There's a ton of buzz around the new Spider-Man video game. Developed by Insomniac, the team responsible for Ratchet & Clank, Resistance: Fall of Man, and Spyro the Dragon, this brand-new take on the Spider-Man mythos is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and is well on its way towards being one of the biggest games of the year.
Elsewhere in the realm of Marvel licensing, publisher Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain) are still hard at work on an as-yet-untitled game based on The Avengers. While details on the title are being kept infuriatingly secretive, the word on the street suggests it will contain multiplayer and social elements, possibly aiming to compete with the likes of Destiny and The Division. Finally, Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex) is strongly rumored to be working on a big-budget game based on Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's premier gang of ragtag misfits and outcasts who kick butt and save the world, often in spite of themselves.
These games mark a big change for Marvel. Despite certain outliers like the PS1 and PS2 Spider-Man games (published by Activision), as well as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and crossovers like the LEGO Marvel titles and Marvel Vs Capcom, the comics giant has leaned more towards free-to-play or mobile games like Marvel Puzzle Quest, Marvel: Future Fight, Marvel Strike Force, and the recently shuttered Marvel Heroes.
It's obvious that, in some way, Spider-Man for PS4 is a response to the groundbreaking success of the Batman Arkham series. While mobile and F2P offerings are relatively safer bets for Marvel, they don't redefine the possibilities of their brand the way a Triple-A title like Arkham Asylum effectively rebooted the Batman mythology for the video game audience. With Spider-Man, Marvel is looking to make waves in that space. By the looks of things, they're succeeding in their effort.
With all that in mind, who else deserves this type of AAA treatment, and which development teams should be tasked with bringing these heroes to life? Which Marvel Characters Should Get Their Own Games Next?
Marvel has always been widely recognized and celebrated, but its shared universe of superhero movies, dubbed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is responsible for the brand's global saturation. Heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, and Agent Coulson are all household names with endless legions of adoring fans.
Back in Phase 1 of the MCU, the first several films actually did receive video game tie-ins, courtesy of Marvel's licensing deal with SEGA. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger all received games. They all failed to garner positive critical reception and are considered non-canon to the MCU. The 2012 Avengers film did not receive a game; a unique-looking first-person multiplayer co-op brawler was in development at THQ, but was sadly canceled before completion.
Several Phase 2 movies received tie-in mobile games developed by Gameloft, but since then, the MCU's representation in gaming has been almost completely non-existent. Of course, Spider-Man on PS4 is not set in the MCU, which opens the door for other MCU characters to get their own game, free from the creative shackles of their established cinematic counterparts.
Imagine a Captain America game set in an open-world warzone, in which Cap must lead an army of valiant soldiers in battle against the evil forces of Hydra or other Nazis. What about an Iron Man title which explores Tony Stark's battles in the realm of both corporate espionage and the complex and troublesome privatization of world peace. A Black Widow game could combine the meticulously planned assassination missions of Hitman with the balletic movement of Mirror's Edge and the hand-to-hand fury of Sleeping Dogs or Yakuza. The most recent God of War game is already pretty close to capturing the sheer strength (not to mention the Norse setting) of Thor, the God of Thunder, and Hawkeye is ripe for a first-person stealth shooter like Far Cry 5.
The heroes of the MCU each possess distinct fighting styles, applicable to a wide variety of games. Scarlet Witch's telekinetic powers could make for a great gameplay hook, throwing enemies at each other with high-tech ragdoll physics making for unmatched visual spectacle. A co-op-focused Guardians of the Galaxy game could easily be the next big thing, with five players each taking control of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot, creating an asymmetrical experience in which the team must work together to survive. The possibilities are truly endless.
Page 2 of 2: Netflix, TV, and non-MCU Characters
- Marvel's Spider-Man Game (2018 Video Game) release date: Sep 07, 2018