Comic book heroes are everywhere at the moment, absolutely everywhere! The movie industry has successfully pulled off its threat to load the silver screen with a superhero film almost every month while on TV, Flash and Arrow have successfully been followed by Gotham and the all new Supergirl. Though we decry the over saturation of superheroes in popular culture, secretly…i think we love having our favorite comic book characters spreading their wings so fully.
Of course the gaming industry’s relationship with the superhero is long and storied but in recent times there’s been a bit of a dearth of big licensed comic book games. A reason for this maybe because of the rise of mobile games and the suitability of that platform for the dreaded ‘movie tie-in’. I’d also like to think that, unlike Hollywood, the gaming industry wants to be a bit more original with their content and would rather work on their own ideas than simply rehashing old stories.
But, getting off my high horse for a minute there is definitely a place for the licensed comic book game in our libraries and so with Rocksteady finishing work on their rightly lauded Arkham series (one of the very few series that’s been keeping the Superhero flag flying) T.A.P wants to ask which hero from the pages of Comic-dom would be best suited for a major Triple-A title:
Hero: The Incredible Hulk
Previous Standalone Game: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Ideal Developer: Ninja Theory
For such an iconic Marvel character, The Incredible Hulk hasn’t had the best time in his standalone video games. Take his last foray into the console market for example with 2008s The Incredible Hulk where you rampage around as the Great Green Goliath in a sadly repetitive, uninspired affair. That’s the general problem with Hulk games, they mostly feel like low budget brawlathons that get so samey you never want to see it through all the way to the end.
If a Triple-A, high production value Hulk title was on the cards I’d like to see a studio like Sony Santa Monica (God of War) or, as postulated here, Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword) take it on. The running round smashing everything is the right idea for a Hulk game but a studio like Ninja Theory takes that to the next level and has the story handling credentials to deal with the most interesting part of the Hulk mythos, namely the relationship between Big Green and Bruce Banner.
Hero: The Punisher
Previous Standalone Game: The Punisher: No Mercy (2009)
Ideal Developer: IO interactive
The Punisher seems a ripe fruit for video game devs to pluck but the offerings in the last two decades have been anything but stellar. We had a mobile game in 2004, and then bigger console/PC game in 2005 and the aforementioned No Mercy in 2009 neither of which lit up the reviewing scoreboards. Needless to say Frank Castle is an underused resource in gaming and one feels this should be addressed.
The obvious choice would be an FPS to chronicle the ultra violent adventures of The Punisher but I believe a more measured approach is needed. Punisher, in the end, boils down to one man against the world, an unstoppable juggernaut out for revenge and something more along the lines of a Hitman game would suit that narrative. Assign the player a list of targets to take out and present him or her with open, sandbox levels and a Battle Van full of gadgets to achieve that goal. IO interactive – what are you waiting for? Get that license.
Hero: Spider Jerusalem (Transmetropolitan series)
Previous Standalone Game: NA
Ideal Developer: Volition
Little known outside comic-book geekdom, Spider Jerusalem is….well….unique among comic book heroes. A journalist in a really REALLY messed up dystopian future Spider utilizes his unquenchable thirst for the truth and his dubious morailty as his super powers….oh yeah and also his diarrhea gun, don’t forget the diarrhea gun. The excpetional thing about the Transmetropolitan series is the world that Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson crafted in those books.
It’s an intricately layered, distressing and disgusting vision of the future and somewhere that gamers would kill to properly explore. Volition has proven itself in carefully crafting open world games with the Saints Row series and clearly has the dark sense of humour needed to pull off Transmetropolitan’s style. That being said, let’s just keep the diarrhea gun relatively tame shall we?
Previous Standalone Game: Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Tooth Fairy Terror (2009)
Ideal Developer: Telltale Games
This entry has a bit of an ulterior motive to it: namely to get Guilliermo Del Toro, director of two Hellboy films, back into the the games’ industry. About a year ago gamers around the world were salivating about the prospect of visionary director Del Toro teaming up with genius developer Hideo Kojima to scare the trousers off us in a new Silent Hill game, but since then Konami has had a bit of a wobble and the project was scrapped apparently putting Del Toro off the games industry for life. What better way to tempt the Mexican director back than to give him a chance to continue to explore the intriguing Hellboy character in video game form. Teaming Del Toro up with Telltale, a studio famed for its storytelling prowess, is a bit of a no brainer and comic fans would jump at the chance for another in depth Hellboy story with Del Toro in charge of story and art direction.
Hero: Judge Dredd
Previous Standalone Game: Judge Dredd vs Zombies (2012)
Ideal Developer: Rocksteady
One of the proudest entries in the British pantheon of comics, Judge Dredd has been a staple of 2000AD since 1977 but it’s impact on video gaming has been negligible. The last entry was mobile game Judge Dredd vs Zombies in 2012 and before that was the risible Judge Dredd vs Judge Death in 2003. For such an iconic character, this is a poor effort from the video game industry. From a license point of view Dredd and video games could help each other. The Judge has never been the most commercial prospect (as poor returns of his recent film indicates) but he comes with a rich backstory to mine for story ideas and a carefully crafted world that has developed a life of its own in its four decades of existence.
An awesome video game tie-in would grow Judge Dredd’s profile while a developer would get access to one of the most badass characters in comics. Now that Rocksteady has finished with Batman they need something else to do right? So why not The Judge? The atmosphere they brought to Gotham would be sorely needed in MegaCity 1 while gamers would also be interested in how they brought gunplay into the worlds they build. A match made in post-apocalyptic heaven.
Like our suggestion or have any of your own? Hit us up on twitter @TheActionPixel