Funko Fusion mashes up The Thing, Hot Fuzz, Nope, and much more

Key art for Funko Fusion.
10:10 Games

I grew up adoring Lego video games, but recent efforts from TT Games like The Skywalker Saga just haven’t gelled with me. That’s why Funko Fusion piqued my interest. It’s the first release from 10:10 Games, a studio founded by TT Games founder Jon Burton and former TT Games Head of Design Arthur Parsons, and is a video game about a popular set of toys themed around certain properties. I got an early look at Funko Fusion ahead of its September 13 release date announcement, and what I saw was equal parts weird and ambitious.

It’s a crossover of several franchises, including more violent ones like Invincible, Shaun of the Dead, and The Thing. It’s going for a teen rating and is a bit bloody sometimes, but everything still has a cutesy, vinyl Funko Pop aesthetic. On top of that, it’s also a co-op shooter with somewhat destructible environments. Although Funko Fusion seems like it will be exhausting for those tired of IP crossover gobbledygook, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it now that I’ve fallen out of love with Lego video games.

A bloody good crossover

Funko Fusion is a third-person shooter where players fight through levels based on a pretty eclectic list of movies and TV shows. Here’s the full list of properties that 10:10 Games has already confirmed.

  • Back to the Future
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Child’s Play 2
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Invincible
  • Jaws
  • Jurassic World
  • Masters of the Universe
  • Megan
  • The Mummy
  • Nope
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Thing
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Voltron
  • Xena Warrior Princess

Although Funko Fusion gives off the vibe of a “kids’ game” at first glance, explicit horror movies like Jaws, Nope, and Five Nights at Freddy’s made the cut. As a result, Funko Fusion contains a bit more blood than you’d probably expect. The trailer ends with a Funko character getting their head impaled in The Thing’s level. During a gameplay demo, I saw the developers shoot the heads off zombies as well. It’s not frightening and comes off as relatively harmless violence, but it’s still a bit more graphic than what I expected when I first heard about Funko Fusion. For 10:10 Games, it was a matter of achieving a delicate balance in an attempt to reach a teen rating.

The Nope level in Funko Fusion.
10:10 Games

“We’re aiming for a teen rating, which allows us to bring all these IPs together, but importantly, treating it the way that we do, where we will have comic violence, comic mischief, will push the boundaries and envelope, but don’t go too far,” Parsons, who is now Funko Fusion’s design director and 10:10 Games’ head of publishing, says. “It’s all done tastefully and with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, and that’s where we can allow that mash-up to happen. The unifying thing here is Funko and the Funko lens, and that’s what allows that to work together.”

I saw this in action across two levels in a hands-off preview. The first was a reimagining of The Thing, which saw the developers fighting corrupted enemies throughout the Antarctic base as they saved dogs. Combat looks fairly straightforward, although there are items like turrets or bounce pads that players can lay down in the environment to give them an edge in combat. Parsons also highlighted how most objectives in the environment can be destroyed and that doing so will grant players “vinyl” currency to spend.

The base does feel faithfully recreated, even if what was going on in it was a far cry from the tense John Carpenter film. Seeing this in action raised the question in my mind of what was holding all of the separate IPs together to create something cohesive. Parsons said that the overarching narrative connecting these worlds will be done with a “light touch” because 10:10 Games does want to focus on faithfully retelling the stories from the properties it’s adapting.

He also confirms that the team made the decision early on in development not to feature voice acting, so it will have pantomimed cutscenes like in older Lego games. As someone who preferred that to the newer Lego games’ voice acting, that’s a surprisingly exciting part of Funko Fusion for me.

Back to the Future's Hill Valley in Funko Fusion.
10:10 Games

(Loosely) faithful recreations

While The Thing’s level was certainly a stretch compared to the tense horror movie it was based on, I could at least admit that the environment looked the part. What Funko Fusion is going for became a lot more clear in the Shaun of the Dead level Parsons went to next. While he played as Shaun and another developer as Marty McFly, we saw them fight zombies down a street while trying to help characters from the movie reach Winchester pub in a car.

This more followed the plot of a movie, albeit more loosely. There’s only so much you can do without any voice acting, but I think that has the potential to add to Funko Fusion’s charm. Despite the Funko-fication of everything here, that faithfulness to the IP being used are is Parsons credits with being the secret sauce to a successful licensed game.

“The key thing with working with third-party IP is making sure that you treat the IP 100% respectfully, but most importantly, you have to be a fan of that IP,” Parsons says. “With something like this, where there are so many IPs, there’s a lot of research, time, and effort that goes into making sure we really know these IPs. But in order to deliver a fantastic, fun, authentic experience, you’ve got to effectively think as a fan … If [third-party partners] know that you’re a fan, they’re going to trust you, and the great thing is that our partners are great, and they trust us.”

A corrupted enemy in Funko Fusion.
10:10 Games

Until I go hands-on with Funko Fusion, I’m not quite sure if such a weird project could work. I’m admittedly getting tired of IP crossovers, so the gameplay will really have to be entertaining enough to keep the experience enthralling once the initial novelty wears off. But thanks to the team behind it, I do have hope that it will be able to recapture some of the magic of those early Lego games with its eclectic, sometimes overtly violent gameplay and mix of iconic franchises.

Funko Fusion launches for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch on September 13.

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