by Joseph Leray
Gaijin Games have announced a new pack of downloadable content for "Bit.Trip Presents ... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien" that introduces new characters to the exuberant platformer. The developers will be revealing seven new runners for the "Good Friends" pack throughout the week, starting off with Razputin from Double Fine's "Psychonauts" and Quote from Daisuke Amaya's "Cave Story."
Videogame crossovers aren't a new trend: fighting games companies have been experimenting with them since at least the original "Marvel vs. Capcom" in the mid-90's and continuing through the "Super Smash Bros." and "Soul Calibur" series, and there's an entire cottage industry of mish-mashed Japanese role-playing games doing the same thing, the latest being Monolith Soft's "Project X Zone."
Team Meat put their own spin on crossovers by including the likes of Gish and Commander Video (the hero of Gaijin's "Bit.Trip" series) as unlockable characters in "Super Meat Boy."
To me, Gaijin Games' "Good Friends" characters seems like a gesture of solidarity, a hat-tip to anybody else that's made it through the thresher of game development on their own and managed not to starve to death. It's a relatively small club, so don't be surprised to find Super Meat Boy, Tim from "Braid," or Gomez from "Fez," running, jumping, and sliding their way through the Emerald Brine soon enough.
Still, it's a tinniest bit of a bummer that this DLC won't bring any new levels with it -- "Runner 2" is one of my favorite games this year, and I'd love to get back into it. When I reviewed it for Paste Magazine, I called it "inviting and uplifting"; MTV's own review called "Runner 2" "one of the best games out there to push you to your limits, and then, in turn, offer an overwhelming sense of satisfaction."
The "Good Friends" DLC goes live on Steam this Thursday, with releases for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U to follow.
In other Gaijin-related news, they've also released a browser game based on the hidden extra levels that pepper "Runner 2." It's a great way to kill a coffee break, and you can try it out here.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter