The Real Smash Killer Would Be An All Joker Fighting Game
MultiVersus was a big hit last year, throwing characters as varied as Arya Stark, the Iron Giant, and LeBron James together and making them fight. Much like the reigning king of the platform fighter genre, Super Smash Bros, the only thing these characters have in common is that their intellectual property rights are owned by the same company. In Smash's case, that company is Nintendo. In MultiVersus' case, the company is Warner Bros. For a generation of players who have an intimate understanding of copyright law due to its pernicious ability to prevent beloved characters like Wolverine and Captain America from meeting up on the big screen, this all makes a sort of sense.
But, I would like to argue, wouldn't it make just as much sense to put characters who share a name together and make them battle to be the true Master of the Moniker? Do we really need to have this many characters named "Joker" all sharing space in the interactive medium? Hasn't this gone on long enough?
So, I'm positing that the true Smash killer will be the eventual platform fighter that puts all the Jokers together and forces them to duke it out. There's a good chance you don't realize just how many Jokers there are in games, but this fighter would make you confront that harsh reality.
First, you probably think of Joker from Batman, which is good and right. He's the most important one. In movies, he's received iconic portrayals by charismatic stars like Jack Nicholson, Joaquin Phoenix, and Heath Ledger. However, none of those would be included in this platform fighter, which I'm hereby dubbing "Jokers Wild." We're focusing on video game Jokers, so the honor has to go to Mark Hamill's Joker, which originated in Batman: The Animated Series, and continued into the Arkham games.
If you think of another Joker, it's likely from Persona, the leader of the Phantom Thieves. That Joker is a mild-mannered high school student by day and a metaverse explorer turn-based battlin' king by night. I don't know Persona well enough to dive deep into his moveset, but he could be accompanied by stages that represent the dark, innermost thoughts of all the other Jokers.
Likely the hardest Joker to represent in fighter form is Jeff "Joker" Moreau from Mass Effect. That's because the first bit of personal information the Normandy pilot divulges to Shepard is that he was born with Vrolik syndrome, a disease that causes extreme brittleness of the bones. But, if we've learned anything from Unbreakable's Mr. Glass, it's that even with an ailment that makes it impossible to fight, you can still be the mastermind behind the scenes. Despite his inability to participate in hand-to-hand combat, Joker has control of the heavy artillery, which is all that matters. He could play like a Pokemon trainer, summoning the Normandy and Mako into battle.
There's also Joker from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Like all Call of Duty characters, he is a soldier. He uses a gun. His skillset is about as original as his nickname, a pretty clear nod to the protagonist of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket.
The rest of the roster would be rounded out by the other video game Jokers who I hadn't heard of before I started writing this article: Joker from Suikoden 3, Joker from Alice in the Country of Hearts, Joker from SaGa Frontier, Joker from Monster Rancher, and The Joker from Fighters Destiny. That may not seem enough for a post-Smash Ultimate age roster, but every fighter has to start somewhere. And it's more than enough Jokers for a deck.
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