Should Microsoft consider a Crossover IP Game?
If there is one thing that catches the attention of gamers, it is when characters’ IPs do crossovers. Recently, we’ve seen Assassin’s Creed and Final Fantasy XV give each other nods, Mario teaming up with Rabbids in a strategy game, and even Hellboy and the Ninja Turtles making appearances in Injustice 2. While you can point to any series that has done crossovers, the most popular of these would, of course, be the Smash Bros series. What started off as a platform fighter that brought Nintendo characters to beat each other up has turned into a massive monster that brought in Sonic, Megaman, Pacman, Ryu, and even Cloud Strife.
While these games have a great potential to win fans over, other approaches to making these massive crossover games have had their share of hits and misses. Sony gave this a shot a few of years back with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It was okay, but most gamers couldn’t bring themselves to stay as invested in it like Smash Bros. You also had Sega pulling all their IPs together to play a round of Tennis and kart racing with each other (with both getting good to fair scores). And then you have games where you could have characters play on a giant board game and… well…
While many companies have enjoyed their fair share of crossovers, there is one company that has gone under the radar here: Microsoft. You can argue that Killer Instinct would count here, although the cameos of The Arbiter, General RAAM and Rash don’t really count as much of a crossover. If that were the case, you could argue that Tekken 7 should be seen in the same light since you can have Akuma, Geese, and Noctis fighting each other. So with the new year and little idea of what Microsoft’s plans are, I wanted to propose a simple question: What would a Microsoft IP crossover look like? And would it be as cut and dry as some would think?
Resolving All Arguments With A Punch To The Face.
One can argue that this is the easiest option to go with, but for good reason. Referring back to Killer Instinct, you can argue that a proper fighting game consisting of Microsoft characters would be entirely possible. The question though is if the fighting game should try and follow suit in the “Platform Fighter” style, or keep it with this 1v1 format. Honestly when we look at what IPs that would be available, it is obvious which one Microsoft would use: the one proved itself already.
While Nintendo and Sony have a nice mix of characters for all age groups, Microsoft’s IPs are more focused on a Teen to Adult demographic. Yeah, we have Super Lucky’s Tale, but that is one game in comparison to the vast number of others with violence as the centerfold. Also considering the kinds of games we would be utilizing, a platform fighter wouldn’t exactly fit the mold as well as it has for Nintendo (and to a lesser extent, Sony). So grab a couple of IPs, give it to the Killer Instinct guys, and you could perhaps have a fighting game where Master Chief takes on The Agent from Crackdown with the Locust invading in the background.
What’s Deadlier? An Assault Rifle? Or an Egg-Spitting Bird?
If there is one thing you can say about the IPs of Microsoft, it is that there are a lot of gun users. So much so in fact, that instead of fighting with their fists, just have them shoot each other. With games like Halo, Gears of War, and Perfect Dark, you could actually make a pretty fair lineup of characters and make a proper shooting game with them. You could perhaps bring in their special gameplay mechanics and have them serve as their special abilities. Something like have Marcus using his cover and third-person shooting and have him go up against the unorthodox team of a bear using a bird as a makeshift rifle. Hell, you can even bring back Blinx here and give him time control abilities to outmaneuver opponents.
You could take this one step further and even set up the game like Overwatch where each character would have their special assortment of weapons and abilities to take each other down. The only thing would be that a few things would probably get changed around since it would be kind of messed up to see Marcus use his Chainsaw Lancer to cut Banjo down the middle. Whether as a free-for-all, team shooter, or whatever, Microsoft has plenty of gun-toting characters to make use of to make this crazy idea work. It probably won’t reach Call of Duty levels, but it can certainly be a fun and unique experience.
Can’t Go Wrong with Karting
If you were ever looking for a way to make a crossover game that doesn’t involve physical violence, you can always take the approach of having characters get behind the wheel and race each other. Kart racing games have their fair share of takers, and while it would be your standard run-of-the-mill racing game, there could be a chance to add some variety with the racers they could add. Much like how most of the characters have their own fancy guns at this disposal, these characters would also have their fancy own rides too. Master Chief can use the Warthog, give the Battletoads their bikes, and for the heck of it: I.R.I.S. and Pablo from Lococycle.
For as random as the idea would be, you could do quite a bit by bringing together several IPs to do a couple laps around the games they’re from. It could be fun to see a race being done during a fight with the Covenant or a Locust invasion. You could even make use of a special track where Minecraft players can make their own courses. Not sure what would work for items, but it could still be a fun to see if this one took more liberties of items from their own games. You know it would be great if the Sticky Grenade was a useable weapon. If Sonic and All-Stars Racing and Mario Kart have shown us anything, it is that a good racing game can be a great way to bring characters together.
Final Thoughts: Does Microsoft Have Enough Material To Work With?
For as fun as it is to suggest a few genres for a crossover, I will admit that it was a stretch to pitch these ideas. When you look at Microsoft and compare what they have compared to Nintendo and Sony, it is abundantly clear that there isn’t as much of a selection of unique characters. It has been a bit of an issue with Microsoft for the longest time and one that still seems to be an issue. The best example of this was back when Soul Calibur 2 came out. While Nintendo had Link and PlayStation had Heihachi to be their representatives, Microsoft’s representative was Spawn.
So is this to say that Microsoft will never be able to have their very own crossover game featuring their mascots? No… But it isn’t to say that we’ll see one anytime soon. The good thing about Microsoft’s case is that with the variety that they do have, they wouldn’t have to go down take the same route. The overall problem though is that it can be tricky to try and pull something together in this case. Of course, if Killer Instinct was able to pull something together, then perhaps there is still a chance that it can happen in the future. Until that time here’s hoping that Microsoft will have a more successful year in 2018.
What do you guys think of a Microsoft IP crossover game? Do you think it should be a fighting game? Or go into an untapped genre? Leave your thoughts down below and stay tuned to Culture of Gaming for more editorials.