When this past generation began, fighting games seemed to be on their last legs. Capcom fighters were nowhere in sight, Sega’s Virtua Fighter laid hidden in the deepest of digital fight clubs, and Namco’s Tekken and SoulCalibur began to wane after a few uninspired sequels. But to the hardcore, fighting games never went away; their devotion kept the once booming genre alive -- even if it had been relegated to a “niche” category.
Then Street Fighter IV happened. Like an injection of Red Bull straight into the vein, the genre got its renaissance. Doors were opened and more and more fighters saw, not just daylight, but also success. The power of the Xbox 360 and PS3 brought more realistic and jaw-dropping 3D models, and increased memory gave us high-definition 2D sprites that rivaled the quality of hand-drawn animation.
The advent of live streaming has additionally kept the viability of the genre flowing, especially in the wake of EVOs recent tidal wave of popularity growth, and in the public eye for the foreseeable future. Additional platforms, like XBLA, PSN, and Steam, also afford us more venues for fighting games to come out on. Pair that with the closing of this current generation, and a few titles that would normally not see the light of day are beginning to radiate through the cracks.