In PlatinumGames' The Wonderful 101, players meet its titular group of superheroes, all of whom have secret identities. For a handful of the cast, superheroism is basically their whole M.O.—others are famous in other respects, some are oddballs, and the rest work regular jobs. In The Wonderful 101's world, a random mailman could walk up to you to tell you he's a superhero, and there'd be a chance he's telling the truth.
As I looked at the new Kickstarter for The Wonderful 101: Remastered earlier this week, I stopped and asked myself if someone in the comments was telling the truth about their identity. The user, posting under the name Ryu29, talked about how this was the first Kickstarter they ever donated to, how much they loved The Wonderful 101 on Wii U, and said they hope there might be some way they could make an appearance in the remaster. They also claimed to be SisQo, lead singer of the multi-platinum group Dru Hill and man behind the all-time party banger, "Thong Song."
"Of course nobody believes it's me," SisQo tells me over the phone. After reaching out to his publicist to ask if Ryu29 on Kickstarter really was the guy responsible for the number-one underwear anthem, a confirmation came back almost immediately. "They're like, 'That can't be him, is it really him?'"
SisQo really does mean every word of what he wrote in his Kickstarter comment. He played The Wonderful 101 when it came out for the Wii U and loved it, and whether or not Platinum responds to his request to be put in the remaster, he's excited for its release. "I wanted The Wonderful 101 on my Switch because I travel a lot for the touring I do," SisQo explains. "Given the fact that the Switch has the hybrid capability, the fact that it's got the touch screen, The Wonderful 101 would be a really cool port!"
Platinum's campaign is the first Kickstarter SisQo's ever backed, but it's not his first brush with crowdfunding in games. "I'd heard horror stories of people kickstarting games and the games being delayed, or that crazy thing with Mighty No. 9, because that was going to be my first Kickstarter actually, but I heard they had a couple hiccups." SisQo later played Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on his Switch; but by the time he saw its campaign, it had already gone far past its funding goal (he also says that, unfortunately, he put the game down at around level 73 because of crashes).
SisQo knew that some crowdfunding campaigns, like the one for Bloodstained, included tiers where backers could be put into the game. The Wonderful 101: Remastered's Kickstarter doesn't—with its release set for April, the game's content at launch is likely already locked-in—but he figured, why not ask anyway?
"These notifications were coming up, and people were commenting," SisQo says. "So I was like, 'You know what, it's a longshot, but let me see something.' I reached out to my staff, and they pretty much work with me as it relates to film, television, and music. I'm trying to explain to them that I want to reach out to PlatinumGames, doing my best to explain to them what the premise is all through text because everybody's working on other stuff. Nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. So, I go to the comments."
On top of The Wonderful 101, SisQo has long appreciated both PlatinumGames and director Hideki Kamiya's older work. He's played Astral Chain, and lights up when I mention Viewtiful Joe (he wants a Switch port of that, too). He knows that asking to be put in the game is an out-there move, but as a fan he'd genuinely love even the tiniest reference.
"I reached out to all my friends that I know in the gaming community, and hopefully we can reach out to Platinum," SisQo says. "I don't care if it's just a palette swap!"
The Wonderful 101 aside, SisQo says there are some other games he'd love to be a part of. Street Fighter's the first that comes to mind; his gamertag comes from his nickname "the Dragon," translated to Ryu in Japanese (Dru Hill's symbol is also a dragon, and both SisQo and his 7-year-old, Ryu, were born in the Year of the Dragon—making them "Double Dragons," SisQo adds). SisQo also thinks he'd be a natural fit for the Grand Theft Auto series, and in some ways he already was: a remix of Dru Hill's number one single "In My Bed" was featured on Grand Theft Auto 4's soundtrack, and SisQo says he remembers seeing a lot of people play San Andreas with CJ sporting his signature haircut, a bleached blonde caesar.
"Even the dude in Punch-Out!!  named Disco Kid, which is kind of like SisQo Kid? And the dude looks like me! Black guy with the blonde hair."
At the end of the day, SisQo's not joking about wanting to be in The Wonderful 101, but he's also clearly having some fun with the idea—he says an artist friend is currently working on what he might look like as a Wonderful 101 character. Hopefully Hideki Kamiya's infamously cheeky Twitter rules don't hamper SisQo's quest, but Kamiya blocking the man who gave us the "Thong Song" could also be a pretty fun story on its own.
Kamiya-approved cameo or no, The Wonderful 101: Remastered will join SisQo's game library soon enough. Recently, SisQo's been revisiting Tokyo Mirage Sessions, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Darksiders on the Switch. He also beat Luigi's Mansion 3, checked out Ni No Kuni, and tried to play some Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot via PS4 remote play while on tour (not the greatest experience: "it lets you play for a couple minutes and then it just starts chugging").
When he's at home, SisQo's been playing some Hungry Shark and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 with his young kids, Ryu and 5-year-old daughter QoQo. "They didn't beef up their characters [in Marvel], so we were getting owned on every board," SisQo confesses. "I had to go in and put crystals on all the characters."
Personally, I'm glad the Kickstarter comment turned out to really be from SisQo. Being in a video game is a pretty modest wish for a man whose records have sold millions and who gave the world what will always be the song about thongs. If anything, based on his passion alone, SisQo should feel comfortable asking to be put in whatever game he likes.
"Oh! Final Fantasy," SisQo exclaims right before we end the call. "Throw me up in there! I've already got the anime hair, damn!"