A preface, if this thread already exists then sorry. Also I’m talking about gameplay only, not the stories and personalities behind the moves.
So fighting games have been developed a whole lot, there’s probably hundreds of fighting characters, and they are all inspired by each other so there’s some patterns we can see. If anyone here is interested in making a fighting game perhaps this can be of use. Not in a few years but still good to know some info now. Also I’m not pro at fighting games so I don’t want to be an authority on this subject, I want to start discussion on fighting games on the technical design level.
I think its a lot more complex than simply a few types and “he is a rushdown, she is a zoner”, since they can combine and be totally unique. A lot of these are kinda set in a certain way due to the game, like how one game can be rush down oriented and another can be punishment oriented. Also a character intended for one style can be played another, like Chun Li in third strike. I don’t believe she was intended to be a turtle by the designers but that’s how she is. but hopefully there aren’t a lot of exceptions like that. If you disagree with anything here let me know, I hope to start a discussion. I don’t play 3D fighters so this will maybe only apply to 2D?
There are 4 big camps, rush down, Zoning, grapplers, and dynamic. There are all rounder characters but they can lean towards one group more so i won’t make it a 4th group. These 3 believe branch off and combine into more types. you can put a spin to any of these like “more defensive, high speed, high execution” and you can describe any fighting game character like this.
Regulars most fighting game characters in existence can fit here, they fight with their physical bodies and don’t rely on toying with the opponent, they get the kill as fast they can. The most basic type and you can see it in old fighters most because of the limitations.
1 Rushdown - they get in close and their sweet spots are closer, most of the time they are easy to learn and are powerful characters.
Cammy, Fei Long, and Rufus from SF4.
Jam from Guilty Gear
A lot of KoF characters.
2 Mixup-they get in close but rely on forcing opponent into tough situations and guessing games
El Fuerte, C Viper, Urien, Makoto from the SF series
3. Dominating - they have great normals and specials, which give them the power to do any thing. Most of the time they simply have high damage output one way or another. The key factor is that they are designed to be powerful and high tier most of the time.
Sagat, Yun from the SF series; Chang and Maxima from KoF
All Rounders - They have all the tools, and are good at everything. Different than simply combining two types. This is a weird section because it is subjective.
Ryu, Bison, Chun Li, from SF.
Zoning Their projectiles are a big part of their game, or they have tools to control the fight rather than win with strength and speed. They do not fight on their own and that’s their defining feature
[details=Spoiler]1. trapper - they have projectiles that control the opponents space rather than deal straight up damage. A subset is the physical trapper (dhalsim/billy kane) Most turtles can fall in this category
Testament, Dizzy and Venom from guilty gear, Sagat, Guile, actually most projectilers in SF4, Strider in Marvel 2.
2. puppet/tag team - characters that are actually 2 different entities. Usually the player controls one and the second is a puppet under your control. This is different from trappers in that they usually have less range and rely more on close range zoning and is more like playing two characters at once. They also have higher execution to play well usually
D’Bo from Jojo’s BA; Liselott from Arcana Heart 3; Carl from Blazblue.
Grapplers Their command throws are a big part of their game, there are very few pure grapplers, most have other types thrown in like Dominator and Mixup.
1. Straight-up Grappler - They are slower, stronger, and always want to get in. Straight forward and basic type. The grapple is their main game.
Do I need to list examples?
2 Half-Grapplers - take another archetype and give them a few grabs. This is a pretty big deal in some games, and not so in others where half the cast has a command throw. The difference between this and other grapplers are that they are considerably faster, throws are more mobile and not just basic SPD/Falling Sky.
Blue Mary and Shermie from KoF.
Abel and Alex from SF series, She Hulk and Hulk can be argued. Marvel 3 as a game doesn’t make room for pure grapplers.[/details]
Dynamic - They change throughout the fight, which affects their style. This can be user controlled, or not. There are no pure dynamic types, they always mix in with others.
1 Stances - They have multiple stances which they can access at any time, so they can be played in a lot of ways. This may not seem important but stance based characters deserve their own section since its one of their defining features.
Gen from the SF series; Jhun, Chin, and Vanessa to an extent, from KoF
2 power-up They can power themselves up, but usually they’re vulnerable so choosing when to power up is necessary. A good player can play totally different at the end of a round compared to the first few seconds. This can include characters with stances, but stances that transition into each other in a line rather than swapping on the fly. Think drunken boxing guy from Tekken, its a stance but you work to get there. That’s the key difference.
Jam from GG; Hakan from SF; Maharia from Jojo’s BA; Frank West in Marvel 3
3. Ammo characters - for whatever reason, the characters has moves are limited and they must replenish to keep using them. They are usually powerful and this mechanic makes you think about your next move.
Petra from Arcana Heart 3; Roboky from GG
Remember- these aren’t separate lists or category, think of it like a web and each sub category connects to all others.