The video game industry changed a lot in the past and while we saw a rising number of popular fighting game series in the nineties, the majority of them was not continued in the last 10-15 years. The Darkstalkers characters Morrigan and Felicia are known till today, but the series itself saw only re-releases of the last game.
SNK, one of the dominating fighting game developers till around 2000 created around 10 different fighting game series in the nineties, but aside from their?? King of Fighters series which did not get any new games since 2010 too they developed?? no other fighting game anymore.
Hudson Soft, the publishers of the Bloody Roar games were swallowed by Konami and currently it looks like this company that was once one of the most popular Japanese video game developers is almost stopping to create “traditional” video games and are focussing their efforts on mobile games.
Lets look back at ten fighting game series the most of you might know. SNK was once one of the biggest contributors for the fighting game genre, but times changed.
??Round 1 – SNK Playmore
Fatal Fury / Gar?? Densetsu (1991-1999)
The Fatal Fury seris was one of the first attempts by SNK to create a fighting game like Street Fighter, some of the SF1 and 2 developers were actually working for SNK now and used their experience to create a fighter that would become more technical than the most other fighting games of its time while it had a nice story and got characters like terry Bogard, Geese Howard and Mai Shiranui that are relative popular till today.
There were around 10 different Fatal Fury games including a 3D spinoff and ports for handhelds. The last game, Garou: Mark of the Wolves was/is known as one of the best 2D fighting games ever made and often called to be as equally good as Street Fighter III. There was a Fatal Fury Pachinko Machine released in Japan last year, a 2nd Garou game was in development years ago but eventually cancelled.
Samurai Shodown / Samurai Spirits (1993-2008)
The Samurai Shodown fighters were THE weapon based fighting game series until SoulCalibur arrived in 1999. The first game introduced the zoom effect to fighting games that allowed the players to have a bigger distance between them. The characters were able to lose their weapons?? during the battles, they could also break completely in some of its sequels. Samurai Shodown 3 also introduced the option to use different playstyles for a character, something we just saw again in Mortal Kombat X.
There were around 20 games including mobile ports and spinoff games like the Samurai Spirits RPG that was never released outside Japan. The last game, Samurai Shodown: Sen was not developed directly by SNK and was only released for arcades and the Xbox 360.?? There were also multiple Pachinko Game Cabinets released in Japan.
The King Of Fighters Maximum Impact Spinoff Series (2004-2008)
SNK tried to develope 3D versions of their popular fighting game series in the nineties already but failed with both their NeoGeo Hyper 64 hardware as well with the very mediocre Playstation ports. In 2004 they tried it again with their flagship series, King of Fighters and created a relative good spinoff that featured new and old characters and used many elements seen in other 3D fighting games.
The series got a sequel that improved it in every regard, the graphics were great for a Playstation 2 game, there were over 30 characters now with many fan favourites returning like Geese Howard and the gameplay was so well thought out that it received lots of 8/10 ratings. It also had a giant pool of costumes and hidden features like a mini games and alternative versions of the stages. KOF MI2 got an upgrade with Regulation A that added 5 characters but was only released in Japan. The KOF MI series was mainly designed by Tatsuhiko “Falcoon” Kanaoka who left SNK Playmore in 2009 for undusclosed reasons.
All KOF MI related projects (a sequel was announced for the Playstation 3) were cancelled officially in 2009.
SNK’s last fighting game, The King of Fighters XIII was released in 2010 for arcades and later ported to home consoles and finally the PC in 2014. They announced something for the 20th Anniversary of?? the series in summer 2014 but aside from spinoff games for mobiles and more pachinko cabinets based on their old IP’s nothing else was announced or released. It does not look like we will see any of these fighting game series ever again and its unsure even if the KOF series will be continued.
The next part of this blog will be about the Capcom fighting game series Darkstalkers, Rival Schools and Capcom vs. SNK.