Eh! Steve! Batman v. Spider-Man

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 11, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 130 comments

This week I sat down with Chris and we spent two hours talking about the Batman Arkham series, the Sony Spider-Man game that needs a subtitle, and even a bit of Resident Evil. It’s like a bonus Diecast. Actually, it’s like TWO bonus Diecasts. We also talk a bit about my attempt at a Bayonetta playthrough and how that ended.

Eh! Steve! Talking Batman and Spider-Man with Shamus Young

Also, Chris and I talk about superheroes that would be good for an Arkham-style brawler. I’ve played with this idea a lot over the years. It seems simple, but it’s actually kinda challenging once you get down to it.  Let’s assume we PROBABLY want a hero that operates in the urban areas of Earth. I mean, yes, you can set the game in the wilderness or some fantastical other-world, but that is more challenging in terms of design and marketing.  Audiences can immediately understand cities, slums, warehouses, and that sort of thing. That’s the classic superhero milieu, and marketing knows how to sell that.

Anyway. Let’s put together a pitch for marketing and see if we can get someone to green-light a game. Making a game on par with Arkham whatever isn’t easy. You need tons of animations, lots of varied foes, and a variety of environments. You can’t do this as a mid-budget game. We need AAA money to make this happen.

Here’s what we need…

  1. The hero needs to be reasonably well-known. Marketing isn’t going to give us fifty million dollars to adapt some obscure goof.
  2. Maybe this seems obvious, but we need a hero that fights with their fists. That rules out a ton of people. Lots of heroes feature beams, guns, telekinesis, fire, ice, illusions, magnetism, shape-changing, summoning, or other non-brawling gimmick. Those heroes are a bad fit. We don’t want to have to prototype some new gameplay system, and we don’t want to have to strip away a character’s iconic powers to make them work as a brawler.
  3. Effortless flying is a no-no. If the hero can fly, then players will be annoyed when we glue their character to the ground during fights. (And no, we’re not going to try and make an airborne brawler, this genre is tricky enough as it is.) Gliders like Batman can work, though. Batman can’t hover, and if he’s in a tough spot he can’t escape by simply flying straight up.
  4. The hero can’t be too powerful. Like, how can we devise an entire game worth of mooks that can take more than one punch from Superman? And what would you do about sequels?
  5. They need to be mortal. Not only do mooks need to be able to take a few punches, but they need to pose a credible threat to our hero. That can’t happen if the hero is practically invulnerable.
  6. Mobility. The hero needs some means of transportation that isn’t just walking around. Yes, I realize this conflicts with #3. If the hero has to walk, then the gameworld needs to be very flat and small. At the very least, they should be able to run fast and jump large distances.

With that in mind, who would be a good fit?

I think my suggestion of The Punisher was a bad one. Like Chris said, he’s all about guns. You might be able to make an interesting open-world game like Saints Row with the Punisher, but that’s a different pitch.

Like I said on the show, Wonder Woman would be great, provided we can come up with appropriate foes. Her power level varies a lot between adaptations. Sometimes she’s a Superman-level god, and sometimes she’s weaker than that. I don’t know if the audience is open to a version of the character that’s vulnerable to crowds of mortal human thugs. She can use her lasso like a whip to swing around, so she has some mobility.

Luke Cage might be a little too invulnerable, but he’s a possibility if we can make him just a little less durable. He’s limited in terms of mobility, though. If you make this an open-world game, then maybe we can give him a motorcycle? Or maybe we can just give him super running and jumping, and fans will let it slide.

Like Chris said, Daredevil is a really good fit. Like, why hasn’t someone done this already? A Daredevil game should have gone into production the moment Arkham Asylum became a hit.

Maybe we could rehabilitate Iron Fist with a good game tie-in? The Netflix version of the character was insufferable, but it’s not like you can’t tell a good story about an urban kung-fu master. As for mobility, I think you can get away with a little Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style wall-running with some general rooftop parkour.

Given his fame, Wolverine seems like an obvious choice, except for those claws of his. I guess we can imitate the cartoons and pretend he never stabs people with them. Also, how does Wolverine lose a fight? His healing means he ought to be able to walk off anything common mooks might do to him. Maybe you can do a Dark Souls type thing where – instead of a game over – Wolverine just goes down and wakes up later in a dumpster somewhere? Also, what do we do about mobility?

Any other suggestions? Any beloved heroes you’d like to see get the Arkham treatment?

 


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130 thoughts on “Eh! Steve! Batman v. Spider-Man

  1. Chad+Miller says:

    I don’t see a link to the actual podcast?

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      I don’t know if Shamus added it later or not, but if you mean a direct link to the audio file, it’s on the page itself. If you’d prefer a direct link instead, then you can grab it directly, or… son of a gun, I could actually remember to update the feed file so it shows up on Google Podcasts or iTunes. So uh, if that’s your preferred delivery method, I apologize, it’s not yet ready. The RSS feed is updated, though.

      It’s a good thing you wrote this or I would have completely not realized the feed wasn’t properly uploaded to the site.

      1. Chad+Miller says:

        I meant the link from this post to your page. I think the link was added after I posted…alternatively, I hovered over every other link in the post three times and somehow missed it. ;)

  2. bobbert says:

    I have never played the Batman games. So, when you say brawler, I think River City Ransom. Yeah, I would play a Wolverine reskinned version of that.

    1. Ronan says:

      Isn’t that the x-men arcade game ?

      I see several x-men characters that would work for this style of game: nightcrawler, colossus, beast… they’re usually more into teamwork, but it would not be too difficult to make up an excuse for a solo story.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Yeah, I forgot about Nightcrawler when I listed some below. He would solve all the problems because his teleporting would let him get around, he is a stealthy fighter, and his teleports in combat would be used for escape or combos.

      2. bobbert says:

        You mean the “Welcome to DIE!” one?

  3. James McNeill says:

    It’s an idea whose time has probably come and gone but I always wanted to make a Jackie Chan game. The light tone would be refreshing and you could try to really work the environment and props into the combat system. Something where you continually feel off balance, scrambling to use whatever you can get your hands on.

    1. Earlack says:

      This ! THIS ! Probably not famous enough anymore, but I would kill for a game like that ! (Yeah, I’m a bit of a Jackie fanboy). There’s potential for something original, not just another brawler but one where we lean into the comedic side too, like you said, when the character feels a bit overwhelmed and is not really a master of martials arts (although…) … if that makes sense.

      Not this type of game, but there was Jackie Chan’s Stuntmaster on PS1 (played a demo back in the day)… So perfect, we don’t even need a story or character, just let him be himself :)

      We could integrate also other stunt-like activities like pseudo-parkour or chases…

      Okay, where do I sign ?

      1. RamblePak64 says:

        Maybe it’s because we were already discussing other Warner Bros. Animation properties from when I was in middle-to-high school, but this made me think of Jackie Chan Adventures… which… didn’t actually star Jackie Chan, save for some post-episode shorts. Perhaps something with greater involvement from him, but taking similar narrative inspiration?

        That would be neat, though. I’d have never thought of a Jackie Chan oriented game, and you’d easily be able to choreograph animations where it looks like he almost stumbles into success. The only thing I think it would lose would be the elements of spontaneity and surprise. What makes a Jackie Chan flick is often the creativity that goes into the stunts, and as a game you have to be repetitive out of necessity.

        …wasn’t there an original Xbox game with Jackie Chan in it? Not unlike the Buffy and Indiana Jones games?

      2. tmtvl says:

        Speaking about PS1 and Jackie Chan, it’s a shame that Tai Fu never went anywhere. It’s probably the best kung fu game that nobody ever played.

      3. Echo Tango says:

        I mean, if you’re going for a comedic martial-arts brawler, I’d have started with Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, or more recently, Kung Fury. :)

  4. Mattias42 says:

    Not a Marvel character, but I’d honestly love a The Phantom or Mandrake The Magician game.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicStrip/ThePhantom
    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician

    They’re a bit obscure nowadays, but both have a decent stab at claiming to be the first ever costumed heroes in comics. (If you count a snazzy suit in Mandrake’s case, but still. ) Both are still in print, too, so props for that.

    Mandrake would be trickier, though. Not only did he tend to go up against a lot of weird stuff, but his entire signature of ‘gestures hypnotically’ would be HELL on the animation budget or become really, really lame.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Hypno-vision is right out – that’s pretty much the opposite of punching dudes. The phantom could work though, especially if you lean into his pseudo-pacifist angle. IMO, he feels like the prototype that came before Batman or Spiderman.[1] :)

      [1] But I’m way too lazy to look up exactly when each of these dudes first appeared.

      1. Mattias42 says:

        Mandrake was actually always presented as a pretty decent pugilist. Though nowhere near as strong as… well, Lothar The Strongest Man On Earth, he quite often held his own in a fight. At least against average mooks.

        So maybe have the normal combat be… well, something akin to Arkham’s Batman, but more focus on a boxing like style? Jabs & ducks, instead of rolling around and hay-makers? With the hypno stuff as this mix of special attacks (cough, instant take down, cough) and room cleaners? Or outright set-pieces in the environment, you somehow interact with?

        Think that could work.

        Mandrake’s not really a gadget user type though, so the Metroidvania-esque unlocking new paths and tricks stuff would be much more tricky, though. At least to make it interesting beyond, well, key hunts.

    2. The+Puzzler says:

      How about a Defenders of the Earth game with both of them plus Lothar (originally Mandrake’s sidekick), and Flash Gordon, taking on Ming the Merciless?

      1. Mattias42 says:

        Oh, my poor aching heart, I’d love that idea.

        Defenders of the Earth deserved so much better then it got in general. I snatched up that DVD box a few years ago, and I was a bit shocked that series even got that much, alas. If that series had dropped just a few years later when the internet was starting to be a thing, I think it would have been a roaring success, honestly.

      2. Mr. Wolf says:

        I never watched it, but it’s now on my list on the strength of it’s theme song alone. I think it’s my third favourite comic book-to-cartoon adaptation theme song, which is a surprisingly broad category when you stop to think about it.

        1. Mattias42 says:

          Believe it or not, but the lyrics? Stan Lee.

          Yes, that one. Stan The Man.

          It’s even in the credits of every episode.

    3. Mr. Wolf says:

      I really feel that the Phontom gets a raw deal. He’s a very popular comic book hero internationally, but since his North American following is tiny, the odds of him getting a big-budget anything are pretty slim.

      Well, there was that film in the 90’s, but that ultimately did more harm than good. I do really like Billy Zane though. Hollywood gives him a raw deal too.

      1. Mattias42 says:

        Honestly, I think the 96’s The Phantom movie was pretty decent. Well, remember it being so at least, haven’t seen it since two-thousand something.

        About the only thing I found questionable as a long-term semi-fan was the ghost dad thing. How The Phantom sometimes just… well, dies, and the family has to go uphold the legacy of the immortal Phantom That Walks now quite possibly without even knowing who or what killed their dad/husband/so-on was a honestly a pretty dang big deal in some of the ‘historic’ story arcs.

        And, well, one of the old Phantoms hanging around like a spirit advisor thing? Kinda cheeped that.

        But honestly? Given how we’ve since then gotten stuff like Electra or those freakin’ Snyder movies, it’s kinda adorable in hindsight young me was even annoyed.

        But, yeah. Raw deal indeed. No idea why the 90’s just seemed to LOATHE superhero movies. Recall barely anybody having seen The Rocketeer or The Shadow either, and those movies are also some really fun adventures with some really nice production and a lot of passion. No idea why all three of those bombed.

        1. Chad+Miller says:

          I think there was a self-fulfilling prophecy where studios didn’t put much effort into superhero movies because people wouldn’t expect much out of them because studios weren’t putting effort into them. I feel like the beginning of the end for this whole cycle was the X-Men movies; sequel rot set in for the third one, but by then we also had things like Raimi’s Spider-Man movies to keep Hollywood from collectively deciding it was a fad.

  5. Thomas says:

    Does Captain America work? Fights with fists, has some interesting special moves long range moves he can pull off with his shield (and you could make him need to recover his shield when he throws it which would be an interesting twist on Arkham gameplay)

    Basically the elevator fight in Winter Soldier The Game.

    Mobility is a bit weak, but you can give him parkour and ‘run fast’. He can probably make a wingsuit work even.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Cap also is known for riding a motorcycle in his own comics, so that definitely deals with the open world parts a la Luke Cage above. And he is known for the parkour stuff as well. And if you really need him to get somewhere in a hurry, he can catch a ride on a Quinjet.

      1. Rho says:

        Also, you can pull off smarts-based puzzles as in the Arkham series, with alternative styles and solutions (ie, no Riddler puzzles, but Cap could investigate). Cap is well-known for solving problems with his head as much as his heart or fists. He generally won’t engage in ridiculous mind games with gimmicky madmen though.

      2. Ronan says:

        Just don’t make him surf on his shield.

        1. Lino says:

          Yeah, we don’t want to get sued by Lord of the Rings!

    2. Joshua says:

      I think Cap would be a great choice. The shield gives him some interesting choices, sacrificing defense for a period for a ranged attack, with more targets meaning longer period of no blocking with the shield as it bounces around. Also his traditional enemy mooks such as A.I.M. can plausibly be equipped with a variety of sci-fi weapons like freeze rays, force fields, etc. to vary things up.

    3. Taellosse says:

      I think they DID make this game, actually. I remember a Cap game coming out back in the early days of the MCU and hearing its combat compared to Arkham Asylum.

      Yeah, here it is: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America:_Super_Soldier

      It was one of those games I ALMOST got, but read 1 too many mediocre reviews and never actually picked it up.

    4. Zeta Kai says:

      I came to the comments to make this exact suggestion. Captain America would be a great stand-in for Batman in an Arkham-style brawler. He’s got superhuman abilities (but not too much), he’s got a shield for ranged attacks (but not too much), he’s got a reliance on gadgets (but not too much). He’s practically perfect for the role…

      Except there are some issues with the tone of the character, and even more with his enemies. Cap is down-to-earth, but he’s not very gritty, and I don’t think that many people would want to see a violent, edgy, 90’s comics version of Cap, with brutal takedowns and blood splatters. Also, his rogue’s gallery is practically non-existent, and it would take some serious effort to contrive a reason for Steve Rogers to be punching his way through waves of mooks for an entire game.

      But the character and his moveset are compelling enough to give it a try. I know that I would play it.

  6. Mephane says:

    Also, how does Wolverine lose a fight? His healing means he ought to be able to walk off anything common mooks might do to him.

    His healing is not instantaneous. It could work with a reasonable delay until regeneration starts, incoming damage interrupting it etc. Or just have it only kick in between fights.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Oh, that’s easy. Someone hit Wolfie with magic-macguffin poison that is inhibiting his healing ability. He heals much slower, and it will eventually kill him in time – it’s only the healing element that explains his survival thus far! As an added bonus, the story has some obvious, relatable stakes.

      Pretty sure there’s already been a Wolverine game with exactly that structure…

      1. Daimbert says:

        Pretty much every game with Wolverine in it simply has it recharge over time, but if enough damage is done then he goes down. So pretty much all players of Wolverine would expect that without needing an in-game explanation. So it might even be something to leave in the “Gameplay constraints” section without having to reference it.

      2. The+Puzzler says:

        I don’t think fans like it when they do that sort of thing. “This is a Superman game! But he’s been infected with kryptonite, so you don’t get to use most of his powers!” That’s not what I’d buy a Superman game for.

        The ‘Wolverine comes back to life after he’s killed’ respawn system suggested allows us to feel like we have Wolverine’s powers without altering the gameplay. Batman regains health and respawns after he dies too, and that doesn’t break the game; we’d just let Wolverine regenerate health during combat too. The stakes can be saving your friends, or whatever.

  7. Paul Spooner says:

    Typo check: “run fast jump and large distances” Is that… whole word dyslexia?

  8. Cubic says:

    I recently read a Daredevil vs Punisher mini series, maybe you could have Daredevil beating up the crooks and Matt Murdock defending them in court? Which is what happened.

    The real Daredevil game would have a black screen and let the player figure out the rest. Though, as we are often reminded, DD really has much better senses than any of us. Yet sucks terribly at romance. He routinely if dramatically picks up tiny sounds across the street or throws his stick with terrifying accuracy but can’t even read the heartbeat of Karen the office secretary. Where was I going with this?

    1. bobbert says:

      Why do I want that game to be narrated by Strongbad? “Obvious exits are NORTH, SOUTH, and DENNIS.

  9. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

    The Hulk? Well-known, check. Fights with fists, check. Can jump real high, run fast, and smash his fists into solid walls to climb, restricted-but-fast-mobility check.

    Doesn’t really fit the “weak enough and mortal” requirements though, if we go by MCU standards, at least not without tweaking.

    1. Thomas says:

      Hulk games might be better for rampant environmental destruction, rather than a crisp combo system. I’ve never played any of the old ones, but I heard they were quite fun?

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      Considering that the MCU Hulk is one of the weakest versions of the character, then no, he certainly doesn’t fit the bill.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      Oh, you could make a *really* interesting dynamic out of the Hulk.

      The threat isn’t him dying in fights, it’s him losing control…the more damage you take, the more you Hulk. The more you Hulk, the tougher you are…but the worse [it] gets.
      Maybe he’s got some permanent problem that is exacerbated by Hulking out, maybe there are civilians nearby that get killed if you lose control, maybe you’re surrounded by delicate infrastructure that gets smashed, maybe the story needs Bruce Banner the scientist to be as calm and collected as possible for tech challenges between fights…loads of things.

      You can go into a brawl and wreck everything, sure. But the true challenge is getting rid of the enemy as efficiently as possible, while remaining as ‘Bruce Banner’ as you can. Possibly by using the envionment via traps etc?

      Except for boss fights and certain story parts, where you get to go full Hulk and smash things, because that’s fun. And relegating that to certain sections of the game makes them more special.

      Hybrid inspiration from Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, which had a ‘humanity’ meter that caused you massive problems if you didn’t resist your feral nature enough; and Dishonoured, where your actions had an effect on the plague gripping the city.

      1. Taellosse says:

        A couple console generations back (or maybe as far as ps2?) There was a Hulk game where Hulk was unkillable, but the CITY had a health bar – you had to take out your enemies without letting too much damage accrue to the area – naturally buildings were destructible, and his strength was more in line with the comics than his (much lower) power in the movies.

        I believe it was cribbing the idea from a similar sort of game featuring Superman, too.

    4. The+Puzzler says:

      I don’t think having armies of mooks who can survive a punch from the Hulk is an insoluble problem. Just make them be robots or aliens or something.

  10. kikito says:

    Are melee weapons allowed? If yes, then I submit:

    Predator!

    Granted, it has a shoulder-laser thingie. But it is rarely used.

    It could be made to work on an urban setting (in fact that’s what happens in Predator 2). You would have to spend a lot of time camouflaged / at night.

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      Spoiler alert for one of my own recommendations towards the end of the podcast episode! :D

    2. Shufflecat says:

      No idea if it’s what Steve is talks about in the podcast (I won’t be able to listen to it ’till later), but good news: that game already exists! Bad news: it’s a super-rare PS2 game.

      It’s called “Predator: Concrete Jungle”. IIRC gameplay wise it’s very proto-Arkham in terms of mobility, stealth, and gadgets. The brawl combat was a more standard-style system of the time, and IIRC the game heavily discouraged it (brawling was an invitation to get gunned down by other humans in the area).

      Story premise IIRC was a previous hunter hecked-up and let his high-tech gear fall into human hands, and they’ve had a few years to do corporate super-science with it. You play the pred who’s sent in to reassert the prime directive via murder and explosions. You can do skull taking and other classic pred stuff as kill animations (I’m not sure, but IIRC there may have been a “collectable” targets/bounties aspect as well), but ostensibly you’re a “cleaner” agent like the pred in AVP:R, rather than a hunter.

      I remember it being the sort of game that is bad, but still kinda fun. And also super ugly visually.

      1. RamblePak64 says:

        Steve wasn’t in this episode, despite his name being in the title. ;)

        Yeah, I mentioned Concrete Jungle, and it was… one of the most disappointing GameFly rentals I ever experienced. I was really hyped for it at the time, but it just felt so awful to play.

  11. bobbert says:

    Would the Fantastic Four work? As a bonus the Mrs. Fantastic levels would be cheap to animate.

    1. Michael says:

      The Human Torch has magical, perfect-maneuverability flight and his combat mode is shooting fire from a distance. Shamus’ criteria read like they were specifically intended to weed him out.

      The Daredevil suggestion is slightly odd to me; the big thing about Daredevil is that he has perfect 360° awareness, which is impossible to represent in a video game where you’re stuck with the restricted viewport that is the TV. (Spider-Man has a similar issue, with his spider-sense. How much did that translate into the recent game?)

      The Hulk works well if you can put in a game mechanic where you might fail to maintain Hulk form. The Hulk can’t be hurt, but Bruce Banner can.

      I also really liked the suggestion of “when Wolverine is defeated, he blacks out and wakes up in a dumpster somewhere”. Claws can see actual use if there are villainous robots. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinel_(comics) )

      1. Chris says:

        I liked the dumpster idea a lot too.

      2. Thomas says:

        Daredevil works with a third-person camera, because you do have awareness of what is behind you.

        I’d love a really stylised Daredevil game where the whole visual imagery is totally unique.

        1. Mr. Wolf says:

          There’s go to be a game or simulation or tech demo of visualised echolocation somewhere out there. It seems such an obvious idea.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            Perception. It’s a horror game, which seems like a natural fit for a game about limited perception. If I recall correctly, the gimmick is that any source of noise naturally gives you a bit of “vision”, and you can make more noise to get a better look around but at the cost of drawing attention from the ghosts.

          2. Geebs says:

            Scanner Sombre fits the bill. I’ve only ever played it in VR, though, and it might be a bit less impressive on a regular screen.

      3. Earlack says:

        If i recall, Spidersense in Spiderman is just an indicator on your character when something is about to hit you… (like in Arkham) And might also slow down time slightly ? Maybe it was an upgrade ? Don’t remember. Only thing I’m sure of is, cutscenes are the Kryptonite of the spidersense, as you can see in Shamus’ review of the game :)

        You could do something similar with DD, flashing indicator or something like that. Or a toggable power, some kind of focus, that alters the game view (maybe makes it almost black and white, like representing some kind of sonar-thing ?) and highlighting enemies and objects you can interact with in bright colors… ?

        A much better representation and wayyyy harder would be to make it First person and work a lot on the audio to simulate being hyper-sensitive like he is. Working only with positional audio. Some mobile games did somehting similar where you don’t have any display at all…

        But a modern AAA “everyone-must-buy-and-play-it-so-we-can-milk-them-to-death-with-DLC” (or EMBAPISWCMTTDWDLC © :) ) would probably not try something so novel.

  12. Tektotherriggen says:

    Black Widow? Sure, she does have guns, but if you apply realistic gun physics (e.g. reloading takes time, small magazines), you can justify 90% fisticuffs.

    Mobility would need her to have a cool motorbike or something, though.

    Set it in the pre-Avengers days and you can get a retro cold-war setting and a moral-choice plot branch (is this one of her “red in her ledger” missions?).

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      Considering hers was maybe the only gameplay I cared for in the Beta of Marvel’s Avengers by Crystal Dynamics, I am okay with a Black Widow game concept. It might actually allow you more freedom of gameplay, too, if you take the “red or black ledger” approach. Stealth sections would probably be more Splinter-Cell or Metal Gear Solid while permitting Arkham melee combat, but you could also potentially kill foes or spare them if you wanted. Perhaps lethality of your melee arsenal could impact that, or environmental tools that may wipe out a foe faster, but also be lethal, so if you want to do a non-lethal run you’re effectively choosing hard mode.

      I have a feeling a developer might just go full-bore imitation of Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, though, and ditch the Arkham elements.

      1. Thomas says:

        A splint cell Black Widow game with a bit.more combat might be really fun

  13. Lino says:

    Ohhh, new podcast! I’ll definitely give it al listen when I have time this weekend! In terms of characters for an Arkham-style brawler, what about Kraven? I know he’s sort of a villain, but at times during the 90’s animated series he’s helped Spidey. And now that Venom is apparently a good guy (based on the new movie trailer, at least), why not make Kraven one too?

    He fights with his hands and with various melee weapons, he’s not immortal, and he can employ the help of different animals. For mobility, we could give him some kind of grappling hook (whcih wouldn’t be totally out-of-character), or we could have him do some parkour (which also wouldn’t be out-of-character). Later on, we could even give him a sabertooth tiger to jump around rooftops and munch on enemies. To justify the sabertooth tiger, we could have him frozen in prehistoric ice in some abandoned laboratory or something. I don’t know, it’s Marvel, weirder things have happened…

  14. Duoae says:

    Personally, i think the reason that Daredevil wasn’t immediately cloned into an Arkham game is that it would be too similar on the surface. And i think DD is not really super well known… this also applies to Iron Fist.

    In fact, super heroes run into this problem all the time, aside from the few big hitters that are always popular even the B-list tier heroes generally need the A-list to pull them into wider public consciousness for their films and games to be successful.

    A game about Nightwing or one of the other bat family? Nuh-uh! You need at least four of them to carry a game without Batman (or at least with the HINT of Batman being saved or found….)

    So i don’t think the budget would ever be given for such a game to be made on a single character.

    However, i think we can see that the success of Ghost of Tsushima which has very similar mechanics to the Arkham games shows that you can take the idea and transplant it to other franchises or periods/ scenarios with striking visual designs.

    For me, I’d say a jedi could work well in this format. Start the game off with the lightsaber but have it taken away after the first encounter with “whatever”, maybe bounty hunters and crime lords. Imagine having to fight your way up from the depths of Nar Shaddaa and getting trinkets and dooihickeys along the way.

    Jedi reflexes work with the attack alerting mechanics and there are lots of enemy types to throw at the player other than just basic mooks. Plus, jedi can jump high and run fast.

    The other setting would be more jokey: Indiana Jones. Okay, he’s not as mobile but has the bullwhip and the comedic effect could be brought to the fore to make a more bumbling action style game. But the character’s very strong with audiences, doesn’t kill people, has goals to be met and a good story can be made about him turning from another prize in order to help the hapless people of wherever from their plight of being subjugated by thise who played with some ancient power and loat their souls to it…
    Plus, Indy has sidekicks that can be brought in to the story to help out if needed.

    1. Thomas says:

      You could do Arkham combat with a lightsaber – it might even work better because you can avoid the issue of batting someone to death with a lightsaber, by making the takedowns all insta-kills, and the combat is about breaking the block.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Doesn’t Indy outright shoot that one swordsman dude in one of the movies? Pretty sure he’s killed people (my memory’s a bit hazy), or at least been accessory to it (flying the plane while his dad shoots them down, etc.). He might be averse to killing people…

      1. tmtvl says:

        Guy recognizes Indy, Indy tosses guy out of blimp, people look shocked, “No ticket,” people hasten to pull their tickets out.

        1. Duoae says:

          Yeah, it’s true that Indy has killed some people. But it’s not a central part of the character unlike The Punisher or other characters, he’s mostly a brawler (at least in my recollection).

          Even the guy in Ghost of Tsushima kills people… but for me death or no death is irrelevant – it’s not central to the mechanics of the Arkham fighting style, only to the character of Batman… and we only have to watch the fights in those games (and spiderman) to call foul over how many mooks ACTUALLY should have died from falls or punches or whatever (car hits in the third game for example…).

          1. Taellosse says:

            His most iconic fist fight involves his (Nazi, so it’s okay) opponent getting pureed by an airplane propeller. Indy’s enemies die ALL the time. He throws people from cliffs, shoots them dead, feeds them to ravenous animals, shoves them into deadly traps, sets them on fire, and blows them up with grenades. Each Indiana Jones movie has a body count in the dozens at least, most of them directly caused by the title character.

            The difference between him and, say, Punisher, is killing isn’t the POINT – he’s a high-stakes adventurer going up against ruthlessly evil villains intent on using mystical artifacts for world domination – a bit of a body count is seen as an unavoidable side effect. By contrast, Punisher is out to kill criminals because he thinks the justice system isn’t up to the task of handling them legally.

            1. Syal says:

              Yeah, the scene I remember from Raiders is Indy getting chewed out by a Nazi officer for his stolen uniform, and then just knocking out the officer and leaving him behind. Didn’t kill him because he wasn’t there to kill Nazis. He might make a good brawler character.

            2. Duoae says:

              That’s… sort of what i said?

            3. The+Puzzler says:

              In the alleged fourth Indy film, I believe he only kills one person (with his own poison dart).

    3. John says:

      A game about Nightwing or one of the other bat family? Nuh-uh! You need at least four of them to carry a game without Batman (or at least with the HINT of Batman being saved or found….)

      Marketing considerations aside, I genuinely do want an Arkham-style Nightwing game. He’s a lot like Batman, only he’s allowed to have fun and to exist in places that aren’t All Doom, All Gloom, All the Time. Moreover, the improbable leaps that Batman makes from one mook to another when his combo-meter is high would be more credible coming from a trained acrobat than coming from Steroid McBulkhead. (Seriously. The male character models in the Arkham games are just giant walking slabs of meat. It’s weird. And kind of alarming.) You could replace certain Bat-gadgets that I always forget to use in combat anyway with various acrobatic maneuvers. I also think that Nightwing-flavored combat would lend itself to interesting environmental interactions in ways that Batman-flavored combat doesn’t necessarily. Finally, there’s parkour for environmental traversal, assuming that you don’t want the glide-wings that certain Nightwing costumes have incorporated over the years. I’m aware that Nightwing is a playable character in some parts of Arkham City and Arkham Knight, but I just think he’d be better in a game designed around his strengths rather than one designed around Batman’s.

      I’m not sure how a Nightwing game would be different, mechanically speaking, from a Daredevil game, but I think I’d prefer the tone of a Nightwing game to the tone of Daredevil game. The Daredevil comics I’m most familiar with have a rather grim reputation.

      1. Duoae says:

        Oh, i totally agree with you but I’m just saying such a game wouldn’t get the money to be made. :)

        1. John says:

          Alas, you are probably right.

    4. tmtvl says:

      I quite liked the Indy games, played the demo of Machine when I was in high school and had a great time, later picked up Atlantis on GOG and it’s great.

  15. Joshua says:

    Black Panther? Do missions like the Korean spy job from the film.

  16. Good topic! I think Rorschach, from Watchmen, would be a great fit for a standalone game. Evaluating against Shamus’ criteria above:

    1, 4, 5: He’s well-known and well-liked, but more down to earth than most of his Watchmen compatriots (there could be no Dr. Manhattan brawler!). Rorschach is durable, but by no means indestructible.

    2: Rorschach has no outlandish powers, just a cunning resourcefulness and ability to improvise. One of his gimmicks is a MacGuyver-like ability to fashion solutions and weapons out of random objects (or combinations thereof), which could be a really fun concept to play with in a gameplay setting.

    3, 6: He’s not a flyer by any means, but he has a habit of getting around with a grappling gun when necessary. And who doesn’t love grappling guns? Such a gun could even pull enemies in combat like Spidey’s webs, if the designers want it too.

    In addition to the above, Rorschach shares a lot of DNA with Batman (the detective and gritty genes), but has his own more unique attributes of mental instability, moral absolutism, and a noir flair that could serve to inform much of a game’s style. Moreover, he would come in from outside the traditional Marvel-DC axis, with the potential to attract a large audience interested in a breath of fresh air on the superhero front.

    You’d have to make allowances for why the other Watchmen weren’t heavily involved in the action, of course, but writing that wouldn’t be TOO hard…

    1. BlueHorus says:

      It sure wouldn’t.
      Don’t make the story big enough to involve the other Watchmen too much – Rorsharch’s just doing his thing, hunting criminal gangs, busting skulls, fighting for justice (or whatever he calls justice). A game were you DON’T save the world would be refreshing in and of itself.

      Also a great thing about Rorsharch: He’s the perfect vehicle for a morally grey story. Give the player the option of killing or maiming his targets… but leave it up to them whether they think the enemy deserves what Rorsharch wants to do.

      Hell, make that the point of the game! On the one hand, you can just go for the guy, find out where they are and take them down. But there’s also the option of how much work you put into investigation; who is this person, am I actually *certain* they did it, are there any other circumstances, do I hand them into the police or take matters into my own hands?
      And so forth. Make the morality of vigilante action a central theme, tied to different endings – how have your actions changed the public perception of superheroes? What effects did your (lack of?) restraint have on the wider world?
      Other characters from the book turn up, for side missions, or to represent different views on the debate, or just because cameo.

      Man, the more I think about this potential game, the more I want to play it…

      1. This is some excellent stuff, @BluehHorus! Well said about the morality stuff, very appropriate for a potentially grimdark game world.

        Your points remind me a bit about Shamus’ old post concerning a game city that would adapt in real-time to the actions of the player, rising in quality or sinking into ruin — except that, rather than these being a city reacting to a GTA-style struggle between the mob and the police, you could have a neighborhood reacting to the vigilante stylings of one Rorshach, PI.

        All right, who’s going to Kickstart this? :)

        1. BlueHorus says:

          No-one, sadly…
          Always nice to be appreciated, though :-) .

          Nevertheless, I do think that a Watchmen game would be well served by a having focus on the themes presented in the source material. Otherwise, why are you making a Watchmen game…?

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I do have certain issues with glorifying Rorschach, particularly if we’re working off the Moore’s comics.

          Resists the urge to go into a rant about moral objectivisim…

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Oh, but if it was well-written, it WOULDN’T be glorifying Rorsharch. Think of Spec-Ops: The Line; you can show a behavior without endorsing it, depicting it while decrying it.

            Unlike Spec-Ops, though, the player would get the choice of what to do, even though it’s perfectly clear what *Rorsharch* thinks should happen…the player ends up acting like Rorsharch’s conscience, either holding him back or letting him loose. And then seeing the consequences of both.

            Throw in some plausible ‘moral quandry’ missions, like:
            ‘This guys’s been in-and-out of jail three times and is STILL violent! What use would sending him back do THIS time?’*
            ‘He’s too well-connected, too rich. He can afford the best lawyers. The only justice that’s guaranteed to stick is vigilante justice.’*
            ‘The mob thinks that this guy committed a hideous crime. The police are hiding him for his own protection. Does he deserve that protection?’*
            …and see what the player does. A competent writer could ensure that each decision would have consequences beyond the initial situation, and every one has potential dimensions that aren’t obvious.

            Make it a game about something.

            *Some people may well have strong opinions on these hypothetical situations. I do.
            You may well think the right answer is blindingly obvious, and everyone who disagrees just doesn’t truly understand the situation. I don’t.
            Either way, let’s try and avoid arguing too much about hypothetical situations in a game that’s never going to be made, because it’s generally pointless and goes nowhere good.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Late answer but sure, absolutely. If you wanted to do something like that than Rorschach would be very good for it. Having said that I don’t think it’d be possible to push a subversive game of this kind past the AAA execs.

  17. Mr. Wolf says:

    One of the more mundane X-Men perhaps? Like Colossus, or Beast. Well, Colossus is probably too slow. Beast is pretty acrobatic though, he could parkour his way across a city fairly quickly.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Gambit could work as well, since his only ranged ability is throwing charged things which can be easily managed, and is in line with what Batman can do.

      Longshot, although he isn’t as well know, would be PERFECT for this sort of action, only having knives to through and his main power being wild luck which would allow for some wonderful things to happen as you build combos.

      Sunspot — at least the original version — would work as well, since all he has is super strength but not invulnerability, which would lead to some interesting melee combos but would also explain why he can’t actually get hit all that often before going down.

      Most of the New Mutants would work, actually, since most of them had powers that were passive or at least not easy to use in melee so they had to learn to fight hand-to-hand. And they were in a recent movie so some people would have heard of them.

      I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting.

  18. Dev+Null says:

    Deadpool. Yes, I get that he breaks your rule #5, but hes frequently inconvenienced by what should be mortal wounds, and the sarcastic humour and 4th wall-breaking could work in a video game, if done well.

    “Daredevil is a really good fit. Like, why hasn’t someone done this already?”

    And you could save heaps on graphics by making it 1st person PoV.

    1. Steve C says:

      First person Batman style combo brawler? shudder — No thanks.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      There WAS a Deadpool game, released on 2013. I think it was a brawler? Full disclosure: I didn’t actually play it, I just watched the Zero Punctuation review…

      From what I heard, though, the humor was a two-edged sword. As with most comedy, that line’s just not as funny after 50+ repeats…

    3. Joshua says:

      You could also save a ton on graphics by simply having a black screen and sound effects. After all, he’s blind, so you should be too.

      j/k

  19. Dreadjaws says:

    I don’t see why it needs to be a well known character. If that were the case, games with a new character would never sell, and they do all the time. No one knew the likes of Nathan Drake, Adam Jensen or John Marston before they debuted in their respective videogames, and they all sold ridiculously well.

    On that note, we also have Sleeping Dogs, that has a similar combat style to the Arkham series, and stars a Bruce Lee analogue (who even gets to use the iconic yellow suit), and I think that one sold pretty well too, though I guess not enough for a sequel, and I’m still bummed by that. Maybe if they had actually used Bruce Lee.

    That’s an interesting idea. Doesn’t really have to be a “character”, it could be just some popular star, who would likely jump at the chance. Someone like Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham. Not Vin Diesel because he has a very bad track record with videogames.

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      Sleeping Dogs was more of a sleeper hit, pun (is it a pun?) unintended. I don’t think it actually made a profit during release window but ultimately had a long tail.

      A brand new IP has more odds of success in video games than it does in Hollywood these days, but I think trying to pull in an audience with an established hero is probably a wise move. It’s possible Batman: Arkham Asylum was only the success it was because it was a Batman game (particularly, one that didn’t suck).

      1. Daimbert says:

        I think for the first in a series you do want to draw in players with a known character, and then can split off into less well-known characters later once the gameplay and studio is established.

  20. Echo Tango says:

    Making a game on par with Arkham whatever isn’t easy. You need tons of animations, lots of varied foes, and a variety of environments. You can’t do this as a mid-budget game. We need AAA money to make this happen.

    Shamus have you heard or played either of the two Hand of Fate games? The original felt like an indie or single-A level of budget, and the sequel felt like A or AA at best. They might not[1] have had quite the breadth or depth of the Arkham games, but they were both pretty decent as brawlers. There were basic mooks, ranged guys, monsters with wind-up attacks you could dodge, etc. The graphical fidelity was definitely below the Arkham games, but that’s what explodes budgets the hardest. :)

    [1] I’ve never played the Arkhams, but from some let’s-plays, they seemed to have a bit more variety in enemy moves, or at least better transitions between the handful of animations.

  21. Daimbert says:

    People have already talked a bit about Wolverine, but his issues aren’t as big as implied:

    1) He’s already known for only using his claws when necessary, and so later Wolverines don’t generally kill indiscriminately. This would leave the claws to be used only on things like robots or heavily armoured opponents, or to disarm enemies.

    2) He’s known for riding a motorcycle and can get into chases and the like via parkour, so transportation isn’t that big a deal.

    3) He is known for sneaking into places as well, providing stealth mechanics.

    4) Depending on the version, the healing factor doesn’t prevent him from being knocked out. So if enough enemies gang up on him, they can knock him out. This won’t kill him — and they may not be able to kill him — but it could cause him to be out long enough for the mission to fail. But then that could also be used as a Planescape Torment sort of deal, where if he gets knocked out he wakes up and can try again, with things slightly different.

    One other advantage of Wolverine is that he has a number of melee-based foes to fight as bosses, with varying degrees of personal attachment and mechanics.

  22. King Marth says:

    As for Superman, it would be neat if the “vehicle section” design approach was used where you get one playable scene with Superman popping in, using the same brawling controls except with no health bar as mook attacks break harmlessly on the Man of Steel. Can’t build a full game on that but a diagetic practice mode or TasteOfPower section could be fun, at the risk of poking at the setting assumptions for why Superman doesn’t just solve all the problems.

    Bonus, it doesn’t matter what other gimmick powers you include, Superman can probably do that too.

    1. Syal says:

      …I suddenly want a Star Fox-style Superman game. Superman’s just flying around, blasting enemy planes with his laser eyes.

      1. Joshua says:

        A 3-D flying Superman game, and have him fly through certain rings like StarFox occasionally did….

      2. MelTorefas says:

        As long as we can also have Batman (or someone) in a plane, yelling “Hey Einstein, I’m on YOUR side!!” every time Supes accidentally grazes them.

        1. Syal says:

          “Do a Super Roll!”

      3. bobbert says:

        I think you are right. Superman would be a lot of fun in a corridor-shooter.

    2. beleester says:

      Ooh, I like this idea. It could be sort of a Spider-man: Homecoming thing where the Justice League is busy with something else and doesn’t take your problem seriously, so your hero is forced to take on a supervillain way out of his league with nothing but Arkham-style martial arts.

      Then near the climax of the game you finally get the critical evidence to the Justice League, Superman swoops to the rescue, and you get to just plow through the supervillain’s minions and knock everyone out in one punch.

  23. Thomas says:

    Most attempts to make non-original superhero games have failed to nail down a setting and an atmosphere that fits.

    Batman is so perfect for that ‘One really bad night’ thing the Arkham games have going on. It helps make those games feel very specifically about Batman.

    Whereas a lot of the weaker attempts feel more like generic videogame levels than heroes have been ill fittingly squished into.

  24. Olivier FAURE says:

    I hear the X-Men Origins Wolverine game adaptation is pretty good! And I think it has roughly the gameplay you want.

  25. Eric fletcher says:

    Black Panther (at least the MCU version) is basically Marvel Batman anyway.

    1. beleester says:

      Black Panther has a similar fighting style, but he’s also invincible, while Batman has to put a lot of work into not getting shot.

  26. Smith says:

    If I may violate the obscure characters rule; The Red Panda, created for podcasts by Gregg Taylor. He’s strong, fast, has loads of gadgets, a hypnosis ability that would be great for stealth attacks, and a habit of menacing from the shadows, like Batman.

    He also has a lovely sidekick, who literally has “retractable gliding membranes”, so if the game wanted to give players the option or do co-op, it would be very easy.

  27. Christopher says:

    There was a brawler adaptation of the Wolverine Origins movie on 360 back in the day. It had linear stages and Wolverine stabbed blokes with no remorse in that game. His unique move compared to other brawlers was that he had a sorta jumpy lunge where he jumped across the screen like a cannonball towards opponents, which moved him around the arenas fast. I got bored of it way before the end, it’s sort of an eeh game, but conceptually it worked fine.

    I think time, money, skill and experience are way bigger hurdles for this stuff than ideas. There’s no problem making an action game starring Wolverine, whether it plays like Arkham titles or DMC titles or even Souls-like titles I suppose. There’s plenty of enemies and abilites to draw from that fits. It’s just a matter of making it engaging from start to finish instead of a repetitive throwaway cheapo game – and that mostly comes out in companies’ original IPs they’re passionate about like Devil May Cry, The Wonderful 101, God of War etc. Not in their commission work like Legend of Korra or the Captain America or Thor Movie brawlers. Arkham and Spider-Man are like the only exceptions to that.

    Was a shame to see the Avengers game turn out so middling, ’cause that should have been the opportunity for a third big superhero action series.

  28. Syal says:

    The Arkham combat seems designed to force you to break off combos to counterattack, to a higher degree than ordinary action games, so I’d say you want a character who feels like they’re fighting from the back foot. Batman is caught in a wide-scale terrorist attack and is improvising his way through it. Spiderman is… is he still a kid in the game? Anyway it’s got that “out of my depth” feel to it.

    So I think the best fit would be someone who’s ordinarily part of a team. Like, a single Power Ranger, or a single Ninja Turtle. The Fantastic Four, but Mr. Fantastic is alone. (So, the Fantastic One). They’ve been trapped and separated, and are fighting their way out of the trap.

  29. Amstrad says:

    The solution to all your problems is the one and only: Moon Knight, who is effectively Marvel’s sorta-Batman. A dude in a white costume who fights with his fists and a club/nunchuck/grapplingthing, throwing knives shaped like crescent moons and glides around using his cloak and grappling hook. Originally he had super strength/speed/endurance that would wax and wane with the moon-phases but current adaptations just have him as an extremely skilled human at peak fitness. Really, if anything the real weakness in terms of building an Arkham-like for him is that he isn’t known as a detective type like Batman and his rogues gallery isn’t as developed.

    1. The+Wind+King says:

      Plus he’s a complete Lunatic.

  30. bobbert says:

    So, we want quick mobility and to only attack by kicking and head-butting.

    I have got it!

    Super-Horse

    1. BlueHorus says:

      What about Horse Ninja?

      1. bobbert says:

        I don’t know. Was Horse-Ninja dating Super-Girl?

        1. BlueHorus says:

          As Skeletor once famously said:

          …wat

          …ah, comics.

  31. Shufflecat says:

    I’m not sure about Wonder Woman. Even in her less-godly incarnations she’s basically a Terminator compared to regular humans. I think you have to go all the way back to her early years as a vehicle for her creator’s BDSM-related beliefs to get a version of her that couldn’t just walk through a fight with non-supers.

    I’m not sure why the insistence on Wolverine not using his claws, apart from it ending fights too soon. And for that matter, I feel like combat balanced around fewer hits (on both sides) would be a welcome change to the Arkham formula for me: the fights in those games overstay their welcome A LOT due to having to concuss every individual enemy five times or whatever before they actually stay down.

    A few people have suggested The Hulk. I’d love to see a Hulk game, but the one I’d like to see is I think something that might be controversial.

    IMO the Hulk is all about losing control. The Hulk is about the fear of being one of those guys who completely loses their shit and breaks things or beats up people they otherwise care about when their switch gets flipped. The Hulk is the opposite of a power fantasy, but I feel like people keep trying to turn him into one because he’s strong and DGAF, and that’s “cool”. He’s really only a “hero” because the stories contrive to have Bruce (only barely) manage to make sure he’s facing the bad guys when he gets mad. He is (or should be) an equal opportunity smashist, where the only reason he smashes chitauri instead of Cap is because chitauri are in front of him and Cap is behind him.

    Point is, playing as Hulk should be a “holding a tiger by the tail” dynamic instead of an unrestrained power fantasy thing.

    So IMO a Hulk game wouldn’t be a straight brawler. It would be a game that revolves around a sanity-meter style mechanic for anger, where if the meter goes to far, the game physically takes control of Hulk away from the player, and makes him ruin everything. The game puts you in positions where the Hulk’s strength is needed, but you have to balance your exposure to angering stimuli to avoid going off the rails. At low rage levels you’d be in control of the Hulk, but awkwardly (Hulk is hard to steer, and damages stuff just by contacting it). At mid rage levels, you’re still steering Hulk and can make him smash what you want, but Hulk will also react without or against player input to things that bother him, risking collateral damage or even mission objectives (say, abruptly breaking from what the player is doing to charge an enemy who’s shooting at him, without caring what he runs through on the way). At high rage levels the game straight up takes Hulk away from you, and you can only watch helplessly as he tantrums his way through everything/everyone around him indiscriminately until he runs out of anger stimuli and tuckers himself out.

    Do the comic thing where Hulk’s size and strength is effected by how mad he is, so power and risk go hand-in-hand, and Hulks on-screen appearance serves as your “rage meter” instead of a HUD element.

    Hulk is undamagable, Banner is super-squishy. Sometimes it’s better to be Banner, sometimes it’s better to be Hulk, but Banner is physically limited and easily killed, while Hulk is “in for a penny, in for a pound”, for good or ill.

    There’d need to be a whole “rage economy” of different stimuli in place. Hopefully something implemented well enough enough to feel organic and emergent instead of like just pressing environmental buttons. And there’d be lots of interesting and balance-effecting questions like “does smashing make Hulk feel powerful and thus increase rage, or cathartic and thus decrease rage?”. If you want to Hulk-out, you don’t just push a button: you have to find an interaction that will push you. If you want to re-Banner-ify, you have to get away from anger stimuli and starve the rage meter down.

    Imagine a mission where baddies have kidnapped some hostages, and the player must attempt rescue. You start out as Banner, having to social engineer your way past the “gate”. You try to get as far in as you can as Banner, because things are easier when the baddies aren’t on alert, and you’re worried they might kill the hostages. Eventually you either get caught, or come up against a locked door or something else that needs superhuman strength. So you Hulk out. Now you can smash your way wherever you want, but every bullet you take makes Hulk madder and harder to control, so you want to avoid getting shot at too much. Maybe you want to try to find a way to calm down and re-Banner-ify as you get closer, so you can sneak closer without panicking the guys guarding the hostages. If you let yourself get too Hulked-out, Hulk rampages and may end up killing the hostages himself.

    Maybe in later stages of the game, enemies get savvy. If you Hulk out, they fall back to try and starve your rage meter and force you to turn into squishy Banner. Or maybe they deliberately try to push you into rampaging at the wrong time or place, making you the bigger bad guy, or otherwise weaponizing you for their own ends.

    This would be INFURIATING for some players. Probably a lot of players. But it’s the Hulk, so that’s actually appropriate. You are experiencing what it’s like to be Bruce Banner.

    1. Michael says:

      I’m not sure why the insistence on Wolverine not using his claws, apart from it ending fights too soon.

      Simple. That would kill the villains.

      It was bad enough in the recent Spider-Man game, where it’s pretty obvious that you’re killing truckloads of mooks, if you spend a second looking at what Spider-Man is doing.

      That second would not be necessary if you had Wolverine slicing mooks into several pieces.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        I feel like I must’ve missed something in the main post; why isn’t killing allowed for the protagonist? AAA-game protagonists kill people all the time, and I feel like it doesn’t really change anything mechanically if the state of “mook reaching 0 HP” is called “dead” or “knocked out”. I know Batman’s got his principle of not killing, but why must this hypothetical game about a different superhero follow that to the letter?

        1. Shamus says:

          I can’t speak for everyone, but I was imagining a studio looking to greenlight a broad AAA game. My concern isn’t that Wolverine kills, it’s that he’s going to turn his foes to hamburger with those claws. A proper Wolverine game would be a very bloody game. I’m sure you’d get rated M, when most of these games prefer to aim to T.

          Having said that: I’d totally play it.

          1. Philadelphus says:

            Ah, I see. Yeah, that makes sense.

          2. Shufflecat says:

            I don’t see how that’s the case. I can think of any number of games where you go around killing people with swords and the like, but I can only think of a tiny few with dynamic gore or dismemberment.

            In most such games you just get the blade clipping through an enemy, and they fall down. Maybe a blood splatter sprite or decal, but usually that’s it. No wounds, just ragdolls. That’s the norm. For full-on swords. I don’t see why Wolverine’s claws would need to be worse.

        2. Michael says:

          I know Batman’s got his principle of not killing, but why must this hypothetical game about a different superhero follow that to the letter?

          This just isn’t right. Batman doesn’t have a principle of not killing. Superheroes don’t kill, and Batman is one of them. The Punisher is the one who’s different; he has a principle of killing.

          Not killing is why we consider them “heroes” and not “deranged mass murderers”.

      2. Shufflecat says:

        I don’t see this as a problem. It’s already normal to have lethal edged combat in games. For that matter, it’s not even unusual for games to have protagonists kill enemies with swords and such with no blood or dismemberment shown.

        It’s not even out of bounds for a superhero game to be like that. The Batman Arkham series is T to M depending on the game, and it’s generally very dark and very violent. You don’t see actual blood that often, but it gets into “not for kids” subject matter often, and the visual style leans grimdark to a degree that feels unintentionally self-parodying half the time.

        Wolverine has decade of history in both comics and film in which he’s kid friendly in his X-Men team context, and R-rated adult in his solo context, so a lethal Wolverine game would be entirely on brand.

        1. Shufflecat says:

          Sorry: that should be “decades’, plural. Wolverine being more “adult” in his solo stuff goes back at least to the 80s.

    2. Misamoto says:

      That doesn’t sound like fun, however appropriate

  32. Gautsu says:

    Say what you want about the story elements and the microtransactions, but I think the “Shadow of..” games (Mordor and War) showed that the mechanics of the Arkham series can transcend the superhero genre. I think a perfect candidate for a fantasy version would be Driz’zt Do’Urden. He fights like Talion, is sneaky, has ultra/infra/darkvision (depending on your edition of D&D), levitation, etc. I don’t know if anyone would touch him now that Dark Alliance is coming out in two weeks, but I had that thought back when I was playing through the first Arkham game

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I wish the Shadow of Mordor games had been about Driz’zt Do’Urden. That way the cliched revenge plot wouldn’t have been so at odds with the source material.

      Plus running around the Underdark fighting all sorts of weird, wonderful monsters would be awesome.

  33. Abnaxis says:

    What’s wrong with flying? If your character A: flies and B: only does the punchy-punchy without any shooty-shooty they still have to close to melee range. Spiderman’s web-swinging is basically just flight with a different in-universe justification than other flying superheroes.

    1. beleester says:

      Their mobility power needs enough limitations on it that you can’t simply disengage from melee whenever you want, because that breaks the flow of combat. Arkham-style combat is about getting stuck into a big crowd of dudes and handling threats from all directions, so if you can handle any threat just by flying straight up, it’s not going to work.

      Like, compare how you fight in Prototype vs how you fight in Arkham City. In Prototype, you’re extremely mobile and you can be streets away in a couple of seconds. If you’re low on health, just run away and find someone to nom on. If a D-code tries to grab you, don’t stand there hacking away with your sword, run up the side of a building and elbow-drop them. The only way you can ever really get forced into a brawl is if the mission objective requires it.

      Batman, on the other hand, can’t get airborne without some convenient level geometry and a few seconds to whip out his grapple gun, so once you dive into a crowd of dudes you’re generally going to stay there until you’ve dealt with everyone. Repeatedly using your glide-kick outside of a stealth section would be horribly impractical.

      If the hero’s flight style prevents this sort of hit-and-run strategy (can’t hover, slow start-up, limited steering, etc), then flying is perfectly fine. But Superman-style free flight opens up a huge can of worms for combat design.

  34. Agammamon says:

    Like Chris said, Daredevil is a really good fit. Like, why hasn’t someone done this already? A Daredevil game should have gone into production the moment Arkham Asylum became a hit.

    Because the game would be a black screen and you’d have to fight and move around solely through audio cues and the vibration feedback of the controller;)

  35. Lintroller says:

    Wildcat is an obvious choice, grumpy retired boxing champ in a catsuit. Punches crimes and rides a cool motorcycle!
    More overt Batman clones include Moon Knight and Midnighter, or you might drop the pretense entirely and feature the expanded Bat Family and associates. I know the Arkham games touched on them already but it’s worth expanding upon.

    Also I cannot pass up this opportunity to mention my favorite obscure goof, MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER… Raised by robots… to Fight Robots! The perfect human weapon who can rend steel with his bare hands ! His only weakness: he was never trained to fight his fellow man!! His mighty martial arts are no use against flesh and bone !!

  36. Lars says:

    Judge Dredd, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, One Piece, The Spirit, Dick Tracy, He-Man, Robin Hood, Darkwin Duck.

  37. Vect says:

    While very different from an Arkham Brawler in terms of combat, I’ve heard discussions of what superheroes would fit a game with the combat and setting of the Yakuza series. It has similar requirements where the characters are probably best as street-level C-Listers who operate in very specific areas. The closest is the Defenders since they’re all street-level C-Listers who can be expected to take on Crime Bosses/Low Level Supervillains (like say, Kingpin or the Purple Man) as their antagonists.

    As for the setting, the environments of the Yakuza games tend to be relatively small but fairly dense and detailed. The main “City” of the series, Kamurocho, is essentially a city block or so since it’s just the Red Light District of Tokyo. Nonetheless the places tend to have plenty of personalities through things like businesses and recurring NPCs. Combat is less rhythm based and more of a straight brawler with a heavy emphasis on environmental takedowns and ridiculous finishers (think Sleeping Dogs but with the barest pretenses of not murdering your enemies). I’m sure that New York City Districts might be far larger but a game world that’s comparatively small but dense would be great for characters not known for mobility.

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