Aug 30 • 13M

The "X-Factor" in Today's Fighting Games

What games still have the X-Factor?

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Over the past few days, I've been thinking…. what is making fighting games so exciting right now? What’s their “X-Factor”?

Characters and Move List - Mortal Kombat 2 Guide - IGN
Mortal Kombat II (1993)

Among the most anticipated are the big three: Mortal Kombat 1, set to drop in September; Tekken 8, slated for a January release; and Street Fighter 6, which has already been in players' hands for a few months. As someone who's taken a break from the gaming scene for a few years prior and is now diving back into the action, I can't help but feel the excitement building up.

Speaking of excitement, I'm contemplating a new addition to my gaming setup—a fightstick upgrade along with the intriguing inclusion of a golden lever. It's all part of my quest to elevate my gaming experience and take my inputs to the next level. But beyond hardware, there's something else that's been occupying my thoughts in fighting games—the elusive "X-factor."

Several Fighting Games of 2023 that should be on your radar


What exactly sets each fighting game apart? Every game boasts its own unique qualities that make it stand out, an "X-factor"

that hooks players and keeps them engaged. In an age where impressing gamers is no easy feat, each game must offer something special to captivate their attention. With a plethora of movies and games competing for our attention, it's becoming increasingly challenging to leave a lasting impression on fans and viewers.

Even as a dedicated fighting game enthusiast, there have been times when I've felt the burnout or moments when a game I anticipated didn't quite hit the mark. It's a sentiment shared by many—a lull in enthusiasm, a phase of disinterest. And in this era of online discourse through platforms like Twitter and Reddit, critique is rampant, often overshadowing the games' strengths. Surprisingly, opinions can flip, with players occasionally enjoying what they initially dismissed.


For Street Fighter 6, it's the complete package that defines its "X Factor." From characters to music, Street Fighter 6 wraps players in a futuristic urban soundscape, creating an immersive experience. Characters like Luke embody a punk aesthetic, infusing a third-strike hip-hop vibe that resonates with the community. This distinctiveness breathes life into each game, making them stand out from their predecessors.

Luke In-Game Event Artwork | Other | Street Fighter 6 | Museum | Capcom Town

Mortal Kombat's "it factor" appears to be its roster. Nostalgia takes center stage as beloved characters from the 3D era are reimagined, sparking a wave of excitement. The Tag Team, Kameo, mechanic adds another layer, allowing classic characters to shine in tandem with new fighters. It's a recipe that stirs memories and injects an extra dose of enthusiasm into the experience.

What are Kameo fighters in Mortal Kombat 1? - Dexerto

As for Tekken 8, the "X-factor" remains a mystery to me. Although I haven't had the chance to play the game yet, (the beta testers could offer insight into what sets it apart). Tekken has always stood out as a 3D fighting game, renowned for its difficulty. It might lean on legacy characters and high-definition graphics to capture players' attention, or perhaps there's a hidden innovation waiting to be unveiled.

Tekken 8 Unveils Arcade Quest, 32 Starting Roster and January 26 Launch -  QooApp News
Tekken 8 - Arcade Quest

Tekken 6, back in 2009, introduced character customization and a single-player scenario campaign, elevating the game beyond its rivals. I'm eager to discover if Tekken 8 will introduce fresh mechanics or innovative gameplay modes, providing a new dimension to the experience. There's a palpable curiosity in the air—what will be Tekken 8's defining "X-factor"?

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Tekken 6 Scenario Campaign Impressions - GameSpot
Tekken 6 - Scenario Campaign

Even in the realm of Project L, the new contender in the fighting game arena, it’s freshness is apparent. Its unique approach to tagging characters and the dynamic 2v2 battles offer a refreshing twist. This kind of innovation keeps the genre alive and invigorates players' interest.

New Project L game mode lets you 2v2, 1v2 with friends | ONE Esports

As we traverse this exciting era of fighting games, there's a shared sentiment—an eagerness to witness the unfolding of each game's unique "X-factor." Whether it's the immersive package of Street Fighter 6 or Mortal Kombat's nostalgic roster…

What’s next for Tekken 8? How will Bandai Namco “Wow” audiences in the 4th quarter as we approach 2024 and a new Tekken game?

Only time will tell…


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