Created By: Euan2000 on March 30, 2013 Last Edited By: Euan2000 on April 15, 2013

Stock Fighting Game Plots

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Trope
Fighting games at their core are a colorful cast pounding the crap out of each other for our amusement. The in universe reasons why usually fall into one of these three categories.

  • 1. Tournament: Mostly seen in games where the fighters use real martial arts. All the cast enter a fighting tournament to get the prize, test their skills or to further their own sinister agendas. Examples: Street Fighter, Tekken
  • 2. Maguffin Brawl: A mysterious dodad has appeared, everyone wants it and they'll fight each other for it. Examples: Skullgirls, Street Fighter X Tekken.
  • 3. War: An actual war has broken out and the characters are usually champions of their faction. Examples: BlazBlue


Tournament examples

  • The Street Fighter series is the trope codifier for this sub-set. In Street Fighter 1 Sagat sets up the first World Warrior Tournament to prove he is the greatest Martial Artist in the world. Later World warrior tournaments were hijacked by the schemes of Shadloo and S.I.N.

Maguffin Brawl examples

  • In Skullgirls the fighting revolves around the Skullheart which can grant the wishes of women, but at a price, turning them into the titular Skullgirl if their hearts are impure. Some seek to make their own wish while others seek to destroy it and put an end to the madness.

War examples

  • The Street Fighter Alpha series follows M. Bison/Vega/Dictator's attempts to take over the world using a device known as the psycho drive and the efforts of the heroes to stop him.
  • BlazBlue is the war variation (between the NOL and Section 9, and on a wider scale Terumi against The Powers That Be).

Mixed Examples

  • Mortal Kombat originally started out as a Tournament, with the rule that ten consecutive victories would forfeit the loser's realm to the victor. However, as early as the third game, that rule of tournaments got thrown by the wayside into a War, with the forces clashing around a central antagonist (Shinnok, the Deadly Alliance, Onaga). Armageddon then mixes Maguffin Brawl, with Blaze giving whoever defeats him the power of a god and the ability to avert Armageddon itself.
  • Persona 4: Arena is technically the Maguffin variety, but it plays with it in that most of the characters are on more or less the same side; they only end up fighting each other because the fog makes them get into arguments, essentially making it an invoked version of the war example.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • March 30, 2013
    Prfnoff
    This looks more like an Analysis page than a trope.
  • March 30, 2013
    DracMonster
    Or some sort of index. It's not really a trope so much as a list of some tropes.
  • March 30, 2013
    MrRuano
    Mortal Kombat originally started out as a type 1, with the rule that ten consecutive victories would forfeit the loser's realm to the victor. However, as early as the third game, that rule of tournaments got thrown by the wayside into a type 3, with the forces clashing around a central antagonist (Shinnok, the Deadly Alliance, Onaga). Armageddon then mixes type 2, with Blaze giving whoever defeats him the power of a god and the ability to avert armageddon itself.
  • April 1, 2013
    Arivne
    Changed all of the "Type (1,2,3)" in the OP to their name equivalents because Type Labels Are Not Examples.
  • April 1, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Blaz Blue is the war variation (between the NOL and Section 9, and on a wider scale Terumi against The Powers That Be).

    • Persona 4 Arena is technically the Maguffin variety, but it plays with it in that most of the characters are on more or less the same side; they only end up fighting each other because the fog makes them get into arguments, essentially making it an invoked version of the war example.
  • April 1, 2013
    KingZeal
    You need a fourth type that's basically a less-focused version of "War"

    Grudge Match

    A powerful villain/nemesis has committed an unforgivable offense against one or more characters. Many of the cast come together to take him out. Similar to War, but the Big Bad need not be actively trying to take over the world. Tends to also overlap with the Tournament format.

    • The Tekken series uses a combination of the Grudge Match and Tournament plots. Every Tekken game features a tournament, but every game also has one family member seeking revenge or plotting destruction against another family member.

    • Virtua Fighter is primarily revolved around a tournament. Other characters have small rivalries and grudge matches.

    • The Marvel Vs Capcom series always follows the "War" archetype, with one nigh-omnipotent Big Bad causing all of the heroes and villains to fight each other and eventually take them on.

    • The Soul Series is a Mac Guffin Brawl combined with grudge matches in the first three games (Edge/Blade, Calibur, and Calibur 2) and becomes a war in Calibur III & IV, before becoming full-on grudge matches in V.

    • The Fatal Fury, Art Of Fighting, and King Of Fighters series typically have a tournament which involves a grudge match between the Big Bad and the protagonist. There are only a few exceptions. The first and third Art Of Fighting game being solely a grudge match, and the NESTS arc of King of Fighters was more befitting the War archetype.
  • April 2, 2013
    Djanchorhead
    The first Darkstalkers is a example of the tournament arc. In the first game the cosmic entity Pyron challenges the residents of Makai to see which one of them is worthy of ruling the demon world
  • April 2, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    An example of the War type of fighting game could be Injustice Gods Among Us. All of the fighters are either on the Well Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar "New Regime" formed by Superman and Wonder Woman or fighting for La Resistance under Batman's command.
  • April 14, 2013
    1810072342
    Perhaps a slant on the 'Grudge Match' thing mentioned above is: A monster of some description has appeared that threatens anything from personal people's lives to the safety of humanity. People often team up (leading to this often appearing in tag-battle games) to stop it before it can do anything.

    An example would be Marvel Vs Capcom 3, where Galactus threatens to destroy both Earths.
  • April 14, 2013
    Stratadrake
    There's no need to give examples in the definition of each type if you're going to sort the whole examples section by type (which I'm not fond of anyway, but whatever).
  • April 14, 2013
    DunDun
    You could list examples under each type description by putting them in a folder simply named "Examples" though, right? I've seen it in a few pages here and there and honestly prefer it to the "describe sections; separate examples from their descriptions by putting examples at the bottom of the page" method.
  • April 14, 2013
    MiinU
    This should include a Not Just A Tournament sub-entry, which is one of the most common fighting game plot types, thanks to SNK.

    Not Just a Tournament examples

    • Bloody Roar: The tournaments are simply a means to lure the strongest zoanthropes, so they can be used as test subjects, by pitting them against others of their kind, who possess legendary beast powers, or genetically enhanced superbeings.
    • Fatal Fury: Geese regularly hosts the King of Fighters as both a means of scouting potential talent for his organization, and to weed out potential threats to his rule over Southtown.
    • The King of Fighters: The trope codifier, as the crux of the series revolves around nefarious plots by different criminal organizations, who either plan to unseal the Orochi, or kidnap and clone Kyo, or simply steal the powers of the Trinity Team: Chizuru, Kyo, and Iori.
    • Variable Geo: Like the preceding examples, the cash prize and real estate offered by the VG tournament is simply a means to lure unsuspecting entrants to be used as test subjects in order to find a suitably powerful host body for Miranda.
  • April 14, 2013
    Tallens
    Dead Or Alive has the premise as the tournament, but has a lot of grudge matches behind the scenes.
  • April 14, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ^^ And I absolutely abhor the organizational mess that is alternating between type definitions and examples thereof.
  • April 14, 2013
    MiinU
    ^@Stratadrake - I can agree the subgroups and some of the examples need organization. I'd hardly consider the events of Street Fighter Alpha to be a war, since it's closer to KoF in nature.

    Soul Calibur, on the other hand, would qualify as both a war and a macguffin brawl, since the plot involves individual clashes and full-scale engagements for possession of the Soul Swords.

    Aside from those two, and the others I listed previously, what would you suggest?
  • April 15, 2013
    KingZeal
    The last Soul Calibur game isn't a Mac Guffin hunt. It's just flat out grudge matching between most characters.
  • April 15, 2013
    MiinU
    @KingZeal - I was referring to the Soul Series as a whole. For the most part, the series chronicles the wars and individual battles fought over the Soul Swords.
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