[Note: This is not my blog post. This blog was written by community member Karutomaru, whose account is currently undergoing difficulties.]
Seeing The Avengers reminded me of why I love crossovers in media so much. When the storylines of different continuities converge, the result can be an epic conflict in which fans of each party involved go out satisfied. There are a number of factors that make crossovers so much more engrossing in the grand scheme of things, whether it’s a movie like The Avengers or a game like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom or Dissidia: Final Fantasy, and these factors are fairly easy to understand when you think about them.
Ready-Made Backstory. In a crossover, backstory isn’t really needed. Characters have already been established in their own series. This means there can be less time spent on exposition and more on the interactions between the characters, which is the heart of a good crossover. When you’re seeing a crossover and you know a lot about only one of the characters represented, then, assuming the writing is competent, you know as much about the others as he/she/it does, and what is told about them may be all they need to know for the crossover at hand.
Broad Demographic. Properties are crossing over. The fans of each one will like it for the representations of their favorites. The more series there are being crossed over, the more appeal there is. If I were a cynical man and thought that every company is in it for the money, I’d say that crossovers give them exactly that with such a wide range of fandom. It’s as simple as that.
Widening Demographic. If you’re going into a crossover because one or a few of your favorite characters are in it, you’ll probably know very little about the guys they’re spending time with. Since the backstory and explanations are all in their continuity, there’s a good chance you’ll be inclined to read about them to understand them better, and if it interests you, you might become a fan. I only gave the series Hunter X Hunter a look because it was one of the many shonen manga represented in the epic crossover game Jump Ultimate Stars. Now, Hunter X Hunter is one of my favorite manga of all time, and I own 5 volumes.
Believe it or not, it took this game to make me interested into Street Fighter.
Together We Are Unstoppable. Having everyone’s favorite characters from their favorite series fight each other is a fun way to settle childish disputes over who is better, but when the characters set aside their differences and work toward a common goal, there is peace among the fanboys. When characters team up, and they all get their fair share of epic moments in an action crossover, there’s (probably) no longer a dispute over who is better, because they all are. I made my own crossover scenario in Jump Ultimate Stars, when I had Yugi, Goku, Luffy, Naruto, Yoh, Jotaro, and Yusuke in one deck to fight Dio, Hao, Frieza, Orochimaru, and Kaiba in the other. It didn’t matter whether I favor one over the others. They all contributed to something bigger. And by “something bigger”, I mean a fight full of ki blasts, burst streams (“white lightning” in English), steam rollers, and shadow clones. Which leads me to my next point.
Variety. With different characters coming from different series and different character designers, they are often very unique from each other. This gives people who know nothing about any of the series more choices as to who they like most. Take The Avengers, for example. For favorite choices, you have a sarcastic rich guy in a powered suit, an athletic and heroic guy with a boomerang shield, the Norse god of thunder who flies around with his hammer, a ludicrously accurate bowman, and a raging monster with the strength to beat down giant robots with his bare fists. Assuming you didn’t go into the theatre to watch an epic drama starring Michael Crawford, you’re bound to take a liking to one of them.
Making Cell playable just shattered the game balance into a million pieces.
Something For Everyone. The most obvious and most important factor of all for the consumers is similar to my last subject. This falls somewhere between having a broad demographic and variety, but this is more a matter of how things feel in practice. You see, when you have a favorite series in a crossover while everyone else has theirs, it gives you a sense of individuality, and makes that character feel more special to you. Like you and the fictional character share some sort of bond. I felt that individuality when I played Tatsunoko vs. Capcom for the first time with my friends. Everyone had their own set of two characters they mainly used because of past connections to them. One of my friends used Karas with Kajin no Soki, because he has the Karas series on DVD and is a fan of Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. One of the girls, a watcher of Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets) as a child, used Ken and Jun. I, Viewtiful Joe’s #1 fan, chose Viewtiful Joe and Yatterman, because I’d seen quite a bit of Yatterman and liked it (partly because it wasn’t unlike Viewtiful Joe). I would have chosen Frank instead of Yatterman, because I loved Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, but we hadn’t unlocked him yet.
So, with all these reasons in consideration, why are there so many crossovers that should be made, but have not been? Why hasn’t Sengoku Basara crossed over with Samurai Warriors? Why hasn’t The Flash crossed over with Spider Man? And why haven’t the Elite Beat Agents and Ouedan cheer squad officially gotten their own crossover game? These questions are some of the great mysteries of life. It’s nigh impossible to figure out what goes through the heads of the people in charge. I do know one thing though: Everyone loves a good crossover.