injustice 2 ninja turtles gameplay

Injustice 2’s Inclusion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reminds Us Why Crossovers Are Radical

author byline riley

As one of the best fighting games currently on consoles, Injustice 2 managed to impress fans of DC Comics through its engaging narrative and deep gameplay upon release. There’s little doubt that any title that features the likes of Batman and Superman going toe-to-toe is going to appeal to a number of consumers, but NetherRealm Studios (the developer behind the fight title) likes to create even more mashups through downloadable guest characters in its fighting games.

With the final batch of Injustice 2‘s paid content due to arrive this month, fans were finally treated to gameplay of the previously confirmed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – presumably validating their excitement in the process.

The Turtles join the likes of Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy and Mortal Kombat‘s Sub-Zero and Raiden, respectively. Meanwhile the latter franchise, also helmed by NetherRealm, has traditionally focused on icons from the horror genre of film for guest consideration, throwing in Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Alien, Predator, and more into the fray over the years.

This got me thinking about the sort of primal thrill that accompanies seeing mainstays from different houses clash. It’s something that Super Smash Bros. has done incredibly well in recent years by tying in a number of third-party gaming characters like Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife, Pac-Man, and more. These interactions are the realization of those schoolyard talks that are still so prominent, all of which come down to one core question: Who would win in a fight?

The “SEGA does what Nintendon’t” proclamations lead to Mario taking on Sonic across multiple titles, the “Alien could beat Predator” debate spearheaded a series of films, and “Godzilla could so pummel King Kong” proclamations have created an entire cinematic universe. These fisticuff-filled interactions are the stuff dreams are made of on a nostalgic and quasi-biological plain, and where there’s that inherent appeal there’s an ability to profit.

super smash bros
This is a surreal sampling of the guest fighters featured in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, and it’s not even all of them.

As long as there are competing companies, there will always be the “Connor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather” prize fights just waiting in the rafters. And as consumers, the inherent purpose of our existence to these corporations is that there’s always something more to sink our metaphorical teeth into; we simply consume. But when what’s being offered to us ties into the hypothetical matchups forever gestating within our heads, it’s an easy sell.

I’m already sold on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a brand and I’m even more engaged by the premise of watching the heroes in a half-shell throttle Batman whilst busting out quips and pepperoni pizza. It’s a truly gnarly mashup that continues a trend of crossover battles in modern fighting games that’s sure to continue – much to the joy of gamers, comic fans, and pop culture aficionados worldwide.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrive as downloadable fighters in Injustice 2 in February 2018.

You can follow Riley on Twitter (@TheRileyLittle) for more news on film, gaming, and more.

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