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Crossovers in Video Games

A monitor showing Fortnite title page with a RGB keyboard in front of i

Video Game crossovers?

Crossovers have been a part of video games for a long time. It all began when Konami featured Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Universal Pictures' King Kong and Mikey from the Warner Bros. movie The Goonies in Konami Wai Wai World for the Famicom in 1988. Fast forward to today, the integration of characters from one universe into another has become a common sight. This collaborative effort between IPs or companies are not just about fun; it's a strategic move to attract a broader audience.

Many players or fans of the IPs involved in the crossover are generally accepting and enjoy these events. Some love seeing their favorite characters in new scenarios, however, that is not always the case. Others might feel that it disrupts the original game's atmosphere, breaking the immersion or the game does not portray the visiting characters' charms sufficiently. If done right, crossovers can enhance the gaming experience and bring in a wider audience. However, if handled poorly, they can lead to disappointment and even alienate loyal fans.

Crossover is mainstream

When industry people hear the term "Crossover", it is very likely that their minds go to Fortnite. And that is no surprise, Fortnite is known as the king of collabs for a reason. As of today, Fortnite has collaborated with over 90 different IPs/brands/pop-stars. It is not hard to understand the strategy for Fortnite, they have attracted a significant amount people to try out the game, and resulted in one of the games with the largest player bases in the world.

Even mobile games, the latest addition to the video games industry, are no stranger to this strategy too. We have seen Evangelion and Persona 5 having crossovers with many different games of varying genres. New and upcoming anime/manga are also getting crossovers as a means of promoting themselves or the game that they are collaborating with.

In short, crossover collaborations are basically here to stay. At best, they bridge different communities together, creating cross-promotional opportunities that benefit both IP owners. At worst, they could create disappointment and lose fans, but the risk is often still worth taking.

Do all of them make sense?

In the latest news as of May 2024, is the crossover of Fallout in Fortnite, and Mobile Suit Gundam in Call of Duty (Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone). While Fortnite is, unquestionably, going to have crossovers with any up and coming IP under the sun, it did take us by surprise when we saw the news about Gundam x Call of Duty.

As the Helldivers 2 Devs mentioned in an interview

"...Crossovers have to make sense. We don't want to be Kingdom Hearts or Fortnite. If we do them, we want them to add something--feelgood, fun, a memory, but we like for it to make sense and fit in."

While most Gundam series involve war and political strife, which is not too different from the Call of Duty setting... Gundams are supposed to be massive - the size of buildings! Shrinking them down to the size of a human can be questionable to some of the fans out there (me included). Gundam is also mostly futuristic in its weaponry, involving beam rifles and beam sabers (pretty much like light sabers). It would be interesting to see just how much Call of Duty would adopt such weaponry into its gameplay, or perhaps, not at all. So how will this turn out? We just have to wait and see.

As mentioned previously, Persona 5 is another IP with many appearances across different games. Having tried a number of their crossover events, my opinion is that, not all of them are great. Some feel pretty shoehorned into the world and can even feel like blatant cash grab events. Ultimately, whether crossovers make sense or not depends on how well they're integrated and how they resonate with the fans.

At the end of the day, the players' satisfaction is what most passionate developers should find important. While crossovers often bring a fresh twist to beloved games, not all crossovers enhance the gaming experience. When done right, they can add depth and excitement. However, when they're overused, serving only as a marketing tool or game's world, they can feel out of place and even detract from the original charm. So, while we enjoy the occasional surprise guest in our games, developers should tread carefully to keep the magic alive.


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