There have been many terrible ideas in gaming’s history, but it looks like Warner Brothers is going for gold. According to recent rumors, it's developing its own Smash Bros-style fighting game starring Gandalf, Fred Flinstone, Batman, and Ultra-Instinct Shaggy.
Rumors surrounding the crossover game picked up a few days ago when a Reddit user claimed that NetherRealm is working on a platform fighter called Multiversus (which WB has filed a trademark for). The game was apparently inspired by the Ultra Instinct Shaggy memes that became popular in 2019.
While this seems far-fetched it’s not entirely out of character for NetherRealm. The team has previously created a DC fighting game with the Injustice series (with Injustice 2 also hosting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as DLC characters). More recently Mortal Kombat 11 has become a home for its usual champions as well as the likes of The Joker, Robocop, Rambo, and Spawn.
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Adding further fuel to the fire is the intro to the animated series Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms which referenced Ultra-Instinct Shaggy - indicating that the company is indeed aware of the memes and is desperate to capitalize on them even years after they are relevant.
However not all the evidence points in this direction, at least not for NetherRealm’s involvement. The studio is known for a more traditional style of fighting game for starters for one, and VentureBeat writer Jeff Grubb has commented on Twitter that NetherRealm isn’t behind the project - but the game is real.
No matter who is making Multiversus though, if the game is real it’s an absolutely abysmal idea, a disaster waiting to happen, and we can’t wait to play it.
Opinion: It’s terrible... I love it!
There are very few universes out there where Multiversus isn’t a dumpster fire of a game.
Ultra-Instinct Shaggy - the rumored inspiration for this game - is a nearly three-year-old meme at this point; the social consciousness has moved on yet we know WB will try with all its might to drag us back (unsuccessfully) into the meme’s clutches.
Adding insult to injury is that this mashup of characters will be a sight to behold. Watching Gandalf and Shaggy interact would be strange enough as it is, but given WB’s terrible track record of tying its franchises into one universe - as seen in the much-bemoaned Space Jam 2 from earlier this year - we’re certain it will be an absolute mess.
If NetherRealm isn't developing Multiversus either, then we know the fighting controls just won't compare to the competition.
Yet as we face the fires of oblivion we can’t help but await an announcement; not as deer caught in the headlamps but as a diver purposefully leaping from the end of the board.
Because even the most awful games can provide joy. For many of us, it can be a distraction from the year we’ve had, something to laugh at and ridicule as the shameless cash-grab Multiversus almost certainly is. It'll be the game we bring out at parties when the atmosphere has died down, several drinks have been consumed and everyone's looking for some easy entertainment.
But for others, the love will be more genuine as they revel in this guilty pleasure.
Fan reactions to games like Smash Ultimate and Fortnite have shown that players love it when their favorite characters and series collide in unexpected ways. Even if the game itself is terrible there will be many fans who will just be excited to finally answer if Batman can indeed defeat Gandalf, and watch Fred Flintstone take on Mad Max.
If Multiversus is what we believe it to be, it’s going to be a delightfully bizarre game that is sure to make us laugh - most likely at it rather than with it. But who knows? Maybe Warner Bros. will have the last laugh when this thing is featured at Evo 2024.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.