Game Crossovers: How Much Is Too Much?
The earliest crossover game was featured in surprise Super idols vs Street Fighter, a typical game combining popular characters of two franchises to collide in combat. Following the success of this game, the title paved the way for many more crossovers to come across the years. The most recently released crossover which fans expected after a ten year wait was surprise vs. Capcom 3 (then Ultimate surprise vs. Capcom 3 featuring new characters and finishes). The surprise and Capcom franchises had done well with the continued addition of new characters to their existing list. With a growing fanbase of character requests and crossover possibilities, other companies are now doing the same thing; inserting popular characters into a crossover scenario to battle it out or introduce a new component in the parent game altogether.
Setting aside crossover games that focus on battles, there are games which are developed using crossovered characters to solve a mystery. One of the most noticeable games is Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. This was announced in Japan several months ago and the game will be released on the 3DS on November 29, 2012. Professor Layton acting as a detective while Phoenix Wright, the main protagonist (lawyer) in the Ace Attorney helping each other to solve a mystery of a woman convicted of witchcraft. The game is an adventure question game requiring players to follow clues to solve the mystery of this woman and the main antagonist in the game. This game is expected to receive a wide range positive reviews as Phoenix Wright is a well-loved character in Japan. As a side-observe, Phoenix Wright appeared in Ultimate surprise vs. Capcom 3 as a new, playable combatant.
In other settings, crossovers appear in sports settings. Almost released at every Olympic event is Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Players can control the cast of Mario and Sonic respectively to participate in sports and upload their scores onto leaderboards. With that said, the game is only fun for a short period of time before excitement dies out. Playing the games, choosing characters to participate in events is awkward and cumbersome. For example, using Doctor Eggman to participate in a 100 meter run does not fit his persona. This goes for the same with Mario, Bowser and the like. Crossovers such as this hurts the franchise more than helping it. Using loved characters to act out of character is not alluring, especially for gamers who grew up with these characters. To put it bluntly, these characters should keep in their own niche without further diminishing the franchise.
Crossovers are being overused as every year, a new crossover game is published drawing in fans of both franchises, representing their top characters. In the same time, fans of both franchises are forced to buy the game already if the game has no plot and it is a basic fighting game. Crossovers used to be something that fans looked forward to; how the mechanics will change in a brand new game but with the continued ‘crossingover’, the same characters appear and they do the same thing, repetitively. It can be easily said the concept is getting stale and quite frankly, boring. If companies are planning on doing a crossover, they should consider including a story with their characters rather create another beat ’em up. There are undoubtedly many typical crossover games but with a list totaling over fifty titles with the same concept, crossovers are just the same as the last one.