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.
Considering how protective Disney is over their properties, the concept of an action role-playing game featuring an array of Disney characters alongside an original cast (and characters from Final Fantasy) seems too far-fetched to ever happen.
However, a chance meeting in an elevator between the game’s director and a Disney executive allowed the idea to be pitched directly to the company. The result was Kingdom Hearts, a game where players team up with Goofy and Donald Duck as they progress through a variety of worlds based on famous Disney movies, such as Aladdin and The Lion King. It proved incredibly successful and there have been more than a dozen sequels and spin-offs since.
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.
When gamers think of Telltale Games, the first games to come to mind are likely the super popular The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, rather than a poker simulator. Still though, it would be a shame to forget one amazingly weird title in particular. In 2010, Telltale released Poker Night at the Inventory, a game that featured crossover characters from a variety of seemingly random locations.
The players included Tycho from Penny Arcade, the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, Max from Sam & Max, and Strong Bad from Homestar Runner. Each character had their own backstory and in-depth dialogue, something which proved to be incredibly well-received. The game was so successful that a sequel featuring characters from Portal, Borderlands, and The Evil Dead was created in 2013.
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.