Rocksteady has really made a name for itself since its founding in 2004. Though the studio has only three games under its belt, two of those are the critically-acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, which have been lauded for being so faithful to the source material. It’s clear that Rocksteady can’t continue working on Batman games until the end of time, though there is plenty of material to draw from, but the question is what direction should the studio take once they are finished with the Dark Knight’s story?
Given their current reputation, the most logical step would be to tackle another well-known franchise and turn it into a great video game. Sure, the folks at Rocksteady would be more than capable of creating their own, original, one-of-a-kind experience, as they share an incredible talent for story-telling, character development, and attention to detail. However, fans of the Arkham series are no doubt interested in what their favorite franchises could accomplish in the hands of such a talented studio, and the fans are what matter. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what characters I would like to see Rocksteady revitalize, and here are just a few.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There was a rumor not long ago that this would be the next franchise getting the Rocksteady treatment, but unfortunately, there was no truth to those claims. The Ninja Turtles have been around for almost 30 years now, and remains as one of the most successful series in animated history. From the comics, to the numerous TV shows, video games and movies, TMNT would make for a perfect open-world experience. There is a vast array of villains to choose from, especially if drawing from the comics, including Bebop and Rocksteady (hmmm…), the Rat King, Maligna, and of course, Shredder and Krang. It would also provide a nice change of pace for the studio, allowing them to focus on a more humorous experience, while still maintaining the darker edge we’ve seen in the live-action films.
This is really the most obvious choice, given that Rocksteady is currently working on a Batman-Justice League tie-in. Taking on the Man of Steel would give Rocksteady the chance to create a much bigger open world than that of Arkham City, though this presents a lot more challenges and potential flaws. The studio’s biggest strength is being able to provide a huge experience in a small area, without trying to make the biggest open world possible. Superman, however, can fly, and therefore needs a much larger area to explore. The one issue is his invulnerability, which gets in the way of having a traditional health bar. Sure, you can have enemies with kryptonite to weaken Superman, but you can’t do it all the time. It’s bad storytelling and doesn’t make much sense. Rather, Superman’s challenges would come in the form of having to save civilians from disasters, robberies, and Lex’s evil deeds, but remain more traditional during boss battles with foes such as Darkseid and Braniac.
Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is a series that’s just begging to be brought back to life. The character was very successful at one time, spawning (ahem) the incredible HBO animated series, some video games, a huge toy line, and even a live-action movie. However, it’s been years since I’ve seen a lot of interest in Spawn, though the comics still seem to be selling fairly well. Rocksteady has already proven that they know how to do dark stories really well, which is a much-needed skill for handling such a menacing, yet disturbed and depressing character such as the Spawn. There are, of course, tons of villains that could make an appearance, including Tremor, OvertKill, and Kali. The story could revolve around the Apocalypse, in which Spawn is supposed to play a part. The series has always been very heavy on the violence, sexuality, and the ultimate battle between heaven and hell, so it would ultimately be a much more mature experience. Plus, battling groups of enemies using Spawns cloak and chains would be oh-so-satisfying.
I know, I know, this one is way out of left field, but who doesn’t remember Darkwing Duck? It had an incredible cast of characters, tons of memorable villains, and a great fictional city in which the game could be set. Darkwing Duck has parodied almost every popular superhero is history, which Rocksteady would have a lot of fun with if given the opportunity. The character has been making a bit of a comeback in recent years, ever since the release of the new four-issue comic series The Duck Knight Returns back in 2010, so now would be the perfect time for a video game. Okay, so a full $60 retail release may be stretching it, but the franchise would be perfect for a PSN/Xbox Live downloadable title. I’d definitely pay $15 for it.
These are only a few of the franchises I’ve considered, but there are a lot more. What do you think, Explosion readers? What would you like to see Rocksteady work on?