Today, is a very special day, for me at least. Today marks my 100th article for Toy-TMA.com. Hooray for me! For the last two years, writing for this site has given me an outlet to work on something I love. Thank you to all my readers out there who have allowed me to share my passions. I appreciate every bit of it. Originally, as my former Editor Chris pointed out in his final article, I had intended on retiring myself after my 100th article. While this was true at the time, I have come to realize I may not be done with this site just yet. So until Brian and our moderators can solidify us some new passionate writers to take the helm, I’m not leaving this ship unattended.
Anyway, moving on to the subject of the day. Remember that thing called E3 happened last week? Yeah, me too. I also specifically remember telling Sony I’d be keeping an eye on their Smash Bros. style fighting game, Play Station All Stars Battle Royale (yeah, I know, a bit of a longwinded name. They probably should have just named it Battle Royale.) Funny thing, over a year ago, I did an article titled Top 5 Franchises that Should Get a Smash Bros Spinoff, and Sony Computer Entertainment was Number 3 on that list. It’s not every day one of your gaming fantasies actually comes to life, so this is a bit of a dream title for me.
While I could reminisce on my opinions of what I’ve seen so far, how I’d like Superbot Entertainment to further pursue this project, and whether or not I think the actual game will be any good, today I’m going to dive head first into what many believe to be the key ingredient to any fighting games success: having a big diverse roster of characters. So, as the true blue Sony fan that I am, which ultimately got me this job in the first place, here is my own personal Top 10 Most Wanted Characters for PSASBR (That’s its abbreviation from now on). And while I’m at it, I will also be going in detail on how I think each of these characters would play.
The following characters will be presented in order from “might as well already be confirmed,” to “very likely won’t show up, but most definitely should.”
What happens when you combine the perfect concoction of cuteness and awesomeness into one small package of yarn? Sony’s latest mascot for the PS3, and the first culprit on my most wanted characters list. Sackboy is definitely a no brainer, especially given that a Little Big Planet level has already been displayed in the demos, so he’s definitely in.
As for how I could see him playing, well Sackboy is choc-full of unique gadgets he can use in a fighter game. He’s got his paintball gun, grapple hook, even his lasso which is normally used in the game to place stickers and stuff could be altered in this game to be used as a weapon to whip or reel people in. In Smash Bros. Peach has this one attack where she will randomly hit people with either a frying pan, a tennis racket, or a golf club. In LBP, the players are able to accessorize Sackboy with a variety of blunt objects, like wooden swords, magic wands, and frying pans again, so the developers should be able to have a lot of fun coming up with unique attacks for him. For his super moves, I can certainly see him gaining access to his robot animal buddies from the Avalonia Stage of LBP2, if only to bring in his trusty steed; a camel that spits lasers.
If there is any character that Sony has under their belt that is hotwired for fighting game potential, it is this guy. In fact, Cole McGrath has already made his debut in the fighting game genre earlier this year, duking it out with Ryu and Heihachi in Street Fighter X Tekken. While there hasn’t been any specific hints of his appearance in the game, I wouldn’t doubt it for a second. Sly Cooper, another Sucker Punch character, is already confirmed, so it would only make sense to include him as well.
Cole’s wide spread of visceral lightning techniques is all the creators could ask for. If they really needed any pointers on how to make a balanced electric based fighter, I suppose they need look no further than Pikachu on Smash Bros. Cole’s supers would obviously include his ionic thunder storm attack, or the tornado move from the sequal, or maybe even his freeze and drain techniques if they choose to create both the good and evil iterations of Cole who have the Ice/Dark powers respectively.
Ratchet [and Clank] / Jak [and Daxter]
I love these guys. Their trilogies were the first games I picked up when I bought my PS2, and they alone were reason enough for me to place the PS2 as one of the greatest consoles ever made. Therefore, they are my own personal Must Have characters. Seeing as there have already been confirmed stages (Metropolis and Sandover Village) based on both of their franchises, and seeing as Sly, technically the third of Sony’s Big 3 heroes, is already present, I’m pretty sure I have nothing to worry about.
To clarify, Ratchet and Jak make two more on the list, yet I will refrain from listing their sidekicks. This is because it is rather ambiguous whether Clank and Daxter will be their own individual characters in the game, or just be support characters on their leaders shoulders. (Fun Fact: When I came up with the idea of making my own version of a Sony fighter back in the day, I always imagined Clank and Daxter would be the co-announcers, commentating on the matches. That would have been funny.)
Combat wise, both Jak and Ratchet are very gun heavy, but their guns are quite unique. Ratchet should have one of his attacks be a random draw move, in which one of his dozens of guns pops out and fires, whether it be fire, electric, ice, wind, slime, shards, bees, or the sheepinator. Jak should have his hoverboard as well as his Wave Concussor, Beem Reflexor, and Mass Inverter mods. Ratchet’s supers most definitely need to be the Grovatron, Mr. Zurkon, and the Rhino V. Jak’s supers should be his Dark Jak and Light Jak forms. So many options. So little time to ponder them.
Very similar to how Nathan Drake was once dubbed “Man Croft,” Nariko from Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword earned the title, “Goddess of War.” This PS3 exclusive staring the young female scarlet who gave her sole to the cursed sword in a last ditch effort to protect her people was one of the first truly awe-inspiring adventures to make a name for itself on Sony’s latest console. It has now become a cult classic for the PS3 with an excellent combat system and a fantastic story to go with it, and for those reasons, I highly recommend we see Nariko in this game, if only to give the roster at least one more strong female contender.
Obviously enough, Nariko’s fighting style is going to be very similar to Kratos. She is a hack-in-slasher and it will show in her close range combat. That said, she has a very unique sword that has three different forms; power, speed, and range. A wide variety of moves can be allocated to her skill set quite effectively, using each of these different forms. Her super move would be similar to the end of the game, where she taps into the unlimited heavenly power of her blade that turns her into a pure white angel of destruction.
For our next contestant, I had to, yet again, consult my otaku friend. The Play Station’s have always been the go-to consoles for JRPG fans. While I may not be much of an RPGer, let alone JRPGer, it would be a loss of the game, as well as my list, to not properly recognize this fan base. So I asked my friend what Japanese characters would do the best to represent Sony in an all-star fighter. Without hesitation, this was his first choice.
Kingdom Hearts has a following that is so sickeningly dedicated, they began sending X Play e-mails about when KH3 was going to come out the day after the release of KH2, and to this day, have not stopped. So it stands to reason that one of the most successful franchises for the PS2 would be represented in Sony’s cavalry of All-stars, by of course their signature protagonist Sora.
Sora’s appearance in the game could be a bit jaded, in that he is a third party character owned by Squaresoft, as well as the franchise by Disney, so while I’m sure he would be a surefire guess to make an appearance if it were up to the developers, it will probably come more down to whether or not they can get the rights to use him in the first place. If they do, Sora’s skill set includes a great mix of melee and magic attacks. For his super moves, he has many magical allies he could call upon, including a very Yoda-influenced Mickey Mouse.
In addition to Sora, I believe there was one other Squaresoft character that became very iconic to Sony, however…
Of all the franchises Sony has under their belt, Metal Gear Solid is the only non-sport/non racing series that has graced each one of Sony’s consoles, debuting all the way back on the PS1, and lasting all the way to its 4th and final installment on the PS3. Solid Snake slowly became one of Sony’s frontrunners, and gave gamers some of their most out-of-body enemy encounters ever.
The main problem for putting Snake in this game would be… well, he already exists in Smash Bros, and putting him in our game as well might come off a bit in bad taste, especially if the games play so similar, the developers might not have to bother giving him a unique fighting scheme that differs from his Nintendo version. If Sony was to place Snake in this game, it would probably work best to use Old Snake from MGS4, and have him use many of his newer gadgets from that game as well (like his Metal Gear spy bot) so that he at least is not a carbon copy of his smash bros self.
Sir Daniel Fortesque
Now here’s a PS1 cult classic if I’ve ever seen one. Sir Daniel Fortesque, star of the unceremoniously buried Medieval series, is an undead knight with one eye and no lower jaw. While he’s not exactly the most famous of exclusive Sony characters, he is certainly unique, and has developed a small but strong following that anxiously await for his series to rise from the grave, and present them with a proper third installment.
In the meantime, Sony should definitely put Sir Daniel in a fighting game. He is a jack of so many barbaric weapons; broadswords, shields, throwing daggers, cudgels, crossbows, and when he runs out of weapons, he’ll dislodge his own arm to swat people with it. While it is quite a tossup if he’ll actually make it, if characters as obscure as Parappa the Rappa can make it, I don’t see why Sir Daniel shouldn’t.
Spyro the Dragon
You know what this game [heck every game] needs? Dragons. Who wouldn’t want to play a purple dragon with horns, glides, and breaths fire in a fighting game? Yup, before he gained his recent fame as the lead protagonist in the mildly appealing new children fab, Skylanders, Spyro was originally Insomniac’s very first franchise on the PS1. A trilogy of platformer adventure titles in a classic fairy tale backdrop that flourished during the Golden Age of 3D Platformers. Then of course, Insomniac had to move on, leaving the rights of the character to Universal to make Ratchet and Clank instead. Over a dozen development teams and publishers later, and Spyro is now nestled deep in the hands of Activision.
Do to Spyro’s moderate success in the Skylanders series as of late, there is a slight possibility he, and maybe a few of his more popular companions, will appear on this game yet. Most likely, it will come down to whether or not Sony can cut a deal with Activision to get their former Icon to return.
And The Numero Uno Most Wanted Character for Play Station All-Stars Battle Royale is… seriously, do I even need to say it?
Sony Computer Entertainment’s very first mascot. The first Western-made video game character to receive commercial success in Japan, let alone the entire world. Were it not for Naughtydog’s high spinning orange underdog, Sony would not be the big video game juggernaut it is today. So in a way, Crash Bandicoot is the reason a game like PSASBR even exists.
In a logical world, I would not have to worry at all about Crash’s place in this game. Seeing as he was basically Sony’s Mario on the PS1, I should not only see him, but about half a dozen of his friends and enemies as playable characters as well. If Smash Bros. can have Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser all as playable characters, than Battle Royale should have Crash, Coco, Cortex, Tiny, and Dingodile. However, this world has proven time and again that it is not always a logical one. As some random blogger once put it…
“Sony not putting Crash in Play Station All-Stars would be like Capcom not putting Megaman in Marvel vs. Capcom 3…oh wait.”
Therefore, I am going to be perfectly happy if Crash alone appears in this game, especially since just like Spyro, Activision currently holds the rights to the character. Except unlike Spyro, Crash hasn’t had any successful hits as of late, which might make him less appealing at first.
What scares me most of all, even worse than Crash never showing up in the game entirely, would be if Crash does appear, but as his god awful ugly looking dopplega-I mean “reboot,” by Radical Entertainment, with his dorky midget body, retarded giggle, punk ass tattoos, and… Gaaaaaaagh, just look at him!
For the record, I am well aware Crash has always had his silly slapstick moments, even during the Naughtydog days. But the difference between how Naughtydog approached the character to his most recent developers would be like comparing a classic old school Warner Bros cartoon like Bugs or Daffy, to that of a current gen Nickelodeon cartoon like Spongebob or… yeah like Spongebob. Both are silly child friendly slapstick, but only one of them does it with class. The original Crash countered his cheeky shenanigans with random bursts of awesome like jet packs, sea-doos, motorcycles and wumpa fruit bazookas.
So with that, I am asking… no, ordering, Superbot Entertainment, that if they get the rights to Crash from Activision, they go old school or don’t bother going at all. Give him all his signature moves; spinning, slide kicking, body slamming, more spinning, bazooka blasting, and finally, pulling out his Aku Aku witchdoctor mask for his super move.
Wow, I cannot believe that is already ten characters. I tried to do my best to pick characters that would both help Superbot create a unique and diverse roster with lots of different fighting styles, while also picking characters that are the best at representing what Sony has accomplished in 17 years with all three consoles. With that, I wish Sony and Superbot Entertainment the best of luck, and give them hopes that they do not let those trolls flaming that you are shamelessly ripping off Nintendo cloud your judgment, and that you simply focus on making the best game you possibly can. If that means you have to borrow some ideas from your rival, so be it.
If anything, I’d like to see more games made like this. A Smash Bros. style Avatar game, anyone?