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.
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…
- The hero needs to be reasonably well-known. Marketing isn’t going to give us fifty million dollars to adapt some obscure goof.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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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