5 Video Game Franchise Crossovers Hidden In Plain Sight
Video games have been putting little crossover Easter eggs since time began -- Zelda crossed over with Mario, and Spider-Man is in a random Shinobi game. The video game industry is a Wild West where Darth Vader can fight a BDSM fanatic in Soul Calibur, and Sonic can kill Ganondorf with a Pokeball in Smash Bros.
But some games go beyond a wink and a nod, creating a mini-multiverse of games, spanning '80s platformers to visceral M-rated gorefests ...
The Main Character From Doom Is Wolfenstein's BJ's Grandson
BJ Blazkowicz is not the name of a terrible sex act mostly performed at the back of a Times Square adult theater, but rather the name of the main character of Wolfenstein -- the game where you hunt Nazis, kill Nazis, and do other various violent acts towards Nazis. It's a great series, one that we should all support.
Doom, on the other hand, is about the Doomslayer, or the Doomguy, a semi-nameless marine in a big Halo-esque spacesuit that blasts through demons, hell-bound souls, and the devil itself in an effort to save Mars, the future, and heaven from demons. It's also a great series, one that we should all support.
Which makes sense because they're basically the same series. See, BJ Blazkowicz is, apparently, the great-granddad of Doomguy. Yeah, this idea – first revealed in Doom RPG, the weird softer Doom game – was canonized by the creators of Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, and Doom. What's Commander Keen? Oh, that's the game about Doomguy's dad, Blazkowicz's grandkid, a sillier, side-scrolling platformer that was never dark or edgy enough to get a Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel branded redesign and thus is left in the dustbins of history. But at least his son isn't.
There's an entire lineage of monster-killing super soldiers in the Doomenstein Universe ... and then also this kid.
The prequel to Doom
An Entire Section Of World Of Warcraft Is Hyrule
World of Warcraft is one of the most popular fantasy MMOs ever, spawning movies, books, spin-off games, and actual scientific studies on the nature of plagues.
It's set in a wildland called Azeroth, with liches, witches, demons, and nightmares. You know, fantasy stuff. And what's more fantastical than the Legend of Zelda's main hero, Link NoLastName? What about Link and his Master Sword? Yeah! And both of them are in World of Warcraft in a quest called It's a Secret to Everybody.
After finding a pack with a compass, a map, and a key (the normal things Link needs to find in each mission) along with a photo depicting two gnomes, one who looks exactly like Link and one like Zelda, you find the Link-esque gnome crashed on the shore, wrecking his raft, and getting amnesia which is also the exact beginning of Link's Awakening.
He asks you for help to strengthen his sword for a reason he cannot remember, but which eventually is revealed to be so that he can go slay a monster to keep it from taking possession of the "Golden Flame," which has a triangle on it because, of course, it does. After you run around doing chores, including feeding a grumbling Moblin meat (another Zelda questline) and tossing the sword in a lake by a magic person, you can eventually power the sword up, and it becomes Linken's Sword of Mastery.
Or, ya know, the Master Sword. At that, Link-like decides to give up on his quest as you're obviously the destined hero and asks you to slay the monster, which seems like a dick move. Was he just trying to wiggle out his destiny?
Eh, the Dragonborn made the sword cooler; maybe they can just do the other parts too! Using a silver totem (like Zelda's silver arrows) to depower the monster, you and your friends can defeat it, but remember, as Link-like tells you before you leave, and the name of the end of the quest repeats: It's Dangerous to Go Alone.
Unfortunately, funny jokes that are just remakes of other games aren't "in" for World of Warcraft anymore. After the Cataclysm update, which featured a cataclysm changing the map and world forever (until the next update), Linken's (yeah, that was his name) quest was gone, but Linken is still around, doing Link stuff like, uh ... riding a horse?
The Dark Souls Universe
Dark Souls is the punishing game where you die, die, and die again. It revolutionized gaming and created a whole new type of annoying dudebro. It put FromSoftware on the map, and they went on to create other Dark Souls games and other games close enough to Dark Souls that they might as well be Dark Souls. Dark Souls Samurai edition? Sekiro is for you. How about Dark Souls with a gun? Bloodborne for ya. But there were no connections between these universes; Dark Souls stood alone.
Except ... nah, kinda not really. You know about Demon Souls, which is more or less Dark Souls' Tanker Chapter prologue, featuring the same basic mechanics and even creatures as later seen in Dark Souls, but before FromSoftware made Dark Souls, before even Demon Souls, they made a series called King's Field. This series has a villain, the dragon Seath, who plagues the main characters throughout the series, defeated by the Moonlight Sword, his one true weakness, and … all of that is in Dark Souls. Seath is one of the main villains of the original game, and while the Moonlight Sword isn't necessary to defeat him, it can be made from the soul of a butterfly boss found only in one other place: Seath's lair.
But that's not all. Bloodborne, a dark game that's a bit more urban to Dark Souls' medieval fantasy where you play as a Hunter in the dark city of Yharnam, might be a stealth sequel to Dark Souls. See, at the end of Dark Souls III, you get the blood of the dark souls and give it to a girl who may or may not be the child of ancient abominations that tried to save/damn mankind in equal measure. She says she's going to use it to paint a new world. What's the blood of the dark souls? Well, you see ...
In Dark Souls, painted worlds are these places created in paintings, magically. As the world of Dark Souls ends, the Painter (yeah, good name, y'all) tells the player that she's going to paint a quiet, dark, and cold world … which might just be where you wake up in Bloodborne. There isn't and can't be any overt crossover between the two series—no confirmation—due to rights issues, but using blood to paint a world … a bloodborne world … perhaps?
But that's not all. Bloodborne is a dark and small game taking place in one part of a world, but Deracine, a VR game you've definitely never heard of, seems to take place within that same world. While in Bloodborne, you fight monsters like werewolves, witches, and … nurses, in Deracine, you play as a Faerie solving a mystery, and along the way, you find a doll.
It seems to connect to The Doll, a character in Bloodborne and even may hint that we'll get another Bloodborne at some point. And then Deracine is connected to Sekiro in that a couple of hundred years in the future, someone makes Deracine … because Sekiro is set in the real world. Okay, that game doesn't work, but aside from that, almost all of FromSoftware's game establish a full, detailed universe of multiple realities, worlds, and one asshole shit dragon messing shit up for people over and over.
This asshole again
And Elden Ring? Eh, maybe that's the Painted World. Or maybe it's set in Yharnam. Or maybe it's the world in which Londo is a painted world, or it's a sequel to Game of Thrones. Who knows, maybe it's been the real Dark Soul the whole time.
Valve & Bethesda Teamed UP to Put Space Core from Portal 2 in Skyrim
Skyrim is the game that Todd Howard will make you buy until you die, and then he will sell it to your ghost in the hellish afterlife you will no doubt be heading to because you didn't buy enough copies of Skyrim. It's a game about a man or a woman or a horse or something doing dragon shouts to save the world from time travelers while reversing pickpocketing books into people's pockets and getting kicked across the map by goddamn giants.
But it turns out that there's another world somewhere far off in the sky, and on that world, aliens have invaded, conquered, been defeated. A lab called Aperture has fallen into disrepair, been fixed, and fallen apart again, with one of its creations ending up in Skyrim for you to find. And it's the space core.
Remember, from the memes?
Yes, the chattering box that endlessly screams about desiring to be in space apparently crash-landed on Skyrim, or at least it does if you have the Valve-created mod for Skyrim. Aside from being a personal companion cube for your Dragonborn, the space core can also be turned into a helmet, looking much the same but smaller (and lacking the eye) because you're basically wearing part of GLaDOS' personality's skull. How does that work? Science! If you don't remake it as a more useful item, the core mutters about space, how dragons aren't as interesting as space, space court, being Spaceborn, and finally "YEEEHA" if you happen to use a glitch to launch him back into space.
Fallout's Many Cousins
Fallout is a series set in the post-apocalyptic Wasteland, a nuclear-ravaged realm of mutants, zombies, and robots. Ron Perlman does voiceovers sometimes too, it's great. The series has had many parents: Black Isle for its first two (plus a spin-off you don't care about), then Bethesda, and Obsidian for Fallout: New Vegas.
Wasteland is the original dark parent of Fallout. The entire reason Fallout exists is because Black Isle couldn't continue working on Wasteland, so instead of making the next Wasteland, they redesigned things a bit, mostly added humor, and made the first Fallout, but the worlds are all almost the same. Here's where we'd list all the ways they're the same, but it's easier to list the ways they're different: Fallout has more Reagan flavor and has fewer letters than Wasteland. That's about it.
But it's not just the same apocalypse Black Isle created; they also made Planescape: Torment and then Torment: Tides of Numenera, a sequel to it almost two decades later. Planescape is a Fallout-esque game set in a DnD world of chaos. Numenera is a spiritual sequel removed from the DnD elements taking place in a world 9,000 years after the present day with a past filled with wild, weird objects. While it doesn't have overt connections, it's the final evolution of the game Brian Fargo started with Wasteland. It evolved when he made Fallout, evolved further with Planescape, and now mega evolved with Numenera, the final Fallout game
In this plane, at least! Because it's not just Black Isle games that are connected, it's Elder Scrolls games too. You can find Skyrim flowers and a Dragonborn helmet in Fallout, and there were even plans to have a town from Skyrim reappear in Fallout 4 before it got cut. Hey, does this mean that Fallout and Portal are connected?
Hell, there's even a Dark Souls bonfire in Nuka-World, Doomguy has a Nuka-Cola recipe book, and if you consider the Switch edition of Skyrim canon, every single game on this list exists in the single huge terrible, horrible no good world. Where's Nick Fury? He needs to talk to Chell, and the Dragonborn, and Link, and --
Tara Marie writes words at places like here, Panel X Panel, and the Hard Times. She also writes words for the Trailer Park Boys in Trailer Park Boys: Bagged and Boarded. You can complain to her at @TaraMarieWords or by whispering into a cookie jar moments after realizing it’s empty.
Top Image: Valve