The Foundation

Now that World Warriors is up and running in earnest, I figured I should take a moment to touch on how the lineup of supported games was assembled, while also shouting out a couple of “honorable mentions” that may be supported in the future depending on their communities and/or our own capabilities.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and Tekken 7
World Warriors is about uniting the FGC’s history with its present, not elevating one to the exclusion of the other. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and Tekken 7 are the current standard-bearers of arguably the two most important fighting franchises of all time, and World Warriors would be remiss to exclude either of them as fully featured titles in its rollout.

Street Fighter II` Hyper Fighting
Street Fighter II is a fighting institution, and while Super Street Fighter II Turbo is widely recognized as the culmination of three years of hard work essentially creating the entire genre, Hyper Fighting deserves a place at the table as perhaps the most effective “pure” Street Fighter game ever crafted. In a perfect world, everyone’s first fighting game would be Hyper Fighting. Compared to much of today’s landscape, HF strips out almost everything but the neutral game and matchup knowledge. As such, it will instill in you the base skills you can translate to literally any other fighting game if given the chance. The release of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection with online play should give it a much-needed shot in the arm, as a whole new generation of players are exposed to one of the most foundational games in the genre. Frankly, the most surprising thing is that there are developers out there who believe there is a need for a “beginner’s fighting game” as if Hyper Fighting was never made.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo
If Hyper Fighting is Street Fighter in its purest, simplest form, Super Turbo is down-and-dirty Street Fighter at its most masterful. The most singularly progressive Street Fighter of the first decade of the franchise, ST gave us Capcom’s first experiment with super meters, the first example of version selection in a fighting game, and fine-tuning so extensive that it often feels as though no individual move went completely untouched in the transition from Super Street Fighter II. The result is a game that still sees new information and tech discoveries nearly 25 years on, and a roster so balanced that even its bottom tier has notable players that legitimately threaten to win any tournament in which they participate. There’s a reason why this game has survived every attempt Capcom has ever made to replace (and some might even suggest, to undermine) it.

Street Fighter Alpha 2
There may be Street Fighter titles that are deeper, more content-rich, or better balanced than Street Fighter Alpha 2, but if you’re looking for an all-around standard-bearer that encompasses a vast majority of Street Fighter’s identity in a single installment, look no further. Boasting the largest Street Fighter character roster at the time and an aesthetic that would define most Street Fighter related content for years, Alpha 2 did away with its predecessor’s failed experiments while simultaneously molding its own identity out of what actually worked. Custom Combos, which would spread to Alpha 3, Capcom vs SNK 2, and the Street Fighter EX series, originated here, and Alpha Counters are a mechanic that live on today in Street Fighter V’s V-Reversals. This all adds up to an evolutionary touchstone that still pulls in droves of players at any major event that decides to include it.

Street Fighter Alpha 3
The orders from Capcom management were clear, “Treat this project as if you were developing the final Street Fighter game ever, because you very well may be.” Where Alpha 2 would go on to be a symbol of the broader franchise, Alpha 3 and its wealth of mechanics and genre-expanding ideas (many of which would find their long-term home in what we know as anime fighters today) set out to starkly distinguish itself in what had become an unsustainably crowded fighting genre as the golden age of fighting games waned. In a single installment, Capcom planted seeds for both Capcom vs SNK titles, much of Arc System Works’ output over the years, and even Street Fighter V 19 years later. (Crush Counters? V-Reversals as you know them? Yeah, they started here.) Alpha 3 was also the focal game of the Street Fighter World Championships, which introduced a certain Japanese pro to the world stage. You may have heard of Daigo Umehara. This is the game that saw him put the world on notice.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Of course, if Daigo is intrinsically tied to one game above all others, it would have to be 3rd Strike. Evo Moment #37 wasn’t just the moment that the gaming masses became aware that Capcom had, in fact, finally made a Street Fighter III, and that it was very very good, it was also arguably the moment that re-energized mainstream interest in fighting games altogether, terraforming the genre for the arrival of Street Fighter IV four years later. Although many attempts have been made to duplicate its system in other games both by Capcom and elsewhere, 3rd Strike still stands up as a unique and deeply fascinating title that has plenty to offer any era of the community. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a three-character game, either, with its top tier of Chun-Li-II, Ken-III, and Yun-III. Any character can be utterly ruinous in the right hands. You don’t have to take my word for it, though, just consult our video library and see for yourself.

Ultra Street Fighter IV
Ultra Street Fighter IV is the culmination of years of support for the game that restored the fighting game community to something very reminiscent of the early 1990s. With 49 characters, you were guaranteed to find one you enjoyed playing, and the last round of balancing evened things out enough that you had representation from all over the roster in top 8s everywhere. You could make the case that Evo 2015 had the best top 8 in the history of Street Fighter IV, and Capcom Cup was amazing that year as well. After that? Well, Street Fighter V landed, and the shift in support was visibly forced. That was all it took to suck the life out of one of the most exciting “main stage” games the FGC has ever run. What happened to Ultra Street Fighter IV is borderline criminal, but the tournament appearances it still gets prove that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg to date. World Warriors aims, among many other things, to serve as a platform for a proper USF4 resurgence.

Vampire Savior
One thing World Warriors aims to do is evolve differently from other large fighting game hubs on the internet, and its early support of Vampire Savior was a declaration of that. In contrast to other games in World Warriors’ inaugural lineup, “VSav” never got an opportunity as a “main stage” attraction at any point in FGC history. Despite that, there are few other legacy communities out there as passionate and prolific in their support of their game of choice as the Vampire players, whose quality and quantity of events made an impressive showing in the video library from the moment it was added. It also holds a very important distinction in the genre as a whole, as you could very easily make the case that it is the father of all “anime fighters” that would follow over the years. If you like your 2D fighters fast-paced and well-designed, you owe it to yourself to give this one a look. After all, we’re making it even easier for you.

SoulCalibur II
When World Warriors was in the planning stages, the distinctive lack of 3D fighting games on its supported games list stood out like a sore thumb. It took all of maybe 1.5 seconds to come to the conclusion that SoulCalibur II was the most natural game to fill that spot, still being played to this day despite having received three (soon four) sequels. If anything cemented SoulCalibur II’s longevity, though, it was the release of a definitive “HD Online” version that cleared up the exclusive character problem by making Heihachi and Spawn playable on both versions. Consider that those versions landed on seventh-generation consoles with the Xbox 360 version getting backward compatibility support on the Xbox One, and you have an all-time classic well-preserved for 2018. SoulCalibur VI may be on the horizon, but SoulCalibur II is here now, and it’s still as great as it ever was.

Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection
Tekken was a much more complicated matter than it had any right being when it came to selecting games for World Warriors. There was no question that Tekken deserved to be included from the get-go, but Tekken 7 by itself lost too much from its previous installments to be wholly representative of the series, and the one Tekken that ever achieved that “we’re never letting this game go” status from its community was Tekken Tag Tournament – a team-based fighter categorically incompatible with World Warriors’ video library backend. Then NorCal Strongstyle 6 happened, and Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection made an outstanding showing that simultaneously set it apart from every Tekken that followed and made a strong case that it is the Super Turbo or Alpha 2 of its franchise. Available exclusively on PlayStation 3, it does stretch our unofficial “easily obtainable on modern hardware” requirement a bit, but it’s also the perfect balance of roster depth and “pure” Tekken unencumbered by new gameplay systems like Rage Arts and ground bounces. Dark Resurrection makes a perfect “other side of the coin” to Tekken 7’s smaller roster and deeper system.

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
If you’ve found your way to World Warriors this early in its run, then no doubt you’ve heard in your travels all about Virtua Fighter and how it is the holy grail of depth and balance in 3D fighters. Sparing you that speech, it would be better to take this moment to point you to the video library and show you that great VF events are still happening to this day (including the 16th Beat Tribe Cup just days ago as of this writing), closing in on ten years after the initial release of Final Showdown. While it seems likely that a Virtua Fighter 6 will happen someday, Final Showdown’s longevity and the likely changes that will come from a sequel so far removed from its predecessor’s release assures Final Showdown’s permanent place in fighting game history. It’s never too late to get involved and see what makes Virtua Fighter so great.

Those round out a very strong 12-game lineup for World Warriors to build around from the get-go, but rest assured, other games were considered while the site was in the planning stages, and could very well make an appearance depending on how things play out.

Mortal Kombat [9]
Mortal Kombat 9 was a revelation. It instantly proved that, once out from under Midway’s influence/demands, Ed Boon is capable of crafting fighting games worthy of standing beside anything else out there. It seemed to have been completely overtaken by Mortal Kombat X for awhile, but recent activity in support of MK9 definitely caught our attention here at World Warriors. If that activity is sustained, it’s not out of the question to suggest that our official support could follow.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
With Team Ninja having said its farewells recently to Last Round, it seems as though the Dead or Alive community is about to embark on the same long lonely journey that Virtua Fighter’s players have endured. While lacking Virtua Fighter’s prestige, Dead or Alive players are a decidedly diehard lot, and it’s not out of the question that sheer fan support could see Last Round stand the same test of time. At the very least, it is in line for a spot at World Warriors if it holds up just as well.

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus-R
Vampire Savior notwithstanding, World Warriors is certainly missing a bonafide modern anime fighter. With Guilty Gear Xrd and BlazBlue still looking for that long-term installment to staple into fighting game history (although both current installments are very promising), AC Plus-R would be a shoe-in to check that box, especially with the support it still gets. In fact, it was primarily just workload control that kept it out of the mix for the moment.

Capcom vs SNK 2, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and The King of Fighters (various)
If and when World Warriors solves its database problems with team-based fighting games, these games will assuredly be at the front of the line for inclusion in the video library.

So there is some insight into the thinking that went into the initial state of World Warriors, as well as some possibilities for the future. I hope you’re all pleased with the start we’re off to, and look forward to this journey we’re about to take together.