It seems that when people aren't slinging crap on the new PS3 game, they're talking about who they want or think will be in it. It's kinda getting out of hand, honestly - I've seen completely random wish-lists, as well as posts along the lines of "LOL, Sony has no characters" all over forums, blogs and facebooks for the past couple of days. While it's fun to make our own little wishlists, the fact is it doesn't get us any closer to what this game might actually look like.
Granted, there are certainly more important things than the roster, but I don't think the average citizen is going to get hype at the fact that diehard fighting game players like MAJ and Ed Ma are behind the wheel, or that the developers are actually trying to make a competitively viable game rather than put in features just to spite the competitive community like certain other developers. So let's talk about some vidja game characters!
First off, if you really want a look at how the roster might end up, I'd recommend you look at this commercial. According to early stories on the game, this commercial was apparently the inspiration for this game (well, that and a certain Nintendo game).
The commercial also took a lot of negotiations to make. Sony even let us know that some of the publishers were 100% on board with the idea, while other publishers required a lot of push to get them on board. While they don't let us know which publishers were on board from the get-go, I imagine they're going to be the very first publishers they go to for third-party character opportunities.
After all, Sony can't just cherry pick characters from whatever games they please - you gotta take a rational approach to PS All-Star's roster. It would only make sense that in a game like this, they'd want to limit the amount of hands that go into the cookie jar. Less companies involved mean less money spent on licensing and legal BS, which means more profit.
This image was released just a short time before the first official released footage of the game came out. Perhaps it was just a fake. Regardless, I'd say it's a pretty good prediction of who will be in. All first party characters, some of the more obscure ones like Nariko were even hinted at with early photos.
Also, contrary to popular belief, Sony actually owns a lot of gaming properties. Let's be real - Uncharted, InFamous, Jak & Daxter, and Ratchet & Clank will be represented in this game. There's practically no way they won't be. I'd also place bets on Ape Escape, MediEvil, Resistance, Heavenly Sword, Legend of Dragoon (which actually received a digital re-release THIS VERY DAY) and Gravity Daze (yet to be released outside Japan, but already receiving lavish praise) being represented to some degree.
Also place some bets on Toro - in Japan, Toro is Sony, and considering he's starting to find popularity outside Japan thanks to Street Fighter X Tekken, I'd say it's a no brainer - especially since they get him to appear in everything. Speaking of Japan, Wild Arms is another Sony property that has remained popular in Japan despite inactivity, so I wouldn't count it out either.
So, what third-party characters are likely going to be in? Well, characters are going to be cheaper by the dozen, so I'd count on them going with characters relevant to the PlayStation brand who are owned by companies who own a lot of OTHER characters relevant to the PlayStation brand.
Which is why I believe Sony's first choice is going to be Square Enix. For those that don't know, Square Enix would basically be killing multiple birds with one stone. Not only does it cover games that were published by Square and Enix, but also games that were published by Eidos and Taito.
The Final Fantasy series has remained exclusive to PlayStation starting from Final Fantasy VII up until Final Fantasy XIII - unless you count PC releases. Final Fantasy VII in particular was considered the game that sold people on the PlayStation, as well as the RPG genre on consoles. Cloud Strife is just a character who instantly became associated with the PlayStation brand. Aside from Final Fantasy, Square made many other classic titles on the PlayStation, such as Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Brave Fencer Musashi,Vagrant Story and Parasite Eve.
Eidos was also no slouch when it came to making PlayStation icons. Tomb Raider's Lara Croft was PlayStation's first sex symbol. It was actually rather common place for Lara to appear in PlayStation adverts, even though she was also appearing on the Saturn and PC at the time. Aside from her, Eidos also brought with it the Legacy of Kain and Fear Effect series, which helped set the tone for the PlayStation console's more mature themed games. Outside of PlayStation icons, they also had the Hitman, Deus Ex and TimeSplitters series.
Konami is an obvious choice for this game, not the least of which is due to Metal Gear. The impact that the Metal Gear Solid series has had on the PlayStation brand should go without saying - while all the MGS entries have somehow found their way onto other systems with the exception of MGS4, they made their biggest impact on Sony systems. I would honestly put Metal Gear Solid right alongside Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank as being a "No Brainer".
Aside from Metal Gear, though, Konami also has Silent Hill and Castlevania - both of which, while not exclusive to PlayStation, made a huge impact on the PlayStation brand. Silent Hill started with the PlayStation, and while Castlevania started long before PS, Symphony of the Night is still considered one of the series' best entries. Also keep in mind that Konami bought Hudson, which means Bomberman, Bonk and Adventure Island would be possibilities if Sony gets Konami on board.
Finally, Activision. For two obvious reasons: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. It still boggles my mind that Sony allowed these characters to go to Activision in the first place, but I guess they were just young and naive. I guess I should be glad, otherwise we might not have ever seen Jak and Ratchet take their place.
In any case, if Crash and Spyro don't make it in, we'll all be left scratching our heads. They were Sony's first and second big mascot characters, so it only makes sense. Aside from them, though, Activision is a bit low on characters that they actually own that played a big part for the PlayStation. It's not like they can just put Tony Hawk, James Bond or Spider-Man in a game without causing all sorts of problems. They have Guitar Hero, but they have 'retired' the property. However, I'd think we could end up seeing a Call of Duty character (Either Ghost or Price seem the most reasonable) as well as a Prototype character so we can finally settle once and for all whether Alex (or James) would win in a fight with Cole MacGrath.
So, there you have it. My most educated guesses at who will be in this game. If this was a wish-list, I certainly would have included Jade from Beyond Good & Evil as well as Raz from Psychonauts, but this isn't about what I want, it's about what is feasible - what's realistic. I could see other companies getting involved as well, such as Capcom (Resident Evil and Devil May Cry), Ubisoft (they seem to love putting Altair and/or Ezio anywhere they can) and others, but I just don't see more than a few companies getting involved due to legal and financial issues.
Until then, I'll be looking forward to what this game becomes.