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How to Prepare For The Upcoming Games

Sebastian Quintanilla
13 min

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How to Prepare For The Upcoming Games
Every day we are a step closer to the release of some of the most anticipated fighting games in perhaps the last decade, are you ready?

As we quickly approach the halfway point of 2023, and after a bombastic start of the year seeing how the major titles in the fighting game scene are taking shape for their upcoming releases, you might be thinking to yourself: Am I ready to take on these games the moment they release?

If you are planning to chill and play a few matches on a daily basis, you will enjoy them plenty. But if you want to mount a challenge to players who could have literal decades of experience in the franchise, what are some things you can do today, to lead to a better experience in the future?

At the same time, you might be just as excited as us at the prospect of new titles, so much so that you want to play something now, but have already put hundreds of hours into the classics, like Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7. With that being said, we want to tell you about some of our favorite titles that are out there to help you cope with the fact that no matter how much you want it, we still have to wait a little longer.

Why is preparing at all important?

During this time, you might be wondering exactly why games like Tekken 8, Street Fighter VI, Mortal Kombat 12, and most of all Project L are getting a ton of hype? What is it about these titles that have given them such provenance that everyone is talking about them? Or at the very least, knows that they are coming out soon and itching at the chance to play them?

Well, for three out of the four titles listed, the answer is very simple: They are beloved franchises with decades of history. They have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions altogether. Not to mention the cultural impact beyond the players themselves.

From tournament organizers, commentators, content creators on YouTube and ourselves here at DashFight. All of these major franchises have inspired us to dig deeper at what makes them great in the first place.

In this context, getting ready for these upcoming titles is not just about starting up frame data libraries or compiling hit and hurt boxes for all characters on day one, but experiencing them beyond that. This could be from already being in talks with local TOs to see which games will feature a bracket, test out different formats, and also see what makes these games hype not just in our homes, but when we collectively experience them.

Other Distractions

Before we go straight into recommending games, guides, libraries of competitive content, and all sorts of tier lists, we want to highlight that enjoying fighting games is not all about, or even most about, the competitive scene of these titles. We've actually made a series of videos talking about the media of different franchises in the fighting game scene.

Street Fighter in other Media | DashFight

For example, Mortal Kombat has an extensive list of movies, spinoff games, and animation, all of which really help build on the core aesthetics of the franchise. We can always talk about how Mortal Kombat is a 2D fighting game, but that description leaves out so much of what people love about MK. From cosplayers to game devs, to VFX artists, you can ask a pool of personnel within any area of the industry and you will very likely walk out of the room with a few fans of Mortal Kombat, if not for the games, then the art, or the aesthetics of the franchise.

Take some time to look back at MK11’s extra content, from the stage backgrounds, the costumes, and a plethora of easter eggs within the Krypt. They might not be why you play MK, but they certainly contribute to the larger construct of what Mortal Kombat is, along with its gratuitous level of violence.

This extends to other franchises as well. Tekken and Street Fighter also feature massive libraries of animated shows, movies, and especially music. We made a whole video exploring the evolution of Tekken’s musical legacy and how each game builds up to a grander intensity for the series.

These are the types of details that can get lost in the hype of new titles. Even if we think they will be greatly successful, having an appreciation for the art and sound of these games that goes beyond the elements that serve the gameplay can help you figure out why a new game might not click with you yet, if at all.

There are many ways to experience these games that go just beyond those achievable by your controller of choice. Taking that extra step to immerse yourself in these franchises is a great way to burn time until they release. We are not saying you should just binge-watch Tekken Bloodlines on Netflix or anything but it wouldn't hurt either!

Beat by Beat: The Evolution of Tekken Music | DashFight

Actually Preparing

So now that you’ve decided to rewatch the original Mortal Kombat movie, all the animated series movies, binge-watched Tekken Bloodlines, and even downloaded Fortnite for a little while to do the gritty after a victory royale with your Ryu skin. But now you’re feeling like you lost your way and want to clock in a bit of time into fighting games again, so you can actually start getting into the flow of combat.

Then get ready for our limited-time training plan to get you in shape for the imminent release of Street Fighter VI, Tekken 8, and Mortal Kombat 12.

Street Fighter VI

Let's start with SF6, as that is the first of the big three coming out this year. Clearly, playing Street Fighter 5 is going to be one of the best ways to get up to speed with the controls, but there will be differences between the two.

First of all, the V-System will see a major change. Street Fighter 6’s Drive mechanics are the same across all characters and are built from the ground up into each of them, so no more clunky implementations as we saw after SF5’s release.

Next is the neutral, and for those who might not know, neutral is a general term that means neither player is actively going for an attack or defending against one. This is especially in Street Fighter as it features a lot of footies, which means the position and relative distance between the characters mean certain attacks are able to reach opponents whereas others do not. Thus whiffing, punishing, and countering are means of being player options during a match.

In Street Fighter 5, this state of neutral was often broken by low kicks that could be hit-confirmed, meaning that a player can wait and finish a combo on reaction based on whether or not the first attack connected with their opponent.

In SF6, however, the reach of almost all the moves have been extended, which results in earlier engagements as the process of doing footsies is slightly more compressed on the screen. Some top players have speculated this will result in a Street Fighter experience that feels faster.

The other element contributing to a shorter neutral state is Drive Rush, something every character has access to that allows them to cut down the distance and essentially bet on what their opponent is going to and if they are ready in the first place.

Corners are also far more deadly in SF6 than in Street Fighter 5. This comes down to a combination of factors, the largest of which is thrown loops and Drive Impacts. That said, teching throws in SF6 also means characters are pushed back further, opening up a window to escape.

Tekken 8

For Tekken, it's a bit harder to really sit down and start practicing. So far, Bandai Namco has only given us crumbs in the way of character gameplay trailers, and although they certainly build up hype, they fail to illustrate some of the changes coming properly.

One of Tekken 8’s new systems is Heat, which is found at the bottom of the character’s health. Heat is activated either via a Heat Burst, which is a slamming attack, or a Heat Engager, which activates it upon hitting the opponent. 

While in Heat, characters get access to two new types of moves, a Heat Dash and Smash as well as extra benefit for yet another system, the recoverable gauge. Simply put, the recoverable gauge is part of the damage you take that has not yet been “confirmed”, meaning that if you turn the fight in your favor and strike back, you can regain some of your health. Heat allows you to do this even if your opponent is guarding.

The Rage System has been refined. Like before, once a character’s health drops down a certain level, they enter Rage State, during which they deal added damage. During this Rage State, players also have the ability to perform a special Rage Art, a very powerful attack that can help mount a comeback or finish off an opponent quickly.

As with Street Fighter 6, Tekken 8 is also bringing a few input changes. These will not be mandatory for all players, as the old scheme is still available, but according to developers, the new Easy Combo and Assist features of Tekken 7 have been combined and improved in Tekken 8 to allow more casual players to enter the game and not feel immediately at a disadvantage.

Mortal Kombat 12

Although it has been leaked, at the time of writing, there is no concrete information on what the eventual Mortal Kombat sequel will look like. However, we can definitely make the safe speculation that it will follow the same principles as the franchise.

It remains to be seen if controversial mechanics, such as Fatal Blow, will be in MK12, or if we are getting a completely new approach to anti-air, seeing as that was a major point of pain for many players in Mortal Kombat 11. If you are looking for similar NRS titles to fill the time then you should try giving Injustice 2 a chance, if for no other reason than not having a dedicated block button.

Otherwise, if you are feeling adventurous and willing to try out new styles. Tekken’s mostly grounded, high-impact fights can be quite appealing, if you are willing to learn a bit about 3D fighters. At the same time, you could try out an assist fighter like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which clearly shares MK’s comic book roots, or dig deeper still, and give Killer Instinct a try. Our final recommendation here is to look at Skullgirls. Even as far away as the game is from MK, it can act as a fantastic pallet cleanser for you to reset and see what you do or don’t like when filtering out new fighting games to try.

Project L

Project L is different than any of the other games we’ve covered in this video. Although not a purely unique game, it can certainly fit in the anime assist fighter category, its hard to really say how it will play as very little gameplay has left Riot’s doors.

Furthermore, it used to be a simple one-versus-one anime fighter, but in the most recent dev blog, as of December 2022, Riot’s development team made it known they the game would move over to the Tag Team fighting genre. This places Project L closer to games such as Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Skullgirls, and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 instead of more classic 2D fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

The impact of this move is pretty clear, with assists, and extenders coming in as part of the core gameplay, as well as the idea of building a strong roster of characters to be part of your own team. Although not direct translations, Dragon Ball Fighter Z and Skullgirls could serve as nice introductions to these systems if it's the first time you are planning to play an assist anime fighter.

Another mechanic that has been highlighted in Project L’s development blogs has been its character mobility, with plenty of options to close distances, be it with dashes, aerial approaches, and corner escapes.


There are plenty of ways you could be preparing for the new wave of fighting games coming, but the best will always be to enjoy the games you already have. If you truly want to start with the biggest advantage possible, then reading up on the theory crafting that pro players do is the absolute best way to at least put your mind in the framework that pros have been approaching their matches.

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