The Musou franchise, also referred to as the Warriors franchise, is a series of large-scale beat'em ups primarily developed by the Koei Tecmo studio Omega Force. Common threads include the ability to play scenarios from multiple sides and fighting off hundreds if not thousands of enemies in a single battle. The Musou franchise name most commonly relates to its core series, Dynasty Warriors, but also encompasses Samurai Warriors and a number of other series.
The original Musou franchise, Dynasty Warriors depicts a loose adaptation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The first Dynasty Warriors game, released on the PlayStation, was not a brawler, but a one-on-one fighting game. It wasn't until Dynasty Warriors 2 that the game's roots as a brawler would take hold.
The first spin-off Musou franchise, Samurai Warriors takes the same basic gameplay concepts as the Dynasty Warriors series, but set during the Warring States era of Japanese history. As the second "core" Musou franchise, it has evolved along a different path from the Dynasty Warriors series and was the first to introduce elements such as an experience point-based leveling system, branching paths in missions, and more character-specific abilities.
Warriors Orochi is a crossover series that takes the characters of Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors and pits them in battle against the demonic forces of the evil Orochi and his minions. As the series has progressed, it has included more and more characters from outside the two primary franchises, including characters from other Musou titles as well as non-Musou related Koei Tecmo properties.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
The first Musou franchise to be based on a licensed property. The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series is based on the popular Gundam anime franchise. The games commonly depict both stories adapted from series and movies represented as well as original crossover stories that feature characters from across the various Gundam universes and timelines. Various aspects of gameplay in these games are adapted to fit the fact that the player is actually piloting a mobile suit.
Warriors: Legends of Troy
The one-off Musou title Warriors: Legends of Troy bears the distinction of being the only Musou title developed by Koei Canada. Set during the Trojan War, the game adapts elements of the Musou format for a more western-themed setting and style.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage
Like Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage is based on the popular 1980s post-apocalyptic martial arts manga and anime Fist of the North Star. The first game tells an original version of the storyline up through the defeat of the villain Raoh. The second game is a more complete and faithful adaptation of the manga and includes all but one story arc.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors
One Piece: Pirate Warriors is another series of Musou titles based on an anime/manga property; in this case, the pirate-themed One Piece. Similar to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam and Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, entries in this series feature separate story modes that depict canonical events of the series as well as an alternate take.
Hyrule Warriors takes Nintendo's Legend of Zelda franchise and adapts it to the Musou format. The game features characters from throughout the Zelda timeline in an original story and mixes Zelda elements into the beat'em up gameplay. It is also the first Musou title to be codeveloped by Team Ninja.