Hyrule Warriors. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage. One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. Fire Emblem Warriors. Dynasty Warriors Gundam. Regardless of the “love it or hate it” nature of Dynasty Warriors, Koei Tecmo loves crossing it over with other series, and personally, I love that too. The team behind the tactical hack-and-slash series have expressed interest in even more prolific crossovers, from Super Smash Bros to Star Wars (yes, I committed this article to memory) and Lu Bu knows what else, but do we expect them to stop there with how much money it’s making them? I’ve been in a pretty big Warriors kick recently, so why not have some fun and rattle off both some realistic and pie-in-the-sky hopes for future Warriors crossovers?
Koinuma said that one of his dreams is to use “that character with the big red hat on top,” and I’m all for that idea. If Super Smash Warriors is still out of reach for now, why not jump right to the Jumpman himself? The decades-long legacy of the plumber’s escapades are full of fan-favorite and obscure characters to form an army out of. Ideally, I’d love to see such a crossover share the love with Mario’s less acknowledged RPG comrades and competitors, from Superstar Saga to Paper Mario to Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink. Even if the roster were to be limited to the likes of your typical Mario sports game, that leaves us with plenty of iconic characters to toy with; Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Wario, Waluigi, Daisy, Birdo, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and then some. A point I often have gotten against this idea is that Mario’s friends rarely display enough personality to make them work in this kind of setting, but that doesn’t bar any third party developers from toying with those personalities in their own games. If Camelot could give so much character to Mario’s established cast through title screen cutscenes and tennis trophy award ceremonies, I don’t see why KT can’t write a similar charm into a Warriors game’s dialogue.
Easily my weirdest and least likely idea here, but hear me out. Around the early 2000s Nintendo developed a new company to produce Hoshi no Kirby, a Kirby anime that 4Kids localized as Kirby: Right Back at Ya. I don’t want to see a game based on that anime per se, but if Nintendo greenlighted such a project in the past, I don’t think letting KT take the reigns on a Kirby war story is too farfetched to have hope in. Supporting characters like Meta Knight, King Dedede, Adeleine, and Bandana Dee plus villains like Magolor and Taranza are plentiful enough to fill out a diverse roster full of cartoonish, quirky fighting styles. Round out any extra space with monsters-turned-Helpers like in Super Star (And the new Switch game!) and you have armies of colorful and alien warlords unlike any other Warriors game. For a unique twist, perhaps Kirby could mix and match movesets from other playable Warriors, or change his moveset on the fly as he defeats enemy officers, because why not? Galacta Knight would make a perfect Lu Bu stand-in, too. But the biggest opportunity, by far? Simple geometry. Hasta la vista, Hyrule Warriors pop-in.
If Pokkén can give over a dozen Pokémon (and a second Pikachu/Mewtwo) a fully fleshed out fighting game moveset, what’s stopping them from being rearranged into Dynasty Warriors? Pokémon Conquest, or Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition, was already halfway there by borrowing the Samurai Warriors incarnations of Feudal Japan’s figures and having them wage war across the Ransei region, otherwise known as Not Japan. Perhaps the Warriors game could be treated as an extension of Ransei’s chronicles, pairing up every playable pocket monster with a Warlord companion who acts as their proxy for battle dialogue? Or we could just as gratifyingly explore a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon-esque land ruled by colorful critters themselves, battling to prove they have what it takes to be the best like they always do. Whatever the premise to base battles around, there are more than enough unique fan-favorite monsters to deliver horde battles worthy of the Kalos region’s envy. And how could it not be cathartic to pummel hundreds of Rattata, Bidoof, and Zubat in rapid succession?
That’s enough compromising for the current absence of a Super Smash Warriors! Atop everything else that defines Kingdom Hearts, this wacky crossover is already known for its simple and satisfying hack-and-slash gameplay. The Keyblade warriors and Dynasty Warriors seem like a good fit for each other, gameplay wise. Disney’s policies could make this tricky, however--remember how Final Fantasy Dissidia was originally planned as a KH game, but Disney didn’t want their cartoon icons pummeling the Bravery out of each other? Same thing would probably apply to a Warrior premise, unless the game was structured differently (Player vs Heartless clones of allies? KH Original Characters only?). Then again, Disney PvP is technically possible in Disney Infinity, albeit of a more slapstick-inclined nature, so who knows if Disney changed their minds there? Whatever the case, Kingdom Hearts’ cast is full of exaggerated, anime-tropey personalities that can easily turn any fight into a spectacle, be it a duel or a war against 1000 monsters. My only concern is that such a spin-off could risk spiraling the series’ continuity and the ease of keeping up with it even further out of control… and we’re still waiting on Kingdom Hearts III. So two concerns.
As an aside, pretty much everything that would make a great Kingdom Hearts Warriors is also applicable to Final Fantasy. I’d be excited to see an FF Warriors too, and that would be the more realistic option in regards to business and writing. But my strong personal attachment to the former plus KH’s previously established hack-and-slash nature make it my preferred choice. That, and I sort of want Kingdom Hearts Warriors more specifically because it’s a less realistic expectation. I like rooting for the underdog.
What series embodies the idea of extremely overpowered protagonists more than Dragon Ball Z or Super? With so many One Piece games under KT’s belt, it seems like expanding into the most iconic shonen series would be the next logical step. Combining the series’ penchants for flight and huge ki attacks could create fast-paced anime warfare on a scale larger than anything other Warriors games would even consider feasible. There could even be a mechanic where nearby units or officers can join up for group-based beam struggles as you fight tougher foes, emphasizing the importance of area control. Think of all the beam struggles! The one big obstacle to this idea is that Dragon Ball is iconic specifically for 1v1 showdowns, something that runs counter to the Warriors principle of armies clashing. The idea will always be a stretch on that principle alone; could you pitch a Warriors type experience to a core audience that expects and loves duels or small team skirmishes more than anything else out of this series? Recent DB spin-off games such as Fusions and Xenoverse have proven a willingness to create original storylines or rework existing ones for the sake of making a gameplay premise work, so… maybe? I’d be surprised if the thought never at least crossed Omega Force’s minds after three years of Pirate Warriors.
Okay, maybe this is my weirdest and least likely idea here. Full disclosure; despite my very kaiju-like avatar, I’ve never actually seen any Toho kaiju movies or played any related games. I’m fascinated by the monsters, I just don’t watch many movies. Godzilla games have won my curiosity plenty of times, but either by being out of my reach or by being disappointingly slow like Godzilla 2014, I’ve not played any of them yet. The atomic lizard and his frenemies have an extremely different dynamic with the armies they decimate than any traditional Warriors foundation, but I think that only opens up new opportunities to experiment with the formula. Chaining combos to swat armies of tiny enemies like flies? Changing the flow of battle by destroying the environment? Nyxing the typical 2-or-3-faction battles and instead juggling a kaiju free-for-all with hordes of tanks and helicopters harassing you all? It’d need careful planning to work as an entire game, but it’s not without precedent. Hyrule Warriors made playing as a giant boss monster feel great in the Ganon DLC, so why not take it a step further and build an entire game around that kind of roster? Also, this would be a chance to bring glory to the One True Best Girl, Mothra. I know this is a shamelessly silly idea, but so is making Opoona fight Zhao Yun. The age of 100% serious business is over. Embrace the silliness into your heart. Let the shenanigans flow around you. For quirkiness and fun shall conquer all.
And there you have it. A half dozen IPs that I’d like to see as Warriors games. What about you? Any confident expectations you have for future crossovers? Or wild fantasies you’d like to see come to life? I enjoy rambling and speculating about stuff like this for its own sake, so I’d love to hear what you think!