Darkstalkers, known in Japan as Vampire (ヴァンパイア Vanpaia ), is a series of Gothic horror-themed 2D fighting games developed and published by Capcom, originally produced during the 1990s for the CPS-2 hardware. It is the company's most known fighting game franchise next to Street Fighter.
The series is notable for featuring a highly stylized, cartoonish graphic style and for its cast of dark characters; most of them are based on various iconic literary and cinematic monsters or inspired by international mythology and fairy tales. The Darkstalkers games introduced many of the concepts used in later Capcom fighting games, including its first use of 16-bit color animation sprites and gameplay mechanics later employed in the Street Fighter Alpha and Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Besides video games, the Darkstalkers media franchise also includes an anime miniseries, an American cartoon TV series, a Canadian comic book series by Udon, and many books of various kinds and other media released only in Japan. Some individual characters (usually the series' mascots Morrigan and Felicia) appeared in the later Capcom games, as well as in a few crossover games released by other companies.
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List of games
|Series||Japan Title||USA-Europe Title||Hack/Beta Title||Year|
|First||Vampire: The Night Warriors||Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors||N/A||1994|
|Second||Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers Revenge||Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge||N/A||1995|
|Third||Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire||Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire||Darkstalkers: Jedah's Damnation||1997|
|"What If"||Vampire Hunter 2: Darkstalkers Revenge||N/A||Night Warriors 2: Darkstalkers Revenge||1997|
|"What if"||Vampire Savior 2: The Lord of Vampire||N/A||N/A||1997|
|Third (Plus Version)||Vampire Savior EX: World of Darkness||Darkstalkers 3||N/A||1999|
|Games 1, 2, 3, merge||Vampire Chronicle: For Matching Service||N/A||N/A||2000|
|Games 1, 2, 3 merge remake||Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower||Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower||N/A||2004|
|Series collection||Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection||N/A||N/A||2005|
|Games 2, 3, collection||Vampire Resurrection||Darkstalkers Resurrection||N/A||2013|
Set in a pastiche Gothic horror universe, the Darkstalkers games take place on planet Earth that is in the process of merging with a realm known as Makai. The reason for this merger varies depending on the continuity, but a continuing theme is that the union of realms brings the arrival of the titular Darkstalkers to the human world, the term being a catch-all for the various creatures of legend. The greatest of these supernatural creatures, and the greatest among those who hunt them, meet in battle to determine who will rule the night.
In the sequel, Vampire Hunter (Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge), an alien overlord named Pyron returns to Earth after being away for many years. His quest to conquer the world using an army of robots brings the Darkstalkers out of hiding to oppose his rule over humanity and the supernatural. A second sequel, Vampire Savior (Darkstalkers 3), saw the return of Jedah, previously one of the nobles of Makai, who decides that the only way to save the realm is to take control of it by force. Accordingly, he lures the Darkstalkers into a trap to use their collective souls to remake the realm and control both humanity and supernatural.
The Darkstalkers series began when Capcom decided to make another fighting game using the engine of their succesful Street Fighter II game. There are two conflicting accounts regarding the series' origins; according to producer Alex Jimenez, the initial idea was for the first installment, The Night Warriors, to be a Universal Monsters game, as he was a big fan of the monsters, but Universal refused to license the characters out, prompting Jimenez to create original characters instead. Jimenez claims he did it in about an hour. Art director Akira Yasuda stated however, that a colleague of his named Akitomo was the one who came up with the idea of a monster fighting game, and it was given form by planner Junichi Ohno (who Yasuda had worked together with on Captain Commando). At the time, Yasuda and several team members were working on a unreleated side-scroller game based on a manga, but the content itself didn't follow the manga at all and when Yasuda realized the side-scroller wouldn't succeed he canceled the game. As a result, the entire team was reassigned for the Darkstalkers project. Yasuda had them keep his name out of the ending credits in the game. Capcom planner Haruo Murata, who was one of the members responsible for designing the characters and the world, joined the development team at the request of Noritaka Funamizu, by the time he joined, the game's system was pretty much finished. Each designer was assigned a character or characters for which they would create a personality and story. The background designs were also left up to each designer's discretion. Murata was the first person tasked with bringing all of the separately designed elements together to see how they fit in the big picture.
In August 2010, Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono stated during an interview about Street Fighter X Tekken that a new installment to the series would be his "ultimate dream"; however, only fan demand would cause it to happen. He went on to say that it would take one million requests before Keiji Inafune, then head of research and development at Capcom, would comply. At that point, Capcom had received 5,000 requests. By March 2011, Ono reported that Capcom had received over 100,000 requests. He later expressed the possibility of a new Darkstalkers installment during an interview at a Nintendo 3DS launch in London; "One day, if it goes half a million, Capcom may raise its eyebrow a little bit and I could do what I did in London in 2007 when I announced the comeback of Street Fighter. In the near future, with your help, it may become true. It's on its way, because we're pretty much where we were with Street Fighter a few years back. So keep it up."
In July 2011, at San Diego Comic-Con, Ono revealed during the Street Fighter X Tekken panel that while a new Darkstalkers title had not been approved, he reassured the series' fans that "Darkstalkers is not dead". He then proceeded to take a photo of the attendees at the panel holding up their money to send to decision makers at Capcom to show support for the game. In June 2012, a message "Darkstalkers are not dead" appeared in a trailer for the PlayStation Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken; when asked about it, Ono wrote on his Twitter account: "I can't announce about Darkstalkers yet." Ono later teased the presence of Darkstalkers at a panel for Street Fighter's 25th anniversary celebration at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2012. Instead of taking a photo to send proof of demand to Capcom's upper management like he had done in the past, he stated; "This year, [the fans] don’t have to do that, and it’s not necessarily bad news!", but refrained himself from saying anything else.
Following the announcement of Darkstalkers Resurrection at New York Comic-Con in October 2012, a concept trailer was shown during Capcom's Street Fighter 25th Anniversary panel. Darkstalkers Resurrection producer Derek Neal and Yoshinori Ono told interviewers that the re-release bundle was the first step towards revitalizing the franchise. Neal also claimed that Capcom is using Darkstalkers Resurrection as a test to gauge audience interest in a new Darkstalkers installment. In April 2013, Capcom senior vice president Christian Svensson wrote: "We've not given up. But I'm disappointed in the opening sales response relative to any other fighting title we've put out on the same platforms given the frequency and urgency of requests we've had here over the last several years and the quality of the execution. It is the most fully featured and probably best project of this type we've done. And before people jump to the wrong conclusions, I'm not blaming fans who did buy it and supported the brand. I'm very thankful for those guys (thank you, to all of you). I'm more disappointed by my misread of the information in this particular case." There was no "Darkstalkers are not dead" line at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Matt Dahlgren, Capcom's new fighting game manager, said that because "Darkstalkers Resurrection did not perform as well as [Capcom] would have liked. You never know what the future may hold, but Street Fighter is definitely not dead. There is nothing Darkstalkers on the immediate horizon for sure."
In recent years, Udon Entertainment has released an English translation of the Japanese Vampire: Graphic File artbook, a Darkstalkers Tribute book and Darkstalkers: Official Complete Works.
- Demitri, Morrigan, Victor, Bishamon, Felicia, Anakaris and Lord Raptor are the only characters who have appeared in all Darkstalkers games to date.
- Acorrding to Seth Killian and Yoshinori Ono, Ruby Heart (an original Marvel vs. Capcom character) was originally a rejected concept character of the Darkstalkers series.
Japanese comic series
Japanese comic anthologies
- GameTrailers. "Darkstalkers: Movie Monsters - Pop Facts". Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed 2018-02-20.
- Darkstalkers: Official Complete Works - published by UDON Entertainment Corp.. English translation of Vampire Artworks (originally titled Vampire Series Official Complete Works) originally released in Japan on March 14, 2013.
- More Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Notes from PAX West stream. Eventhubs.com.
- Ask Capcom: Are Ruby Heart and Amingo really rejected Darkstalker designs?
- Darkstalkopedia - The Darkstalkers Wikia