Spotlight-Stealing Crossover

So we have a Massive Multiplayer Crossover spanning across multiple worlds, franchises, uni/multiverses, what-have-you. Many characters from all featured worlds participated in it, in one way or another.

But then you noticed something: one, or at least a small number, of said franchises/worlds gets more spotlight than the others, be it the number of representations, the limelight, or the story prominence.

This means we have a case of Spotlight Stealing Crossover.

Keep in mind, though, that this trope isn't always bad and isn't necessarily an unintentional blunder either (e.g some works deliberately focus the crossover from one franchise's Point of View).

Not to be confused with someone from a franchise who's regularly featured in crossovers because of popularity - check Breakout Character, Wolverine Publicity and Popularity Power for that.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time which crosses over the then three Yu-Gi-Oh! series the story mostly focuses on Yusei and the cast of 5D's with all the supporting cast appearing. The plot mostly takes place in the time of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series but GX gets the shaft with Jaden being the only living character to appear and his section takes place in Venice rather than anywhere from his life.
  • This is one of the problems fans had with the Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage trilogy, as it will have all active Cures show up in a movie, give big focus to the Current and Previous teams (Suite Pretty Cure ♪ and Smile Pretty Cure! for the first movie, Smile and Doki Doki Pretty Cure for the second and Doki Doki and Happiness Charge Pretty Cure for the final) and shaft everyone prior, either with The Cameo or The Voiceless. Then again, All Stars DX only had 14 Cures while New Stage 3 had a whopping 37.
  • If there's a Time Bokan crossover, you can bet that the cast of Yatterman will be leading the forefront of the plot. The Royal Revival OVA was a major offender of this—although it was meant to be a celebration of the series as a whole, the whereabouts of the Doronbo Gang was the main plot point of the first episode while the second focused on Gan and Ai's off-screen retirement. Everyone else got a cameo bit at best.

    Comic Books 
  • In any given Crisis Crossover in the DC Universe, Batman and Co. will likely be featured prominently despite being as street level as Superheroes get.
  • Happened quite a bit with the Silver Age World's Finest comics—they were run by the Superman editorial office, so tended to feature Superman's villains and themes far more than Batman's. (And sometimes when they did use Batman characters, failed to check for updates on their status.)

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted by executive mandate in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Disney and Warner Brothers allowed their characters to be used but they had to have equal screen time, hence the Donald Duck & Daffy Duck and Mickey Mouse & Bugs Bunny scenes. Mickey and Bugs are never separately on-screen, and were made sure to have the exact same amount of frames of animation each.
  • In Toei's Superhero Taisen movies that feature their Toku franchises (Super Sentai and Kamen Rider), the current installments in those franchises tend to get featured while the past ones primarily fill in crowd scenes. They also tend to favor Kamen Rider much more heavily than Sentai; one was explicitly Kamen Rider Taisen with Sentai making just a token appearance, the next one was back to being named Superhero Taisen but still left the then-current Sentai team with just one scene, and the year after that flat-out pre-empted the Taisen series with a Kamen Rider movie instead before getting back on track.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Sometimes happens in Power Rangers whenever 2 different seasons would crossover — while some crossovers would balance the exposure of the teams, others not so much. One notable example being "Clash of the Red Rangers," which saw the one RPM Ranger play a much more important role in the plot than 5 of the Samurai Rangers — the Sixth Ranger for the Samurai team didn't even appear in the crossover, despite having been introduced by that point!
    • The most extreme example, arguably, was Power Rangers Super Megaforce — the series spent more time focusing on teams from pre-Zyuranger Sentai series note  that HADN'T been adapted into Power Rangers, whereas some Power Rangers teams didn't even get a full team morph. note  Even worse was that the teams were given no background — they were just treated as if they were there from the beginning, only stated to be "Powers never before seen on Earth."
    • Another notable PR example would be Lightspeed Rescue/Lost Galaxy crossover, where the Lost Galaxy cast members get shafted in favour of a one-off monster and a little girl.

    Video Games 
  • Partially due to the game reusing characters from previous games, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes has more than half of its cast coming from Street Fighter or X-Men. Wolverine goes the extra mile by having two separate versions playable, one with adamantium claws representing his X-Men: Children of the Atom moveset and another with bone claws representing how he played in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us had a significant portion of its cast coming from Gotham even though Catwoman and Bane barely play any role in the story. Batman is also the only remaining superhero and the only character to have two chapters in Story Mode: one as the main universe one and the other as his Injustice verse counterpart. He even has a bonus Mirror Match fight between Wonder Woman and Superman's chapters.
  • Injustice 2 continues the trend, even keeping the Joker playable despite his Injustice 'verse self being long dead. That on top of keeping most of the Bat-cast from the first game around, the game adds even more to the roster, namely Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Deadshot, and Red Hood, with Mr. Freeze appearing as a premier skin for Captain Cold.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale started getting called "God of War All-Stars Battle Royale" after the game's Big Bad and Final Boss Zeus was added as a DLC character, bringing the usual collection of new icons, backgrounds and minions associated with a new character (and thus, more fanservice for the GoW fanbase) with him. It should also be noted that God of War is the only series to have two different characters (Cole has a "Good" and "Evil" version, but these are derivatives of the same person).
  • Sega Superstars got so far into this with regards to Sonic the Hedgehog's overabundance of characters that they later renamed the series Sonic & SEGA All-Stars (starting with Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing), and, later, just Sonic & All-Stars (though the lack of "SEGA" in the title for Racing: Transformed is more so due to the inclusion of multiple guest racers).
  • This trope is in full effect in the SNK vs. Capcom series in light of all the Street Fighter and The King of Fighters characters populating the roster (though at least KOF has the distinction of starting out as a Massive Multiplayer Crossover). When SNK made their later entry with SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, they tried to remedy this a bit by throwing a few Unexpected Characters into the mix, such as Zero, Red Arremer and The Mars People (in other words, characters not coming from a Fighting Game background).
  • Super Smash Bros.'s name is a play on Super Mario Bros., and that franchise gets the most representation by far (even if you're generous and count characters with spin-off games — Yoshi, Donkey and Diddy Kong, and Wario — as coming from their own series instead of Mario's). This is more noticeable in the fourth game than in previous titles, where Mario has several times the number of stages that other franchises have, has more playable characters than any other series at seven (with the runner-up, Pokémon, having sixnote ), and Mario and Peach themselves get even more focus in marketing and promotion than they did for previous titles. Nintendo's other major cash cows, The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon, aren't too far behind.
    • After Masahiro Sakurai directed Kid Icarus: Uprising, many people have complained that Kid Icarus is being overrepresented in the fourth game, getting two newcomers note , tons of items, and more Smash Run enemies than even Mario, Nintendo's flagship franchise. note  Palutena also has 12 completely unique special moves, and is the only character in the game to do so other than the customizable Mii Fighters. By comparison, more popular and better selling series like Metroid and Donkey Kong, barely got any new content. Effectively demonstrated here.
    • Fire Emblem is another candidate. After being modestly represented with two reps in Melee and Brawl, it shot up to six by the end of the fourth game (four characters in the base roster and two as DLC, though one of them was Roy, a returning character from Melee left out of Brawl). The only other series to have that many characters were Mario and Pokémon, Nintendo's biggest franchises, and even they received less newcomers than Fire Emblem did. Like Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem is a relatively small series, so many feel it doesn't deserve that much attention and think Sakurai is playing favorites (he hasn't directed any Fire Emblem games, but is an admitted fan of the series). Corrin, the sixth rep, is at the forefront of the debate; whereas Robin and Lucina came from the most recent title as of SSB4's launch (and Awakening was one of the most commercially successful 3DS titles and, at that point, the best-selling installment of the series), Corrin was announced as DLC before their game had even been released outside of Japan. However, the development team themselves admitted that Corrin was chosen specifically to advertise the then-upcoming release of Fates in other territories—similar to Roy's Early-Bird Cameo in Melee—and were aware of the problems that could (and did) arise from adding another Fire Emblem character to the cast.
  • Look no further than Nicktoons Unite, or SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons, as the final installment was named. While the earlier titles in the series went toward more egalitarian representation of the Nicktoons involved, as the series progressed SpongeBob SquarePants stole the whole show.
  • In Street Fighter X Tekken, while there's equal amounts of playable characters per side, many more Street Fighter characters make cameo appearances.
    • And in an example of a nested crossover, it'd be harder to name a Final Fight character that doesn't appear one way or the other, including Poison being playable for the first time ever. Not that anyone is complaining.
  • Kingdom Hearts plays with this, since it focuses on the Original Generation more than the Disney and Final Fantasy worlds. To a lesser extent, the Final Fantasy worlds play this straight, due to being a franchise (granted, one where the games are Non-Linear Sequels to Disney's various non associated movies. Though they appear in less worlds than the Disney characters, a couple of them are among Sora's group of friends and as a result, slightly impact the plot more then the Disney Animated Canon characters note  and at least one the worlds that they do appear in (Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden, Twilight Town and Traverse Town) shows up in each game.
  • Coupled with Wolverine Publicity, the Mazinger franchise has appeared in every non-Original Generation installment of Super Robot Wars. While not totally egregious, some titles like Super Robot Wars K feature Mazinger simply as Filler, using only its characters and units, without any storyline crossover involvements.
  • Eternal Fighter Zero gives Kanon the most representation, with 10 player characters coming from there.
  • The Queen Of Heart '98 and '99 has To Heart as the series with most representation: the second game has 12 characters from there, in a roster of 24.
  • Similar to the Injustice example above, this happened in LEGO Dimensions. During the first year, eight characters from DC Comics were playable. Half of them consisted entirely of Batman characters (the Caped Crusader himself, plus The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Bane), while the other half consisted of individual DC heroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg). While the second year saw the debut of Green Arrow, Supergirl, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire (the latter three as their Teen Titans Go! versions), the Batman roster continued to grow with Robin, Batgirl and another incarnation of Batman, all three of them as their versions from The LEGO Batman Movie. This is also telling in bosses from the main story: many of the bosses of the game are DC villains, with four Batman ones (The Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, and Bane) and three Superman ones (Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and General Zod). Any other franchises with boss characters only have two or one.
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is pretty upfront about this. It says it's a BlazBlue game and delivers— Despite being a crossover between four properties, BlazBlue makes up half the playble cast.

    Western Animation 
  • Averted in the Justice League series when it became Justice League Unlimited by way of Executive Meddling where, because another Batman-focused series was running at the same time, the only Batman characters available were the Dark Knight himself, Huntress, Deadshot, Professor Milo, and the characters from Batman Beyond. Hugo Strange also made a silent cameo during one episode before The Batman prevented him from making further appearances in JLU.
  • While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is an amalgamation of various TMNT media, favoritism toward the 80s-90s cartoon can be rather blatant at times. One of the main villains native to that series is made into a whole race of Big Bads who are made out to be more of a threat than even the franchise's most iconic Big Bad, Shredder, a lot more characters are reused from that series than the others, and one episode even featured the original cartoon's Turtles for little reason than to please its nostalgic audience. But to its credit, it also improves upon most of the many flaws that the original cartoon had, making the ideas seem more plausible, and the Shredder is still treated as the more dangerous and formidable of the two main villains.