Here are all the Evo Japan 2023 announcements

Evo Japan finally returned after a two-year hiatus this past weekend. With this being the largest fighting game tournament in this side of the Pacific, more than a few companies had big announcements lined up for the event.

For those who weren’t able to catch all of the Evo Japan 2023 announcements as they happened, we’ve compiled them all into one spot.

Arika revealed a new update to its April Fools fighter, Fighting EX Layer Ver. 3.0

Fighting EX Layer, Arika’s follow-up to the Street Fighter EX games that it co-developed with Capcom in the 1990s, first started as an April Fools joke. As such, it’s fitting that the game’s latest version was revealed on April 1, 2023–day 1 of Evo Japan 2023.

Of course, Arika itself had been building towards the release, releasing short video teasers of it in the weeks before the events. From this, we see that Fighting EX Layer Ver. 3.0 will finally feature the return of sidesteps from the Street Fighter EX games. In addition, it also adds a bunch of new mechanics, which Arika Vice President Ichiro Mihara detailed in a tweet.

Other details about the game, including platforms are as of yet unknown. The original Fighting EX Layer launched PlayStation 4 and PC, but its follow-up, FEXL Another Dash, launched exclusively on Switch.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is getting a beta in May, plus a new character

Arc System Works and CyGames dropped a new trailer for their upcoming sequel, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising. The trailer, which also contained a heartfelt thanks to the game’s community, revealed a new character for the game–Seigfried.

Beyond that, the trailer also revealed that an online beta would be taking place for the game this May.

One of the unique selling points of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is the use of a new, rollback-based, online play implementation. While this network implementation–which uses a method called “rollback” to mask lag–has been standard for games such as Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat X, it took until 2021’s Guilty Gear Strive for Arc System Works to implement it in a major release. Now, Granblue fans will get to experience this updated online play implementation this May. (Read: Fighting in the time of COVID: the problems of online play and how the community has adapted)

SNK has a lot coming up for King of Fighters fans

SNK had a lot of Evo Japan announcements for fans of the King of Fighters franchise. First up it dropped more details on this season’s DLC characters for the King of Fighters XV starting with gameplay footage of fan favorite Kim Kapwhan, who was also playable at SNK’s booth at the event, and in-game footage of Silvie Paula Paula.

In addition, it revealed that King of Fighters 96 boss character Goenitz would be coming to KoF XV for free sometime in the summer. Goenitz follows the trend of SNK releasing one free boss character from a previous KoF installment each season.

SNK also revealed that fan-favorite the King of Fighters XIII will be getting updated. Called King of Fighters XIII Global Match, the new release will bring with it modern rollback netcode when it releases on PlayStation 4 and Switch. As for the existing release of KoF XIII on Steam, whether it will be updated with the new netcode is unknown.

Beyond that, SNK’s trailer also confirmed that KoF XV is still getting cross-platform play later this summer, Samurai Shodown is still getting rollback netcode this spring and that the next game in the Fatal Fury franchise is still in development.

Asuka Kazama and Leroy Smith are returning to Tekken 8

Bandai Namco Games had been releasing multiple Tekken 8 character trailers in the lead-up to Evo Japan 2023, where the game was playable at their booth. That didn’t stop the company, however, from making a few more announcements. During the finals of the Tekken 8 tournament at Evo Japan, the company revealed that Asuka Kazama and Leroy Smith were returning to Tekken 8.

Leroy was one of Tekken 7‘s more contentious newcomers, being heavily used in competition when he first debuted. While he’s been significantly nerfed, his early tournament performance cemented his position in competitive Tekken history. Whether or not he’ll do the same in Tekken 8 remains to be seen, that said the new trailer does make him quite exciting to watch.

Whether or not Asuka Kazama would return in Tekken 8 was always up in the air in the community, especially with Jun Kazama–who Asuka shares a moveset with–returning for the first time in a non-tag game since Tekken 2. The trailer below shows that Asuka is returning, and with it she seemingly gets a more aggressive style, matching Tekken 8‘s higher emphasis on aggressive play.

Now, the games and developers mentioned here aren’t the only ones present at Evo Japan 2023. But not all who were at Evo Japan had announcements to make. Capcom and Street Fighter 6 are the biggest ones that come to mind, what with the game releasing in two months’ time.

Could they be saving their announcements–such as the previously leaked DLC character or perhaps even an open beta–for some time closer to the game’s launch? Only time will tell.

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Franz Co

managing editor | addicted to RGB | plays too many fighting games

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