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Game Informer - An Argument Against Character Cameos In Games



Dear game creators...

Do not respond to emails with the subject line "Do you want to add a Terminator: Dark Fate character to your game?" It's spam. I'm not kidding. The Mortal Kombat 11 developers fell for it. The Gears 5 team also went for it. So did the Ghost Recon: Breakpoint team. James Cameron is probably laughing his ass off on an Avatar set, saying "They really added them to their games?! ROFL!!!"

All jokes aside, as fascinating as it is to see characters from other media come to life in our games, I think it's getting a little out of hand. Look at the Mortal Kombat 11 image above. It looks like a wax museum exhibit. Yes, I like all of those characters, but I also want Mortal Kombat to continue being Mortal Kombat.

I'm starting strong with this opinion, but I'm now going to transform into a hypocrite. Many moons ago, I was a huge fan of the secret characters in the Tony Hawk games. I freaked the hell out when I unlocked Spider-Man in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and then lost it again when I made Darth Maul perform a stalefish in Pro Skater 3. Developer Neversoft handled the licensed characters well. You had to play through the entire game to get them (or cheat and enter a code).

More recently, I also liked seeing Thanos in Fortnite, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Injustice 2, and one of the coolest parts of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is how it mashes up game universes. Heck, I even thought Soul Calibur II's licensed characters were fun, especially since a different cameo character was in the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube versions. People argued over which version was better solely on the cameos which were Spawn on Xbox, Heihachi on PlayStation 2, and Link on GameCube. Side note: Why is Spawn in so many games? Is Todd McFarlane sending out spam emails too?

Again, I'm a big, ol' hypocrite who likes and dislikes cameo characters. Here's one I don't like: I recently spent time with Gears 5's multiplayer for my review, and burst out laughing a few times because the battlefield was filled with Terminator: Dark Fate and Halo: Reach characters. The game wasn't even officially out yet, and it already had lost its Gears of War soul to a degree. That seemed odd to me. I wanted to soak in all things Gears, and, well, there goes Sarah Connor after a Terminator again. Maybe hold off on adding in the character cameos for at least a month?

Again, I don't think the crossovers are bad, but there's a time and place for them, and above all, I hope developers and publishers put considerable thought into deciding to add Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of bringing back a popular character. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I would rather see another Mortal Kombat character return instead of Arnie, The Joker, or Spawn. Even if NetherRealm brings back every old combatant, I'd even take a new character that fits into the game's lore over any movie or comic book character ... unless it's Boba Fett or any Star Wars character. Star Wars is better than everything, so go ahead and turn all of your games into Star Wars. No one will mind. Trust me.

Anyway, I don't know if I actually made a point here, but it seems like we're seeing an influx in movie cameos in games, and I just hope they don't steal away from the true vision that developers are trying to achieve with their titles. If the name San Diego Comic Con: The Game is more fitting than the actual game title, the original vision may be lost. Food for thought.

Not a single lie spotted!!


Jade Worshipper
"...unless it's Boba Fett".

And here lies half the problem in 4 words. It's extremely easy and understandable to be against guests until its someone you love. Then suddenly you can let it slide.

The part about Gears and Terminator/Halo is the other half. Guests are popular, and in MK's case that means it makes them more money to add them.

I agree with the premise, but this article is dumb. A good third of the quoted passage is about when the author loved cameos in old games for gods sake. And that's basically the whole point. People clearly love it.

Next stop: Neo GAF!!

… eh?

EH !??!?



Next stop: Neo GAF!!

… eh?

EH !??!?
I usually post MK related stuff both here and on ERA. Is there any issue with that? Do you have some kind of problem maybe?
I usually post MK related stuff both here and on ERA. Is there any issue with that? Do you have some kind of problem maybe?
S'cool, baby.

On topic, I think it all depends on whether one likes the guest or not. I don't care for Ash Williams, so I don't want him as a guest, but I wouldn't mind Skeletor at all.
I thought this was pretty well written but fails to distinguish what makes a guest work - author alludes to it's how you unlock/access them, the popularity/coolness of the character (which people pretend is subjective but can be measured and quantified), and whether the guest comes at the expense of other highly demanded characters from the franchise or otherwise dilutes the franchise. But he never takes a stand and grovels for Star Wars characters in the end lol. A better approach would be to condemn them altogether or come up with some guidelines about how to incorporate them tactfully and not make it seem like a money grub. For example, the fit of the character is really important. In this way, Spawn works, but Joker/Terminator not so much - at least in the MK world.


Master level Noob
I see guest characters as New characters but with a built in history. I find myself a lot more excited to see what they do with Terminator and joker rather than seeing an old character that I don't care about.


some heroes are born, some made, some wondrous
Wow.. that is a shockingly bad article and largely a total pile of BS... what makes it hilariously bad rather than just another negative opinion piece is that he then guts his own entire thesis by admitting that if the guest was a character he loved then it is all cool... I mean .. that is one horribly written and largely laughable bit of writing. That really is an argument FOR guest characters, not against.

The funny thing though that in MK's case and the FGC in general there is, imo, a strong argument against guest characters beyond just a personal preference thing of "I want X, this is not X, so this sucks as they have Y instead.. they should have X.. those people are idiots for it not being X.. I hate MK11 as it has all this Y bullshit instead of X".

The problem with guests for me is the transitory nature of them. Fighting games are about legacy for me. Once character can be a lot to learn and it is great to see them pop up in new games over time. This legacy creates continuity for players between games and allows them to jump into the new version of the game instantly. I can pick up a street fighter from any point in the last 30 years and play Ryu and just jump straight in. The new Joker for MK11 will not be something to learn from scratch. Sure we have Subs and Scorp and Radian and whatever... But I am not talking just about tent pole characters.

Take MKxL. A lot of people I know loved playing Jason. Now all those people who put time into Jason have no continuity to future MK games. Nothing that links them, as players of Jason to future MK games and no way of applying that character loyalty and gameplay knowledge to future MK games. It is basically lost. Playing Hellboy in IJ2 is time wasted in the long term. He will never be seen again. Meanwhile someone that invested time in Cassie or D'Vorah has a direct link to future MK games as that character can return.

I think for me this is the argument against guest characters that makes the most sense. A guest character comes and is gone and never comes back. Some new player that was pulled into the franchise by say Terminator is never going to see that character in a future game and go.. wow fuck yeah I loved playing that guy!! In addition all that skill and time learning and identifying with the character is also lost.

MK has a HUGE roster... so huge that they can bring back characters from the legit MK source that no one has seen in game for decades. These are the characters that should be guests imo. Just look at Street Fighter and how it does it. Bringing back Alax for example. People went nuts when he was announced as he had not been seen in so long... and he may not be seen again for ages...BUT he can always come back, and that come back will always be hype as fuck for fans that played him years before. A guest character, will never come back.


Searching for an alt.
"at least wait a month" Ok, MK11 is waiting 5 1/2 months to add a guest. Three very popular MK characters came out before the first guest.

"I'm gonna be hypocritical here" Yup, he even specifically says NRS does a good job with them!? Woof


didn't a game informer dude come into be a guest on one of the Kombat Kasts? What garbage
Agree with the article. At the very least make the guest characters the fucking minority of the Kombat Pack.

As soon as the first guest is added it stops being a pure MK game, something a lot of fans want. But fuck them, gotta grab the casuals attention who will play as them and then drop the game after one day again.

I don’t think it’s too out there to give me an option to turn guest characters off. No encountering them in towers, no seeing their icon in the character select screen (for offline obviously, as online I’d need to see who people pick).

Guest characters fucking disgust me. I’m not a child getting excited because ‘oh my god it’s Spawn!!!!’.


You'll Float Too
This article sums up most people who are against guest characters lmao. They despise them until it's someone they like, and then they're okay with it. The number of people I've seen say "I hate guests, but Ash is cool!" Or "I hate guests, but Spawn is hype!"

gotta grab the casuals attention who will play as them and then drop the game after one day again.
When you've been playing since release, but are still hype for guests. :p When are y'all gonna realize that there are hardcore MK fans who like guests just as much as casual players.

Guest characters fucking disgust me.
I love MK. I've played it since I was a kid. Mortal Kombat and Injustice are my two all-time favorite game series. We've had so many 'Pure MK' games like play fucking Armageddon or something lmao. Or skip the fights that have guests and stop being bitch babies because of video games. Acting so extra.

I’m not a child
You sure act like one.