Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Your dream superhero video game
GameCentral readers imagine their perfect superhero and comic book games based on everything from Saga to Wonder Woman.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was inspired by the recent DC Comics announcements and asked readers to describe their ideal comic book game in terms of the characters and the type of game it would be.
There was a fairly even mix of iconic and obscure characters – from Marvel, DC, and others – although many pinpointed Ant-Man as having the most potential, while others were disappointed with the recent Suicide Squad reveal.
The answer to this has got to be Superman, just because every game up till now has handled him so badly. Although so have all the modern movies so I guess that’s no surprise. Now we’re in the unfortunate position where we think Superman is ‘boring’ or ‘overpowered’ even though Captain Marvel in her movie has almost identical abilities and strength levels.
Superman has an excellent rogue’s gallery, full of super powerful enemies that are his physical equal, but his major weakness, other than kryptonite, is that he doesn’t want to see anyone else hurt. This doesn’t make him boring this makes him exactly what we need in the modern world. Someone with immeasurable power that only wants to help people? That concept now seems so novel and counterintuitive the drama almost write itself.
In my dream game though I’d like to see him spend a considerable amount of time as Clark Kent, interacting with his friends and enemies. Superman does not have ‘god-like’ powers. He and everyone he knows is mortal and that’s the basis of all his stories. And yet all we get is game after game where evil Superman is the enemy, which is such a boring cliché my eyes nearly rolled off the table during that Suicide Squad reveal.
I’d really like to see a game based on Doctor Strange. He’s one of a few Marvel Cinematic Universe characters that’s more interesting as a side character in other people’s films than he is in his own but that’s because they’re underselling the weirdness of his world and enemies.
You could do an amazing Lovecraftian horror with Strange, the sort of thing you’d need an impossible budget for in movies but could work really well in games. I’m imagining a sort of more psychedelic version of Control, with similar combat and flying but not just boring human enemies with guns.
I doubt it’d happen because Doctor Strange is pretty middling in terms of popularity but then so is Ant-Man/The Wasp, and Hawkeye, and they’re the other ones that have the most potential as far as I’m concerned. I mean, Hulk and Thor just puch things, whereas these other guys are a lot more interesting.
Batman not included
So… two DC announcements and two games based around Batman and supervillains mostly taken from his rogue’s gallery. I’m not in the slightest bit surprise but why, when Aquaman and Wonder Woman have made just as much money as any of his films ever had.
Plus, in terms of games, they’ve got far more potential. I don’t even like Aquaman but the whole undersea kingdoms thing and weird sci-fi weaponry – there’s a whole game franchise there and so far we’ve had nada.
Wonder Woman is a bit less unique maybe, a sort of female Kratos but nice, but the whole being immortal thing gives you the potential for tons of different time period for a game to be set in and her connection with the Greek gods makes from some interesting mash-ups in terms of genres. Especially if you start adding in her rogue’s gallery like Cheetah, Giganta, and Doctor Psycho.
But no, instead we just get endless Batman games, whether Batman’s included or not.
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My ideal superhero game basically writes itself and adapts to so many options. Basically, cross XCOM with superheroes.
My original idea was to use the Iron Legion. Research upgrades, develop your base of operations and send out Iron Man armour to stop crime, help at disasters and defeat an overarching evil plot. XCOM 2 even showed that you can add boss battles to it.
Beauty is that this can work with any IP. Swap in mutants and Xavier’s school and use the X-Men, make it more grounded and use Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., recruit more unique superheroes and use the Avengers. You can make it as grounded or over the top as you like.
If someone developed this than can take my money now.
My Dream comic book game, and I can’t be alone, would be Saga.
The comics are just so brilliant, as you read them you just marvel at the amount of imagination that has gone into every pane. They’ve earned their massive following, and that’s a huge built-in audience out there waiting if a tie-in should ever be produced.
The story would translate so well into something like a Telltale-style Adventure Game, and the universe as a whole would be ripe for porting into a strategy role-playing game or something of that nature.
The comics’ barely-concealed subtexts on the importance of compassion, acceptance, and equality would no doubt send the ‘I’m boycotting The Last Of Us Part 2’ brigade into fits of rage if they remained a focus in any potential adaptation, but anything that causes those people to expose themselves is OK with me to be honest.
The creators have always seemed pretty lukewarm towards adapting the comics for other media, but I imagine they’re very well-read by a lot of people that work in the video game industry, so I think it’s far from impossible that someone out there could try and acquire the license at some point. If they captured the essence of the source material they could produce something really worthwhile.
For an honourable mention, more of a pipe dream, but I would relish an adaptation of Eden: It’s An Endless World. The comics aren’t for everyone but for me they are up there with the best works of genre fiction ever, in any format. They weave thought-provoking themes and memorable, lifelike characters seamlessly with relentless, often graphic, action in a way that seems effortless but that so many other works seem to struggle with – if you’ve not come across them think Blade Runner or Cowboy Bebop just in terms of hitting that balance between being narratively exquisite without compromising on genre thrills.
The comics would lend themselves absolutely perfectly to the Naughty Dog formula in terms of how you’d structure an adaptation, but short of someone like Kojima being a fan and taking it on as a passion project, I can’t believe we’ll ever see a tie-in; there isn’t that huge audience already out there like with my first suggestion. That said, with the central conceit of the comics being a global pandemic causing mass upheaval, they may well yet resonate with a wider audience.
Who plays the Watchmen?
Having just watched the Watchmen mini-TV series I would love a game to be based on that or/and the graphic novel which I have just bought because I enjoyed the TV series so much.
I wasn’t keen on the 2009 film when it came out but I was going to go back and watch it again to see if my opinion has changed. I think a game similar to Blade Runner on the PC would be an interesting idea for it but other than that I don’t want to say!
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Fast times in Central City
The Flash would make a good game based on a superhero, and would be a good way to show off the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. With the use of a physics engine to show off the power and hyper speed of the Flash and also other users of the speed force like Savitar, Zoom, and Eobard Thawne.
You can have a city like in Spider-Man’s games, with surrounding countryside also. Speeding around to get to places and using a fighting method which would look like slow motion to Barry Allen. But obviously gaining new skills and controlling the use of the time techniques, or you’ll cause yourself an injury if done incorrectly or even injure others or destroy surrounding environments, which could make some of the populace to think badly of you, leading to a ratings table and changes in the way the story plays out.
The great thing about Barry Allen is his police forensic skills could have him working out and solving crimes like a detective and for the capture of a suspect or metahuman turning into the Flash at your own discretion, which could solve and help the situation you and others are in.
Ultimately, following the main plot for domination or destruction of Central City by an aggressive entity, but following side quests for Barry’s day job. More stories could be made when some side missions turn into a major part of the game.
So a great speed mechanic engine for offensive and defensive moves, and of course running from here to there within a fantastic well-realised world. And also you’d be able to see/talk to his friends and family and chill out with them or help them out, after a hard day’s work is done. I don’t know if the Flash has ever had a computer game at all! Apart from beat ‘em-ups like Street Fighter 2 type games, etc. An interesting franchise to develop.
GC: As well as appearing in a number of team games he had separate Game Boy and Master System games based on the 90s TV show and a Game Boy Advance game a decade or so later.
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