Video game crossovers, much like crossovers in other forms of media, are not particularly rare. Companies have realized that by combining their brands with other well-known characters and franchises, they can vastly improve the popularity of both products. After all, fans love to see their favorite heroes and villains go to new worlds in whatever capacity they can.
This thinking, though, has led to some very weird video game mashups where the universes of two or more well-known series have been flung together haphazardly. It can feel like they were thought up by an 11 year old who just had way too much sugar.
Sometimes, these bizarre crossover video games are created as cheap marketing ploys that attempt to take advantage of hardcore fans, but others are just straight-up odd mixtures that you would never have expected to see.
- Photo: Koei Tecmo
Although Nintendo has never been afraid of making spin-offs or crossing over their franchises into new worlds and genres, Hyrule Warriors was still a very unexpected title when it was first announced.
After all, The Legend of Zelda series has always been more about adventuring and solving puzzles rather than combat, and this crossover between the franchise and Dynasty Warriors focused entirely on fighting hordes of enemies. Despite some misgivings from longtime fans, Hyrule Warriors proved to be a hit and drew acclaim for its engaging fighting system and its implementation of classic Zelda elements, such as the ability to open chests on the battlefield.
- Photo: Tecmo Koei
What's the weirdest videogame franchise crossover you can imagine? Doesn't matter, Pokémon mashed together with Nobunaga’s Ambition series is much, much stranger. There is obvious appeal in featuring creatures from Pokémon in a variety of different games and media, due to their popularity, but combining it with a turn-based strategy game set in feudal Japan was not something that most people expected. Mature, adult themes set Pokémon Conquest apart as players attempt to conquer various warlords and unite the land.
- Photo: Sega
There are many things that make Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games profoundly bizarre. Nintendo and Sega had long been enemies, and the two titular characters had often been pitted against one another for market dominance. Furthermore, Sonic had seen a dramatic drop in popularity after starring in a slew of bad games, while Mario was more successful than ever.
The Japanese companies agreed to work together after Sega adopted the IOC’s mission to promote a sporting spirit and to interest young people in the Olympics. The game was so financially successful that a further two installments, for the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics, were also created.
- Photo: Banpresto
Project X Zone is about as crazy as crossovers get in the gaming industry. It combined fighters from games such as Street Fighter, Tekken, and Devil May Cry together for the first time. Not only was Namco Bandai able to convince Sega and Capcom to allow their characters to appear, but they put them in a tactical role-playing game rather than a traditional fighting title, confusing gamers even more.
Despite all of this, it turned out to be a hit with fans and sold many more copies than initially expected, leading to the release of a sequel several years later.