E3 has come and gone, bringing with it news of several potentially great comic book video games, such as the VR Arkham game and the Playstation 4’s Spider-Man. But despite these great looking games, there are still plenty of awesome heroes that deserve their own fantastic video game, so here’s our list of 15 DC characters and teams that deserve their own game.
As we made this list, we tried to think both in terms of gameplay mechanics and the kinds of stories that could be told. Comic books are a narrative medium so we think that a good comic book video game should tell a good story along with delivering awesome gameplay.
For all his amazing power, there is one thing Superman can’t seem to do and that’s get a decent video game. Superman 64 might be the worst game ever released on the Nintendo 64. With the painful lessons of the past in mind, let’s discuss what it would take to make a good Superman game. Superman’s power, which is often unstoppable, is often cited as a problem when it comes to creating a good Superman game: how can you make a challenging game about an all-powerful character? But there are two ways developers could handle this. The first would be to set the game in the early stage of Superman’s career, where his powers are untested and weaker. Grant Morrison explored this period during his run on Action Comics and it proved fairly successful. The second way would be to fully embrace his power and have Superman facing larger-than-life threats such as Brainiac, Darkseid and Doomsday.
We don’t have any suggestions for the specifics of the plot, but a Superman game should make us feel good, it should inspire us, make us feel like we can go out and make a difference in the world. In short, it should make us believe a man can fly.
Gamers have already gotten a taste of what a Catwoman game would be like in Arkham City, but as fun as those missions are, they’re limited by the simple fact that Catwoman is a side-character in Batman’s game. In our minds, a true Catwoman game would play a lot like the old Thief games. Players would embark on a crime spree to pilfer Gotham’s most valuable treasures while staying one step ahead of both the law and Batman.
Since Catwoman is a thief who tries to avoid killing when possible, stealth should be an important part of the game. Ideally, the entire game should be beatable without harming anyone. That said, if players prefer a more direct mode of playing (read: with killing), that should certainly be allowed, since Catwoman is more than capable of holding her own in a fight. In terms of mission structure, this is another one that would be suited to an open world type game, as there should be plenty of people to steal from. The mission structure could also tie into the progression system as money earned from each job could be used to buy new gear and abilities.
Aquaman is awesome; we know there are plenty of people who disagree with that statement, but trust us. He is, in fact, awesome. So with that established, let’s get into why this awesome character deserves an awesome video game. The first great thing about Aquaman is the setting. Atlantis is one part of the DC Universe that a lot of people probably aren’t familiar with, and this would be a great opportunity to introduce wider audiences to Aquaman’s kingdom. That being said, limiting the game to Atlantis would be a wasted opportunity, as Aquaman’s domain extends far beyond that city. There’s an entire ocean for Aquaman to protect, and this would give the art team a chance to do some very unique work.
In terms of story, there are several directions that an Aquaman game could go. The politics and intrigue of Atlantis could make for a really gripping story featuring Aquaman’s brother Ocean Master. Another direction could be to go more traditional and have Aquaman stumble across some ancient threat to engulf Atlantis and the surface world. Going that route, you could even add some elements of horror to the game.
12. Green Lantern
The Green Lantern ring is one of the most powerful weapons in the DC universe. It would also be one of the most fun to play around with in a video game. A Green Lantern ring can create pretty much anything the user can imagine, so the sheer variety of powers, upgrades and abilities are limitless. It’s high time we saw a video game use the Green Lantern ring to do more than simply create mini-guns or fighter jets.
In terms of story, we can think of two ways a Green Lantern game could go. The first would be what you’d expect from a superhero game: a super villain has an elaborate plot to take over and/or destroy the world and only you can stop it. But Green Lanterns are really superheroes so much as space cops. It would be interesting to see a game explore that angle a bit more. Maybe they could cast the player as a new recruit and send him on a patrol of the DC universe. It would be a great opportunity to explore the cosmic side of DC, and maybe throw a few familiar characters into the mix.
11. The Justice League
This one is a bit obvious. In fact it’s so obvious that it’s been done before, back in 2006. Justice League Heroes wasn’t a bad game, but it never quite lived up to it’s potential. Assuming we stuck with the New 52 League, it would give us seven unique characters to play with. In terms of gameplay, an action RPG in the vein of Marvel Ultimate Alliance would be the most obvious route to go, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. One interesting, though admittedly difficult concept, would be to tailor the combat system to each individual hero. For example, playing Cyborg might play like a traditional shooter whereas playing as Superman might turn the game into an action game. Granted, this would take a lot of work for the developers so it probably isn’t feasible, but it’s a fun idea to consider.
In terms of storytelling, perhaps DC could take a page for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and introduce the various League members in their own games before building to the Justice League. It would give the developers a chance to make sure they truly understand these characters and their powers before tackling the entire team at once. Alternately, they could tie into the upcoming Justice League movie and maybe even spin it off into multiple solo games.
10. Green Arrow
In a lot of ways, a Green Arrow game would play similar to Batman. Both are baseline humans who rely on their wealth, training and gear to enable them to fight crime. The biggest difference is, of course, that most of Green Arrow’s gadgets come in the form of various trick arrows. The core gameplay could be a mix of stealth sections and first-person or third-person shooter segments, but the trick arrows are what would make the gameplay shine. If done right, the various trick arrows could form the basis of a really interesting progression system that could unlock new areas, side quests and ways of overcoming obstacles.
We don’t want Green Arrow to play like a low-rent Batman game and one of the best ways to differentiate the two would be in terms of the game’s storytelling. Green Arrow, obviously inspired by Robin Hood, has always been a bit of a social crusader, and a good Green Arrow game should cast the player in that role. Instead of dealing with world-ending threats, maybe the player is tasked with dealing with smaller scale problems, such as drug trafficking or disappearances among the homeless. Alternatively, it could play off the version of the character seen in The CW’s Arrow, and maybe even incorporate some cameos from Supergirl and The Flash.
9. The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad’s roster has varied over the years, but the core concept has remained the same. A group of supervillains are forced to work for the government as a black ops team in exchange for a lesser sentence. This is a bit old school, but we’re thinking the game should be a series of missions designed around each character’s specific skill set. This would give the developers a chance to show off each character’s personality and powers instead of having to create generic levels that fit every member of the team.
Some people might find this a bit linear, but one way to tackle this could be to let the missions be completed in any order. The game’s story would be broken up into arcs and each individual mission would tell a small piece of that arc’s story. The final mission of that arc would be one with the entire Squad giving players a chance to control the whole team at once. But who knows, perhaps this summer’s blockbuster Suicide Squad movie will give developers more inspiration for a game.
Deathstroke currently isn’t as popular as his fourth-wall breaking Marvel counterpart, Deadpool, but that doesn’t mean the Terminator doesn’t deserve a chance at video game glory. Deathstroke is a master combatant who excels at the use of guns and swords, and the game’s combat system should reflect this. Make it fast, stylish and above all, fun. We’re thinking something like Devil May Cry’s combat system would be a good place start. In terms of progression, we think Arkham’s system could provide some inspiration, since Batman and Deathstroke both share some similarities when it comes to combat.
Deathstroke’s career as a mercenary would be a great excuse to create an open-world that really lets players explore the DC universe. He goes wherever the job takes him, so perhaps one mission could be set in Metropolis, the next in Gotham and another would lead him to Central City. Each city would have its own side missions to pursue and contracts to collect. Honestly, at this point we’re basically imagining The Elder Scrolls: DC Universe.
7. The Flash
The fastest man alive might seem like an odd choice for a game when you consider that his main power is running really fast, but we think the Scarlet Speedster could be just as successful in a video game as he is on his very own TV show. One of our favorite superhero games was the PS2 version of Spider-Man 2.
Part of the fun of that game was the simple joy of swinging around the city, and we believe that the Flash’s speed would be just as fun. Running through streets and up the side of buildings as you chase down criminals or help in emergencies would really give the game a heroic feel, which is what the Flash is all about. We don’t want the game to be a tie-in to any of the current Flash properties, but it might be fun for Gary Gustin and other members of the show to lend their voices to the game.
6. Teen Titans
At first glance, this idea might seem similar to a Justice League game, but we think the right developer could make it stand apart from the League. The cast of the Teen Titans has varied over the years, but if it were based on the Rebirth series or any other recent titles, it could include Raven, Bunker, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Impulse, Beast Boy and Tim Drake or Damian Wayne as Robin. In terms of gameplay, the team’s variety of powers and abilities would make for a really fun and inventive brawler when you consider the how the everyone’s powers and abilities could work together. For this to reach it’s full potential, offline and online multiplayer are a must. Imagine charging a group of enemies as an elephant Beast Boy while your friend pins them behind a wall as Bunker.
In terms of the game’s story, the team needs to be treated with respect. It’s far too easy to treat the Titans as the junior varsity Justice League when in reality they’re full heroes in their own right. In fact, it might be best to avoid using the League at all and let the Titans grow up on their own.
5. Batman Beyond
This one might seem like an odd choice, since we already have four Arkham games out and a fifth on the way, but Terry McGinnis is different enough, in combat style and personality, from Bruce Wayne to hold his own in a video game. Set years after Bruce Wayne’s retirement, the city of Neo-Gotham is overrun with crime and corruption, inspiring Terry McGinnis to take up the mantel of the Batman.
Terry’s suit is the most advanced batsuit we’ve seen so far, and the game’s combat and progression system should take advantage of that. One interesting way to do it would be a twist on the classic Megaman system where you gain a new power every time a boss is defeated. Terry doesn’t take his enemies’ powers, but he often builds gadgets designed to counter them, such as the ice-batarangs he uses to fight Inque.
Terry is key when it comes to differentiating a Batman Beyond game from the recent Arkham games. In terms of personality, he has more in common with Nightwing than he does with Bruce Wayne. He likes to make jokes and one-liners during his fights, so the game could have a more lighthearted feel to it than the Arkham titles.
Firestorm is a character who would have been difficult, if not impossible, to do justice a few years ago, due to the nature of his powers. Firestorm is one of the most powerful and, in our opinion, underrated characters in DC comics. In his appearances on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, Firestorm’s powers are limited to flight and shooting fire, but he is far more than DC’s version of the Human Torch.
His powers allow him to transform matter itself. While this obviously has plenty of uses in combat, we’re thinking that this would be a great way to incorporate puzzle elements and exploration into the game. Perhaps you start out early in Firestorm’s career and have to slowly learn your powers over the course of the game which, in turn, would unlock new areas to explore and challenges to overcome.
John Constantine has not had good luck when it comes to his adaptations. His TV show was canceled after its first season and the less said about the Keanu Reeves-led film the better. We think that the world of video games offers a unique opportunity to do this legendary character justice and we even know the developer to do it. Telltale Games, who are already working on a Batman game, are well-known for their story-driven, choice-heavy games and we believe they would be the perfect choice to bring Constantine’s adventures to life.
Their work on Wolf Among Us showed that they know how to write a good investigative mystery and that is what Constantine is all about. Constantine’s career as a sorcerer and occult investigator is the perfect template for a story-driven adventure full of magic, demons and impossible choices. Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, respect the source material. The original Hellblazer went to some really dark places and a game based on such source material should not be afraid to embrace the darker aspects of Constantine’s life.
2. The League of Assassins
This one will probably never happen, but it really should. A League of Assassins game would be an awesome chance to explore one of the more interesting villainous groups in the DC universe. In terms of gameplay, we’re imagining something akin to Assassin’s Creed, but thanks to the League’s long history, it wouldn’t be limited to a single time period.
Perhaps you could take on the role of multiple assassins throughout the League’s history, from the time Ra’s founded it up until the modern-day. It could be a really fun concept as you progress through history. One mission might take place in medieval Europe while the next could take place a 100 years later in Asia.
1. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman suffers from some of the same problems as Superman, in that her enormous power can make it difficult to create meaningful challenges for her. Luckily, she has one major advantage over Superman and that lies in her roots in Greek mythology. Brian Azzarello’s run on Wonder Woman during the New 52 embraced her Amazonian heritage and had her facing a wide range of threats inspired by Greek myth. The various different realms of Greek mythology would provide a great opportunity to show off just how powerful Wonder Woman is.
As important as Greek mythology is to Wonder Woman, she is not a character of myth, but of the modern world, so it would be really fun to see her caught between these two different worlds. Perhaps, missions in the modern world would revolve less around violence and would focus more on her role as an ambassador of peace? It would be an interesting way to break up the monotony of constant action scenes and would give us a chance to get into the boots of Diana Prince, as opposed to Wonder Woman.
Can you think of any other Dc characters who should get a solid video game adaptation? Let us know in the comments!