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Character Roster Global Warming

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When a video game first in the series is released, it will often have a slow, powerful fighter (known here as a Mighty Glacier) or two. However, as the series increases and more characters are added, the number of these characters often stays the same, resulting in a gigantic roster with only one or two big heavy glacier guys. Hence, Global Warming.

Compare The Smurfette Principle, which gives this treatment to female characters.


Beat Em Ups

  • Melted Glacier example: The Streets of Rage series has had only two slow guys, Adam, who was replaced with the even more stronger and slower Max, who was promptly replaced with Lightning Bruiser Dr. Zan and Lethal Joke Character Roo in the third game. In the Fan Remake, which includes the running and rolling mechanics from 3 (that Adam and Max didn't star in), they become loads more useful.
    • Streets of Rage 4 reintroduces Adam and has Max back as DLC while adding the composite of Max and Zan, Floyd and the boss character Estel.

Fighting Games

  • Battle Fantasia has only one glacier fighter in Donvalve. Played with in regards to Deathbringer since while he is just as large as Donvalve, he's also somewhat more nimble than him.
  • BlazBlue has Iron Tager. Hakumen is also something of a Mighty Glacier, just the rare example of a character in that category being smaller than usual. The third game adds Azrael.
  • Dead or Alive started out with 3 'big' characters who relied mainly on power and grapples: Bayman, Bass, and Leon. Bass's daughter Tina is a wrestler just like him, but is much faster while having less powerful throws. Dead or Alive 5 brought in Rachel from sister series Ninja Gaiden and gave her a limited yet devastating moveset focusing on powerful hits and throws.
  • Guilty Gear XX: Around two dozen characters and exactly one big guy (Potemkin). Eventually averted in Accent Core + R, but only because the developers rebalanced former SNK Boss Justice into this so she would be tournament viable. Xrd would drop Justice but add newcomers Bedman (in -SIGN-) and Kum Haehuyn (in -REVELATOR-) as heavyweight fighters, and Strive drops both but adds newcomers Nagoriyuki and Goldlewis.
  • The King of Fighters started with Goro Daimon, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, and Chang Koehan. It took them about six years to add Maxima, a year to add Seth, three more to add Tizoc, and about another six to add Raiden. Although there have been other grapplers in the series, they have generally always been Fragile Speedsters.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom in general suffers from this.
    • X-Men: Children of the Atom only has Colossus and Sentinel in the ten character roster, although Juggernaut is another one relegated to a boss character.
    • Marvel Super Heroes made Juggernaut playable and added Hulk, but removed Colossus and Sentinel, and none of the secret characters really fit into this.
    • The next three games with mid-high teens rosters generally only having Zangief and either Juggernaut or Hulk. Captain America was briefly hit with this trope in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and a secret version of Zangief was available that was even more of a glacier than regular Zangief. Captain America was rebalanced back into a Jack of All Stats in Marvel vs. Capcom and a special version of War Machine, whose normal version is not this trope, was added. This means you got 3-4 Mighty Glacier characters a game.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has 56 playable characters and only six are of the slow-and-strong type: Zangief, Anakaris, Colossus, Sentinel, Hulk, and Juggernaut.
    • Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has a roster of over twenty characters (give or take a few between the original Japanese game and the international Ultimate All-Stars release), of which only four characters are slow-but-strong types: Alex, Hakusho Daimao (who was removed in Ultimate All-Stars), Gold Lightan, and PTX-40A (the latter two of which cannot be partnered with any character and must be played solo).
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a teeny bit better about this with Haggar, Dormammu, Thor, and to some extent Spencer joining Hulk and Sentinel for six slow but strong characters out of 38 total. With the release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its 12 new characters, the only new additions who seem to fit this mold are Nemesis and Ghost Rider, making the final ratio 8:50.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is probably the best with this trope yet in the Marvel series. Sentinel is the only Mighty Glacier from 3 that was removed, Thanos was rebalanced into this trope, and Sigma was added through downloadable content. That's 9 Mighty Glacier characters in a roster of 36.
  • Mortal Kombat handles this very oddly: every Mighty Glacier in the series is a boss and is only playable in the full cast games — the only exceptions are Shao Kahn and Goro in the Gamecube version of Deception and Unchained. Mortal Kombat X and onward did start adding some new (non-boss) heavy fighters to the series, however.
  • Soulcalibur has four "big" characters (Astaroth, Nightmare, Siegfried, Rock) compared to more than twenty others, though in this case it's because there's only so many big weapons in the world. If one is generous, Ashlotte and Kamikirimusi (two of the five bonus characters in IV) count too, due to being palette swaps for Astaroth and Nightmare respectively, albiet considerably smaller.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Street Fighter III started with just Alex, added Hugo and Urien in Second Impact and finally Q in Third Strike for four out of twenty characters, which isn't too horrible.
    • Street Fighter IV's arcade release started with three out of seventeen (Zangief, E. Honda, and Balrog). The console version made that three out of 25. Super added T. Hawk and Hakan for five out of 35. Arcade Edition takes it to ridiculous levels with five out of 39. With the addition of Hugo in Ultra Street Fighter IV, the ratio increased very slightly, but 6 to 44 isn't much of an increase.
    • Street Fighter Alpha has Birdie, T. Hawk and Zangief, and every other character with this playstyle is fast. Sodom and E. Honda aren't much faster, though.
    • Street Fighter V seldom brings in characters of this type. The game launched with Zangief and Birdie, Season 1 added Alex although Urien was brought back with his already-light case of this trope just about completely gone, Season 2 added Abigail, and Season 3 added Cody and G, and Season 4 added none. That's six out of 38 characters.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
  • Tekken usually features four heavy characters: Ganryu, Jack, King, and Kuma. Marduk is also in since 4. Now contrast this with the character roster of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 which numbers 59 in the console releases. With Armor King, Prototype Jack, and Panda, that's eight slots filling the Mighty Glacier role.

First-Person Shooter

  • Overwatch ended up experiencing a lot of this with its Tank heroes (a role classification whose purpose is shielding damage, drawing aggro, up-close brawling, or some combination of the above), with only 3 of the 11 initial post-release heroes being Tanks. At some point, Blizzard realized that Tanks were very difficult to design for and properly balance since in a fast-paced Hero Shooter setting, their entire purpose is to slow things down, creating a lot of "noise" that either leaves them overly dominant, really unfun and boring to play compared to Damage or Support heroes, or worst of all: all of the abovenote . Blizzard has since increasingly compacted the role as being a bit of a niche requirement, and in Overwatch 2, it was announced they were limiting teams to just one Tank per team to loosen things upnote , allowing their Hero Shooter to be more of a shooter while still tweaking around Tanks to be fun and useful without getting totally out of hand.
  • Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict: Out of a grand total of 32 characters, counting bots and DLC characters, only 7 of them are classified as Heavyweights: Arclite, Gorge, Raptor, Szalor (main roster), Jackhammer, Syzygy (DLC) and Corrosion (bot).

Hack and Slash


  • Granblue Fantasy:
    • In 2016, Bakura is the last R character to be released (and he is still the portrait for the R Trial Character – a placeholder for any upcoming / character). The R character roster then remained stagnant for 2 years until Spinnah was released in 2018.
    • Played Straight with Elmott's case: He has 3 versions of himself. The problem is, all three are of the Fire Element and all three are SR-rarity characters. In short, he never changed elements nor rarity.


  • League of Legends has experienced a Downplayed, but noticeable case of this over the course of its 10+ year development. While tanky champions are still being made and the metagame periodically dips in favor of tank-heavy play, Riot Games' attitude towards balance and overall game design has increasingly shifted away from passive defense and more towards dealing and undoing damage. The primary focus has to do with how tanks inherently slow down games, and metas where they're the most viable tend to reward passive play and thus become far more of a drag, and further complications come in the form of "bruiser" champions; bulky, but mobile and painful initiators that often make the point of a more defensive-oriented tank redundant (at least for when they're functioning as intended). Riot determined that these two distinct forms of Mighty Glacier can't functionally coexist, and thus more and more, modern tanks lean more into dealing damage or effective crowd control as a means of expressing value. It's quite telling that since 2018, there's at least one damage-dealing "juggernaut" champion being developed for the game each year, but the defense-oriented "warden" champion category took a long gap between 2017 and 2022, and the Warden that did come out — K'Sante — is built on a Stance System where he's most effective as a lightning-fast duelist.

Real-Time Strategy

  • The co-op mode of Starcraft II started out with two commanders for each of the three main factions, Terran, Protoss, and Zerg, with an additional Protoss commander being released shortly after the debut of the game mode and Legacy of the Void with it. This was followed up with the release of a Zerg commander and another Protoss commander, making the two Terran commanders this trope for some time until the release of a Terran commander to coincide with the release of Nova: Covert Ops.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Non-fighting game example: There's three Mighty Glacier classes in Fire Emblem (out of a dozen or so): The Generals (standard glaciers that appear in every main game), Wyvern/Dragon Riders (flying glaciers), and Fighters/Pirates/Brigands (more of HP sponges than anything else, and the last two veer towards Glass Cannon). Generally, you only get one or two characters of each of those classes, though if the roster is really big (like in Binding Blade or Radiant Dawn) you might get three (or four for Generals), and some early games don't even feature playable Brigands. Every other physical class tends to have more characters in it, and aside from Paladins, they all are of the Fragile Speedster type to a degree. Also, Dragon Riders generally come from mid-game onwards, generally the last class that will join you aside from Dark Magic users (justified in that they're used by the enemy army). Considering how in Fire Emblem speed really matters, limiting their numbers isn't exactly for Competitive Balance, so...
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon featured 5 armored units and 4 axe fighters. The Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem sequel on SNES featured only 2 armored units and no obtainable axe units outside of the Shadow Dragon remake portion. Speaking of the Shadow Dragon remake portion, the SNES version had to cut some characters for space, including 1 armored unit and one Axe unit.
    • The Laguz from the Tellius games avert this, to a extent: In Radiant Dawn you get a handful of new Laguz besides all the old ones in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and most of the new ones are Tigers, Lions, or Dragons, which are of the tanky type. Regular classes play this straight, however; in fact, the one Berserker on the first Tellius game is the only playable character not coming back for the sequel, and while you get 5 Trueblades, you only get a measly two Reavers, with Sentinels and Marksmen at three each. And yes, they're all "sister" classes, each specializing in a specific weapon type.

Wrestling Games