Ever since 2012 saw the Avengers assemble on the big screen, crossovers have become a dime a dozen. From big Hollywood universes, TV properties, and even to videogames. Devil May Cry’s Dante turning up in Monster Hunter World, Persona 4 characters holding their own in BlazeBlue, and all of Super Smash Brothers has given us videogame fanatics a healthy dose of universe blending fan service. However, there is one crossover that has yet to be done even though it, A) makes the most sense, B) is easy to make happen, and C) would just be really damn cool. And the idea for the ultimate crossover is the kart racer to end all kart racers starring the heroic Mario, the speed addict Sonic, and that loveable bandicoot Crash.
But we already have Sonic and Mario meet up for the Olympic Games, and Super Smash Brothers lets the two fight it out with countless other videogame icons, why would this multi-dimensional kart racer be the ultimate crossover? Well, that’s simply because kart racing is the perfect genre for such a momentous event. Many see Smash as the be all and end all of videogame crossovers, and while it is a hell of a lot of fun, it sometimes feels weird to see a gritty and hard-boiled super spy by the name of Snake beating on a villager from Animal Crossing who has nothing but a net to defend themselves with. That’s without mentioning putting the wholesome and very PG Peach next to the sexually charged figure of Bayonetta. The tones and themes of the multitude of characters in Smash often conflict creating both amazing and awkward feeling results. But here you’d have none of that. Each of the mascot heroes taking part in this race of the ages already has a respectable kart racer or two in their franchise, meaning seeing them in karts drifting around the tight corners won’t be a jarring sight (unlike seeing the Wii Fit Trainer school Ike from Fire Emblem in how to K.O.).
Boiling the three franchises down into a simple kart racer is kind of boring though. Each character would lose their individuality and just become red version of kart 1 driven by a plumber. Or would it? Each mascot’s racing game has very different mechanics. Sonic relies heavily on unlimited drifting, Crash makes drifting into a rhythm game, and Mario uses drifts to create short bursts of needed speed. The differences don’t stop at drifting though: Sonic’s last outing in Team Sonic Racing has a very team oriented structure where the leader’s slip stream heavily boosts your racing companions and Mario can hold multiple items at once. The different games’ items can be shared because seeing Crash use a red shell is just awesome, but who says these differing play styles have to go away for a crossover? why not have each one’s mechanics tied to their characters.
Obviously some balancing would have to be done by people a lot smarter than me, but imagine a kart racer that has three distinct ways to play that both highlight the best of each mascot’s games and makes playing each set of character feel like a whole new experience. It would be hard to pull off, but done well this would create possibly the most interesting kart racer yet that really puts the participating mascots against one another, not just by putting Crash next to Mario, but also by pitting each one’s racing mechanics against each other to see who comes out on top.
The interesting distinctions between the racers don’t stop at their mechanics either. Even though each was created in the hopes of capturing the same success that Nintendo had found with Mario, each mascot’s personality is wildly unique. Mario is the goody two-shoes always wanting to help out no matter how many damn castles he has to go to, Sonic is the try hard cool kid who just wants to be the fastest, and Crash is a loveable idiot who never really knows what’s going on but seems to get out of situations alright nonetheless. Seeing these three titans of the industry interacting in a hilariously self-aware adventure mode that feels like the best Saturday morning cartoon ever would be an utter blast to play through for any fan of even just one of these beloved characters.
If the driving mechanics clashing and getting to see Sonic and Mario have a conversation while Crash gets distracted by a butterfly hasn’t sold you on this idea, then just think about the tracks they could make for this universe hopping grand prix. Starting at Crash’s beach house, cruising through to Sonic’s lush green hill and over to the doorstep of yet another castle Mario has to navigate through, the possibilities for creativity are endless. Best of all the three’s cartoony styles would blend seamlessly together, creating a cohesive and vibrant set of tracks to blaze your way around.
What’s even more infuriating is that all of these franchises have games on the Switch, and as said earlier, Sonic and Mario have been seen in multiple games together already, so why hasn’t this happened yet? With the release and overwhelmingly positive critical reception of the remade Crash Team Racing maybe this dream is one step closer to becoming reality. But do you agree that this would be the ultimate videogame crossover? Comment your thoughts and ideas below.