We’re all living in a post-Fortnite world. The video game crossover is bigger than it’s ever been, and everyone is getting in on the action. Pirates of the Caribbean is coming to Sea of Thieves! Silent Hill is coming to Dead By Daylight! And there are new, increasingly crazy characters coming to Fortnite on a weekly basis. Almost nothing surprises us anymore. Almost nothing.
Today, we’re looking at the weirdest, most unlikely crossovers to ever appear in gaming. There’s some wild stuff we ultimately couldn’t fit onto this list — Mario and Sonic, together, at the Olympic Games?! It isn’t so unlikely now that Sega isn’t in the console business and hasn’t been for the better part of 20 years. Mario + Rabbids, one of the weirdest crossovers of all time, is actually getting a sequel, and the game is so great, it just seems like a natural fit to pair the weird little mascots with Mario.
There are tons of crossovers we want to talk about, so let us know about your favorite (or least favorite) promotions. Maybe there’s enough for a second list in the near future. The Company of Heroes WW2 RTS tank in Sonic All-Stars Racing is absolutely a strong candidate.
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#1. Kazuya [Super Smash Bros. Ultimate]
We’ve got to start this list with something big — a bizarre surprise that nobody was expecting at E3 2021. Kazuya, the anti-hero of Namco’s Tekken series of fighting games, makes his way onto Nintendo’s mega brawler Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I guess it was only a matter of time for a Tekken character to crossover. Super Smash has other fighting game icons like Ryu — Kazuya couldn’t just let that guy get all the glory. The trailer is hilarious, as Kazuya throws each fighter into the volcano, one-at-a-time, as he powers up into his Devil form. Tekken is a weird series that doesn’t take itself as seriously as its semi-realistic style seems to suggest, so that actually makes Kazuya a natural fit for Smash Bros.
#2. Mistborn [Fortnite]
Okay, we’re getting into the weirdo weeds now. Fortnite has so many crossover characters, I thought nothing could surprise me. Lara Croft. The Mandalorian. Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. If Epic released a trailer showcasing a playable Shrek skin next week, I don’t think it would surprise anyone.
But who saw this coming? Fortnite, out of nowhere, partnered with the Mistborn series of fantasy YA novels, so you can play as… Kelsier? He’s a thief-y looking guy in black that leaves no great impression. Most Fortnite players are just going to assume this guy is any other Season Pass skin. And not even one of the good ones. How did this happen?
It turns out that the writer of Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson) and the director of Fortnite (Donald Mustard) are friends. So they gave each other a cross-promotional pat on the back. That only way this makes any sense is if personal bribery was involved. If you’re a friend of Fortnite’s condiment-themed director, you too can get your low-rent YA fantasy heroes onto a global platform!
#3. Kratos [Mortal Kombat 9]
Kratos in Mortal Kombat 9 seems like a perfect fit. The God of War hero is exclusive to the PS3 version of MK9, and this isn’t Kratos’s only rodeo in the fighting game arena. Kratos also appeared as a playable character in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny for the PSP. His appearance in MK9 makes even more sense — Kratos does love to violently kill people, right?
The crossover is perfect corporate synergy, but the results are extremely weird. Sony, the publisher behind God of War, didn’t want Kratos to appear weak — so he wouldn’t scream, cower, or cry in agony if any of the game’s many (many) fatalities were used against him. In fact, there’s an extensive list of fatalities that are aggressively altered and edited so Kratos looks badass at all times. Why even include an unstoppable character like Kratos if we aren’t allowed to horribly mangle him while cackling like maniacs!
Future depictions of Kratos are a lot less precious with his sacred “cool” characterization. Now that Kratos is a put-upon dad, he’s way more open to humiliation.
#4. Yoda [Soulcalibur 4]
Soulcalibur is packed with guest characters. We can argue which are the weirdest — Spawn appeared in Soulcalibur 2, which is pretty dang weird. Then there’s Ezio from Assassin’s Creed and The Witcher, which are actually perfect fits for the historical / fantasy fighting game series. And on the opposite side of the spectrum is Yoda. Soulcalibur 4 includes up to three Star Wars characters — Darth Vader, Yoda, and Starkiller from The Force Unleashed, and seeing these futuristic sci-fi aliens next to samurai is just a surreal experience.
Out of all of them, Yoda is the most unlikely. First off, he’s tiny. This is Episode 2 Yoda, so he uses all those ridiculous flipping lightsaber moves to fight. The Soulcalibur Wiki reveals Yoda’s fighting style: Form IV, Ataru, Way of the Hawk-Bat. And I’m sure this is all documented in extreme detail in some Star Wars Extended Universe book series somewhere. Yoda is also one of the most broken characters in the series, able to turn people into mincemeat with his constant little jumps and spins. He’s also the shortest character in Soulcalibur by a country mile… most of your attacks are just going to sail right over Yoda’s tiny head. And yes, Yoda is completely immune to grabs, even from himself.
#5. Left 4 Dead 2 [Resident Evil 6]
Remember when Left 4 Dead 2 characters became playable in Resident Evil 6? No? Well, they absolutely did! The two zombie-infested series crossed over when Resident Evil 6 was ported to PC and sold via Steam. The big Steam version includes a crossover to valve’s influential 4-player cooperative zombie shooter — after a DLC download, of course.
All four main characters from Left 4 Dead 2 are playable in Resident Evil 6 Mercenaries Mode, which is like a bonus Time Attack / Survival Mode where you rack up points by defeating endless waves of monsters. Coach, Nick, Ellis and Rochelle are all fully compatible with the main cast. The PC-only DLC even adds two new monsters — the Witch and the Mini-Tank. These transplants from L4D2 appear in Mercenaries to mess you up even more than the weirdly vast bestiary of RE6.
#6. The Witcher [Monster Hunter: World]
The Witcher 3 was huge, y’all. The open-world RPG from CD Projekt Red absolutely ruled the gaming landscape in the PS4 / Xbox One era. The Witcher wasn’t just a streaming show on Netflix, it was everything video games aspired to be — and big games like Monster Hunter: World wanted to get in on that action in a real way. You don’t just have cutscenes with Geralt of Rivia, you actually get to take on one of the giant monsters in his world. The Leshen is a fully-modelled (and terrifying) monster that clashes hard with the less supernatural creatures you normally fight in Monster Hunter.
When you think about it, the Witcher is a natural fit for Monster Hunter: World. The Witcher Series is all about fighting big strange monsters — that’s what a Witcher does! They’re experts on supernatural critters that nobody knows how to deal with. That gives the Witcher an easy in, and the Leshen is an iconic nightmare that’s also fun to fight. Defeating it even gives you parts to build Witcher armor sets or exclusive weapons like the Silver Sword.
The Behemoth is also a pretty dang cool guest monster.
#7. Goat Simulator [Payday 2]
There’s something carny about the crossovers in Payday 2 — maybe it’s just how many of them there are, and how completely off-the-wall weird the choices are. I guess when you’re OVERKILL Software, you have to take what you can get in your extremely profitable cooperative shooter. There are cross promotions with the Point Break (2015) remake, Hotline Miami, Hardcore Henry, and Chivalry. Y’know, the medieval combat game? You can get medieval weapons to club people with!
But none of that is as weird as the Goat Simulator crossover. In the Goat Simulator Heist, the Payday Gang has to hunt wild goats that are running loose downtown, then travel to a barn to extract coke from the goat stomachs. The Barn map is straight out of the weird indie series Goat Simulator — in which you play as a glitched-out physics-driven goat that causes chaos. No, you don’t get to play as a goat in Payday 2, which is a huge missed opportunity.
#8. Chun-Li + Ryu [Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid]
A more modern crossover that’s only unlikely because of how cool it is. The Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid fighting game has slowly expanded from its humble iPhone origins, and now fighting game icons Ryu and Chun-Li suit-up for another two rounds. The crossover potential appeared years ago in Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, an app store game for iOS / Android — and the cool promotional video even showed off a totally rad unique Power Ranger outfit for Ryu.
That’s what makes Battle for the Grid so special. This isn’t just a boring crossover — Ryu and Chun-Li get their own Power Ranger transformations and abilities! They’re not just transplants dumped into the game. Some thought went into how to include these characters naturally. In the age of Fortnite crossovers, this almost never happens. I’m hoping the hype for Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid will lead to more fun twists on the standard crossover in the future.
#9. Pokemon + Nobunaga’s Ambition [Pokemon Conquest]
I can’t end this list without talking about the time Japanese Warring State generals settled their territorial differences by sending Pokemon into battle. That’s the premise of Pokemon Conquest, a Nintendo 3DS game that combined Pokemon with the Nobunaga’s Ambition series of handheld strategy games. In Japan, there are countless heroes and historical figures from this period — and now they’re all Pokemon trainers! It’s probably important to remember that Oda Nobunaga was a bloodthirsty warlord. And now he’s using cuddly Pokemon to fight his battles.
Okay, the game isn’t nearly that dark. It’s more like a cute what-if, with all the famous characters of the Warring States Period duking it out to reveal a Legendary Pokemon. You’ll be able to select a team of six Pokemon and then battle in grid-based, turn-based strategy combat. It’s a little like a Pokemon Final Fantasy Tactics, which actually sounds extremely rad the more I think about it.
#10. RE2 Heroes [Trick’N Snowboarder]
And we end this list with the silliest, weirdest crossover I’ve ever seen. Maybe it isn’t that weird to you, but this just tickles me. The dark heroes of Resident Evil 2, a violent horror game, take a break to ride the slopes in a forgotten PS1 snowboarding game. Published by Capcom, Trick’N Snowboarder is another in a long list of snowboarding games that attempted to capture that Tony Hawk Pro Skater magic.
Leon, Claire, and a Zombie Cop are all playable. I mean, just look at the footage from amazing Youtube Channel Resident Evil Junkie above. Look at the Zombie Cop, barely able to control his undead motor functions, shambolically performing tricks on an endless snowy half-pipe. This is the kind of crossover crap we can only pray for.
That’s just 10 of our favorite weird crossovers. Let us know your favorites! There are so many we couldn’t include here. And there’s always room for another list in the future.