As an active fanboy of many entertainment mediums, the idea of crossing over one franchise with another has always captivated me along with millions of others. Popularity amongst universe-building storylines like the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes this evident. Even as a youngster, comic book cross-over specials fueled my imagination. There’s just something so intrinsically thrilling when our favorite characters come together in a spectacular fashion.
Nintendo has seemingly caught on to this phenomenon to a degree. The Switch has enabled broader third-party cooperation with its rampant success. At first, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s Switch port allowed the adventurous Dragonborn to traverse the lands of Skyrim in Link’s digs from Breath of the Wild. Collaborations have only gotten deeper from there. Nintendo turned a corner the day that the legendary Nintendo developer, Shigeru Miyamoto, shared the E3 stage with Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, to introduce Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. It was at this moment, that Nintendo Switch fans like myself foresaw a future of possibilities.
Since then, we’ve seen an entire level structure complete with Mario features in Minecraft. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will continue the tradition of licensed fighters within the game. Exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, a new toys-to-life space dogfighting game from Ubisoft, will share the world with Nintendo’s Star Fox. These crossovers are not the first Nintendo collaborations with other developers. But, they do represent a more intensive focus on Nintendo’s fairly new platform by outside game creators.
The question now stands: what are the possibilities? Here are my top three picks for potential future Nintendo collaborations.
Crash Bandicoot and Mario
Just think about it for a moment. The mascot of PlayStation’s origin era coming together with the most well-known character in Nintendo history is really quite a trip. Both characters have made their mark in the platforming genre. Furthermore, we’ve seen the wild commercial success of Crash’s return.
As Forbes noted earlier this year, Activision incurred very little in marketing expenses for Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Yet, the title flew off the shelves. Just a month ago, the famous bandicoot made his debut on the Nintendo Switch. It’s not so far flung to think that Activision could strike a deal to collaborate with Nintendo. Despite the old PlayStation trilogy, Activision has actually released other Crash games for the Wii, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS since acquiring the license. With Super Mario Odyssey and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy topping charts last year, it almost seems like a no-brainer if both parties involved broached the subject.
Technically-speaking, the game could adopt the linear level design of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy or go to a free-roaming style like both characters have done in more modern games. Both characters could easily fit into either mold, and I’d be thrilled to see the pairing.
Ratchet & Clank & Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong
This seems to be another match made in heaven. Before you oppose the idea based on a difference in setting, just hear me out. Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank is, perhaps, one of the best sci-fi buddy adventures in the modern age. The game ages well as the remake from a couple years back has shown us. Ratchet and Clank are two characters who have abilities to tackle different circumstances in a free-roaming world.
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong is a partnership that I feel could mirror that. My vision would involve the 3D free-roaming style of Ratchet & Clank. So, the Kong duo would have to shift from their current side-scrolling comfort zone. Additionally, it’d be easy enough in the outlandish universe of Ratchet & Clank for a Blargian businessman (similar to Drek) to travel the universe, find Earth (or whatever planet we presume the Kongs inhabit), and capture “exotic” creatures from other planets, such as the Kongs, to cash in on. It’s not outside of the realm of Ratchet & Clank stories by any stretch. It practically writes itself. Furthermore, it could still be a multi-platform Ratchet & Clank game, but Nintendo could collaborate on this piece of exclusive Donkey Kong content similar to the Starlink and Star Fox crossover.
Mega Man and Metroid
Mega Man 11 is almost upon us. While I can’t be considered one of the series’ more ardent fans, I do have fond memories of Mega Man on my NES. I can’t exactly pitch a story that would legitimately bring our favorite blue robot and intergalactic bounty hunter together. But, I do have a soft spot for both of the original 1980’s classics.
I’d simply love to see the two come together in a similar 2.5D fashion. Of course, the latest console adventures of Samus Aran have taken us on first-person and third person journeys. Metroid Prime 4 has already been officially announced for the Nintendo Switch, yet we know nothing about it. While Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS marked a return to side-scrolling gameplay, it’d be nice to see this return to form on the console as well. Even if only for a brief, nostalgic moment. The gameplay between the classic side-scrollers is similar in such a way, that Samus could simply be included as a Nintendo Exclusive skin or option for an upcoming Mega Man title. Just think if the game even included retro-inspired pixelated versions of Samus and Mega Man. And, who knows, perhaps the two could even interact in a special story sequence exclusive to Nintendo consoles.
Bonus: Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart
I felt like it’d be cheating if I used this in my top 3 as I already have Crash on the list. However, Crash Team Racing was actually a solid game on the PlayStation. I haven’t encountered any other kart-racing game that has come close to matching the fun I’ve experienced in Mario Kart over the years (Yes, there are more and many of them are not good).
If Activision were to resurrect Crash Team Racing, exclusive Mario Kart content for the Switch would be another no-brainer. Perhaps, one or two Mario racers and a Mario Kart themed track could encompass this content. Likewise, this could always go the other way. Nintendo could attempt to secure the Crash license for an upcoming Mario Kart game much in the same fashion that Super Smash Bros. has secured third-party licenses.
The possibilities are endless, and it’s my hope that Nintendo pursues them with vigor! What are your ideas for future Nintendo crossovers or collaborations? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
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Accountant by day, video games enthusiast by night. Somewhere in between all of that, I’m a husband, dad, and generally a giant man-child, too. If a game is all about action, there’s a safe bet I’m playing it. I started laying waste to virtual worlds as a youngin’ on the ol’ Atari and haven’t stopped since.