After a significant drought of solid superhero games, Insomniac’s Spiderman on the PS4 finally breaks the drought in the best way possible. Swinging around Manhattan, fighting crime and taking down a who’s who of villains is cathartic and entertaining, compounded by the fact that it is the best Spiderman game we have received since Spiderman 2.
Which got me to thinking: if this superhero game was so well received, why can’t we start a trend of superhero games coming out to a huge success? If it happened with movies, we can do it with video games. I’ve done a dive into comic book history to pull out five superheroes that we could turn into a great game.
Everyone is thinking it, I’m just saying it. Well, me and about a thousand other people on the internet. Can you imagine it though? Whizzing around Manhattan as the Iron Man, blasting bad guys away with concussion blasts and keeping the streets of New York safe? Or perhaps you could set the game at some point during one of Iron Man’s many invasion storylines, where Iron Man is at war with the Skrull? Better yet, skip Stark altogether. Give Riri – the brand new Iron Man – a chance to craft an origin story that the players can experience themselves, with the familiar voice of Stark in your earpiece as your mentor and guide.
However you do it, Iron Man lends itself to open world gameplay, but it doesn’t have to simply be a Spiderman clone. The tech trees around Iron Man’s suits could be a fun feature, customizing suits with various components to suit your play style. It would also be neat to give Iron Man something akin to a dog-fighting, Crimson Skies-esque flight mechanic, where certain gameplay sections will require precision control and fast reflexes to survive. No matter which way you do it, the Iron Avenger needs a new video game off of the heels of Spiderman. Who knows? Maybe Spidey could even feature in a cameo.
The year is 1952. Mystical goings on are happening in the great cities of America. Strange reports of disappearances and creatures are cropping up in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Luckily, the United States Army has been planning for this. See, they knew that the occult had a grain of truth to it, to the point where it was necessary that they had to form a specialized task force to study, understand, and even fight it. Thus begins the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. As its first real assignment, under the watchful eye of the US Government, they send in their trump card: a young, inexperienced Hellboy. Yes please.
I would love a game similar a mashup between The Saboteur or Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, where kicking around in 1950s Americana meets the shadowy underbelly of the city’s occult goings on. Hellboy would be young and impulsive, looking to make a name for himself and start his roughhousing, but it would be up to the player to decide whether he would be an honorable brute, or a self-interested jerk. Throw in the art style that solidified Hellboy’s unique comic book run, and I think you’re on to something. Throw in some little Easter eggs about the movies while you’re there, too. I don’t know about you guys, but Hellboy 2: The Golden Army is a severely underrated movie.
Rorschach (and the Watchmen)
I really enjoy Telltale Games and their takes on comic book franchises, spinning their own tale that straddles the line between official canon and artistic interpretation. The best examples of this come from The Wolf Among Us and the Batman: Telltale games. Sure, they may not be 100% faithful to the source material in terms of who does what and when, but they have an internal consistency and faithfulness to the spirit of the text that you can set it aside and enjoy the story. With that being said, I really want a second season of The Wolf Among Us. Failing that, a detective story surrounding Rorschach would be marvelous too, please.
Somewhere between 1977 and 1985, Rorschach is the only vigilante protecting the interests of the people, while the cops bumble around aimlessly letting crime run rampant in their city. In the depths of Hell’s Kitchen, Rorschach investigates a horrific murder of a family, which is par for the course in Rorschach’s world. What he finds there will lead him on a manhunt reminiscent of Sin City, with the same art style and violence to match. It would also put characters in the position of using their wits before their fists, as while Rorschach is strong for his size, his brain is his real weapon. The tale would sow the seeds of the Rorschach that we see in the Watchman series, and add another chapter to the legacy of one of comic book’s short lived protagonists.
Spawn’s last video game outing on his own was Spawn: Armageddon in 2003, a bland hack and slash that didn’t really jump anyone’s bones. Save for his cameo in the Soul Caliber 2 HD remaster in 2013, he hasn’t had a lot to do with video games, which is a damn shame. His background as an ex-CIA assassin screwed over by the devil has more than a little bit of a Darksiders tone to it, and could play well into a modern hack and slash. But in this fantasy production of mine, it’s not a hack and slasher. I would make it something akin to a Dark Souls/Bloodborne experience – dark, atmospheric, and hard as shit.
Let’s take it from the start of his story and go blown origin story, taking place during the war between heaven and hell, and his battle with Urizen and fighting back hell and its demons. If you set the game between Heaven, Hell and Greenworld, you have so many different vibrant locales that would belay the games ridiculous difficulty. What’s better, Todd MacFarlane could use the video game to expand on the source material: after all, MacFarlane has used Spawn’s inclusions in games to add more characters in the past, like he did with Necrid in Soul Caliber 2. If you make the mechanics the story, with the suit evolving to form new and interesting weapons as the game progresses, the game would become a flexible Dark Souls-esque fighter with the depth and mythos that Spawn finally deserves.
They have been teasing me for ages. After Batman: Arkham Knight ended the series on a questionable note, making Batman make his peace with all of his compatriots before finally initiating the Knightfall protocol, there was one character who I was the most interested to follow when all was said and done. Nightwing was torn by the knowledge that Batman wouldn’t survive Arkham Knight, and made it his mission to keep Bludhaven safe in Batman’s absence. Now, I know that Rocksteady has been teasing a brand new triple-A title, and I know full well that it is probably not an Arkham-style Batman game. A man can dream, and while we are dreaming, I want a Nightwing game in a similar style to the Batman: Arkham series, set in Bludhaven.
The Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC from Arkham City showed what Rocksteady could do with a different main character with a similar formula, so if you overhaul Nightwing’s combat style to tie in with the gameplay of Batman: Arkham and better suit his gear and character, you could have a breath of fresh air for the series. This is coupled with the fact that Nightwing is just a more lively character than Batman. He is more jovial, with a spring in his step and a self-awareness that Batman notably lacks. With the events of the Batman: Arkham trilogy behind him, the ramifications of Batman’s absence could weigh on his performance as a vigilante, adding some depth to the story being told. A revamped character and a new setting could inject new life into the best superhero video game series ever made, and would arguably overshadow its predecessors if done right.
This is my wish list for future superhero games that could flood/dominate the market in the wake of Spiderman. Are there any that I missed? Would you do these ideas differently? Let me know in the comments below.