DISCLAIMER: I know there are existing games that involve and revolve around Marvel heroes, but none have ever captured my interests. I’m writing this with the idea that Marvel need to make a game of the caliber seen in The Last Of Us, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Grand Theft Auto V; Big sprawling games that really suck you in and make you want to play again and again. What’s more, they teach you something about the world you’re in and leave a lasting impression. Marvel needs a game like those…
Marvel has become to entertainment what Apple is already to technology. With both companies, it all begins with whispers and rumours, and then the bomb drops, leaving us all satisfied, delighted and welcoming the next instalment of whatever we have just paid for. Gone are the choruses of geeks, crying “wouldn’t it be cool if…” into forums and blogs, because Marvel are literally giving us, the True-Believers, everything we want on a Norse God-damned platter (see what I did there?). It is truly a glorious time to be a comic-book fan.
When I saw the second trailer for Avengers: Age Of Ultron (above), I was obviously engrossed. It did, however, leave me with a greater thirst than the one that has building since I last watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the third time in the cinema. Safe to say, as with the rest of the internet, I am ready to burst with excitement. I need questions answered, and I need them answering now…or when the film comes out. You know, whatever…
As you have probably guessed from the title, I am not here to talk about movies. I’m here to propose ideas for a Marvel video game or two that should have bloody well been made by now. As a gamer, I yearn to punch the world as The Hulk, or to tactically preserve the illusion of world peace as Captain America, with Nick Fury whispering into a comms unit as he himself evades all sorts of nasties. There is endless potential for great video games within the character roster Marvel has to off, and these games could be as good, if not better, than the blockbusters we are all buying for our consoles at the moment.
For the sake of ease, I’m going to discuss the main Avengers characters as they stand in the movie, along with their immediate ally/villain circles. I could propose ideas all day for countless characters, but this would turn into a book that you wouldn’t want to read.
So let’s begin with the obvious one: Iron Man. If Marvel fans were only given one hero to play as on a next-gen console, I’d bet my eyes that it would be Mr. Stark’s Iron Man. I’d be with them. The trouble is, what would you do with a character that can fly to the edge of the atmosphere and then through black holes? Here’s what I’d do…
Firstly I’d take the flight physics and controls from Tavellers Tales’ Lego games for the suit. They have it nailed – I own a PS4, and one of the games that still pulls me back to the PS3 is Lego Marvel Superheroes. Nothing beats selecting oe of the flying characters and taking them for a trip around the city, breaking the sound barrier now and then for good measure. It’s liberating and exciting, and despite the fact that the characters are made of Lego, I can do it for hours. Transfer that flight effect into an exclusive Iron Man game and you’re onto a winner.
As for the story, I would introduce a character (I don’t care if said character already exists or not) like Mallen from the Extremis storyline. This villain would be a vicious, unpredictable force that forces Tony to become human for parts of the game, struggling against powerful foes and using his human nature to work back towards being Iron Man. I would try to hijack the quality of story telling seen in The Last Of Us (left to my own devices, I would just employ Naughty Dog to make the game!), to draw the player into the man behind the glamour that is Tony Stark. I’d include a mission where Tony is drunk, on the edge of blacking out (if you’re not overly familiar with Iron Man, go and read Demon In A Bottle). I’d have him use stealth to reclaim his suit from S.H.I.E.L.D., who have taken it from him, citing him as a threat to national security. I’d have players spend two acts taking Tony from broken, to unstable, to regrouping, to re-built. Then act three would see the player become the unrivalled man-machine that Iron Man is.
Now let’s look at Captain America. This one is easy, and can rope in Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Maria Hill, Falcon, and anyone else connected to the more espionage-faceted side of the Marvel universe.
For a Captain America game, I would look to games like those in the Tom Clancy and Battlefield series’ for inspiration, as well as including some of the elements of Metal Gear Solid. The Captain America I know and love is the one that does the right thing whilst wading through corrupt politics, all whilst frisbying(?) his shield at grunts. The opening sequence to Captain America: The Winter Soldier was perfect to me – Captain America destroys a small group of militants, whilst discovering something shady that he tolerates for only so long. He also meets a bad guy who gets some punches in, just before Cap gives him a good ol’ beatdown. This is what I would try to re-create in 60% of the game, the other being a black-ops, stealth focused effort, revolving around an espionage heavy story.
I would try to avoid the on-railed aspects of first person shooters and instead limit Cap to just his shield and fists. Into this mix, I would throw in intel missions with pre-requisites of non-violence, and then the odd tactical mission, where Captain America leads an evacuation of prisoners. As for the story – I would have it be a story to clear the name of somebody close to the hearts of True-Believers (Stark, maybe? Or even Reed Richards), making it a mission of importance, rather than one that means saving a faceless senator or scientist (blah!). The thing about this is that at any time, players could play as any of the espionage enabled characters including Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury etc., even switching mid mission! Imaging dropping out of Captain America’s sneaking to create a diversion as Hawkeye! Even better – imagine your friend doing it over the internet whilst you chat away like tactical little beavers! That would be special…
HULK SMASH! That would be the obvious definition of a game featuring The Hulk. Outrun the military, and smash stuff. But that wouldn’t be my approach, no sir. For good measure, I would start by making the game a HUGE sandbox game like Grand Theft Auto V (or any other GTA for that matter) with a ton of featured missions, all for Bruce Banner (hear me out). The game’s story would follow a particularly huge outburst by big green. The aftermath would involve Bruce Banner trying to clean up, all whilst evading other Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and general law enforcement. The Hulk would only come out to defend Banner when confronted by overwhelming odds. Add in a high difficulty as standard and you’re onto an engaging and challenging game.
As the game went on, the open world would change depending on how much time you spent as The Hulk. Missions would change and your hero factor would change with them. Villain X is about to blow up a city block with a Gamma bomb – Bruce Banner can have a crack at neutralising the situation…or The Hulk can smash the scene to pieces, etc. Okay, maybe that scenario isn’t great. But I’m just one guy writing a fan-boy blog-post. My contribution to the concept is the inspiration from GTA – making the setting a sprawling urban dystopia places The Hulk in the middle of the places he threatens most.
The obvious choice for a Hulk game would be to follow the World War Hulk storyline, but that would be silly. Let me explain – developers would need to make a Hulk game that was accepted and worshipped by fans, as Arkham Asylum was – only then do you send your perfected beast out into space and into the fast realms of fantasy. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
Thor. Brash, bold, fearless, majestic Thor. The games possibilities involving the God of Thunder aren’t endless, but they are rich. I would base a Thor game on the concept of Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, which I posted about recently. Thor is primarily a fantasy character, and therefore I would aim to take away the sci-fi and place Thor right in the middle of Asgard and the surrounding realms. For a game involving Thor, I would aim him squarely at other god-like creatures, and use Mjölnir to bash my way through countless enemies, and to wage wars in the name of, or in defence of, the honour of Odin.
That said, the game could see Thor’s loyalty questioned as he spends more and more time on Earth protecting the humans alongside The Avengers. In this scenario, I would have less-honourable Asgardians whispering deceptive words into Odin’s ears, where-by he would make Thor engage in trials to prove his allegiance, along with his worthiness to his home. As with any game involving monarchs, however divine, Thor’s game could involve many political story lines, opening up the possibility of rescue missions, sabotage missions, all out war missions, and even the odd secret trip back to Earth, where The Avengers could make use of the old thunder-on-tap trick. The aim would and should be to make the player feel as powerful as possible in their quest, drawing on Thor’s innate godliness and taking advantage of the Asgardian armouries and war trophies featured in the comics and films. I for one would devour a game like this until my eyes bled. Or until I fell asleep. Whatever.
Oh, and you could also play as Loki… just saying.
Ideally, I would have all of these games would be made by the same people. This would have sounded far-fetched some time ago, but when you consider the way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has evolved, it doesn’t seem so daft. If all of these games were made, there would be nothing to stop said games all coming together, the way that Avengers: Assemble did after each hero’s solo efforts had been released, into one giant collaboration from the developers. Christ on a bike, that would be superb!
I would like to end by saying that I am grateful to be living in such glorious times, seeing great actors portraying great characters that once could barely be represented properly on the big screen. Video games are a part of the future of entertainment and I hope that Marvel see this, and set something awesome in motion as they did with their brilliant movies.
Agree with Me? Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter to let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!