Marvel Studios is dominating everything at the global box office these days. Earlier this week, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced Marvel’s plans for its next 11 movies that will be released over the course of the next five years, through 2019. In terms of the movies, the Marvel brand is looking fantastic right now. Unfortunately, in terms of video games, it is hard to see the future of the Marvel brand. Marvel characters have been incorporated into Disney Infinity 2.0, which is great. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is decent fun. However, a fan wants to see his or her favorite characters brought to life in other formats as well. In recent years, Marvel Interactive has moved away from big triple A game releases, focusing more on smaller free-to-play mobile and online titles. I am fine with this strategy, since it means that Marvel is moving away from inferior, sub-par movie-based games that are far from memorable. However, I hope the right developer will come along at some point and partner with Marvel to give the classic characters of the Marvel pantheon the great games they deserve. Here are some Marvel brands I would like to see get the extra mile for a big game release; something equivalent to the Batman: Arkham series but with Marvel characters:
5. The Punisher
The Punisher has had some games in the past, but I believe now is a better time than ever to really nail the character in a game. Games like The Darkness series and Machine Games’ take on Wolfenstein with Wolfenstein: The New Order makes me believe the time is right to revamp Marvel’s ultimate anti-hero and gun-toting vigilante, The Punisher aka Frank Castle, in a game. I would love it if Machine Games would be allowed to make the game with carte-blanche. It should be an M-rated first-person shooter that explores the darker side of the damaged Frank Castle and his never-ending war against crime. Seeing how Machine Games revived the Wolfenstein franchise back from the dead, they could really nail this material.
4. Marvel: Civil War
I was not a huge fan of the Civil War storyline, but it did have a strong premise of heroes fighting heroes. It also makes for some excellent brand synergy and marketing opportunities. The premise of Marvel: Civil War would fit a fighting game scenario. The third Captain America game is based on the Civil War storyline. The movie will have to take a great many liberties from the comic. However, a video game could take the concept much further than the movie. So, for Marvel: Civil War, a fighting game could work similarly to something like Injustice: Gods Among Us. Give it some next-gen graphics and a huge library of characters to choose from, and this would make for a fun gaming experience.
Daredevil has always been a favorite character of mine, and he is a perfect character to exploit for the next generation of consoles. Daredevil is a character known for his darker and grittier stories with Hell’s Kitchen as the backdrop. About a decade ago, Encore was developing a 3D CG Daredevil game, but the game was scrapped. The footage that is out there for the game does not hold up very well. However, some of the mechanics and city exploration look inspired. It somewhat resembled the older, revolutionary Spider-Man games from Activision and Treyarch. For Daredevil, I would envision a series that is basically Batman: Arkham meets Assassin’s Creed. Since Daredevil’s alter-ego, Matt Murdock, is also a lawyer, the game could also mix those elements in the game. Perhaps, have Murdock investigate his cases and involve some courtroom drama into the gameplay. I am not sure if that is feasible for a video game, but the technology and capabilities are there.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
Who would have thought that the ragtag team of cosmic Marvel heroes would become one of the most lucrative Marvel brands of all time? Thanks to a hit movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy have taken off on a rocket, and there is no stopping it. Characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot are now household names. Characters from the Guardians have shown up here and there in games. The Guardians of the Galaxy got their own playset for Disney Infinity: 2.0. That is a good step. Rocket Raccoon was previously a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. With a hit movie franchise that has taken off and an animated series in the works, the obvious next step is to create a great game worthy of the merry band, the Guardians of the Galaxy. I would like to see the game go in the direction of something akin to Mass Effect, but with cosmic Marvel characters. Make the big bad Thanos, and you are off to the races.
1. The Avengers
The closest thing to a big Avengers title was the scrapped one in development by the now defunct THQ. The game was envisioned as a first-person shooter that featured Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America as playable characters fighting against the alien shape-shifters, the Skrulls. Actually, the pre-alpha footage that was released did not look too bad, but I am not positive the game would have turned out great. Still, I would love to see a company like Rocksteady get the chance to work on a game featuring The Avengers. A group with such a fun variety of personalities and powers would make for an awesome gaming experience. It could be taken any number of directions. Marvel has wisely stayed away from licensing the brand out for a quick, rushed, haphazard game release. Rocksteady is moving on from Batman after Arkham Knight. Would they dare attempt to work on a Marvel game?