There's something awesome about a crossover. The idea taps into the minutiae of enthusiast culture, that core that lingers on from when we were all kids. Will X beat X? (Answer: Yes, with prep time.) That's an age-old question that fans of any property are always arguing about. Even better, it just feels cool to see some of your favorite characters working together or against one another.
The crossover game or character isn't a new thing. The first-party crossover is easy, as companies merely bring together characters and concepts they already own in a single title: Nintendo has done it with Mario Kart and Smash Bros, Capcom had Capcom Fighting Evolution, Sega's had Fighters Megamix and Sonic All-Stars Racing. Occasionally though, the powers-that-be have a meeting of the minds and you get characters jumping across universes. It's the third-party crossovers you'd never expect that are really exciting.
There arefull games like Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Kingdom Hearts, or Cross Edge. There's additional crossover characters like Link, Heihachi, or Spawn in Soul Calibur II, Snake in Super Smash Bros Melee, Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Kruger in Mortal Kombat (2011), or Gish in Super Meat Boy. Does it break the established fiction of the game's universe? Usually, yes. It is fun? Hell yes.
The crossover game or character is a fine art (or cash grab!) that's not going away anytime soon. Here's a few of the recent or upcoming third-party crossovers.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round stands as the complete version of Dead or Alive 5, with access to all the characters and DLC released for previous versions. This means the game features four characters from Sega's currently-defunct Virtua Fighter series: Akira Yuki, Pai Chan, Sarah Bryant, and Jacky Bryant. Since you're probably not getting another Virtua Fighter game anytime soon, this acts as the last hurrah if you're a fan of the series.
Mortal Kombat X
This year's Mortal Kombat continues the inclusion of Kruger in MK 2011 by having Friday the 13th's Jason and the Predator as playable DLC characters. Hopefully, Netherrealm does a great job of integrating the horror icons into the game; they're supposed to have three unique looks and fighting styles just like the rest of the cast. It's rumored that Jason will be available on April 26, while the Predator will launch on May 24.
Project X Zone 2
The original Project X Zone for 3DS brought characters from Capcom, Sega, Bandai Namco games together in a single strategy RPG. The title included characters from Mega Man, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Sakura Wars, Space Channel 5, Tekken, Xenosaga, and God Eater, all fighting together with new original characters to save the world. Now the series is back with a new sequel from developer Monolith Software. That means new challengers join the fray, from games like Yakuza: Dead Souls, Resident Evil 6, Tales of Vesperia, .hack//G.U., Strider, Shinobi (2002), and Soul Calibur V! The sequel - still for 3DS - is coming this Fall to North America!
Super Time Force Ultra
Super Time Force Ultra is finally making the move over to the PlayStation 4 and Vita! The Steam version of the game dropped in August of last year, adding Team Fortress 2's Pyro and Saxton Hale and Left 4 Dead's Zoey to the playable cast. For the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions, Capy went all-in and added Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida, The Order 1886's Sir Galahad, and the traveler from Journey! Wanton destruction and time rewinding is still a big part of game, but now you can enjoy it on new platforms.
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem
One of the best announcements from the April 2015 Nintendo Direct presentation involved a game most people thought was dead and quietly cancelled. Instead, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem was revealed as Genei Ibunroku #FE (Illusory Revelations #FE), a game featuring a new set of characters who can seemingly call on powers and abilities related to the Fire Emblem series. We're still light on details, but the RPG title looks to blend the best of Atlus, Fire Emblem, and pop idol madness in a single game. Looks compelling so far!
This is kind of a cheat. The Lego Company is big enough and has enough licensing deals that it can utilize characters from tons of different properties. Lego Dimensions is Warner Bros getting in on that Skylanders and Disney Infinity money, by leveraging its existing partnership with the Lego Company. At launch, the crossover toys-to-life game will feature characters from the Lego Movie, DC Comics, Back to the Future, Wizard of Oz, and Lord of the Rings. And that's only what we can expect in the beginning. Other rumored series include The Simpsons, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, and even Valve's Portal. Imagine where Lego Dimensions could take us in 2-3 years if Lego offers up everything they have available? I'm getting the vapors just thinking about it.