Darkstalkers, known in Japan as ヴァンパイア, is a fighting game series and media franchise created by Capcom. The first game, , was released in arcades in 1994. The series is set in a pastiche Gothic fiction universe with characters based on monsters from international folklore, and features a stylized 2D graphic style. Darkstalkers introduced gameplay concepts used in later Capcom fighting games, including the Street Fighter Alpha and Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Besides video games, the Darkstalkers media franchise also includes an , an American cartoon TV series, a Canadian comic book series, and many books of various kinds and other media released only in Japan. Some individual characters, such as Morrigan and Felicia, appeared in later Capcom games, as well as in a few crossover games released by other companies.
• Vampire: The Night WarriorJP
• Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' RevengeJP
|Arcade, Sega Saturn|
• Vampire Savior: The Lord of VampireJP
• Darkstalkers 3 (PS)
• Vampire Savior: EX Edition (PS)JP
|Arcade, Sega SaturnJP, PlayStation||Sega Saturn port includes additional characters from Vampire Savior 2. PlayStation port includes all characters from Vampire Savior, Vampire Savior 2, and Vampire Hunter 2 (all characters in the franchise).|
|JP||ArcadeJP||Modified version of Vampire Savior which uses the character roster from Vampire Hunter|
|JP||ArcadeJP||Modified version of Vampire Savior that removes J. Talbain, Sasquatch, and Rikuo and replaces them with Donovan, Huitzil, and Pyron.|
|2000||Vampire Chronicle for Matching ServiceJP|
• Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)JP
|DreamcastJP, PSP||Modified version of Vampire Savior that includes all franchise characters and allows the player to select game-specific variants of each character like the "ism" selection in Hyper Street Fighter II. Dreamcast version included online play. PSP port includes additional game modes.|
|2005||JP||PlayStation 2JP||Compilation of all five arcade releases.|
• Vampire ResurrectionJP
|PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||High-definition update of Vampire Hunter and Vampire Savior with online play.|
|2022||Capcom Fighting Collection||PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows||Includes ten Capcom fighting games, including all five Darkstalkers arcade games. Includes online play, and is the first time that Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2 are released outside Japan.|
At 2011 San Diego Comic-Con in July, 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. Later the following year in June, 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: "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. 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, you 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 2012 New York Comic-Con in October, 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 we 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 the original game and 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 debut 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 the supernatural.
GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan ranked Darkstalkers first on his 2012 list of "obscure" fighting games deserving an HD remake, opining it "offers just as much 2D fighting goodness as the venerable Street Fighter series, but it's never gotten the same kind of respect ... and that just ain't right". UGO.com included Darkstalkers on their 2010 list of the games that need sequels. Complex writers put Darkstalkers at number 40 in their 2012 ranking of best video game franchises, adding that they would "love to see a modern incarnation", and listed a hypothetical Darkstalkers 4 among the 15 games they wished would be announced at E3 2011. The magazine's Andrew Hayward ranked Darkstalkers first on his 2011 list of most missed fighting franchises, stating that "every time Capcom announces a new fighting game, the hardcore community gets whipped up about Darkstalkers continual absence, and demands a modern iteration. The supernatural 2D franchise wasn't a big hit, but fervent fans have kept its name alive and seem unwilling to let it fade away".