It’s been eight long years since Marvel vs Capcom 2 hurled random fistfuls of comic-book and videogame characters at each other and made them fight, and since then there’s been alarmingly little cross-pollination between the two media. That suddenly changed this year, with the release of Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe and the Japan-only unveiling of Tatsunoko VS Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes.
Could this be the start of an emerging trend? We sure as hell hope so, and we’ve got a few ideas about where it should lead:
Potential roster – Dark Horse: The Goon, Matt Blurdy (The Helm), King Leonidas (300), Marshal Law, Hellboy and Abe Sapien (Hellboy), Big Guy, Ghost, Concrete, Empowered, Heath Huston (Fear Agent), Gigantic, Spaceboy and The Kraken (Umbrella Academy), Grendel, Miyamoto Usagi (Usagi Yojimbo), Groo, Martha Washington, Marv (Sin City), The Mask, Shi, Soldier American (The End League), X.
Potential roster – Namco: Gilgamesh (Tower of Druaga), Klonoa, KOS-MOS (Xenosaga), Pac-Man, Stahn Aileron (Tales of Destiny), Dig Dug; Astaroth, Ivy, Taki, Voldo, Sophitia, Mitsurugi and Yoshimitsu (Soulcalibur); Heihachi, Jin Kazama, King, Ling Xiaoyu, Marshall Law, Nina Williams and Paul Phoenix (Tekken); Rick Taylor (Splatterhouse), Valkyrie (The Adventure of Valkyrie: Legend of the Time Key)
Why it would work: Namco excels at creating fighting games, but so far the only dedicated mashup it’s produced has been Namco x Capcom, a Japan-only strategy RPG. This is wrong. What’s more, the company has been teasing us with its crossover potential for years, as Darth Vader, Yoda and Spawn have all made cameos in the Soulcalibur series.
Above: ZOMG IT'S LIKE SEEING DOUBLE
A genuine mashup is long overdue. As it happens, Namco has a little history with Dark Horse – the latter published a one-shot comic based on Dead to Rights in 2002 – and we could see a mascot- and fighter-heavy portfolio like Namco’s meshing nicely with Dark Horse’s diverse stable of ultraviolent weirdos. With both companies at the top of their respective game, we can’t think of any two publishers we’d rather see partner up and kick each others’ teeth out.
Above: Grendel's lightning speed and elegant manner seems like a perfect complement to Ivy's fighting style and personality. Better her than Raphael, anyway
Besides, Hellboy’s due to appear in a decent game, both sides would have guys named Marshal (or Marshall) Law and we really, really want to see a screaming King Leonidas make a suicide charge against KOS-MOS’ giant chainguns. For that matter, imagine the sort of breathtaking violence you could unleash as Groo, Miyamoto Usagi or Sin City’s Marv using Soulcalibur’s fighting system. Or, hell, imagine making those characters burst using Dig Dug’s pump. Tell us that doesn’t sound like a good time.
Potential roster – Archie: Archie Andrews, Sonic the Hedgehog, Scourge the Hedgehog, Shadow the Hedgehog, Bunny Rabbot, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Mr. Weatherbee, Julie-Su, Moose Mason, Knuckles, Reggie Mantle, Ms. Grundy, Pop Tate, Prof. Flutesnoot, Mrs. Beazly.
Potential roster – Sega: Sonic the Hedgehog, Shadow the Hedgehog, Knuckles, Alex Kidd, AiAi (Super Monkey Ball), some zombie (House of the Dead), Hotsuma (Shinobi), Kazuma Kiryu (Yakuza), NiGHTs, Beat (Jet Set Radio), Ulala (Space Channel 5), Werewolf (Altered Beast), Dr. Robotnik; Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant and Pai Chan (Virtua Fighter).
Why it would work: Don’t roll your eyes – Sega and Archie Comics have enjoyed 15 years of collaboration, almost all of it on the long-running Sonic the Hedgehog comic book, so it makes perfect sense for them to work together in the event of Sega suddenly wanting to make a mashup. What’s more, that Sonic comic follows its own canon, separate from the games and several times more convoluted. Its version of Super Sonic has attained godlike powers. Its version of Knuckles has gone through a couple of drastic changes, one of which almost destroyed the comic’s world. And its cast is somehow bursting with even more ridiculous animal characters than the games. With all that in mind, there’d be no real reason why each side couldn’t have its own version of the blue hedgehog and his assorted hangers-on.
Above: Ordinary game Sonic, meet overpowered comic-book Sonic
In all seriousness, though, this one would probably never happen, because as much as we adore the idea of Jughead uppercutting NiGHTs through a ceiling, Archie has a strict policy of never portraying its characters in violent situations. Still, though… Veronica looks like she could hold her own in a fight, Moose has all the makings of a lumbering brawler and you just know Mr. Weatherbee and Dr. Robotnik would make for a vicious final-boss tag-team. We understand where Archie is coming from. We’re just saying it’s wasted potential, is all.
Potential roster – Slave Labor Graphics: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Georgina Riley (Murder Family/DORK), Devi (I Feel Sick), Rex Libris, Hsu and Chan, Lenore and Ragamuffin (Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl), Dr. Radium, Jesse Sanchez (Street Angel), Milk & Cheese, Fillerbunny, Vanth Dreadstar (Dreadstar), Samurai Penguin.
Potential roster – Killer Instinct: TJ Combo, Jago, Spinal, Chief Thunder, Fulgore, Cinder, Glacius, Sabrewulf, Riptor, Gargos, B. Orchid, Kim Wu, Maya, Tusk.
Why it would work: Killer Instinct is dark, violent, relatively obscure and beloved by its fans. Slave Labor Graphics, meanwhile, is known mainly for publishing comics that are dark, often violent, relatively obscure and beloved by their fans. The two are perfect for each other. Granted, there hasn’t been a new game in the KI series since 1996’s Killer Instinct Gold for the N64, but that hasn’t stopped fans from spending the last few years not-so-quietly begging developer Rare to make another sequel. Now that Mortal Kombat has made its current-gen debut in a crossover game (MK: Armageddon for the Wii doesn’t count), the time is ripe for Killer Instinct to do the same.
Why cross over with Slave Labor Graphics in particular? Because we want to do horrible things to Tusk as Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, go toe-to-toe with Fulgore as Milk and/or Cheese and smack Fillerbunny around as just about anyone else. And also we want to hear that announcer scream “C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!” while we do.