Like a lot of kids, I ended up having quite the collection of action figures. It was rare for me to focus on one set of figures, though. Instead of just collecting Batman figurines or getting all of the Transformers that I could get my hands on, I instead had an eclectic mix of all the series I liked at the time. Thanks to my active imagination, this meant that I often saw Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” taking on “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (the 90s were a wonderful time when you didn’t know that all your heroes were racist) in fictional bouts of simulated sport.
Sure, some of these weird toy battles weren’t any stranger than what was actually happening at wrestling promotions during the era (after all, World Championship Wrestling had RoboCop involved in a match), but I think I took it to the extreme when I added Dragon Ball Z characters into the mix. I spent dozens of hours wondering about these “what if” battles, and then reenacting them to the best of my ability (you can only do so much with a figure when it has limited movement). After all, could Goku really survive a leg drop from the man that slammed Andre the Giant?
Fast forward to 2017, and now many of these fantastic battles don’t have to stay within my imagination. I still might not be able to have superheroes battle my favorite wrestlers (here’s to hoping that changes!), but I can have a Xenomorph battle Leatherface in Mortal Kombat X. There’s something beautiful about something that’s so ridiculous, and soon I’ll be able to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight Superman. That certainly beats watching them fight Casey Jones in Tournament Fighters on the SEGA Genesis.
Crossovers have a long history in fighting games, especially in the fan community. It’s one of the main reasons why M.U.G.E.N. became popular on PC, as the community created practically every character imaginable for the game. Sure, the game was horribly balanced when you’re dealing with so many different creations, but it was still special to see all of these characters interacting.
Now I don’t have to settle for poorly tuned create-a-characters, as high-profile fighting game crossovers are becoming the norm. It’s been this way for a few years, as we’ve seen horror icons like Freddy Krueger make their way into Mortal Kombat, and Soulcalibur has managed to bring everyone from Legend of Zelda protagonist Link to Star Wars‘ Darth Vader and Yoda into their fights. Despite this, it feels like it’s getting even more ridiculous in 2017, as just this week it was announced that Final Fantasy XV‘s Noctis was coming to Tekken 7 (which also features Street Fighter‘s Akuma and Geese Howard from Fatal Fury), and that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming to Injustice 2 (a game that features DC superheroes, Hellboy, and Mortal Kombat‘s Sub-Zero & Raiden).
Things have gotten ridiculous to a new level, and I absolutely love it. It used to be that these types of crossovers were few and far between. Sure, you occasionally saw a game based around it (like Marvel vs. Capcom or the upcoming BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle), but now even more traditional fighters are giving us a taste. As someone that is largely fascinated with the ridiculous (it’s probably why I still follow professional wrestling), I can’t think of anything more exciting for my favorite genre to be doing.
Fighting games are making many of my childhood dreams come to fruition, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. These types of crossovers don’t only provide a larger potential audience to be interested in a game. In fact, I’ve seen several people mention that they’re interested in playing both Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 due to these announcements. This is a tremendously smart way for the genre to grow, and I really hope that these type of fighting game crossovers continue.