In the wake of recent partnerships and announcements, it has become obvious that everyone wins when gaming devs work together to cross-promote their IP.
It all started with those arguments almost every avid gamer participated in on the playground/workspace – would Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog win in a fight? Eventually, years later, fans got to see this dream matchup realized in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and this cross-promotion extravaganza proved to be both a wonderful move in the eyes of gamers and a financial triumphant for Nintendo – racking up an estimated 12.75 million sales for the Wii-exclusive worldwide (via VGChartz).
Flashforward to 2015 and gamers have been treated to a medley of crossovers in various forms. This didn’t happen overnight, however, but it’s all because companies have begun to see the value in having cameo content is a great way to both advertise and appease fans of existing franchises. This hasn’t always proven to be a success – see PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – but as long as the crossover makes sense (and is well put together) both brands often prosper.
Case in point, Activision allowing Nintendo’s incredibly popular amiibo toys to crossover into the world of Skylanders. The deal saw both Donkey Kong and Bowser made available within the game, which immediately enticed gamers to purchase the game on Nintendo hardware given the characters’ exclusivity to the platforms. It’s small, almost shrug-worthy, additions to games that makes weighing up which platform to purchase a game on (or even which hardware to purchase) a lot easier on core game consumers.
There’s something incredibly appealing about seeing a hodgepodge of properties intermingled with one another in LEGO Dimensions, and even suiting up as Rash from Battletoads in Killer Instinct is enough to peak interest. Companies in the industry are now starting to realize the power that crossovers possess, because it appeals to the passion that everyone has to see these pairings. The execution often doesn’t resolve the schoolyard/office arguments many had – we may never officially know who would win in a canon-backed battle between Sonic and Mario – but the promise of those interactions manages to strike the rose-tinted memories that inspire our interests and hobbies today.
Nowadays it appears that crossovers are more abundant than ever before, with the latest featuring Fallout 4 duds in Rock Band 4 and Final Fantasy 7‘s Cloud appearing in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. Odds are that this trend won’t slow down either, but companies should know that embracing their properties and working with outside development teams can be fruitful if done well and with relevant content.
Now, it’s time to sit back and wait to see what other surprise appearance lay in wait for gaming fans.