Remember when you were a child, playing with your favorite action figures? When you had GI Joe and Superman team up to stop the nefarious schemes of Dr. Doom and a brainwashed Goku (I had/have a very creative mindscape)? Wasn't it great, being able to see all of your favorite childhood characters team up to go on wonderful adventures together? Sure it was.
And you think it's going to be forever. But then, reality attacks. It's swift, and sudden, and no matter how hard you prepare, you never see it coming.
All of a sudden, your crossover playtime was over, and men carrying heavy briefcases charge in your room and slam countless licensing laws in your face! They destroy your perfect toyland utopia, all because you had a Marvel property hanging out with a DC one. It sucks, but in the world we live in, there are franchising rights. Rights that prohibit certain characters and franchises from ever acknowledging each other's existence.
As kids, we all couldn't wait to grow up and see our favorite icons duking it out or joining forces to stop an equal threat; only to learn that it will never happen. You don't know how broken up I was when I realized that Winnie the Pooh: Space Warrior would never sacrifice himself to rescue a kidnapped Luke Skywalker...
But now, that strange scenario of mine is 100% possible! Thanks to the sandbox game Disney Infinity, I can have Star Wars, Marvel AND Disney characters do whatever I want them to do in one unified toy box! Since Disney now owns Marvel and LucasFilms, it's totally legal too.
But what about those characters that aren't under the same multimillionaire company umbrella? What if I want to see The Incredible Hulk get in to an arm wrestling competition with King Kong while Godzilla referees?! Well, while that might have been literally impossible a few years ago, it's less so now.
Media Rights Are Getting Tossed To The Side...Sorta
A few years ago, if you asked someone if the above image could ever be a possible idea, they'd shut you down. But if you asked someone today, they might say it's a small possibility. As long as you aren't talking about a film adaption. While strict film rights prohibit an awesome Hulk v. Godzilla v. King Kong battle royale, there's still a slight chance that we could all enjoy that epic monster battle in the form of, say, a comic book or videogame.
See, media rights aren't as strict as they used to be. While you'll likely never see the Predator take on Jason Vorhees in a film, it's already happened in Mortal Kombat X. That's because companies have started to become more lenient with what they allow their characters to be in. They've started to finally listen to the fans, and give us what we want; our favorite characters fighting with and/or against each other!
To be fair, any crossover has always been possible, so long as both sides agree to it. But up until now, a company would hardly even sit down with another to discuss it; such a thing was practically taboo in the industry world. After all, a crossover could ruin your image if it goes wrong. But now, more and more companies are willing to work with each other to bring the fans what they desire! Don't believe me? That's hurtful, I'm hurt.
But now couldn't be a better time to prove it to you! Day 1 of San Diego Comic-Con just happened, and with it came some pretty cool announcements. Some of which happen to be multi-company crossover projects that we can't wait to get our hands on; no matter what form they come in! Here are four upcoming crossovers that say nay to the laws of media rights!
Toy Soldiers: War Chest!
The first item on the list is one that is literally one step away from being an actual representation of my childhood! Toy Soldiers: War Chest, the third game in the Toy Soldiers game series is pure nostalgia. It brings you back to the days where you'd play with those little green soldiers. You know the ones, the soldiers that were such a big part of the first Toy Story.
Sure, they didn't move, due to their feet being permanently stuck to some sort of green base; but that didn't stop you from having a good time with them! The Toy Soldiers games bring those times to the next level! Multiple factions, tons of cool weapons and awesome vehicles galore!
But War Chest is set to knock all of those other soldier-based sandbox style shooter games out of the park! How? By adding iconic toys from our childhood of course! Like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for instance.
Characters from He-Man will be available as a new faction in the game. But just having the He-Man universe crossover with that of some nameless toy soldiers isn't enough to warrant an inclusion on this list. So what is? How about characters from GI Joe and Assassins Creed that's what!
Since GI Joe and He-Man practically dominated the toy boxes of little kids everywhere, it makes sense that they'd both be joining the battle in War Chest. And since Ubisoft is developing the game, you know they had to slip in some of their own properties as well. The result is a high-octane, action-filled, explosive war featuring a crossover-fest that no even knew they wanted!
Technically, Toy Soldiers: War Chest doesn't come with this overdose of nostalgia and crossover madness, you'll have to get the coveted Hall of Fame edition if you want to pit Ezio Auditore de Firenze against Storm Shadow. Before you leave this tab to go pre-order the game, check out the gameplay video below to see just how much awesomeness you'll be getting yourself in to!
And stick around, there's still more cool crossover stuff to check out.
Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War!
Ever looked at Star Trek and thought it needed more super-powered beings with extraterrestrial abilities bestowed upon them by a magical ring that can emit a beacon of pure shape-shifting energy? Alternatively, have you ever looked at Green Lantern and thought that it needed more dudes in awesome turtlenecks with tiny and admittedly kind of weak photon blasters; at least when compared to every other sci-fi weapon ever made?
Well then this epic crossover is for you! The Spectrum War sees the JJ Abrams version of the Enterprise crew teaming up with Hal Jordan and his Lantern Corps pals to stop a dark and powerful evil. You know, the usual formula for a crossover.
This isn't the first time Star Trek has crossed over with a group of comic book heroes (that award goes to Star Trek/X-Men), but it's certainly the first time it's been done on this scale. The Enterprise crew meets and greets the Lantern Corps before getting their hands on some power rings of their own.
Yep, Kirk, Spock and the others get to become honorary Green Lanterns! If that isn't enough nerdiness to make you implode, then you sir might be a robot. Though it likely isn't canon, it's still awesome to see the crew of the USS Enterprise side by side with the protectors of the universe themselves!
Also, Kirk is played by Chris Pine in the movies, who just so happens to be a rumored frontrunner for Hal Jordan in the new Green Lantern movie. This isn't 'Cinema Conspiracy' or anything, but I'm just sayin....
Street Fighter Meets...GI Joe?
Toy Soldiers: War Chest isn't the only surprise, crazy crossover that we've subconsciously been dreaming about all our lives! It also isn't the only one that GI and his Joes are part of.
It was announced this SDCC that the worlds of Street Fighter and GI Joe would collide in an all new six-issue comic series by IDW Publishing! The comic is set to release in 2016. Though it sounds bizarre now, the crossover makes sense when you consider how much the two franchises have in common. What do they have in common, you ask?
Well, they both feature a mixed cast of characters from different parts of the world, all of whom are seasoned fighters somehow! And they both feature a main villain who would rather confront their enemies in a fist fight, rather then use the dozens of armed soldiers they have access to!
Speaking of villains with poor planning, the antagonists in question have teamed up to defeat their respective enemies, so the Joes and the...plethora of actually good Street Fighter characters have to join forces to take them down! There hasn't been much story information regarding the comic, yet.
But you can expect to see cool crossover showdowns like M. Bison vs GI Joe and Vega vs. Snake Eyes! And for those of you wishing, praying and rubbing old dusty lamps for this to become a videogame series, fret not. Nothing's been announced yet, but with the success of this comic, we may just get a cool Street Fighter X GI Joe fighting game. Capcom has to fill the vacant spot left by Marvel vs Capcom with something right?
LEGO Dimensions Is Nerd Incarnate!!
Ok, you know all of the other items on this list? Yeah, forget them. Sure, you can play your He-Man and Assassins Creed toy box game, and you can read your Green Lantern/Star Trek and Street Fighter/GI Joe comic books until the pages tear off. But as cool as those crossovers are, they will NEVER be on the same league as Lego's insanely successful money-making, game changing videogame—Lego Dimensions!
Have you ever wanted to trek across the world of Middle-Earth as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz? Have you ever wanted to see Batman team up with the Doctor from Doctor Who? Has your lifelong dream been to see Bart Simpson and Marty McFly travel through time together, riding hoverboards and drinking soda like frat bros?! Well, that's kind of weird. But it's all totally, 100% possible!
Lego Dimensions is Lego's answer to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity series. It's the same mechanic, using toys with NFC chips in them to bring the characters to life on-screen, but so much cooler.
The game uses actual Lego pieces as character figures, pieces you can take apart and build into something new! In fact, building things out of other things is required to progress in the game. It's all the fun of experimenting with different Lego parts as a kid, mixed with impressive gameplay and stunning graphics!
And while Disney Infinity lets you have a spaceship battle between Yoda and Rocket Raccoon, Lego Dimensions lets you have aerial battles between Cyborg and Legolas atop the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz! The game isn't even out yet and it's already boasting an impressive amount of franchises in its arsenal. DC, Lord of the Rings, Ninjago, The Simpsons, Scooby Doo, Doctor Who, the list goes on!
Remember at the beginning of this article, when I was talking about how great it was seeing all of our favorite characters join forces in our minds as we played with our collection of action figures? Well Lego is bringing that back, with close to no limitations! The only thing that can hold you back from revisiting the childhood wonder sections of your mind is you!
Now again, before you run off to pre-order the game, here's a video to get you even more hyped. I'm warning you now though, you're going to want to watch this in a location where you can safely scream at the top of your lungs and jump up and down.
So as you can see, we're slowly ushering into a new era. One where companies aren't so stingy with their popular franchises, and are willing to work together to achieve their mutual goal of pleasing their millions of fans!
We may never see Hal Jordan and Captain Kirk join forces on the big screen. Nor will we see Bruce Wayne show up on a future episode of Doctor Who. But comics and videogames? Those have become metaphorical (and in some cases, literal) playgrounds for companies to mingle and cooperate! No matter what new crossovers we may get in the future, one thing is for sure.
It's a dang good time to be a nerd!