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Call of Duty

Attack on Titan in Vanguard? Can Crossovers Stop?

Olivia Richman

Earlier this month, a leak showed that Call of Duty: Vanguard — the World War II-themed shooter — was getting an Attack On Titan crossover and my first thought was, “Why?”

Apparently, Vanguard game files showed a lot of things nicknamed “aot,” including a melee weapon and possible skin. While it has not been officially confirmed by literally anyone, it seems pretty likely seeing where the video game industry has been heading the past few years.

First let me say that I can dig very hard to show why this crossover makes sense, like how Attack On Titan’s theme is all about a World War II-type conflict between different factions of people. But does this really make sense? Would it really make sense to have a titan in Call of Duty: Vanguard?

And even worse: Why does nobody care that this concept is completely ridiculous?

Video Games Have Become Crossover Crazy

We can probably thank Fortnite for the immense amount of crossovers that have infiltrated the video game and esports industry.

Fortnite may not be as large as it once was (thank goodness) but there is no denying that Fortnite is a popular video game that has become a staple in mainstream pop culture. It has shaped the video game landscape, creating an entirely new genre and inspiring games like PUBG, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone.

But Fortnite isn’t necessarily popular because of its riveting gameplay. The game panders to casuals to an extent to a disturbingly disproportionate amount, focused on cosmetics rather than competitive integrity and balance. The game just won’t stop with the pop culture crossovers, which are essentially just advertisements for upcoming movies, TV shows, and more being obnoxiously rubbed into the faces of young children who still floss in-game.

Fortnite has had crossovers with Marvel, Stranger Things, real-life celebs (Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, etc), quasi-celebs (Ninja, Loserfruit, etc), Rick & Morty, Naruto, Pixar, the NFL, John Wick, DC, Borderlands, Tenet (!?), Ghostbusters, God Of War, Halo, The Walking Dead, Predator, G.I. Joe, Street Fighter… Should I keep going?

But Fortnite isn’t the only culprit, although it’s safe to say they got this trend rolling. PUBG Mobile most recently had League of Legends champion Jinx due to Arcane (Riot has been going overboard with the advertising for this show). But PUBG Mobile has also had Godzilla vs. Kong, Jujutsu Kaisen, and The Walking Dead.

Apex Legends has stayed relatively free of these obnoxiously vibrant advertisements, only recently having a crossover with LA fashion brand Market.

Crossovers Are Not New — They Have Just Become Awful

Let’s not give Fortnite credit for creating the concept of crossovers. Let’s only give them credit for ruining the concept of crossovers.

Crossovers are nothing new — many older games have crossovers. And these crossovers actually felt like they existed for a reason (like entertainment). Games like X-Men vs. Street Fighter in the mid-90s, which led to the popular Marvel vs. Capcom series. Super Smash Bros. is another fighting game that has introduced characters on the roster from outside Nintendo, including Snake, Pac-Man, Banjo & Kazooie, Ryu, Joker, and more. Soul Calibur had Link, Yoda, and more throughout the series. Mortal Kombat had Alien, DC, Freddy Krueger, and many others.

Soul Calibur Link

Hell, even Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon met up in Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto’s Rampage and Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy.

There is no denying that video game fans love seeing their favorite characters dropped into an entirely new universe that doesn’t seem to match their usual surroundings or playstyle. There is something exciting about seeing these classic characters in a new light. And seeing two characters from different worlds clash in an epic fight is never going to get old. That’s why it’s done repetitively on TV and in movies as well.

So I’m not trying to say crossovers are straight-up bad. Crossovers have their place within the video game world — sometimes they even enhance gameplay, like Yoshimitsu coming to Soul Calibur or Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (just kidding sort of).

But they have to be done right. They have to be tasteful and meaningful and impactful. They have to exist for a reason, enhancing the game and creating one-of-a-kind experiences that will be remembered in video game history forever.

But do you remember IT: Chapter 2 being in Fortnite?

Do you want to?

That is clearly a blatant advertisement for the film with no apology for its invasiveness. It’s just Warner Bros. blasting children with ads for a Rated R movie about a killer clown. Why is this even a thing? Why was this necessary or approved?

The crossovers have become meaningless and frustrating. I’m sick of seeing them. I don’t care that Attack On Titan is cool. I love the anime. But I’m not going to blindly start screaming because there will be jarring references to Attack On Titan in Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Crossovers have lost their impact and their reason for existing. And now we all have to see children making TikToks about Chun Li’s ass while she does Fortnite dances. Good job.