If variety is the spice of life, then fighting games have been spoiling us rotten ever since Street Fighter II kick-started the war of numbers. It all began innocently enough with eight world warriors, before Capcom upped the ante with four playable bosses and four new challengers. Tekken and The King of Fighters then raised the bar to well over 20, and as the one-upmanship intensified, we saw the ill-advised shoehorning of 63 characters into Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
But a roster roll-call is an inadequate way to gauge true variety and statistical diversity. When you factor in innovations like multiple fighting systems, freeform tag teams and super move selection, it's clear that modern fighting games offer much more choice. Indeed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 offers 7140 different team combinations, and if you factor in assist types, that figure increases to a whopping 192,780.
But if there's one thing that BlazBlue has proven, it's that larger select screens don't necessarily offer greater variety; by crafting a handful of characters that look and play distinctively, a compact roster can challenge the flexibility of bulkier contemporises. Arcana Heart 3 is one such fighter that offers quantitative variety and qualitative diversity in equal measure.