Gaming crossovers are far from a rare occurrence in the industry. Developers and publishers long ago realized that they could take advantage of the popularity of two or more franchises and combine them together to create a game that is sure to grab attention and sell copies to multiple sets of fans. Precisely for this reason, we’ve seen plenty video games in the past 25 years feature characters from different series, with the final product often being a well made title. Prime examples include the likes of Kingdom Hearts, Street Fighter X Tekken and Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games. However, not every single crossover turns out to be successful and for every good example there are several terrible ones.
What is more certain is that crossovers will generally involve franchises and characters that seem to fit together. For example, fighting games often include fighters from a variety of other games of the same genre. This is not always the case though and sometimes publishers will seemingly just grab two well known series and throw them together in the hope that people will buy them. This leads to some strange and frankly bizarre crossovers that nobody expected.
6. Cross Edge
The initial concept of Cross Edge is already a fairly peculiar idea for a game in that it brings together characters and elements from a variety of different JRPGs to create a sort of ultimate role playing game. It released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009 to a poor reception and few sales but most bizarrely included a number of characters from the Darkstalkers franchise. For those who don’t know, Darkstalkers is a series of fighting games set in a unique Gothic horror setting that has something of a cult following. The last original Darkstalkers title released in 1997, with just a few compilation and remakes made available since then, so it makes little sense for the developers to have included five characters in Cross Edge – especially when there is so little to connect Darkstalkers with any of the games that were included in the crossover.
5. Pokemon Conquest
Pokemon Conquest is a strange mashup of the Pokemon series with Nobunaga’s Ambition. The concept of a crossover involving property from Pokemon isn’t too out of place as the franchise is so popular and widespread that including them in other games has been done in the past to increase the chances of success. What is unusual with Pokemon Conquest though is the other series it comprises.
Nobunaga’s Ambition is a turn-based strategy game that also includes role-playing elements, similar to Pokemon, but unlike the hit Nintendo franchise it is set almost exclusively in feudal Japan, meaning warriors such as Samurai are present in the same game the cute creatures from Pokemon. It is also unsettling considering how Pokemon rarely contains adult themes and tries to separate itself from the real world for the majority of the time.
4. Nicktoons MLB
There are probably plenty of good ideas for games to bring together the many different cartoon heroes from the various Nicktoons TV shows. One of them almost definitely is not an otherwise realistic baseball game that features real life players from Major League Baseball playing alongside the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants, Ren & Stimpy, Ang from Avatar and Invader Zim. Not only does this create an almost unbelievable visual display that seems to be completely out of place but it also combined two very unrelated properties that are unlikely to share a large amount of audiences with each other. Apparently, nobody wanted to play a baseball game filled with cartoon characters as Nicktoons MLB flopped spectacularly upon release in 2011.
3. Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games created by Square Enix. It brings together characters, locations and other items from games that Square Enix have developed, such as Final Fantasy, along with a number of famous people from classic Disney movies and cartoons. The idea seemed outlandish from the very start. Firstly, because Disney is notoriously protective of its intellectual property and generally likes to keep creative control of its characters. Secondly, it is a truly weird mashup of franchises that seem to have nothing in common. All of this didn’t stop it from happening, meaning the likes of Goofy would team up with Final Fantasy heroes and Sora across landscapes from Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Despite the initial concerns that people had about how the franchises would all fit together, Square Enix actually managed to create a brilliant collection of games.
2. LEGO Rock Band
The popularity of LEGO has grown exponentially over the past few years. Not only has the toy become even more successful but the property has also recently expanded into movies and video games, with a whole collection of LEGO titles that involve franchises such as Batman, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. In a highly unusual move the LEGO company decided to team up with Harmonix to create LEGO Rock Band. While Rock Band has had a number of crossovers with bands, such as The Beatles and Green Day, and was going through a highly successful period, the series has got absolutely nothing to do with the brick toys. Likewise, LEGO has never really associated itself with music, so it seemed completely strange at the time for these two properties to team up.
1. Fortune Street
Nintendo has never been afraid of allowing their mascot to appear in a host of crossovers over the years. In fact, Mario has appeared in all measure of titles with other franchises across a whole range of franchises. He has been involved in everything from fighting games, racers, and sports titles. This means that it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that Mario has appeared in crossovers that are a bit unusual and perhaps the strangest is Fortune Street. The game has released on a variety of platforms since first appearing in the role-playing game Dragon Quest as a popular mini game with gameplay similar to Monopoly. When it released on the Wii and the Nintendo DS, Square Enix decided to include Mario characters. This meant Mario was a character in a video game version of a board game alongside a number of characters from the Dragon Quest series, a seemingly bizarre decision making process.