Video game crossovers have existed practically from the beginning of its history. Well-known characters appear in games that aren't their own, and smaller Easter eggs are often left for eagle-eyed fans. So it's really not ground-breaking news to hear of another crossover happening in games. That was part of my reaction today, when I heard about Hellboy appearing in Injustice 2 and some Nintendo characters (Mario, Luigi, and Samus) appearing in Rocket League. Another part of my brain called out to me though. While crossovers have always happened, they seem to be happening more frequently in this day and age. Why might that be, and what does it mean for the future of video games?
I think one of the biggest reasons video game crossovers have become more common is simply because of ease of communications. Companies are only an email away from each other, no matter how far the physical distance between them. Thanks to this, it's easy to suggest crossovers that might have been much more difficult before. Plus it's easier to communicate exactly what will exist in the crossover through emails as well. Rather than written descriptions or expensive traditional artistic mock-ups mailed through snail mail, companies can sent digital concept art through the web. This allows everyone involved to see what will be happening, and small details can be easily ironed out.
There's also the simple fact that more video game characters exist nowadays than did back in the history of video games. There is an endless supply of new and old people that can exist in crossovers. That's why franchises like Kingdom Hearts have continued to be so popular and do so well. Disney is going to continue to make movies, and create new characters. So Kingdom Hearts has a continually evolving cast of characters. The same is true of any crossover. Forza Horizon 3 got a new car because a brand new Final Fantasy game (XV) included heavy use of one. The Regalia didn't exist until Final Fantasy XV, but thanks to its invention, a crossover was born!
What does all of this mean for the future of video games? Personally, I think it's going to become even more common. We've already seen every variety of crossover that could really exist. From hidden small Easter eggs to full-blown combinations. With recent games like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, it's clear that companies are not afraid to combine franchises. It's also clear that these combinations can be commercially successful. Thus, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if more major mash-ups like these become commonplace. We have the capabilities, we have the franchises to choose from, and the fans who will eat it up (myself included). So there's nothing to hold companies back from trying out some experimental games with already existing properties.
Whether we're combining franchises, or just including some cool characters in unexpected places (Hello, Hellboy!), crossovers are awesome. There's absolutely no debating that. Some of them are more “out there” than others, and some are more successful than others. Even still, crossovers have survived and thrived throughout video game history for a reason. The time is now for crossovers to become more common and expansive.
Which franchises would you love to see crashed together? Let me know in the comments!