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Is 2014 The Year of Crossovers for Nintendo?
With The Year of Luigi soon coming to a close, one must wonder if Nintendo will focus on a different character in 2014. Even though Nintendo has said that the Year of Luigi will continue for some time into the new year, I believe they have other plans as well. Over the last few Nintendo Directs, Nintendo has made announcements concerning many of their properties. However, they have also made two distinct announcements that stand out to me that may hint at which direction Nintendo is looking to go for the next year.
First of all, we have Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, a crossover between the popular JRPG series Shin Megami Tensei and the tactical JRPG Fire Emblem. When this crossover was first announced, it struck me as an odd combination. I enjoy both series very much, but the gameplay styles seem too different for me to be fully on board with the idea. Will we be seeing SMT characters in a tactical light, or will our favorites from Fire Emblem be joining the heroes of SMT for a more mature tale? The lack of information about this game since its announcement leaves me a little worried, although I am still excited about the concept.
Secondly, there is the recently announced Hyrule Warriors (name not final). This game aims to take Link from the Legend of Zelda and twist the gameplay to a more Dynasty Warriors style. At first glance, this crossover seems doomed from the start, but after re-watching the trailer a few times, I am actually excited about the potential this game has by using the Zelda universe. The first thing I picked up on from watching the trailer a few times is that the game looks gorgeous, at least in its current state. The lush grasslands that surround Hyrule castle make for a great backdrop in every Zelda game, and since Hyrule Warriors will most likely be the first Wii U Zelda game in HD, it is no surprise that it looks so great. Secondly, the focus on combat that comes with any Dynasty Warriors spin-off may be a good change of pace for the series. Core Zelda games are almost always focused around solving puzzles, saving huge battles for the end of dungeons or side quests. Skyward Sword has incredible combat, in my opinion, and while I do not want to use a Wiimote to control Link in Hyrule Warriors, I hope they can touch upon the solid action that Nintendo always achieves with Zelda games.
Of course, we also have Super Smash Bros., the crossover of all crossovers. Starting with Brawl, Nintendo has brought in characters from third-parties, such as Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. The newest Smash Bros. will also see the introduction of Mega Man. The fact that Super Smash Bros. exists means that Nintendo has never been closed to the idea of crossovers, although this is the first time in recent memory that they have given their IPs to third-party developers in order to develop these types of games.
There are still a handful of days left in 2013 and we already know of three major crossover titles. Is this all a coincidence, or is it telling of what Nintendo plans to do in the next year? Either way, I am excited for the future of Nintendo and to see what course they decide to take.