Video game crossovers we'll never forget
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008)
If this idea strikes you as remarkably similar to Marvel vs. Capcom, you're not alone. Mortal Kombat publisher Midway Games received license to use DC's roster of iconic comic superheroes for its own fighting game crossover. The idea was slightly bizarre from the start. DC's fairly sterile image meant some of the Mortal Kombat's standard violence had to be toned down, and the heroes couldn't be seen performing the trademark Fatalities. Instead, they had to settle for "Brutalities," in which they roughed up the opposition more than usual.
Despite that, the license vaulted it to the most pre-ordered Mortal Kombat game at the time, and it met with both a critical and sales success. Perhaps most significantly, it revived the flagging Mortal Kombat brand and set the stage for two highly-regarded fighting games: the Mortal Kombat reboot, and the DC-focused Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Dissidia Final Fantasy (2009)
As evidenced by other entries, Square Enix hasn't shied away from capitalizing on its Final Fantasy legacy. Dissidia was a strange concept, but compared to a Disney crossover it was downright normal. In fact, the idea came out of Kingdom Hearts, as Square Enix was throwing around ideas about how to further the mash-up.
Final Fantasy games are meant to stand alone. Each is its own new story and world, so they don't often meet up or even reference each other. Dissidia got around that with a story about gods drawing in characters from various universes. It was well-received enough to warrant a sequel with the truly awful name "Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy," but we haven't heard from the series since.
Pokemon Conquest (2012)
Nintendo doesn't often lend out its characters, much less to a fairly obscure Japanese role-playing game series. The combination of Pokemon and Nobunaga's Ambition was one of the most unique Pokemon projects in recent years, though, so of course Nintendo had to bring it stateside. Conquest borrowed its core tactical RPG gameplay from Nobunaga's Ambition, but filled the roster with Pokemon.
The result was a deep strategy game almost as technically satisfying as the Final Fantasy Tactics series, but filled with adorable creatures. It's also based loosely on real figures from Japanese history, making it educational as long as you don't explain to your teacher that Pikachu was involved in the Warring States period.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (2012)
Anything Nintendo can do, Sony can do better. At least, that seemed to be the attitude behind this franchise mash-up that rather blatantly lifted from the Smash Bros concept. Sony wanted to showcase its roster of first-party characters, but the truth was that Sony's franchises simply didn't have the same iconic qualities as characters like Mario and Link. Instead, the line-up was composed mostly of newer characters like Sackboy, Jak, and Ratchet, along with lots of third-party characters including Big Daddy, Raiden, and Dante.
It was fairly well-received and even differentiated itself decently from its obvious inspiration, but apparently failed to find a foothold. Shortly after release, Seth Killian left the studio, just after layoffs were reported to have canceled a new IP. We haven't heard from All-Stars since.
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