Is it insane to consider that one of the best games we got last year was a comic book game? That’s what crosses my head when I look back on 2018 and how in-between games like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2, we got Spider-Man and it was nothing short of spectacular. When people weren’t complaining about removed puddles, everyone was in awe at the gameplay and the story. After we took a four-year break after a decade’s worth of Spider-Man games, Insomniac’s crack at Spidey will likely go down as the definitive Spider-Man game.
So here‘s a fun fact you may or may not know. During Kotaku’s podcast talking with Insomniac CEO Ted Price, he told Jason Schreier that Sony came up to them and asked if they were interested in working with Marvel. From there, Sony and Marvel let Insomniac decide which character/universe they wanted to make a game based on; they chose Spider-Man. It is fair to say that Team Insomniac made the correct choice since you can say Spider-Man is to Marvel what Batman is to DC. A truly remarkable hero that also has a wide range of villains to include and going all out on what makes Spider-Man incredible such as the web-swinging and combat.
Where do we go from here?
So as I look over the fantastic game that was Spider-Man (2018), it makes me wonder one thing: will Insomniac get another chance to work with Marvel? Part of me likes to think so considering the overwhelming reception, but I scratch my head on what they could possibly do next. As harsh as this will sound, I find it to be as sad of an unfortunate truth: if your game does not feature Spider-Man or Batman, your game will suck. Now there can be exceptions to the rule here, but it seems like it has been a long time since we’ve got to experience a fantastic comic book game that does not feature the two, and we are still at a point where we don‘t know what Rocksteady is working on after they finally wrapped up the Arkham games with Batman: Arkham VR (or Arkham Knight).
Fortunately for me, talking about DC Superheroes that deserve the Rocksteady treatment will come at a later time. For now, let’s focus on Marvel and what Insomniac could consider if Marvel lets them work their magic again. So let’s do some brainstorming on what Marvel Superheroes not only deserve a proper game but also how they could work as well. It isn‘t like the wheel would need to be reinvented, and it isn’t like it has to adhere to what Spider-Man did either. All we need is a Superhero who has a wide set of villains for them to stomp while also getting to showcase what makes them so special.
What can we come up with for up and coming heroes? Let’s find out.
So this might sound a bit farfetched, but out of the main lineup of Avengers heroes, Captain America has been in the least number of video games. Even Thor somehow got himself an app game to go with his train wreck of a video game. Still, I would say if you were to find Captain America: Super Soldier, I would strangely recommend it. You could say it was Marvel’s attempt on making their own Arkham Asylum, and regarding the overall game, it worked out fairly well.
Now as for how you can make a modern game, this one would be a touch harder to say. You could take the route of Captain America fighting against HYDRA, but it does seem like you would want to try and keep the Capt within the modern times than going back to World War 2. Another issue would be that Captain America’s repertoire of villains isn’t as well known as other Marvel villains, so you would need to make sure to properly highlight each of them for those who might not be too familiar with them.
It would also be hard to say if Captain America could work in a big open-world setting, but something that’s within a small area like the aforementioned Arkham Asylum. As for the fighting style, you could highlight his ability to throw his mighty shield or his above average athletic abilities too. Honestly, if you were to do something with Captain America as you could with something like the Devil May Cry series, that probably would be more than enough right there. Hopefully, the super soldier will get his time to shine in the world of gaming.
When there weren’t that many big superhero games coming out, many would say that the stand out Marvel game (besides Spider-Man) was the Incredible Hulk titles. Whether if it was Ultimate Destruction for PS2, Xbox, and GC or the sequel on the PS3 or 360, there was something special about playing as a giant green bulldozer and just tearing apart everything that stood in your way. It also helps that the latter game was an open-world title in New York City, so Hulk does kind of have a foot in the door there.
Now the interesting thing we could consider here is how you can do just about anything with The Hulk in terms of who he is up against. Yeah, you could just throw him up against his standard villains, but one thing that could be awesome to see could be his time away from the Earth (Planet Hulk) or his return (World War Hulk). It could be rather fun to see a game where Hulk goes up against Marvel’s heroes and takes them apart one hero at a time.
As for how the game would play, it would be straightforward. Much like how I don‘t need to explain how to play a Spider-Man game, Hulk is just as simple to make into something special. The plus though would be if Insomniac were to go a step further in how the Hulk would bring the world down around him (or at least cause humongous collateral damage). Either way, we are overdue for some old-fashioned anger management with Mr. Banner. Let’s get smashing!
So with Disney adding Fox Studios to their infinity gauntlet of studios, we could see a resurgence of heroes that may have been misrepresented over the years (looking at you Fan4stic…). Hopefully, the Fantastic Four will get the treatment they deserve, Doctor Doom will finally be the intimidating dictator he was supposed to be this entire time and Deadpool… doesn’t really need much since his video game from 2013 did him just right. But let’s stop beating around the bush and be perfectly honest here: we are long overdue for a proper X-Men title.
Now, the history of X-Men games can vary depending on what you got your hands on. Chances are you’re thinking of either the X-Men Legends games or the Arcade Beat ‘em up from 1992. We could also mention the various games that had Wolverine as the primary focus too, but we should look towards what Insomniac could do if they were to make a game where you could play as any X-Men member.
You can still have Wolverine being Wolverine, but how much fun would it be to have other playstyles like with Gambit where you can have him beat people up with his staff and throwing exploding playing cards? What about Storm who can fight enemies from a distance using the elements? Or hell, even something for Cyclops could work here too with long-range eye beams. Either way, there’s a great chance that the X-Men will get reintroduced into the Marvel world and with that, a game to highlight just how badass they are could be the best way to welcome them back with open arms.
How has Black Panther not have one video game yet? You could say that he shares similarities to a certain Bat from DC, but really, he seems like one DC hero who’s gone under the radar for a very long time. For a video game, I would probably run into the same issues as I did with Captain America, but again, we’ve seen what Black Panther is capable of and you could easily make an open world for him.
Not to draw another comparison from Batman, but in some ways, I could see him almost playing like Catwoman in Arkham City. While Spiderman would be high in the air, Black Panther would be more dominant on the ground level, although he likely could climb buildings and walls with ease. And the combat certainly pays tribute to what came before and have him rushing down enemies and clawing his way through one enemy at a time. Who knows if you would place him in New York City, or even make an open-world game set in Wakanda.
After the Black Panther movie, just about everyone jumped onto the bandwagon of wanting to see more. There are so many reasons we could list off why a Black Panther game would be great to see and Insomniac would have the tools and means to make that happen.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Much like Black Panther, part of me likes to think the Cinematic Universe has helped to highlight a wide set of superheroes that the casual onlooker would usually overlook. I‘m sure there may be a good handful of you who probably knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before the first film, but I’ll admit I wasn’t one. That said, I will say they have a wide dynamic amongst themselves (even if it might seem like they’re fighting each other more times than naught) and it would be great to explore that further in a videogame.
For me, a Guardians game would somewhat emulate the idea I had for the X-Men for how it would be more focused on playing as all members rather than one or two specific characters. You could go open world and let players choose which Guardian they would want to play as, but make it where you have five distinct playstyles that would compliment whoever you’re playing as. Whether if it is overwhelming might of Drax, the quick and agile Gamora, or even gun-wielding Rocket Raccoon, you can do a fair number of things with them as they save whatever world they find themselves in. It certainly could be fun to have an open-world game in a city that’s not on
Honorable mentions: Thor and Ironman
It was a coin flip between Ironman and Thor, and while I think Thor could still work getting the Insomniac treatment, the world of Thor could be a risk to make happen since the casual audience might not be fully accustomed to the Norse God. If we were to see a brand new Thor game, it could serve as the best way to let fans get familiar with who he goes up against. Otherwise, it will be hard to not call it a possible “God of War” clone (to which that other game was called, and not a good one at that).
On the flip end, Ironman would also be hard to pitch too. The previous Ironman games were… okay, but they weren’t standouts. In fact, I’d say if we were to get an Ironman game, Insomniac would need to take notes from Anthem. Say what you will about the game, but they nailed the flying. You can give Ironman his wide arsenal and have him up against his gallery of baddies. However, it would be a vastly different playstyle compared to Spider-Man, and could also be a risky endeavor if they chose to bring Ironman to the next-generation of gaming.
No matter their next project, we do wish Insomniac the best on their next big title as we eagerly await to see what they’re planning next. Hopefully, Marvel will see that they have another golden goose on their hands and will let them continue to work on more Marvel titles. The world can use more Superhero games, and we are in the middle of what could be a new Renaissance.
So What Do You Think?
Which Marvel Superhero should get the proper video game treatment? Should Insomniac get a second crack at something besides Spider-Man? And will we see a new age of Marvel now that Disney bought out Fox? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more editorials about Games, Comics, and everything in between.
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How’s it going everyone, I’m Mike Sol and I am one of many contributing writers to Culture of Gaming. You can usually find me playing some of the latest games to come out, although I tend to avoid anything related to sports or strategy. I enjoy the big three and all the games on them but my main console is the Xbox One. I don’t have a specific preference in gaming, but any game that has fun action and beating up waves of enemies is usually my cup tea. If you ever want me to game with me or want me to write about something of interest, feel free to hit me up. I hope to have a personal blog set up soon, but my loyalties shall remain with CoG.