Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
The recent reveals of Insomniac's Spider-Man and the Square Enix Avengers project, its clear that Marvel is planning to make a big return to the gaming industry. They've talked about working with many other talented studios as well, so we have no clue exactly what games are coming from who. This top 5 list will contain some dream Marvel games that I would love to see get made.
Without further ado, lets get started with our #5 spot!
5.) Planet Hulk - Sucker Punch
It's certainly not a shocker that Sucker Punch is on this list given their great work with the inFAMOUS series. What's more surprising at first glance, though, is the character and storyline I'd like them to adapt. I feel like this is a character that would make for a truly fun gameplay experience, and I'm confident Sucker Punch could deliver it. With their gorgeous adaptation of Seattle in Second Son, they'd be a great choice to develop an eye-catching version of Planet Hulk's setting, Sakaar. The studio would have a strong story to base the game off of from the get-go (plus they could pull from World War Hulk if needed) and could spend the majority of their time doing what they do best: creating fun gameplay.
What made the gameplay of the inFAMOUS series so fun was the power you were given. You felt no fear when entering a fight and could tear through hordes of enemies in seconds. This is one of the most important parts in getting Hulk right, because after all, "Hulk is strongest there is". With this game not being set in a populated city, they could really let loose with Hulk's power and give players a fully destructible open world. On top of that, it would be great to see the gladiator fights from the original story make their way into a video game. Hulk hasn't had a solo movie in almost ten years, and the last time he got a great game was 2005's Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Its time that changes, and Sucker Punch is the studio that can make it happen.
Next, its time to look at idea #4. Its probably the least likely game on this list to actually happen, but its one I'd still love to discuss...
4.) Old Man Logan - Naughty Dog
When Logan released in theaters this year, it was met with tons of well-deserved praise... and multiple comparisons to Naughty Dog's critically acclaimed game, The Last of Us. Given the film's portrayal of an older Wolverine (who certainly looked like Joel) with a young X-23, and the post-apocalyptic setting, there definitely were some similarities between the two masterpieces. However, if Naughty Dog were to make its own version of the beloved comic book storyline, I'd love to see them fully adapt it. The movie only touched on the big events that make Old Man Logan special (and left out a few), meaning that its still a concept that hasn't been completely explored.
A moment like Wolverine being tricked into killing the X-men may have been a challenge to pull off in a film, but in a game its far easier to deceive a character and a player into seeing something that's not really there/doing something they don't want to do. With Naughty Dog being the undisputed masters of facial animation and writing in video games, they would definitely make this moment as dark and harrowing as it needs to be. They've also already shown their skill in creating a believable post-apocalyptic world and filling it with intense, brutal combat. Their recent exploration sections in the Uncharted series would translate perfectly to an Old Man Logan game, as a large portion of the story consists of a road trip that the characters have to take. Its here that we'd be able to see the world in vivid detail, and Naughty Dog can give players a lot of background through environmental storytelling. While its unlikely that Naughty Dog would ever take on a property that isn't their own, this is an experience I've love to have in video game form... and they're the team that can do it best.
As we move further down the list and enter the Top 3, its time to talk about a game that would be made by one of the best indie studios out there...
3.) Iron Man - Housemarque
With the release of each Iron Man movie (and the character's rising popularity), a tie-in video game was released. These certainly weren't good games. Ugly textures, boring fights and repetitive mission design were just some of the many problems. Biggest of all, though, was that they never could get the feel of Iron Man right. His flight is a tricky thing to nail down, I'm sure, but I do think its possible. Bioware's Anthem seems to have similar mechanics working perfectly, and I'm sure the Square Enix Avengers project will deliver, too. There's another way to make an Iron Man game right, though. Its an area Marvel has never truly explored, probably because it was much less of an option back when they were consistently producing games. I'm suggesting that Marvel seek out an independent studio to make a truly great Iron Man game. Specifically, Housemarque.
Why Housemarque? The shortest explanation would be to namedrop one of their past works: Resogun. This game relied on twin stick shooting mechanics to shoot down enemies and more importantly, to fly. Its one of the best-controlling games I've ever played and it felt so good to save humans and dodge projectiles with my ship. The backdrops and animations were gorgeous. Eventually ship customization was added, and people spent plenty of time creating their own ships to share online. Now lets pause for a second. Go back to the start of this paragraph and replace "ship" with "Iron Man". Done? Congrats, gold star for you. It should be a bit clearer now why the studio would be the choice for an indie Iron Man game. The twin stick shooting/flying mechanics would translate perfectly to the character, making his weapons and thrusters feel right. Saving people is literally a superhero's favorite thing, so rescuing them as you fly through part of a burning Manhattan simply makes sense. Housemarque games are filled with weapons similar to Iron Man's already. Plus, you already know that he has a different suit for every occasion. The developers can release the game with a hefty amount of those suits, each with their own stats (speed, damage, etc.) and a unique weapon. They can also give players a suit customization system with variations of armor, color schemes and helmets. I'd love to make my own Iron Man suits and to be able to download new ones whenever I want to. Out of any game on this list, I think this one is the most plausible. I really hope Marvel begins to enter the indie space, and if they ever want to do Iron Man right, I hope they go to Housemarque.
With the #3 spot covered, lets move on to our #2 spot! Its extremely relevant at the time of writing, and features an unlikely team of heroes...
2.) The Defenders - Rockstar
Having watched the Netflix series based on Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil, I did what I always do after seeing a movie or watching a show; I thought of what a Defenders game would be like. Admittedly, I was a bit stuck and had come to terms with the fact that there was no easy way to make this team-up work in video game form. Then I opened Twitter and almost immediately found a tweet that made everything clear. Someone had mentioned how similar the first few episodes were to Grand Theft Auto V in the way that they juggled the different perspectives of the four heroes. That, right there, is the way to make a Defenders game work.
Hypothetically, lets say something crazy happens and Rockstar themselves sign on to make this game. With access to their own character-switching system, they can tweak it to fit the dysfunctional team of vigilantes. Lets say you're carrying out a side mission with Daredevil that tasks you with representing someone in court. While Matt is doing his thing as a lawyer, you can instantly switch to Luke Cage who is fighting a gang in the streets of Harlem. For another scenario, say you're controlling Jessica in a mission where she's questioning the family of a murder victim. On the other side of New York, Iron Fist is fighting the Hand in one of their crazy sewer lairs. Again, you could switch to him whenever you wanted. What about the main story when the heroes are grouped together, though? Well, to make character switching feel right here, Rockstar could borrow from Rocksteady's Arkham Knight. After taking out a few bad guys as Iron Fist, you can press a button to initiate a combo move with Luke Cage and take control of him instead. Obviously, any other combination of heroes would work for this, and the full team would contribute to taking down a boss. With that great system in mind, along with Rockstar's consistently strong, character-focused writing, I'd love for this unrealistic game idea to become a reality.
Now its finally time to look at the #1 spot: a game that would be different from this one in every way, but one that would make a huge part of the gaming community very happy...
1.) The X-Men - Blizzard
Outside of fighters and MMOs, its rare to find any multiplayer-focused superhero games... probably because there has never been one. The competitive multiplayer genre has been completely untouched by Marvel Games, yet could ultimately become their most successful. With games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Overwatch doing so well, I'd be shocked if Marvel hasn't considered entering that space... and if they were to scout for the perfect business partner, I'm sure they'd go after Overwatch developer Blizzard immediately. If you've played that game (or any other game from the studio), you'd know how great Blizzard is at making fun, engrossing and competitive multiplayer. They're also the best developer out there when it comes to free post-launch content, dropping cosmetic items along with maps and new playable characters constantly. For a superhero game, that content plan is perfect due to a massive pool of costumes for the heroes and villains (and the countless locations they've fought at). What characters would Blizzard and Marvel focus on, though? Well, I can think of no better pick than the X-men.
The game itself would play quite differently from Overwatch, aside from one big similarity: abilities and ultimates. For example, Wolverine's kit would include a passive that allows him to regenerate health if he hasn't taken damage for a specific amount of time. He would be the game's first melee-focused character, with his other abilities (dash, multiple quick strikes) able to be strung together to form combos that take other players out quickly. His ultimate would be berserker rage, giving him quickly recharging abilities, a speed boost, more base health and letting him do double damage for 7 seconds. Nearly every X-men hero or villain would translate well into this system. One of Mystique's abilities would allow her to disguise herself as a member of the enemy team until she attacks, making her very effective at taking out characters in one-on-one fights. One of Cable's abilities would be Bodyslide, allowing him to teleport to a few chosen points in succession (essentially a combination of Tracer and Reaper's abilities from Overwatch). Jean Grey's ultimate would put her in "Dark Phoenix mode", giving her new abilities (like disintegration) that can wipe out the enemy team quickly. I could go on forever, but hopefully these ideas were enough to show just how great the characters would fit into that system. Other minor mechanics from Overwatch would probably translate, like the characters having conversations before the game started about past events. Emotes, sprays and voice lines could carry over as well.
As for what makes the game unique, it wouldn't follow the class system from Overwatch and similar games. Instead, there would always be two teams: heroes and villains. Obviously characters like Cyclops and Colossus would be on the side of the heroes, and villains like Toad or Apocalypse would be featured in the villain category. Each map would have its own bit of story and reasoning behind the two sides battling. Locations like the X-mansion, New York City and the Danger room would be featured. The maps themselves would be partially destructible and the art style would be representative of a comic book, similar to Telltale's Wolf Among Us. The other main feature would be a strength/weakness system. For an example, lets use Wolverine again. Say there's an enemy player that's dominating with that hero. To counter them, a player on the side of the villains would be smart to choose Magneto. Not only would he do more damage to the Wolverine user, but Wolverine would also do a smaller fraction of damage to Magneto. Each hero and villain would have a member of the opposing roster that they're weaker to and one that they're stronger against, largely based on their comic book history. Like most competitive games, this system would encourage communication and teamwork and would be the backbone of Blizzard's X-men.
Well, that's all everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading this top 5. If you'd like to see an honorable mention and some info on what I'll be doing with this series going forward, check the comments below.
While you're there, feel free to give us one of your own ideas or let us know which of the Top 5 interested you the most.