Monday, 21 April 2014

When Game Universes Collide

This post went live on Forces Of Geek, Thursday 10th April 2014. I often find myself wondering what if my favourite video game characters crossed paths (I guess that's an inherent part of being a fangirl?) and I also like to find links connecting their universes; this article focused on those thoughts...minus the weird fan-fiction-esque ones...*ahem* Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece as it was fun to write and I genuinely love hearing what other people have to say so if you have any game universe mashups, that's what the comments section is for.

It saddens me to admit I haven’t got around to purchasing a next-gen console as yet. I imagine this will change before the year is out, with the release of so many huge titles as next-gen exclusives. And yet the Wii U isn’t even a close contender. Regular readers will know how much I love Nintendo but my monies are finite and precious, can’t be squandering them on the same five characters. Now it’s announced that the latest Sonic title, Sonic Lost World has two DLC maps: Yoshi’s Island Zone and The Legend Of Zelda Zone. I might just cry. 

Now, when I was a kid, the idea of crossing Sega and Nintendo was about the same likelihood as seeing Batman Vs Captain America on film. But here we are. And it’s got me thinking about The Avengers effect - the idea that crossing over multiple characters/franchises equals BIG success. 

So, who’s to say what other characters or titles could share the same universe? We already know Portal and Half-Life share some sort of existence alongside Left 4 Dead, as does Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire and Grand Theft Auto (...probably).

God Of War Golf, anyone?
Here’s a few mashup thoughts that I had that almost make sense (of course some game series' like Bioshock and Assassin's Creed have infinite time lines and potential crossovers due to their story lines so I have omitted them from my game universe mashups):

Silent Hill / Dead Space
Okay, this is a bit of a cheap one, considering Dead Space is effectively Silent Hill in space but go with me here. Silent Hill was set in the present/late nineties and over a series of games managed to lure in several citizens to confront their inner demons and face a grisly demise at the hands of some really messed up demons. All of this, arguably, at the hands of The Order, who worship entities of The Otherworld, led by their faith’s god, which usually takes the form of a woman. 

Now jump ahead hundreds of years to 2414 and Isaac Clarke is responding to a mysterious distress signal.. aboard an abandoned ship.. where his girlfriend is stationed.. and a strange object has turned everyone into multiple limbed freaks. Isaac Clarke is basically James Sunderland. Boom. Silent Hill and Dead Space, same universe. Who’s up next?

Dead Space and Silent Hill or should that be Silent Space or Dead Hill?

Command and Conquer / Halo
Another fairly easy one for you. The Global Defense Initiative in C&C and the United Nations Space Command in Halo are the same military force at different points in time. After defeating Kane and his religious army The Brotherhood Of Nod, the GDI unite the globe and ascend into space with their newest extension the UNSC, only to make contact with more religious fanatics, this time in the form of the Covenant. Best way to confirm this point? 

Check out the vehicles from both games and tell me they’re not feasible evolutions of the same design: ORCA Assault Craft - AV14 Hornet, CC-6 Pitbull - M12 LRV Warthog, MBT-6 Predator Tank - Scorpion Tank (added connection here being NOD’s Scorpion logo), Titan Mk II - Mantis 97115, need I go on?

Did the GDI become the UNSC? All vehicles point to yes.
Skyrim / Minecraft
Most of us know that Skyrim is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls series but I’m specifically referring to just Skyrim here. Let’s say in the world of Minecraft, a universe of infinite possibilities and construction (not to mention infinite caves and death) the creators constructed what they believed to be the perfect map, the height of all their potential. And after decades.. centuries of building and rebuilding, they finally reached their greatest achievement. So what did they do? Abandoned their abilities and channelled everything into one pickaxe, burying it at the top of the highest mountain peak. The original Minecraft citizens live their lives and limit themselves to simple wooden and stone structures, having families, dying and slipping into legend. 

Cut to centuries later and one dragon born warrior, scaling the Throat Of The World (the highest mountain peak) and discovers a unique enchanted Notched Pickaxe which raises the wielder’s smithing abilities and does 5 shock damage to enemies on hit. Thus becoming the most powerful being on the planet! Sure, some could say it has something to do with dragon blood but I’m telling you... PICKAXE POWER!

Pokémon / Final Fantasy VII
It’s really not hard to see the shared universe here, both games feature characters with impossibly perfect hair however the resemblance of the Pokémon and FFVII universe goes much further. In the post-credits sequence of FFVII, Red XIII is seen running wild and free with his offspring, the once industrial landscape is awash with greenery. But surely with all this growing life, there are going to be infinitely more random encounters. 
After several decades, it wouldn’t take long before someone would suggest “Why don’t we domesticate and train all the animals we encounter - like the Chocobo.” Over time this would expand and there would be those that capture these creatures for biological reasons and those who would capture them to battle in huge arenas. Or put another way, Pokémon.

And if that’s not enough for you, just take every apocalyptic game out there, such as The Last Of Us, Fallout 3, Metro 2033, Wasteland and simply space them out to different eras on the same barren planet. These games share a common ground which is why they are the least surprising. If post-apocalypse games were put into a venn diagram, there’d be very little that didn’t crossover other than the cause of the apocalypse itself. Fallout 3 and Metro 2033 see survivors living underground and in Wasteland, the player is one of the few remaining members of the US Army scavenging for resources, much like...the NCR in Fallout New Vegas. Hardly revelations but the links are all there!
As our world gets smaller (oh, globalisation you fiend!) and the number of inevitable crossovers grows, it will be interesting to see what other game universes collide or at least share the potential to. If you have any other examples of games sharing the same universe, put them in the comments below, I’d love to see more!

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