Pokemon Unite has taken the gaming world by storm, as many have been pleasantly surprised by just how decent the MOBA spinoff of the Pokemon series is. We here at Shacknews have been enjoying it so much, that it got us thinking about what existing video game franchises would make excellent MOBAs.
Question: What gaming franchise would you like to see turned into a MOBA?
Final Fantasy - Ozzie Mejia, Rookie Pokemon Unite Player
Square Enix has been mixing together Final Fantasy games across a lot of franchises and a lot of different genres. Dissidia answers the question, "What would Final Fantasy look like as a fighting game?" Now I want to see the answer to "What would Final Fantasy look like as a MOBA?"
There are dozens upon dozens of characters from across more than 15 Final Fantasy games that could populate a MOBA roster. Imagine focusing on a nexus point when a Bahamut suddenly shows up for a potential team bonus. Picture a team with Cloud, Tidus, Lightning, Squall, and Noctus or a team with Balthier, Auron, Tifa, Yuna, and Vivi. Mix in a lot of the Final Fantasy magic systems and this could be a MOBA for the ages.
Marvel - Donovan Erskine, Dragonborn
After playing several hours of Pokemon Unite, a Marvel MOBA seems like a no-brainer. There are so many characters in that universe, meaning the possibilities are practically endless in terms of new characters or post-launch content. There’s also plenty of ultra powerful characters or “bosses” in Marvel lore that would work in the MOBA formula as well. People have strong emotional attachments to characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America etc. Because of that, you’d likely have a lot of genre newcomers that want to see what that game is all about (just like with Pokemon Unite). I think there’s precedent for it too, with how many different Marvel games, spanning different genres, we’ve been getting as of late.
Super Mario Bros. - Blake Morse, MariOBA or bust
Look, it just makes perfect sense. Everyone’s favorite plumber extraordinaire has had a number of different jobs and has mastered several sports over the years in his ever expanding roster of genre-hopping games. There are very few new frontiers left for our red-capped Nintendo mascot to give a whirl and MOBA is definitely one of them.
You need a massive roster of playable characters that are unique in their own ways? SMB has that in spades. Special abilities? Mario alone has dozens of suit-based skills! There’s just so much potential for a fun and unique take on the genre and it would definitely pull in a ton of gamers like myself that aren’t really into MOBA just on the sheer fact that it’s a new Mario game of any kind. I know that the Switch just got its own very approachable Pokemon MOBA, but you can’t tell me that doubling down by following up with a Super Mario BroBA wouldn’t be a stroke of genius.
Dark Souls - Sam Chandler, I main Solaire
Dark Souls has such a wealth of great characters across a variety of classes that it would almost definitely work as a MOBA. And let’s not just stop at Dark Souls, why not throw in some Bloodborne and Sekiro characters, Demon’s Souls too, and maybe even Elden Ring. Big Hat Logan could be your mid-laner mage, the Tower Knight is a Support while Eileen is your ADC. Get Sekiro to be your jungler while my boy Solaire tackles top lane by himself. You could even branch out and have some of the bosses and enemies be playable characters. Yep. I’m sold. Let’s make it happen.
MMA MOBA - Bill Lavoy, Resident of Sapienza
Credit to TJ Dezner for helping me figure this one out, because a lot of the games I enjoy just don’t work as a MOBA. However, I’m a big fan of MMA – not so much a fan of the UFC – and that’s a sport with a huge roster of personalities with different skill sets. Imagine having Derek Lewis in a MOBA where he could be up against Demetrious Johnson, Amanda Nunes, and others at the same time. I think that could be wildly fun as a gimmicky mobile game, but I’d probably check out quickly because I’m not down with the pay-to-win model.
The Final Fantasy universe - TJ Denzer, has been addicted to a MOBA or two
I agree with Ozzie, and I even have some wistful ideas on how this would work. Having played games like League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm quite thoroughly in the past, the things that speak to me most in MOBAs is character variety and world mechanics. The Final Fantasy franchise has fantastic pre-built options for these aspects. At its simplest, you could just make all of the core job classes into characters: Warrior, Black Mage, White Mage, Red Mage, Thief, Monk, Ninja, Dragoon, Geomancer, Chemist, Summoner, etc. Maybe allow you to customize your character in their job class with special cosmetics. Then, you could really get fancy by providing series characters like Cloud, Zidane, Terra, Sabin, Aerith, and more as special characters that fit into these archetypes (or feature their own special abilities)
With a world based on elemental crystals to keep it in order, I would think that a Final Fantasy MOBA should have a foundation where either each side protects their own crystal and tries to get at the opposing team’s crystal in their base. You could also have it where the crystals are hidden across the field and players have to capture them to gain their power. Either way, level ups and gear are components of Final Fantasy that would also translate well to a MOBA. You could have fun monster mobs hidden throughout the field as well.
There is so much built into Final Fantasy that feels like it would take little effort to translate to a MOBA format. Actually, it kind of makes me wonder why Square Enix hasn’t done just that. I’d sure as heck give it a go.
The Legend of Zelda - Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host
Pokémon Unite is the newest MOBA game to release and it got us thinking “what game/franchise would make a good MOBA?” It would be neat to see a Legend of Zelda type where you could have different characters fight it out. You could also go in a different direction and have different Links and Zeldas from different timelines fight to be the best. There are tons of Zelda weapons and characters to choose from. It would probably be a cross between Smash Bros and Hyrule Warriors.
Capcom Fighters MOBA - Bryan Lefler, Contributing Editor
To make a MOBA, you need a roster of unique and powerful characters, and I think Capcom fighting games have a wealth of underutilized assets. The Street Fighter universe alone could offer enough variety but I would like to see a game embrace Capcom’s legacy.
Games like Darkstalkers would also lend themselves nicely to this mash-up with fantastical horror-inspired heroes. You could have the giant armored mechs of Cyberbots acting as the large AI controlled jungle enemies that require teamwork to take down. With so many excellent and varied characters to consider, a Capcom Fighters MOBA could be a hit.
Mortal Kombat - Dennis White, Community Manager
With all of the lore and different character abilities, I would love to see such a deep roster get a chance to fight in a new format. There are plenty of factions already with Black Dragon, Raiden’s heroes of Earthrealm, the cyborgs, Lin Kuei, Shirya Ryu, Special Forces, etc that would make it fairly easy to put together a squad. The map diversity would also be interesting as there are plenty of iconic stages (Acid pit comes to mind) that you could pull from.
Netherrealm has done such a great job with identifying the signature weapons and traits for each character and making them customizable so I think that would translate well when it comes to creating gear and upgrades for the characters. Plenty of characters fit into archetypes with your favorite grapplers like Kotal Kahn or Shao Kahn being tanks. Scorpion as an assassin and Quan Chi as a caster. Maybe they could even add team fatalities at the end of a round. One can dream right?
Those are just the games that we think would make pretty solid MOBAs. If you've got any yourself, we'd love to hear about them down below!
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Shack Chat: What gaming franchise would you like to see turned into a MOBA?