Move Over Smash: Rivals Of Aether Is The True Ultimate Cross-Over Game

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t the ultimate cross-over game anymore. That title has been passed on to Rivals of Aether: the only platformer fighter that lets you play as Super Mario, Ronald Mcdonald, and President Obama.

Credit where credit is due, Smash Ultimate is an incredible cross-over game. The 74 playable characters come from 39 different video game universes. If you include all of the cameos, items, costumes, and spirits, Smash Ultimate represents 190 different series. Great job Smash, good try. That’s a lot, but it’s not even close to the number of characters and franchises in Rivals of Aether.

If you’re not familiar with Rivals of Aether, it’s the other, other platform fighter. After Smash, most people are probably familiar with Brawlhalla, the long-supported indie fighter that has grown to include a roster of 50 original legends (plus Rayman). Rivals of Aether, on the other hand, has grown into the biggest cross-over platform fighter of all time thanks to developer support of an incredibly robust mod community.

The vanilla version of Rivals of Aether has only 14 characters. If you’ve played the Switch or Xbox version of the game, you’re probably confused as to why I’m calling it the biggest cross-over game. Of the 14 base game characters, only two come from other franchises: Ori and Shovel Knight. However, PC players have access to the Rivals Workshop. There, you can download hundreds of player-created characters — 1,461 to be exact.

Of those characters, only 641 are actually completely finished and able to be added directly to the game without any tinkering or bugs. Add that to the 14 base game characters, and you’ve got 665 fully playable characters in Rivals of Aether. Many of these are original characters, but many more are characters from other games, other media franchises, real life, and yes, even fast food mascots.

Dan Fornace, the creator of Rivals, opened up the Rivals Workshop for creators in September 2019. In the workshop, you’ll find an extensive modding manual that walks through all of the basics to creating, coding, and animating custom characters. The workshop even has a custom character created by Fornace that you can use as an example while you teach yourself how to make new characters.

Not only is most of the Smash Ultimate roster available, but players have also made Kris from Deltarune, Untitled Goose, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, 2B, dozens of Pokemon, Wall-E – the list goes on and on.

One of the first custom characters to really blow up on Rivals Workshop was Ronald Mcdonald. Ronald is considered a pretty big meme in the community and brought a lot of attention to the game and the game’s content creators on Youtube. There are a dozen different Ronalds in the workshop now with exponentially increasing meme-ification.

If every Smash fan that harrassed Nintendo about getting their favorite character in the game would just check out the Rivals of Aether workshop, maybe Sakurai could take a break for once in his life. Geno is in Rivals, as is Crash Bandicoot, Earthworm Jim, Knuckles, and Sora from Kingdom Hearts. It’s not the same as getting Master Chief in Smash, but there’s nothing quite like a fight to the death between Club Penguin and Garfield the cat.

Next: Fighting Platformer Fraymakers Launches Kickstarter

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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.

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