So it was rumored long ago, and more recently resurfaced as something of a near-confirmation of said rumor, but now, finally, it is official: Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a thing that exists and what a thing it is. Thankfully, the Playstation Blog has provided a video that isn't an entire episode of GTTV that I had to watch at 3 AM last night just to find out about this, and because I'm nice, I've provided it above. Just...go ahead and take a look at that, let it sink in for a moment and then we can continue.
Ready? Yeah? Okay. I know what you're thinking, and yes, it does look like Super Smash Bros. which we all kind of expected months ago when it was hinted. Hell, there's probably not a person among us who -hasn't- thought of this idea at one point or time. This speaks to the merit of Super Smash Bros. being a good idea, but also not broad enough to cover scenarios that we, as gaming people, would like it to cover, thus necessitating other games like it. Like this. So yes, it -does- look like Super Smash Bros., but you know what? Awesome. I honestly don't see any semblance of a problem with this whatsoever, nor do I logically see any reason why anyone should.
People are quick to cry 'rip-off' and put a real negative slant on the word, but why is it a bad thing? Super Smash Bros. is (apparently) a highly successful and entertaining franchise with a neat, quirky concept that has been done many times before and will be done many times after this. (the last SSB game I've played, for reference, was the original on the 64) It's not like Nintendo has been the paragon of innovation itself, lately, so maybe let's calm down a little, yeah? It gets a little tiresome hearing how Nintendo does no wrong and is the best at everything and such whenever someone dares to take a concept they popularized and put their own spin on it.
What really matters here is how much fun the game is and initial reports point to "Very". Which is unsurprising, since that's just kind of how these games are, provided the mechanics are tight. Games in the same vein that have come out in recent years seem to have overlooked that part, which I imagine is where the whole disconnect and low opinion of the game's chances might come from. But the fact of the matter is, no matter how much people want to pretend that the Sony line-up can't be great, it's likely going to, so with the character line-up solid, we just have to look to the developer for the mechanics. Given that it's basically a First-Party studio (I said basically) and the fact that they're likely going to be working close with other first, second and third party studios to ensure that their characters are used properly, they'll likely get a lot of additional help. I'm really not concerned about that part.
Now, I've brought up characters several times here in previous posts, so I'll try not to re-tread my previous thoughts too much. Clearly, Kiryu Kazuma is one of my picks for a possible third-party member, as well as Solid Snake or even Ezio, and knowing that there will definitely be third-party characters in the game is quite uplifting. I mean sure, like I said, I expected it, but the verification is quite nice and gives me room to speculate further. Problem is, with this open a net of possibilities, it's hard to really narrow any of then down, but I do have a few ideas. Being a fighting game and, since the series has been particularly friendly to Sony in the last iteration(s), a cross-over fighter from Mortal Kombat (most likely Scorpion) wouldn't surprise me at all. Between the Cross-over of Kratos in the PS3 version of Mortal Kombat  and the fact that they're doing a Vita-specific version of the game speaks highly to their buddy-buddy nature which suggests they just might be willing to help out.
Of course, there are quite a few people clamoring for characters from the PSOne era and there's absolutely no problem with that at all. And with his recent resurgence to public knowledge thanks to Skylanders, Spyro the Dragon seems like another pretty easy choice. Spyro got his start on the PSOne all the way back in 1998 and, even though it's a third-party game and series, there's still quite a bit of association there with the Playstation brand. Similarly so would be the inclusion of Crash Bandicoot who, for a little while back then, was almost the de facto Playstation Mascot. The series is third party now as well, but with its Naughty Dog roots, and its start on the PSOne as one of -the- titles to have, it's certainly not inconceivable and in fact, I would say it's quite likely to happen. Or rather, I'm sure more than a few people would start grumbling if he wasn't in, despite it being completely up to another company entirely.
It's a strange position to consider and I don't think I've managed to have it fully sink in just yet. I just sit here, trying to think of big third-party studios and the games they've had prominently on Playstation systems and all I can think about is the first-and-second-party characters, with the possibilities therein. Playstation has been around for a long time now and while some of us might remember growing up with Sega and Nintendo going at it through the Genesis and Super Nintendo, we're in a time period now where there are people who have literally grown up playing Playstation games when we were playing NES ones. Where we might've had our first experience with games through Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunt or Crystalis, their first times were through Tomb Raider (Lara Croft is a totally viable character, by the way), Spyro, or Parappa the Rapper. I think we would all do well to not underestimate the actual weight the characters in Battle Royale can have.