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Dueling Works / Fighting Game

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Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
International Karate (1985) The Way Of The Exploding Fist (1985) Serial Numbers Filed Off ports of Karate Champ released for the Commodore 64 in 1985. They're pretty much indistinguishable gameplay-wise, but International Karate is notable for featuring one of the most popular SID tunes ever written, courtesy of Rob Hubbard. International Karate sold more and is now more famous thanks largely to its music.
Street Fighter (1987) Fatal Fury (1991)

Art of Fighting (1992)

The King of Fighters (1994)
2D Fighting Games with a heavy emphasis on mystical and impossible special moves. Later installments of both Street Fighter and KOF involve worldwide conspiracies. Street Fighter the Trope Maker of Fighting Games in the early 90s, and AOF and FF were created to ride the wave of its success. Realizing that neither series had the staying power to compete with Capcom's flagship, SNK combined the rosters of these two titles to create KOF. Both SF and KOF liberally crib ideas from one another, and have even joined forces on some occasions. Street Fighter is well known around the world, whereas outside of Japan KOF is a cult hit at best, with a surprising following in places like Mexico, where the low-priced Neo Geo cabinets proved to be appealing to store owners and players.
Street Fighter II (1987) Mortal Kombat (1992) The Samurai vs. Knight of fighting games. Mortal Kombat brought a Bloodier and Gorier style, Fatalities, and a much more brutal combat system. During their heyday in the early 90s, "SF vs. MK" was the equivalent of "WRPG vs JRPG" nowadays, with the same amount of prevalent (and annoying) topics devoted to it. Mortal Kombat had more unique games churned out for it than Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat did well initially, and Mortal Kombat II saw it briefly take the lead in the fighters' market. In the long term though, Street Fighter was the winner by a long shot as most of the Mortal Kombat games after the second proved to be the laughing stock for competitive fighting game players due to poor balancing of its characters and the series was later fed to the Polygon Ceiling, further destroying its reputation with casual gamers. However, Mortal Kombat 9 not only cleared that reputation away but also proved to be not a laughing stock for competitive fighting game players, effectively bringing the bloodbath back to square one.
Virtua Fighter (1993) Tekken (1994)

Dead or Alive (1996)
3D Fighting Games with an emphasis on realistic martial arts styles Virtua Fighter, like Street Fighter, is considered the Ur-Example of 3D fighters and most games made after it deliberately ape it. Tekken combined VF's realistic gameplay with a Street Fighter-like cast of misfits. Dead or Alive took VF's gameplay, added a dopey exploding arena gimmick, and utilized some very fascinating character concepts. Tekken has remained as the top selling 3D fighting game series. Virtua Fighter is lauded by tournament players but only has a very small competitive scene in the west. DOA has slowly mounted a comeback a steadily growing competitive scene since its fifth installment came out.
Eternal Champions (1993) Killer Instinct (1994) Dark, violent fighting games made by the leading console manufacturers at the time as a Follow the Leader answer to Mortal Kombat, with outlandish character designs and gallons of Rule of Cool. Though spearheaded by Sega and Nintendo, respectively, each game was actually made by a western developer (Eternal Champions was developed by Sega's America-based Interactive Development Division, whereas Killer Instinct was made by Nintendo's newly-acquired second-party developer Rare.) Eternal Champions was developed specifically for the Mega Drive/Genesis, while Killer Instinct was released in arcades first, and later ported to the SNES (rather ironic, since Sega's primary market have always been arcades, whereas Nintendo had otherwise stopped making arcade games by that point). Gameplay-wise, Killer Instinct relied heavily on combos, while Eternal Champions played more similar to Street Fighter II with the addition of a "special attack meter" to prevent players from abusing special attacks. In lieu of Mortal Kombat, both games also had violent Finishing Moves, though the ones in Killer Instict, while featuring large amounts of blood, had relatively little gore compared to both Mortal Kombat and Eternal Champions. Killer Instinct. Both games followed a similar curve after release (a highly successful original game, a single sequel that wasn't as well received, and then promptly disappearing off the face of the Earth). In terms of legacy, Killer Instinct is much better remembered and retains a cult following, while Eternal Champions is largely forgotten and is usually only brought up in "Anyone Remember Pogs?" kind of conversations. Killer Instinct was also successfully revived in 2013, further cementing this.
The Outfoxies (1994) Super Smash Bros. (1999) Arena fighting games with weapon pickups. The former is an arcade game with original characters, while the latter is a console game featuring characters from Nintendo's franchises, released 5 years apart from each other. Smash wins this one easily. It is the more well-known of the two and the series is still living on to this very day, whereas The Outfoxies has faded into obscurity.
Marvel Super Heroes (1995) Avengers In Galactic Storm (1995) Arcade fighting games based on Marvel Comics. Something so unusual as dueling titles made by rivaling companies (Capcom and Data East, respectively) based around the same license. Both games featured Captain America and Iron Man as playable characters, but otherwise had very little in common. Marvel Super Heroes was a sequel to X-Men: Children of the Atom, was loosely based on the "Infinity Gauntlet" storyline from the comics, had traditional sprite-based 2D-graphics, and a special "gem" system that gave your character temporary perks by fulfilling certain criteria during the match. Avengers in Galactic Storm was based on the "Operation: Galactic Storm" storyline, had pre-rendered CG characters and backgrounds on a two-dimensional playing field and was the first fighting game to feature Assist Characters. Marvel Super Heroes by far: its success eventually led to the beloved Marvel vs. Capcom games. Avengers in Galactic Storm slipped by almost unnoticed, and didn't even receive a home port.
Battle Arena Toshinden (1995) Soul Edge (1995) Early 3D weapons-based fighting games. Both were released in 1995; Toshinden for the PlayStation, Soul for arcades (and ported to Playstation the following year). Although not obvious at first, Toshinden actually takes place in the (then-) present, while Soul takes place in the 16th century. Toshinden also has a clear anime-based style while Soul went with more stylized realism (similar to its sibling series Tekken). Soul Edge, without a doubt. Battle Arena Toshinden gained a lot of acclaim and sales at first, thanks to novel features like sidestepping, lots of promotion by Sony and being one of the only fighting games for the Playstation at launch. It became the official pack-in game with the Playstation for a while, was ported to PC, Sega Saturn and Game Boy and had three sequels, the first of which even got an arcade release. Despite all this, the game was quickly forgotten. There were many internal issues regarding its development, as Takara screwed itself over by having the series developed by an umbrella of smaller developers who were severely underpaid, and that they focused more on merchandise than the actual game. As newer, better and more refined fighting games came out, the series became Deader Than Disco. Among nostalgic early Playstation owners, the series has gotten a bit of a Cult Classic status though. Soul Edge, on the other hand, was very successful both in arcades and on the Playstation, and thanks to the awesome sequel SoulCalibur, managed to keep the momentum going and has become one of the most popular and beloved fighting game series around.
Soul Edge (1995) Mace: The Dark Age (1997) Arcade weapons-based fighting games in a Historical Fantasy setting revolving around a titular Artifact of Doom weapon. East vs. West, Namco vs. Midway, Samurai vs. Knight (literally, in this case). To oversimplify: Soul Edge is Tekken with swords, Mace is Mortal Kombat with swords. It's also worth noting that the home port of each game was released exclusively on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 respectively. Soul Edge spawned a very successful franchise still going strong. Mace was largely overlooked and had no sequel.
Marvel vs. Capcom (1996) Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008) Established fighting franchise crossing over with established comic universe. Capcom achieved such success with this formula back in The '90s. While Capcom lost the rights to make more games a few years back, they were finally able to convince Marvel to let them make Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Midway's Mortal Kombat staff, on the other hand was bought by Warner Bros., DC's parent company, shortly after MKvsDCU came out. No contest. Marvel vs. Capcom, specifically Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, has been a tournament staple for over a decade now and still sees more serious (and casual) play than MKvsDCU ever did. In fact, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom on one side and Mortal Kombat 9 on the other are seen as bigger and more comparable rivals to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (though moreso the latter because of release time frames) in the competitive community than MKvsDCU.
Street Fighter III (1997) Mortal Kombat 4 (1997) After playing it safe for several years, in the brave new year of 1997 the premier fighting game series were ready to take their next installment in bold new directions. Mortal Kombat 4 took the step into the third dimension, while Street Fighter III stayed in and perfected 2D (it was one of the best-looking 2D-games ever at the time of its release). Both games did away with a substantial part of their established cast in favor of new faces, but Street Fighter III especially so (only Ryu and Ken returned, although later updates reintroduced Akuma and Chun-Li). While Mortal Kombat 4 was now 3D, the gameplay still largely took place on a two-dimensional playing field and with the exception of a sidestep maneuver and the introduction of a weapon-system, the gameplay was largely unchanged. Street Fighter III on the other hand had substantially altered gameplay with the introduction of dashing, "super arts" and the new parry-system. At the time of release, Mortal Kombat 4 was the winner, performing well in arcades and being a financial success for Midway. Street Fighter III on the other hand was met with widespread apathy, with factors including it coming out too late after the Street Fighter-craze had largely died off, being a 2D-game at the height of the Video Game 3D Leap, having a really expensive arcade board meaning few arcade operators could afford it, being too inaccessible for beginners, and players finding it too different and with almost no familiar characters (ironically the very things people had complained about with the countless updates for Street Fighter II). It also didn't help matters that Mortal Kombat 4 was ported to every system available at the time but Street Fighter III was originally only ported to the ill-fated Dreamcast more than two years after its release. In the long run, the situation has reversed. Mortal Kombat 4 did not age well and is now regarded as the weakest entry in the series due to the Polygon Ceiling and Narm-filled cutscenes, while Street Fighter III has become Vindicated by History is now an incredibly well-regarded game, a Tournament Play staple and a Cult Classic. It goes to tell when Mortal Kombat 4 was excluded from the digital compilation Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection whereas Street Fighter III is one of the consistently best-selling digital download-titles around. In the end, Street Fighter III is the winner.
Super Smash Bros. (1999) Playstation All Stars Battle Royale (2012) Console-specific Mascot Fighters, each with a roster of characters associated with the console it is on. You defeat opponents in Smash with Ring Outs. In PSASBR, however, you defeat opponents with Limit Breaks instead. The deeper mechanics of the two are very different as well. Sony acknowledges their game's inspiration from Smash, though they also note that many other fighting games served as inspiration as well. Smash wins, financially speaking, on account of being unopposed for so long that no other game could hope to dethrone it. PSASBR received generally favorable reviews in comparison to Smash's unanimous critical acclaim. To PSASBR's credit however, it has gained a significant following and online community by those who played it. After PSASBR "outlived its cycle," Sony cut ties with Superbot Entertainment, though a sequel is still possible as Shuhei Yoshida himself basically said to never give up hope.
Super Smash Bros. (Brawl) (2008) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up (2009) Mascot Fighters with similar combat systems. TMNT Smash Up was developed by one of the teams who worked on Smash Bros. Brawl. TMNT Smash-Up is widely considered inferior to Smash Bros., though some argue that it's a decent game on its own and the comparison to Smash Bros. only hurts it.
Super Smash Flash 2 (Began 2007) Super Smash Bros. Crusade (Began 2014) Fan-made Super Smash Bros. games. Super Smash Flash 2 is a sequel to Super Smash Flash, which hasn't aged well and is best forgotten. Both games are very impressive replications of Super Smash Bros. game-play, especially in the case of Super Smash Flash 2, which runs Adobe Flash. Overall, SSF2 has more polished graphics, well-balanced game-play, and is more well known. Super Smash Bros. Crusade has a stronger Game Engine, having a larger roster that includes gimmicky, memory-intensive fighters such as the Ice Climbers and Capt. Olimar.
Brawl- (Verison 1.0, 2010) Project M (Version 1.0, 2011) Game Mods of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that seek to create more dynamic game-play and better balance the roster. Both Mods rose from the failed Brawl+, the first attempt at a major Brawl Mod. Brawl-, created by a standalone team, seeks to balance the game by making everything a Game-Breaker. Project M, made by former Brawl+ modders, more-or-less embraced the "Melee 2.0" criticisms aimed at Brawl+ by replicating the more Meta Game-oriented physics of Super Smash Bros. Melee, and re-balancing the cast to match. Project M also goes even further by restoring removed stages, creating new alt-costumes, and even bringing back two characters cut from Brawl, Roy and Mewtwo. Brawl- followed suit by restoring Roy and Pichu. Project M wins by a country mile, if its coverage by major gaming news sites and appearance in tournaments is any indication. This ended up being its undoing, though, as it got so big that the makers ended up shutting Project M down upon learning that Nintendo would now have grounds to sue instead of issuing a Cease and Desist. So in terms of longevity, Brawl- wins.
(Ultimate) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011) Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013) 2½D Fighting games with rosters featuring comic book superheroes and supervillains. Another Marvel vs. DC squabble, akin to Marvel vs. Capcom and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe above. While MvC3 crosses the Marvel universe with a cast of Capcom characters, Injustice has a roster composed entirely of DC characters,note  despite being made by the studio behind Mortal Kombat 9. MvC3 is more of a traditional Capcom vs. Whatever fighting game, while Injustice experiments with a number of gimmicks that are either uncommon in fighting games or new to the genre as a whole. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has a several-year lead and a very strong franchise history to back it up, but Injustice may have time to grow its fandom, as Marvel vs. Capcom 3's update cycle has ceased and its core development team members have moved on to other projects. Both games have received similarly high critical acclaim from reviewers, although the fighting game community is more wary of Injustice's viability as a competitive fighter due to its stage-based gimmicks.
Injustice 2 (2017) Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2017) Sequels to 2½D Fighting games with rosters featuring comic book superheroes and supervillains for The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games. The sequel (no pun intended) to the squabble between these two same franchises from last generation. This time, both games are coming out within 12 months of each other. Additionally both are trying to be more casual friendly compared to other games in their developers stable. Injustice 2 introduces the gear system that allows casual players to customize their characters, however it is banned in Tournament Play, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite goes back to the 2 on 2 format of earlier games, while ditching a lot of old mechanics in favor of a new freeform tag system while bringing back the Infinity Gems from Marvel Super Heroes. Injustice 2 was lauded for its graphics, roster, and content, all of which were major criticisms of Infinite, but Infinite has been called a good follow-up to UMvC3 in terms of gameplay, if not outright superior. In terms of immediate sales and reception, though, it was an outright squash, with Infinite currently sitting at a quarter of its rival's sales and averaging around 10-15 points lower on Metacritic. Furthermore, Injustice 2 was able to compete at EVO 2018 while Infinite failed to qualify.
Pokkén Tournament DX (2017) Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2017) 2017 released fighting games released on the week of September 22nd 2017, featuring popular characters from outside the regular fighting genre (Marvel heroes and Pokemon) fighting on mutually exclusive hardware. Pokken DX was not significantly hyped but maintained a steady amount of attention, while Marvel vs Capcom suffered significant controversies in a number of areas including animations, roster choices, and developer commentaries Pokken had notably better review scores, and sold nearly twice as much despite being a Switch exclusive.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2017) Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018) Tag-team tournament-viable fighting games featuring super-powered combatants from immensely popular long-running franchises. After Infinite suffered from several controversies, PR mess-ups, and severe issues regarding presentation, FighterZ got the attention of many who were soured on the latest Marvel vs. Capcom by boasting 3v3 gameplay (Infinite dropped down to 2v2 in contrast with the two previous MvC games) and phenomenal presentation, as is expected from Arc System Works. However, FighterZ did eventually suffer from controversy of its own regarding its DLC practices. FighterZ. Infinite received mixed reviews and flopped in sales. By contrast, critical and audience reception for FighterZ was overwhelmingly positive, and it became the fastest-selling Dragon Ball video game in history, shifting 2 million copies in just five days. In addition, the lineup for EVO 2018 was confirmed to include FighterZ, but not Infinite, marking the first time in 17 years that EVO has not had a Marvel Vs Capcom game as one of its main events.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2017) Blazblue Cross Tag Battle (2018) 2v2 tag-team tournament-competitive fighting games featuring ensemble casts of super-powered characters from multiple different properties Coming onto the scene a month before EVO 2018 is due and with FighterZ is still hugely popular, BBTAG is the second Arc System Works game to be competing with MvCI. BBTAG is also a 2v2 crossover fighter featuring an ensemble cast from four popular anime franchises: Blazblue, Persona 4, Under Night In-Birth and the highly popular Rooster Teeth anime-styled web animation series RWBYnote . The announcement that BBTAG would be present at Evo 2018 and MvCI would not when the former hadn't even been released came as a massive shock to the FGC. Though early hype for BBTAG was damaged by a controversy surrounding DLC practices, reception to early release builds and demos has been highly positive with players praising the new RWBY characters, the netcode and online play, the combat system (which is said to be very easy to pick up for new players but offers a surprising degree of depth to veterans due to character interplay) and the voice actingnote . In the end though, while both series underperformed, the fact that Cross Tag Battle got better reception a having a bit more sales than Infinite makes it the clear winner, even if it was an Acclaimed Flop.
Slap City (2018) Icons: Combat Arena (2018) Platform Fighter games developed by independent teams, intended to become a PC alternative for the Nintendo-exclusive Super Smash Bros. series, while also appealing to its competetive scene. Both were also first released as Early Access. Slap City, much like Super Smash Bros., is a Mascot Fighter featuring many of the developer's characters. Icons, on the other hand, has its roster entirely composed of original characters. Notably, the latter's development team had people that previously worked on the famous Game Mod Project M Slap City, no contest. Winning fans over with its fresh characters and creative game modes, it's remained overwhelmingly praised since its release. Icons, instead, got heavily criticized for aspects such as a roster mostly composed of expies of Smash fighters, matches being exclusively 1v1, and an abusive microtransaction system. Because of that, the game struggled with a shrinking playerbase, and its servers were put down on November 2018, rendering it unplayable since then.
Soulcalibur VI (2018) Dead or Alive 6 (2019) 3D fighting games from series that are very well-known for fanservice, coming off a Sequel Gap with both having their last mainline installment in 2012, and set to be the big comeback for both franchises. Both games feature new graphics, new gameplay mechanics, and are the sixth numbered sequel of their respective series, but a major difference in terms of execution is how they go about their trademark fanservice — Whereas Dead or Alive 6 is choosing to severely cut back on the sex appeal in hopes of being taken more seriously, Soulcalibur VI has decided to fully embrace it as a core part of its identity. Soulcalibur VI. Upon release, Soulcalibur VI received positive reviews across the board and became widely celebrated by fans, and having practically no real controversy to deter it, whereas Dead or Alive 6 had considerably less favorable reviews and all the way up to launch was Overshadowed by Controversy over many things including the tamer fanservice, the constant Flip-Flop of God, the shady tactics used to drive sales (including a 93 dollar season pass at launch), and missing core features, among others, while changing very little in any positive way. Soulcalibur VI got an easy ticket to EVO 2019, whereas Dead or Alive 6 was completely passed up by EVO despite specifically aiming for it, effectively killing its tournament scene before it could begin, and sales were not good as it debuted at a mere #21 on the UK charts alone, compared to SCVI reaching #5 and DOA6's direct predecessor selling over twice as much. The US wasn't much kinder, either — whereas SCVI placed at #8 on the monthly NPD Top 10 chart for October, DOA6 failed to even make the Top 10 at all. Japan was slightly more favorable, as DOA6 launched at #1 but only at just over 26,000 retail copies (considerably lower than past games), and only 2,000 more than what SCVI launched with, but the difference is very negligible overall as digital isn't counted in the equation. Ultimately, SCVI performed far better than DOA6, selling over 400,000 units in the first week and over a million after a month. In comparison, DOA6 merely shipped 350,000 units within nearly two months after the game's release.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018) Jump Force (2019) Crossover fighting games in which characters from Nintendo's history (Smash Bros.) or multiple Shonen Jump franchises (Jump Force) come together to fight against each other.  Smash Bros. Ultimate. While Smash Bros.' roster welcomed back everyone included in the series, past and present, including long-awaited fighters like Ridley and King K. Rool, Jump Force's roster was divisive from the moment that the game was finalized. This included the divisive Created Character, which people have grown tired of now, as well as original characters, Kane and Galena, which are mainly seen as expies of Mira and Towa. In terms of sales (at least in Japan), despite Ultimate being a Switch exclusive and Jump Force coming out on every console that isn't the Switch (namely PS4, Xbox One and PC), the former managed to blow the competition out of the water by selling 1.2 million copies during its first week, eventually managing to sell over 13.8 million copies by April 2019 and become one of the highest selling fighting games of all time, while the latter could only muster barely a tenth of those figures in its launch week and despite a steady stream of DLC, has largely been forgotten by most people.
Samurai Shodown (2019) Granblue Fantasy Versus (2019) 2D fighting games that return to a more classically grounded style with high damage, stricter movement and shorter combos compared to the "anime" fighting games that have dominated the genre since the late 2000s.  As of this writing, Granblue has not been released yet, so a winner cannot be determined. However, both games have allowed players to get an early hands on in the form of demo builds and betas, leading to positive impressions to both from players that have tried them. Despite this, Granblue seems to have mounted a very slight lead thanks to the gorgeous graphics from Arc System Works and the now-beloved characters and universe of Granblue Fantasy. Additionally, Shodown and other games from SNK Playmore tend to have more of a cult following compared to the mainstream success of Arc System Works titles.

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