Going into this year and committing to the most popular requests no matter what, I knew there were a few match-ups we had to do which would challenge the reception of our show. Specifically, despite the popularity of some requests, there were a couple which I wasn't sure how they would be recieved. Jotaro VS Kenshiro was one of those, but another was Crash VS Spyro.
Don’t get me wrong, Crash VS Spyro makes so much sense! It’s a classic rivalry of mascots! There’s a good reason for it to be a popular request! Everyone wants to see that, right? Well… sort of. It turns out many people are actually requesting different versions of this match-up. Some people wanted to see Crash and Spyro go at it with everything at their disposal. Others wanted to see their arsenals shrunk down to their classic origins. For example, let’s say we only took the classic versions of the characters. Classic Spyro makes sense, as he had a very distinct timeline somewhat separated from the second trilogy and Skylanders games.
However, Crash does not have such a split, so there really isn’t such a thing as “classic era” Crash in an official sense. What would be the cut off point? The GameBoy games? The PlayStation 1 games? If we intentionally remove part of Crash’s story to create our own version of “Classic Crash” and he loses, won’t that feel like we stacked the deck against him? How would the match have changed if we hadn’t cut out his modern games? If Crash did win, how would things have played out if Spyro had access to his arsenal and skills from the Legends and Skylanders games? And what will fans of Legends think when we completely shut out their version of the character? But if we include Legends and he’s way too powerful, will Crash fans be mad?
IT’S A LOT.
This goes back to that whole problem with taking characters from different parts of their timelines or sources, it creates a mess. This is why I generally don’t like making the character selection so complicated, and streamlined this one as it was. I’m absolutely positive our solutions for the episode were the best ones possible.
Sora VS Pit was yet another long requested episode finally getting its time in the spotlight. It was also yet another chance for us to show off Nick’s hilariously good/bad Goofy voice! Similar to Jotaro VS Kenshiro, I knew that despite this being such a popular request this was one of those that came from a very vocal minority of viewers, but it didn’t matter to me. I was sticking to the goal of this season, getting those popular requests out there, and this one was easily one of the longest running popular requests we’d ever had. I’d venture to say this request’s insisting popularity out-endured even the likes of Galactus VS Unicron.
Then there’s Leon VS Frank, one of the only two match-ups this year not from the top 10% of the most requested. Truth be told, this match-up exists purely because Torrian wanted to do it. I always like to give the team some match-ups each year that they’re passionate about. More often than not, this turns out spectacular episodes like Balrog VS TJ Combo. However, this ultimately had to be moved to Luis’ 2D team… and honestly, I think it worked out really well! Luis was able to pull off some things with the animation that I don’t think Torrian could have, and we ended up with a really cool thematic battle that’s wonderfully different from most of our episodes.
Also, before I wrap this up, there’s another huge change to this season that I want to bring up. I already mentioned how a couple musicians have really brought our battle sequences to a whole new level, but I also want to talk about the sound design. This was the year we began fully integrating into Rooster Teeth creative process, including getting the assistance of audio engineers Chris Kokkinos and Philip Spann. There’s a saying in our field of work that holds a lot of weight; “Sound makes up 70% of what you see.” It’s absolutely true, and these guys have improved our episode quality dramatically. It’s been fascinating to watch some of our older animations and compare them to what we’re capable of producing now. The difference is staggering, and certainly worth a little bit of celebrating with our big 100th episode, right? Right!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. This marks the last week of the Road To 100 blog! Do you have any questions or thoughts about Death Battle you’d like me to address in an upcoming entry?