The crossover has become a staple of the video game world. There is always a great sense of glee that comes from characters of different games meeting within one universe. Whether it be in the throws of combat or as companions against a new evil, there is always fun times to be had. While crossovers are nothing new, sometimes the collision of worlds and licences do not always originate from the game itself.
With the rise of the internet, developers and publishers saw new ways to bring additional content to the masses. Downloadable content expanded the way players were able to get new characters, stages, costumes and almost anything else marketable to a fanbase almost too willing to pay up. Outside of the oddities DLC could bring, it also served as another means of unleashing some collaborations between games, developers and publishers. So we decided to take a look at five strange instances of crossovers that came from an additional purchase and download.
LittleBigPlanet’s War has changed
2008’s LittleBigPlanet was a game where crossover DLC was so common it can hardly be called surprising. Sony’s Sackboy was an adorably plain mannequin that in immensely customisable through all the costumes you could adorn it with. Yet just a few months after launch, developer Media Molecule upped the ante further to more than just costumes. Announced via the PSBlog, to celebrate LBP’s first Christmas, players could grab the Metal Gear Solid 4 level pack.
Metal Gear Solid 4 released six months prior to the level and costume pack. While costumes were available, players could get a lot more than just dressing up as Old (and depressed) Snake. For an additional purchase, players could get new items and tricks for level creation. The pack also featured five exclusive levels taking players through condensed sections of MGS4. Yet it is in the details that it starts to get weird.
So the MGS4 level pack was at the time the biggest DLC to hit a game riddled with overpriced vanity items. It featured its own trophy list and added some big features to the game. This included a gun! Yes, it was a paintball gun but giving Sackboy a weapon is odd enough on its own. The entire pack can be considered a strange crossover because of just how much it actually added, especially from the MGS brand. Even from its inception, I doubt Media Molecule ever envisioned their little sack of joy to take down a cardboard Metal Gear Rex.
Mortal Kombat’s American Nightmare fighter
So this one requires a step back in time to really appreciate the curiousness of this DLC character. Mortal Kombat X is synonymous with oddball fighter cameos stepping into the bloodiest arena ever. From Jason Voorhees and Leatherface taking up the horror icon mantles to the game even features a damn Xenomorph! Weird DLC crossovers are expected in Mortal Kombat and likely will always be a feature going forward. We even see more of them in NetherRealm’s Injustice 2 with Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles served up as DLC. Yet we have to look back at the character that for all intents and purposes, started this wild mishmash ride.
The 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot had a roster contemporary fighting games can only dream of. The majority of the classic fighters returned in a story taking shape as the world had reset. Yet NetherRealm decided that Mortal Kombat, even when going nostalgic, was not above guest characters. Of course, Kratos made the cut as a PlayStation 3 version exclusive, but the fourth and last DLC fighter was truly a head-scratching one. Of all the movie monsters NetherRealm Studios could have taken, they went with the most prolific child murdering burn ward regular Freddy Krueger.
At least with the other icons, there was some sense in stature and size. Freddy was a very different kind of fighter with his appearances in films often taking a psychological torturous approach to his victims. With the Freddy Krueger DLC, players got a crossover as Freddy made his long-awaited return to the video game world. As a fighter, Freddy was actually a pretty fun combo man using his legendary hedge trimmer gloves. It was strange then and despite MKX bringing in arguably more ludicrous examples, even now Freddy is still a weird choice. And now, because I am obligated, I guess NetherRealm was playing with power.
Smash Bros getting a fan favourite JRPG pretty boy
When Super Smash Bros. 64 debuted in 1999, it came along with one of the greatest video game commercials ever. The idea of a Nintendo themed fighting game was weird on its own, but with developer HAL making it a collaboration with every popular Nintendo character, it became something of a legend.
So with each Smash Bros, many already clamour for the next dream combatant to go flying into the arena’s hitbox. There have been some amazing surprises like Smash Bros. Brawl introducing Solid Snake, but nobody believed it would get crazier than that. With the Wii U being the first Nintendo console to allow for DLC, when a fighter didn’t make the initial roster, the fans put their hopes and dreams in future DLC. It was the fourth character pack however that really blew the lid off expectations. Following a fan vote, one of the winners was revealed to the surprise of just about everyone.
Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud Strife made the cut with none other than the Umbra Witch Bayonetta herself. While the latter wasn’t surprising due to Bayonetta 2‘s exclusivity, Cloud’s inclusion was way out of left field. Prior to his Smash 4 appearance, Cloud appeared in only a handful of games on a Nintendo system. His first appearance was in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the GameBoy Advance, and following that there were only three other cameos.
It goes even deeper as Cloud for many a gamer was a PlayStation icon. Famously, Final Fantasy VII was the game that forced Square Enix (at the time Square) to jump ship from the Nintendo platform due to the N64’s limitations with cartridges. Final Fantasy VII became the PS1’s greatest hit and was one of the big reasons Nintendo had hard competition in the fifth gen. To see Cloud Strife make that jump to Smash is still nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Noctis joins the Assassin’s Order
Final Fantasy XV finally arrived on consoles after a very, very long development time. Starting as Versus XIII, the game reformed as a true numbered entry and finally came out at the tail end of 2016. Since the launch, Square Enix has worked overtime on the game, pushing out a lot of big updates including multiplayer. Considering FFXV is a true mainline entry, these often have quite a reverence in the halls of Square Enix. While crossovers are not new for the Final Fantasy brand, often the single player numbered games are left alone to not muddy the waters. So it came in as quite the shock to not only see a numbered FF game get crossover DLC. It really gets baffling when players understand the magnitude of the crossover content.
Thus we find Final Fantasy XV getting some Assassin’s Creed sprinkled all over. Revealed at Gamescom this year, Square Enix and Ubisoft would work together to give FFXV players some murder in haystacks. Unlike the other examples on this list, this one was completely free but also only lasts a limited time. The DLC was not just a throwaway costume but extends to an entire festival for players to partake in. There is an entire new quest line as the boys become would-be assassins. There were even new gameplay elements introduced to make it closer to the Assassin’s Creed feeling.
This is not the first time Square has dabbled in the Assassin’s Creed well. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a bit more freeflow in terms of having fun with the costumes and characters. One of the costumes featured was Ezio’s garb that protagonist Noel could wear in battle. It is worth noting the game also featured Mass Effect’s N7 Armour for both the aforementioned Noel and Sera.
This was much more than just a DLC costume, turning it into a massive collaboration. Square Enix has put a lot of faith behind Notcis and travelling boyband by trying to make them icons of the brand and company. Despite it all, the DLC can still be a fun distraction but there is no denying just how goofy it is for a mainline Final Fantasy to share the spotlight with another game.
Asura meets the Street Fighters
Whenever DLC is brought up for 2012’s Asura’s Wrath, most players will go straight to one of the biggest botches in downloadable history. Notoriously, Asura’s Wrath did not have an ending when released with all those reaching the end of a Deity’s rage were introduced to a cliffhanger. To get the “true” ending, a fee of $6,99 was required so all those who paid full price could get the payoff and an actual conclusion.
It was because of this still idiotic decision between publisher Capcom and developer CyberConnect2 which led to many ignoring any other extras for the game. If anyone was still willing to give the game a chance following a purchasable ending, they missed a very strange introduction into the world of Mantra and Gods. The next two DLC episodes both featured disgraced demigod Asura battling against two of Capcom’s iconic fighters with Ryu and Akuma (each sold separately).
Capcom are the masters of the crossover as one of the biggest names behind ‘worlds colliding’. Ryu is one of the most common guests in the video game world basically crashing with whoever will take him in. Yet him stopping by Asura’s near desolate world is likely one of his offbeat freeloading sessions. Asura would battle both characters while powered up by their internal evil.
The other issue is that Capcom were willing to put their two golden boys front and centre for Asura’s Wrath but yet the titular character has all but been forgotten by the publisher. He has had nary a mention or a peep despite him serving as one of the easiest characters to get the fighting game transition. It is weird that after a hug DLC blunder they were still willing to put their gleaming fighters into a game that did not sell well. Maybe one day Asura will rise again to fight a new enemy.
And that ends just a few examples of where the DLC served up some dream mashups. There are of course many more instances where an additional charge destroyed universal barriers to unleash new collaborations. Which was your favourite crossover DLC or which was the strangest in your mind? Speak up in the comments below!