This new version will release on the Switch first, potentially followed by versions on other platforms. This new version will feature several new mechanics, most of which are skills from the Gougi system implemented as universal mechanics. It is unclear if the Gougi system will be kept in this updated version. Some characters and moves will be adjusted and the game will feature a different form of netcode called backstep interrupt netcode, which is based on delay netcode. But Nishitani said that they plan to keep working on the netcode even after release to get the “best of both worlds” between delay based and rollback netcode.

King of Fighters XV fleshes out its roster

SNK started off its presentation with a trailer for the recently released SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium.

Next up fans got a glimpse at some gameplay of the next DLC character for Samurai Shodown–Cham Cham–for the first time. Cham Cham will join Hibiki Takane from The Last Blade 2 in the third season pass. Finally it was announced that the final character for season 3 of Samurai Shodown will be from the Guilty Gear series.

Fan speculation has already exploded online, with guesses ranging from Baiken to the brand new character from Strive, Nagoriyuki. Cham Cham will release on March 16, which is also when the game will release on the next generation Xbox consoles, the Series S and Series X. The last bit of news from SNK was another King of Fighters XV character reveal trailer, which have released weekly.

The last two trailers were for Kyo and Iori, and so far each trailer has been leading to the reveal of the team the characters are on. This led many to assume that the next character would be Chizuru Kagura, reforming Team Sacred Treasures, last seen in KoF 2003. Those assumptions would be proven correct. Having these three characters on the same team has huge story implications for KoF XV, hinting at a possible return of the villainous Orochi, but this is speculation.

The final Strive character and V-Shift

Next up was Arc System Works, announcing its next Arc Charity Cup tournament, set to take place on March 28. The event will be a 3v3 team tournament in Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Charity tournaments are a big thing in Japan and a great place to watch some high level matches you might not see elsewhere. Then the final character for Guilty Gear Strive was revealed, I-No. This brings the final launch roster of Guilty Gear Strive to 15. The beta for the game is still ongoing, as it was extended for an extra two days due to server issues until Feb. 23.

Lastly, both the Blazblue and Guilty Gear franchises are having a sale on Steam right now as well. As well as some sales on the PSN store for Blazblue and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator and Rev2.

Last up to the plate was Capcom. As Street Fighter V just had its Winter Update there wasn’t much new information to give.

Fans learned that the new V-Shift mechanic is executed by pressing the hard punch and medium kick buttons (HP+MK). Executing the V-Shift Break follow up attack is also executed by hitting these buttons again. This notation makes sense on a standard fight stick layout and doesn’t interfere with other mechanics. The next season will officially launch tomorrow which will include Dan, V-Shift, and a huge balance update for the entire roster.

A bright future for fighting games

We did get to see that the winner of the fan costume creation contest will be coming soon.

Both costumes will be for Juri: one a Shadaloo-inspired design, and one with a gang leader motif. We saw more costumes that will be coming to season 5 tomorrow, including Cammy’s classic Killer Bee costume.

At the time of publication Street Fighter V is on sale while PSN also has a free trial for the game, with every character free to try out.