More doesn’t always mean better, but for a while, I’ve been thinking about the fighting game with the largest playable roster. An important part of fighting games (at least, if you want to compete against other people) is the fact that they are well-balanced, which is the reason why most fighting games try to keep a relatively small yet concise roster. But that’s not true for most of the games below. Of course, MUGEN, which is a customizable fighting game that players can add as many characters as they want, wasn’t considered for the list and again, this is more number of playable characters, so assists weren’t taken into account. So here they are.
Tobal 2 (PlayStation)
Number of Playable Characters: 200
Tobal 2 has the largest number of playable characters in a fighting game and if you’re looking for proof, the game received a Guinness World Record and was featured in the 2011 edition of the popular book series. Released in 1997 for the PlayStation, three-dimensional fighting game Tobal 2 was published by Square and features a variety of characters from the company, including the company’s iconic mascot, the Chocobo.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (PS2, Wii)
Number of Playable Characters: 161
Right from the get go, the Budokai Tenkaichi series was about cramming as many characters from Dragon Ball into the same game. The peak of that idea came to realization with the third entry which features around 161 characters from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and the numerous film adaptations. It’s worth pointing out that there are actually less than 161 characters, but most people consider character transformations as separate characters. Nevertheless, that’s an impressive number no matter how you look at it.
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Number of Playable Characters: 118
Anyone’s who follows Naruto knows three things: the manga has 72 volumes so far, there are 220 episodes and the series of games, feature dozens upon dozens of characters. Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution has 118 playable ones, making it the Naruto game with the most number of playable characters. The game has received critical acclaim in Japan, so if you’re remotely interested in Naruto, this is the game to get.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Full Boost (Arcade, PlayStation 3)
Number of Playable Characters: 98
There have been dozen of Gundam video games over the years and distinguishing one from the next is remarkably difficult to most people. Extreme Vs. Full Boost differs from all the others in the sense that has the most number of playable units. Most of them come in the game, but there are several additional ones that are part of DLC packs, so calculating the exact number of characters is extremely difficult.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Number of Playable Characters: 81
There was simply no way that there was going to be just one Naruto game on this list. Full Burst is a re-release of the base game that comes with updated visuals, all available costumes so far, a new chapter, a challenge mode and a new character, among other features. The new character takes the roster to 81.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Number of Playable Characters: 72
I had a feeling that there were going to be several Naruto games on this list. Ninja Storm Generations improves upon the formula of its predecessors at the same time it adds some new characters. That brings the roster to 72 and of course, that’s without counting the 15 support-only characters.
King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match (PS2, XBLA, PC)
Number of Playable Characters: 66
For those unfamiliar, Unlimited Match is an improved version of King of Fighters 2002 that came out on the PS2 in Japan and was later released in North American on the XBLA and PC. This new version comes with new stages, artwork, but there are also more characters, bringing the roster to a total of 66 playable characters, the largest in any King of Fighters game.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii)
Number of Playable Characters: 63
The seventh game in the Mortal Kombat series features virtually every character from the franchise and interestingly, only two characters are new (Daegon and Taven.) Overall, there are 62 characters to choose from and players can even create their own, using an in-game editor. When the game came out on the Nintendo Wii, the developers decided to add yet another character (Khamaleon from the Nintendo 64 version of Mortal Kombat Trilogy,) bringing the roster to 63.
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 5 (PlayStation 2)
Number of Playable Characters: 62
Ultimate Ninja 5 was sort of a swan song for the series, since it didn’t receive a lot of attention for people other than fans. Nevertheless, to make the final entry in this sub-series, developers decided to include as many characters as possible and in this case, that means 62. For those unfamiliar with Ultimate Ninja, each entry focused on a specific arc from Naruto. In this case, the game starts in Shippuden and goes up to the end of Sasuke and Sai arc.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Arcade, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
Number of Playable Characters: 59
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 comes with pretty much every Tekken character you can think of as well as some new ones, making this is the Tekken game with the most number of characters. In case you were wondering, Heihachi Mishima is included, so there are probably scenes involving him and volcanoes which is arguably the best part about Tekken.
Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)
Number of Playable Characters: 58
If there’s something that can be said about Nintendo, is that the Japanese company has some of the most iconic and lovable characters in the video game industry. And what better way to get to know all of them that by kicking and punching each other to their heart’s content. Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems features 58 characters (51 of those are on-disc characters and the other 7 are downloadable ones.)
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita)
Number of Playable Characters: 50
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 incorporates new features such as readjusted mechanics, aesthetic changes and new playable characters. Ultimate has the 36 characters from Fate of Two Worlds as well as 12 new ones. Soon after the release of Ultimate, two more characters were released as DLC. Unfortunately, as of December 2014, all the DLC content is no longer available.