A couple of years ago in 2009 London based developer Rocksteady broke one of video gaming’s most steadfast rules when they proved a title starring a superhero could be more than good; even better than great – they could be amazing. The game that proved it was of course their hit Batman: Arkham Asylum; they later confirmed their dominance releasing the follow up Batman: Arkham City, a sequel that is largely accepted to have surpassed it’s predecessor in quality. When Warner Brothers Montreal studios were announced as the developers of series third instalment, Arkham Origins, horror rippled throughout internet land and, whilst the final product was good it certainly wasn’t up to the Rocksteady standard.
What the three games had in common was a narrative faithful to it’s iconic character telling wonderful Dark Knight tales wrapped in a delectable coating of free flow combat that remained true to popular portrayals of the infamous Batman – it also made players feel like a total bad-ass felling crowds of thugs with ease. Rocksteady exceeded their protégé’s recent effort with their polished gameplay that was less susceptible to occasional experience detracting bugs. More importantly Rocksteady’s worlds were rife with secrets, nods and hints about the larger DC universe that Batman lives in, their little cameo’s made the world richer for long time fans and educational for newer ones.
This got me thinking, how many other superheroes would benefit from the “Rocksteady treatment”. A Combat system that is faithful to a character, challenging yet imbuing players with a sense of power. A world to live in that has been built with care and attention to detail, a world that really understands the mythos it pulls from. So here’s a list of superheroes who we feel are best suited to and deserve a video game that matches the quality of the Rocksteady Arkham series:
The Terminator, starting life as a Teen Titans villain in recent times Deathstroke’s popularity has risen rapidly with appearances in the live action series Arrow, DC fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us and staring as a playable character in Batman: Arkham Origins. Now’s the time to capitalise on his new found respect by firing the awesome assassin into the mainstream with an adventure of his own. Inhabiting the the DC universe that has begun to be explored in the Arkham-verse DC has a springboard to kick start their shared video game universe; therefore using a character that’s already been a part of it makes a lot sense.
Arkham Origins already proved Deathstroke has an arsenal worthy of exploration including an assortment of swords, guns, a high tech staff and arrangement of gadgets that lend themselves to intense skill based combat. The killers acrobatic skills could potentially make getting around fluid and exciting using the staff to further accentuate his impressive movement skills. His incredible level of strength and skill makes him a dangerous foe who once battled the whole Justice League single handedly. This ability opens up a huge number story opportunities whilst introducing other popular DC icons into the video game universe.
Green Arrow is yet another DC character’s whose began to permeate the mainstream in recent years, even starring in his own TV series “Arrow”, an honour normally reserved for the most popular of heroes like The Incredible Hulk or Superman. Like many other non-powered superheroes Green Arrow’s abilities lend themselves to the theatre of gaming much better than his super-powered counterparts. Again like Deathstroke his ability to tie in with the extended DC gaming universe whilst introducing Starling city to the fold makes him a wise choice of direction for DC.
The sharp shooting abilities of Green Arrow combined with a versatile plethora of gadget arrows opens up the possibility to implement some unique third or first person combat, whilst his proficiency with hand to hand combat makes him more than a one trick pony. Bringing in a host of his unique allies and foes like nemesis The Huntress would make for an adventure that introduces less intense comic book fans to the world of Green Arrow whilst simultaneously using a character mainstream audiences are beginning to recognise.
Difficult to believe that a few years ago two of the stars of the now incredibly poplar Marvel cinematic universe were all but unheard of in main stream culture. The first is the now infinitely recognisable Iron Man whilst the second was the less well known god of thunder, Thor. A deity living life as a superhero is a bizarre idea yet Thor has become a mainstay in Marvel comic continuity and now the Nordic god has found popularity with movie going audiences too. After their immense success in the movie business the next logical step forward for the Worlds Mightiest Heroes could just be video games.
Armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, forged within a dying star, Thor is easily one of the Marvel universes most powerful heroes, his ability to conjure lightening only furthers his considerable strength. That begs the question of which group of evil-doers could actually combat the prolific God of Thunder? Easily answered: they’re plenty of terrible forces across the nine realms that have a bone to pick with the Asgardians from Frost giants to Dark Elves. Using Thor’s impressive battle skills in a PG Nordic God of War approach to combat could be awesome. Battling the devious cosmic forces would allow Marvel to introduce a wide range of off the wall characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy along the way further enriching the lore of the universe along the way.
Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America, is the shield slinging patriotic first avenger and one of Marvels most iconic characters. Thanks to an experimental super human serum Captain America is physically the best a human can aspire to be. His lack of serious super powers makes him a really strong candidate for a video game protagonist since there’s less tricky balancing issues. Thanks to his unfortunate run in with an ice cube Captain America interestingly has the potential to explore two separate periods of history, partaking in World War II and also fighting as leader of The Avengers in the present day.
Whether he’s fighting Nazi’s, villainous super group HYDRA or any of Marvels high powered cosmic entities Captain America is an invaluable ally armed with his unbreakable shield. Hurling his star laden shield with impeccable accuracy is a unique opportunity to build some unorthodox combat mechanics combining skilled shield throws with standard brawling. If Marvel decides to build a video universe to replicate the successes of it’s cinematic one then then why not do it chronologically and start their time line using their first Avenger?
Wolverine and the X-Men
How is it in so many years of activity the X-men have only managed to produce one good game among them X-men Orgins: Wolverine which naturally stared their ever present front man Wolverine. Between them the school of mutants play host to an abundance of powers that range from the cool like Wolverines claws, the unique like Kitty Pride’s phasing ability and lame like Toads ability to be … toadish are just waiting to be translated. Wolverine seems like the primary candidate lead the charge as protagonist but, they’re others equally worthy of the role perhaps even a case of multiple playable characters would be best.
Imagine an open world New York just waiting to be explored by any number of the recognisable cast, zipping through as Nightcrawler or slamming through foes as Colossus. With their rich and extensive lore the mutants have more potential than perhaps any other comic book world to replicate the cool little secrets that the Arkham-verse does so well. Out of all the recommended worlds here none have the potential of scope or as many stories to tell as that of the one inhabited by the mutants.
Those are our picks, but what do you think? Leave your suggestions in the comments below or tell us on twitter @Gamerree, or myself @DanJCol. If you enjoyed this post you can follow us their or via WordPress where you can sign up for email reminders.