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Top 10 Video Game Franchise Rivalries

VO: Dan Paradis
The nature of video games breeds competition, and with competition comes rivalry. These are games that are in direct competition with each other and are often compared and defended by their fans. The games have to share the same genre, and have similar themes and gameplay. Their rivalries have gone beyond more than one game, and takes into account the number of games as well as their recognition and success. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 video game franchise rivalries.

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Script written by Peter Sotiriou.

Top 10 Video Game Franchise Rivalries

Sometimes, a little competition can bring out the best in things. Welcome to Watchmojo, and today we’re counting down the Top 10 Video Game Franchise Rivalries.
For this list, we’ve chosen the best franchise rivalries in video game history, focusing on their overall impact on the gaming world. We’re also focusing on games that belong to the same genre, and have to be at least somewhat equal it terms of recognition and success.

#10: Command and Conquer vs Starcraft

“Command and Conquer” and “Starcraft” are both massively popular real-time strategy franchises whose rivalry began in the mid-90s. “Command and Conquer” was one of the first big RTS franchises, focusing on an alternate history with military factions fighting over Tiberium. “Starcraft” adds some sci-fi to the mix as three different species fight for the Milky Way. While “C&C” boasts a plethora of titles to its name, Starcraft has gone for lasting appeal with only 2 games, both of which seem to have stayed popular for longer periods of time. Regardless, Both series have sold well, with “C&C” totalling $30 million in sales, while the first “Starcraft” alone has made $11 million.

#9: Guitar Hero vs Rock Band

Although rhythm gaming has fallen off the grid for the time being, the rivalry between these music game franchises with plastic instruments defined the late 2000s. Activision’s “Guitar Hero” and EA’s “Rock Band” made both companies some crazy dough, allowing people to live out their dreams by rocking out in their living rooms. Although “Guitar Hero” was up at bat first, “Rock Band” hit a home run when it featured a set of instruments versus only a single guitar. Ever since then, it feels as if “Guitar Hero” has been playing catch up, giving “Rock Band” a significant edge in this rivalry.

#8: Forza vs Gran Turismo

This car-simulation rivalry is more than just “Forza” vs “Gran Turismo”; it expands to Sony vs Microsoft as each series is console exclusive. Both are phenomenal racers, offering similar gaming experiences. “Forza” has technically overtaken the Sony franchise in their race because it’s been the better series in recent years. “Gran Turismo” has the longevity, but unfortunately seems to have peaked with its first three installments. We’re still holding out hope that Polyphony Digital can crank out a “Gran Turismo 7” but as it stands, “Forza” is the sleeker, smoother alternative. We’d just appreciate it if both franchises would lay off the microtransactions.

#7: FIFA vs Pro Evolution Soccer

EA Sports and Konami have traded blows for over a decade in this East meets West soccer confrontation. While “Pro Evolution Soccer” has been the better series in the early run with its emphasis on technical gameplay and realism, “FIFA” has tweaked its lavish design in favor of polish and tighter gameplay. “FIFA” also carries the advantage of having the licenses for all the teams thanks to the deep pockets of EA Sports. Hopefully EA never gets the exclusive rights like it did with Madden and the NFL, killing the epic feud with NFL 2K.

#6: Silent Hill vs Resident Evil

Jump scares involving zombies in Raccoon City or slow, psychological mind-fudge in Silent Hill? These two horror franchises provide the gruesome goods. “Resident Evil” is the one that started it all, giving us memorable scenes of zombie dogs crashing through windows and battles with Nemesis. Then you’ve got “Silent Hill’s” fantastic storytelling and disturbing creatures that will haunt you in your sleep – Pyramid Head still gives us the shivers. Both series feature fantastic games, with “Silent Hill 2” being considered the scariest game of all time and “Resident Evil 4” completely redefining what survival horror is – although the recent generation has not been to kind to either.

#5: Grand Theft Auto vs Saints Row

Open-world sand-box gaming blossomed with the emergence of the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise. Many imitators arose, but very few were competitors. One series that proved to be a serious contender was “Saints Row”. And so the rivalry began, with GTA always focusing on grounded reality with some impressive gameplay elements, fantastic storytelling and serious tone, while “Saints Row” eventually veering away to more extravagant, funnier and overall sillier tone – Shark-O-Matic, anyone? Both series are a blast to play, but Rockstar’s “Grand Theft Auto” series has the upper hand in terms of financial and critical success.

#4: Super Mario Bros vs Sonic the Hedgehog

Arguably one of the greatest franchise rivalries in video game history, Sega’s recent woes and Nintendo’s apparent domination makes it difficult to put this any higher: Mario won decisively; Sonic was a distant second. However, this feud dominated the early 90s, with both companies delivering stellar titles such as “Super Mario World” and “Sonic 2”. Sonic initially gave Mario a run for his money, but Sega’s awful management of its company allowed Nintendo to push forward and never look back. But now, and we can now see the two mascots together in games like “Super Smash Bros Brawl”.

#3: League of Legends vs DOTA 2

The freshest feud on our list, Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas are currently the hot topic in the video game world, and no two franchises are bigger than “League of Legends” and “DOTA 2”. The core gameplay for both games revolves around choosing a “champion” or a “hero” and leading your team to victory by destroying the opponent’s base – the ancient in “DOTA”, the nexus in “LoL”. “DOTA” was originally a mod for “Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne”, the creators of “League of Legends” openly acknowledge it as the inspiration for their game, making this rivalry that much sweeter. This is rivalry is only bound to get crazier with newcomers Smite and Heroes of the Storm entering the fray.

#2: Call of Duty vs Battlefield

Another rivalry between Activision and EA, this time around we ditch the plastic instruments and we pick up our guns in this battle for first-person shooter supremacy. An ongoing feud, this was one of the previous console generation’s biggest rivalries. The comparison here is obvious; both started as World War 2 shooters, both had settings in Vietnam, both eventually made the transition to modern warfare, and both have been to the future – but it’s still a very apples to oranges debate to those who know them, often decided but what kind of multiplayer mayhem floats your boat.

Before we reveal our number one Video Game Franchise Rivalry, here’s a look at some of our Honourable Mentions:

Unreal vs Quake

Metal Gear vs Splinter Cell

Need for Speed vs Midnight Club

F-Zero vs WipEout

Tony Hawk vs SKATE

#1: Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat

These two fighting game franchises have been going at it for the better part of two decades, spanning multiple console generations. “Street Fighter” has always been the less flashy, more technical fighter, focusing on combos rather than the blood and gore of the “Mortal Kombat” series. As if this feud couldn’t get more epic, each company has sided with one of the two comic book behemoths when producing games: Street Fighter with Marvel, Mortal Kombat with DC. “Hadoken” or “Get Over Here”? This fight is too close to call!

Disagree with our list? Let us know which video game franchise rivalry you would include on your list. For more awesome Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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