PowerWash Simulator is crying out for crossovers, and if there’s any justice in the world, a veritable cavalcade of tie-in content is brewing at FuturLab HQ. At the very least, publisher Square Enix should be banging out deals as we speak.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the vanilla PowerWash Simulator; it’s entirely worthy of its glowing Steam rating and the positive reviews it’s received since leaving Early Access and landing on Xbox. I’ve been absolutely hooked, though if you asked me precisely why, that’s a little tougher to explain.
I mean, I have an area of decking outside my house that, fitted before I moved in, has seen better days. I got a garden tap fitted with the express idea of hooking a power washer up to it, blasting the deck clean and relaxing in my now grime-free side area.
Have I purchased a power washer, even though it’d cost me less than two PlayStation 5 games? Absolutely not. I have, however, spent hour after hour stripping a wealth of locations and items of their grime, stepping back proudly to observe my handiwork.
Yes, even if PowerWash Simulator weren’t on Xbox Game Pass, I’d still have purchased it so I could pay for the privilege of engaging in manual labour. Ultimately, I think it’s because there’s something so wonderfully meditative about PowerWash Simulator’s work.
It’s like completing one of those scratch-art pieces you can find in toy stores; you’re revealing the life underneath, and with every single scratch, more shines through. Sure, you could play Tic-Tac-Toe in the muck as seen in the trailer, but it’s so much more satisfying to strip away the filth methodically, inch by inch, until beauty is revealed. And when the job is done, you stand back and behold your handiwork with pride.
However, PowerWash Simulator has got me thinking just how much more satisfying it’d be to blast away at some more meaningful targets, and that’s where the game’s crossover potential comes in.
Sure, it’s fun to power-wash the muck off Grandpa Miller’s car — especially when you figure out what’s under the muck — but how much cooler would it be to blast layers of dirt, slime, or marshmallow off the Ghostbusters’ ECTO-1? Or even better, turn up at Ghostbusters HQ and, through your power-washing skills, prepare it for whatever movie’s following Ghostbusters: Afterlife?
I’m using Ghostbusters as an example because it’s reasonably timely and I get a kick out of the series, 2016 reboot included. But in fact, there are thousands of properties, games and otherwise, that PowerWash Simulator could join forces with. Want to clean up the Batmobile? Go for it. Feel like power-washing the blood and rust off Silent Hill’s Alchemilla Hospital? Knock yourself out.
Admittedly, I can’t take all the credit for this idea. Viscera Cleanup Detail followed a similar, if bloodier, premise to PowerWash Simulator, and it had a gloriously gory crossover with Shadow Warrior. The premise was that you were sent in to clean up after Shadow Warrior’s Lo Wang had rampaged through a Japanese-style building, disposing of body parts, removing shards of glass, and so on.
It was entirely free, not even requiring the full Viscera Cleanup Detail, and it was a neat way to generate goodwill for and awareness of the game. I felt sure that Devolver Digital, which published the spin-off, would release further crossovers, but it never happened. It’s a shame — just imagine cleaning up the aftermath of Carrion or another Devolver release.
But PowerWash Simulator absolutely has the opportunity to capitalize on its crossover potential, not least because, in 2022, cross-property promotions are the norm. If you can have Chun-Li fighting the Xenomorph in Fortnite or Megatron taking the battle to the gods in Smite, letting players blast the mud off Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine is nothing. That’s not to say this content should be separate from the main game, as it was in Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior; there’d be no incentive for FuturLab to participate if it weren’t getting any sales out of it. But what if the content itself were free or, at the very least, subsidized?
Let’s say, for example, that Sony wants to promote John Wick: Chapter 4. Assuming that PowerWash Simulator hasn’t, God forbid, fallen into obscurity by 2023, Sony could just give publisher Square Enix a ring. A lot of legal wrangling later, you’re cleaning up the Continental, maybe with an online competition to see who can hose it down the fastest.
Or going back to Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2, they could throw in a few Ghostbusters costumes for good effect; after all, PowerWash Simulator’s backpacks do look a little familiar. Then there’s Splatoon. What if it’s not microbes that clean up the ink after each match — it’s hard-working, backpack-toting power washers?
The possibilities are endless, and I’d love to think that conversations are going on behind the scenes even now about how the game can link up with various properties. And if not? There’s always the modding scene to fall back on — after they’ve added Macho Man Randy Savage to PowerWash Simulator, maybe they can shoe-horn Ecto-1 in there too.