Could The Next Wave Of Marvel Games Set The Standard For The Superhero Genre?
Square Enix is partnering with Marvel to develop a massive Avengers game.
Marvel Studios has without a doubt been setting the standard in so many aspects of bringing their beloved comic book characters onto the screen through film and television. Between the phenomenal casting choices, to the direction of the shared universe overall there has been very little to feel Marvel has missed in terms of giving their characters the respect and attention they deserve.
Now, the shared universe of television and film isn't the only world that Marvel is exploring, considering the recent news that Square Enix was partnering with Marvel to develop a massive Avengers game.
The Avengers project is being designed for gamers worldwide and will be packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise. Featuring a completely original story, it will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come. More details on The Avengers project and other games will be announced in 2018.
This game is being developed by Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided) and Crystal Dynamics (Rise of the Tomb Raider) and considering how beautiful their respective games are, we're bound to see something absolutely incredible especially after the trailer dropped to coincide with their announcement.
Although the trailer doesn't necessarily show off anything earth shaking, it does give us a good feel of what we can look forward to. Then combined with the news that this deal between Marvel and Square Enix is a "multi-year, multi-game partnership" it sure seems that we have a lot to look forward to.
How does the superhero genre look now?
Well, for comparison sake, we already know that for the most part, DC has been slaying it with the superhero based games (at least lately). DC has only recently figured out how to best convert some of their characters to console and mobile devices, with the first major success story being the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum.
With the 4 main games in the Arkham Series and several mobile ports, along with the successful fighting game Injustice and the sequel releasing on May 16, 2017 - DC has had a solid conversion from the failed games of yester-year, which both Marvel and DC suffered from dating back to the early '80s.
So it's interesting to see Marvel finally really stepping into the gaming world with a massive outing like The Avengers Project, especially considering that there hasn't been a major console release of a Marvel game since the lackluster Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014. Marvel has had dozens of games since then, but they've all been either Andoid/iOS based or a Lego/Disney Interactive incarnation.
With Marvel seemingly stepping into the console wars again with the upcoming Avengers Project, a new Spider-Man title developed by Insomniac for PS4, and the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy game being developed by Telltale Studio (who also brought us an incredible episodic Batman game).
Regardless of which comic studio you prefer, the fact of the matter is that the superhero genre has never looked fresher or more inviting for the studios to develop new titles based on their most beloved characters.
What could we see in the future?
Considering how massive both DC and Marvel are, its easy to imagine that nearly anything is possible for gaming. Yet, with the teaser trailer the potential of some incredible AAA titles for Marvel seem to be within reach, so the question becomes what could Marvel introduce?
1. Solo Black Widow Game
Now, Black Widow has gone through countless story arcs over the years, and thanks to the film franchise she has become one of the most beloved characters of the Cinematic Universe. If Black Widow never makes it into her own solo Phase 4 film, then by golly she should definitely have her own solo video game.
Now Black Widow is a character, really unlike any of the other heroes in the Marvel universe. She's basically the Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell, the Agent 47 of Hitman and the Adam Jensen of Deus Ex all wrapped up in a skintight, black latex jumpsuit.
Just imagine playing at Black Widow in scenarios like these characters have encountered. If Black Widow earned her own solo game, I could imagine a story that follows her through her entire story - almost in the vein of the Batman: Arkham series. There are so many potential plot lines that she could become involved in considering that the bulk of her stories focus on the espionage aspect.
Introducing Black Widow as the main playable character could draw in fans much like the reborn Tomb Raider series was able to do, by making it realistic and visually stunning. A game revolving around her story would be enticing and if done as a stealth game with multiple venues of completion would make it highly re-playable too.
2. X-Men: Legends or Destiny
The X-Men franchise, outside of the gaming world, has been a sore spot for the studio after surrendering the film rights all those years ago. Yet, things have calmed down for the comic line and the X-Men are returning, so it would make sense for Marvel to try and tie those characters into a new video game. And honestly the best way to incorporate a set of characters like the X-Men would be to follow in the style of X-Men: Legends or the now defunct X-Men: Destiny.
Legends was an action RPG which let use select a team of up to four characters from a large collection of X-Men characters, and while playing through the game additional characters were unlocked. Each character would earn experience through the game and could use those points to upgrade their main powers and abilities. Whereas Destiny allowed players to create their own unique character with abilities and strengths based on the decisions in game. Playing through the game earned you X-Genes, and with those X-Genes you were able to strengthen your character and direct their mutation towards a specific end.
Imagine if the elements of X-Men: Legends were combined with the unique twist of X-Men: Destiny, which brought us a truly massive action RPG that allowed the players to create a character that evolves as the game is played.
3. Marvel Worlds
Okay, so hear me out on this one. If you're a Final Fantasy fan like I am, then you've probably either played or at least heard of World of Final Fantasy. It's a little game that fills the hearts of any Final Fantasy fans because it covers all the characters over the various games throughout the decades, and it's huge.
Imagine if Marvel took a similar style and created a unique character, that spent the game crossing through the various timelines and story arcs to partner with the most iconic superheroes that ever graced the pages of the comic books
The goal of a game like this would be to something like what Lego has done with their franchised Marvel and DC games, but truly make the game a compilation of sorts where you get to face off against the most infamous villains and partner with your favorite heroes across the entirety of the Marvel universe.
4. God of War Style Thor Game
Now before you pump the brakes and tell me that I'm crazy for wanting Marvel to take another crack at bringing Thor back as a AAA game, hear me out. I know that the 2011 console game, Thor: God of Thunder and the mobile games Thor: Son of Asgard and Thor The Dark World: The Official Game were less than exciting. Yet, of any of the Marvel characters Thor is the one character that has legitimate lore and mythology coming with him.
That same lore and mythology is part of the appeal of the God of War series, and reintroducing Thor along that line of gameplay would be entirely thrilling, much the same could be said for a Wonder Woman game (but she's DC Comics, so that's a different article). Introducing the God of Thunder in a universe where he's been stripped of his powers (potentially due to Loki's meddling on the Asgardian throne), then have him slowly earn the right to be considered worthy again to wield Mjolnir.
Since the Asgardian lore speaks of 9 realms, 10 if you want to include the Angels, I could see Thor having to travel from realm to realm and with each realm he faces a major force or a potential deity standing between him and reaching the goal of discovering why he was stripped of his title and why Odin is not the same.