Screen Shot: The Rise of the Fighter – Soul Calibur IV, Tekken 6, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter II Turbo HD

After such a long drought of great fighters, it seems like the latter end of 2008 as well as the proceeding year of 2009 will yield a new line up of possible gaming classics.

With Capcom, Namco, and even Midway dropping gems from their most notable franchises, fighting fans everywhere will have something to keep them busy for hours on end.

Let’s see what some of the staple fighting game developers have in store.

Soul Calibur IV (July 29, 2008)

Every Ivy fanboy’s dream! The well-known series arrives with its first entry since the lackluster Wii exclusive Soul Calibur Legends. The battle is once again on between fighters from various parts of the globe in search of the elusive Soul Edge.

Series favorites such as Mitsurugi, Astaroth, and Ivy return, and newcomers Hilde, a female knight wielding a spear and short sword, and Agol, a new villain, are introduced. There are also numerous characters designed by guest artists, which has seemingly become a trademark for the series.

Star Wars fans will rejoice at the exclusive characters for each respective console release: Darth Vader for the PS3 port and Yoda on the 360. With new features including Critical Finish (the equivalent of Fatalities in Mortal Kombat) and the ability to chip away armor throughout the duration of the match, Namco Bandai has seemingly improved on an already effective formula.

Mortal Kombat vs. D.C. Universe (November 3, 2008)

This has to be one of the oddest combinations of characters that gamers have ever seen. Midway will be developing this clash of inked titans versus the classic “kombatants”. Will the matchup may be unlike any of the other “Vs.” games, the current build sports breath-taking graphics at classic locales, including a destroyed Metropolis and the “Hell” arena from previous MK entries.

The game will introduce “Free-fall Kombat”, where players can duel after being knocked off higher portions of the levels. This will be the first game in the MK series to bear an “M” rating, a shock to many devout fans of the series. Ed Boon and the rest of Midway have a lot to prove after MK: Armageddon. Let’s hope they do a great job.

Tekken 6 (TBA 2008)

T6 picks up right after the last King of the Iron Fist Tournament. This exclusive PS3 title is one of the most anticipated releases for the console. The game will sport 41 playable characters, the most of any game in the series. With six new characters, item attacks, completely revamped character animations and more, Tekken 6 will surely please die-hard fans of the series.

Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (TBA)

This update to the classic fighter essentially revamps every single piece of artwork from the original game. From the life bars to the characters themselves, SFIIT HDR recreated the classic characters from the ground up. Sporting sprites drawn by UDON Comics (authors of various Capcom series comic books), the game will run in most HD displays.

Fighting enthusiasts should already know the drill here in terms of characters and moves, but it will be refreshing to play the game in its updated format. The game will be offered on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 through their respective downloading services. It will also come with the original Street Fighter II Turbo for those nostalgic for a classic era of gaming.

Street Fighter IV (TBA)

Since Capcom dropped Street Fighter III: Third Strike, which is often regarded as one of the greatest fighting games of all time, fans have been eagerly anticipating their next release. After nearly 10 years, Street Fighter IV is finally being released. Capcom decided to step into the new generation and design their characters through cel-shading, much to the dismay of fans.

While SFIV doesn’t take a step back in the series, it does re-introduce the eight classic characters that we missed on the last release. The fighting is similar to SFII rather than SFIII. Hopefully Capcom will live up to their expectations with their release.

With this steady stream of games arriving in the coming months, this will hopefully help fans relive the glory days of the arcade right in their own living rooms. Be on the lookout for these games to add to your fighting game collection.