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Toons to go Mature?

Change is upon us; the economic wave has caused businesses to sell their assets to a better suited company to take helm of their beloved franchises, or brands. But change for many of the major companies started when there was a change in the way the market behaved to these companies. Starting with Disney and its brands. Disney still has the brand “stronghold” but doesn’t have the mature market. So, in order to facilitate this, they collaborated with a company known to gamers as “Square.” Square is the markers of big role-playing games such as Valkyrie Profile, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, just to name a few. Square and Disney collaborated to create a cross-over game that’s quite notorious in gaming right now starting with Street Fighter vs Marvel Super Heroes, and Marvel Vs Capcom 1 & 2. That game happens to be Kingdom Hearts – a crossover between the Square universe and the Disney universe. However, the Disney universe is much more richer than Square, so they’ve only used the Final Fantasy universe to reach hardcore gamers, and other like-minded role-playing fans. What started as a “heartless” invasion of the Disney world and other worlds turned into a two-worlds battle for control of the universe, merely by a special key. See, each world has a keyhole, and you, as player are to steal it. But there’s only one big keyhole, the one that most of the game’s characters are after; Sora’s keyblade. He was chosen to take control of this keyblade, while unknown why, it possesses special “perks” to open each keyhole, including the source of all keyholes. After Kingdom Hearts 2, no one’s been able to find that special door to lock every single “heartless” away from the worlds. At least, not yet.

Why am I starting with a backstory? Well, recently, there’s been big merges and acquisitions in the gaming and comic book industries – in where both worlds become entwined. Companies are paying attention to what Square, Disney, and Capcom, Marvel are doing. This includes Midway, the makers of Mortal Kombat, Rampage, co-developers of Killer Instinct, Gauntlet, and other classic arcade icons. Midway went and collaborated with DC comics to bring Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe; while many considered it to be a very odd union. It was Midway’s best selling game in 5 years after they tried to reboot, and re-brand Mortal Kombat into the 3rd Dimension.

I’ve been watching each industry closely, with the television industry in the equation. I’m seeing a big trend of companies merging universes to sell units and copies of games, movies, and comics. The comic business are seeing a decline – mostly because right now, the internet is changing the way we deliver news, reviews, previews, latest breaking news, comics, and even video delivery.

EGM recently closed its operations – the existing one, in which the legacy of the magazine go waaay back to the early 1970’s when video games started to evolve into an entertainment venue. This decline of EGM was the fault of the company, the economic situation at the time of closing was better than it is at the time of this writing. It got to a breaking point because everyone wants to use the internet for their everyday lives stuff. Nobody’s buying magazines anymore, they’re reading them from the internet.

Comics. People still buy them because they love art. I love art. Anyone that knows me, know this. I love to draw. I love to imagine things that may seem “impossible” which is part of the reason why the video game industry is perfect for me – the video game industry gets away with having fantasy settings that is no longer appreciated by the movies industry. But see? Long time ago, the movie industry shifted because video games became so mainstream its not even funny. Most if not all comic book companies flock to video game industry – from Marvel to DC comics, from X-men to Spiderman, to the recent “The Darkness” release on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

Let me put it this way, the reason why the “CD player” market changed, is because of Apple’s Ipod series, the general cell phone industry has gone through huge changes in the way they deliver content – Why? Apple’s iphone. Webmasters have seen a spike of change through multiple Computer Operating Systems. Ever heard of Linux? Ever hear of the new Mac OSX’es? Oh, I might as well throw the upcoming Windows 7 software coming this month. Lets not mention the fact that PS3 is a online-enabled console that “Only Does Everything!” That includes browsing the internet. The internet has shifted many industries that not your typical movie goer knows, not your typical video gamer knows, not your typical comic book reader knows.

Today, I’m talking about the change that I have noticed for a while now, starting with Kingdom Hearts, continued to Midway’s Mortal Kombat vs DC universe. What I am about to talk about is solidifying what I knew for a while now. The cartoon industry is going to undergo a huge change. Disney is going to lead that change.

Whatever you know about the Disney characters. Do me a favor and throw them out of the window, because the market is changing, and Disney is noticing. They’re acting on how the market is behaving right now. I’ll tell you why.

Whatever you see on TV is now taken over by sitcoms, cops and robbers shows, mature and violent shows, soap operas, war on terror, war in the future, teenage shows – I’ll talk about this later. Anyway, I have noticed that Nickeloden, FOX (on weekends only), WB, Cartoon Network, and Disney are the ONLY sheriffs in town delivering teenage shows, and are the only remaining networks that are going to deliver cartoon shows on national television. WWE, CSI, Cops, are among the longest running televisions shows on TV right now. They’re for good reasons, people are now tired of watching cartoons as kids, and by the time they’re teenagers, they don’t want to associate themselves with cartoons. Disney noticed this, and they want to expand to this demographic. They want to keep their iconic francises, and brands – but also want to attract the teenagers who’d just stopped watching these cartoons.

Gone are the days where kids can just waltz on home and watch their favorite cartoons on TV. Due to fact today’s teenagers are adapting with change faster than ever before.

Fast forward to the present day: Midway has been purchased by Warner Bros. Marvel is pending a buyout by the Disney Company.

What’s going on here? Why is everyone from one industry to the other buying another industry’s property?

Obviously, we’re going to see a huge change in brands. With the recent leaks by GamaSutra has recently been making rounds in the game industry; mostly because of the fact that it mentions that Disney wants to go head to head with Nintendo’s Mario mascot.

Mario’s a legacy right now; selling more than 50 million copies of more than 20 different Mario video games. And this fall, Nintendo is set to release New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The new Mario game is an extention of Nintendo DS’ New Super Mario Bros. DS – both games are actually remakes of older Mario games, Super Mario Bros. DS is actually a brand new 2D game set in the Super Mario Bros’ universe, while Super Mario Bros. Wii is a brand new game taking place in the Super Mario Bros. 2 universe.

This cover is a cover of GameInformer, which will hit news stands nationwide in November:
Epic Mickey revealed on Gameinformer!

Could this continue the trend they’ve started with Kingdom Hearts by creating a new, yet familiar world? The concept art hints that the game is geared towards a gritty cartoon game.

My point is, Disney is onto something bigger than a brand change. Bigger than a reboot. I love what I see in those concept art, they’re familiar, yet so… gritty, and different. Could this also herald a brand new villian? Could this mean a new arch rival? A new storyline? New characters and friends? Could this even mean the future of Mickey Mouse and the hundreds of Disney characters that is in Disney’s portfolio?

I don’t think this is going to be just a Mickey game. No. I see something different in the concept art. So, fans of Disney or any of disney’s characters will have to throw everything they know about Disney straight out of the door. Because a big change is comng. And I like it.

Kingdom Hearts was the taste of things to come, and I like what Disney is doing right now, I just find the Marvel acquisition to be odd, is all.

Until next time. See you later, boys and girls.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by CarlosX360 (Carlos Morales) and is a copyright of CarlosX360 Co. Ltd.

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