Insomniac and Spider-Man. If reviews and early impressions are anything to go by, Insomniac did right by the sacred IP and delivered one of the greatest comic book gaming experiences ever. As one of the many that are preparing to spend the next few days glued to their PS4, I got to thinking a little bit about superhero games. Insomniac and Spider-Man sure seems to have worked, but what if Naughty Dog made a superhero game? What if Sucker Punch took on a Marvel license?
At this point in gaming history, superhero games have ironically not seen justice. Even after several decades of attempts, our favorite masked crusaders only rarely hit the mark. There has been one incredible trilogy (the Arkham series), a few pretty good to great games (Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Spider-Man 2, and Ultimate Spider-Man, to name a few), and then a whole lot of muck. Spider-Man, the inspiration for this post, has one of the most successful superhero video game catalogs, and it still has its fair share of poor outings.
While time will determine the game’s legacy, Insomniac’s Spider-Man seems closer to the ‘incredible’ category. However, even though superhero gaming goodness has been a rarity, I think that tons of studios that frequently collaborate with Sony could pull off some high-quality adaptations. Here are the Marvel heroes I think are best suited for a few of those developers. This is just for fun, as I, unfortunately, doubt that any of these ideas will ever even come close to fruition.
1) Santa Monica and Thor
Whether its a return to the old action-packed God of War games or a more cinematic version like the 2018 reboot, Thor would be a perfect fit in either. I personally would like to see him in a clone of the older God of War games. Something about the thought of pulling off ridiculous lightning-fueled combos against hordes of Frost Giants sounds fantastic.
2) Team Gravity and Iron Man
It is criminal that we haven’t seen a good Iron Man game yet. There have not really been many attempts, aside from a few movie tie-ins, but I think that the metal hero is more than apt for a fantastic action video game. One of the most challenging attributes to translate into a video game would be Iron Man’s flight capabilities, but I imagine Team Gravity to be up to the task. Team Gravity has already implemented a working flight system of sorts into their terribly underappreciated Gravity Rush games (it is not really flying so much as controlling the direction you fall). With a few tweaks, this gravity manipulation would translate pretty well into a flight system. Add in some blistering combat and we have a decent template for the first good Iron Man game.
3) Sucker Punch and Scarlet Witch or Fantastic Four
Scarlet Witch’s raw energy powers lend themselves perfectly to the inFamous formula. I do not feel much elaboration is necessary on that front, but just imagine floating around and kicking ass with her sweet energy powers. Scarlet Witch’s powers as depicted in the MCU are basically a supercharged red version of Cole McGrath’s electricity. Meanwhile, after playing around with the multiple powers in InFamous 2 and Second Son, I am convinced that Sucker Punch could put together a game with four very different characters and playstyles, hence why I would give them Fantastic Four. Though, that may be getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s get a good Fantastic Four movie out of the way before we worry about games.
4) Guerilla Games and Hawkeye
The Killzone devs finally broke through the ceiling last year with the incredible Horizon: Zero Dawn. If they took what they learned there and retained the fantastic bow combat, there is no reason we could not have a fantastic Hawkeye game. While I believe a Hawkeye game would need a heavy dose of branching paths and stealth, I do not think that an expansive open world like in Horizon would work quite as well here, so perhaps a level-based game would work better for Marvel’s star archer.
5) Kojima Productions: Doctor Strange or Punisher
note: Kojima Productions is not owned internally by Sony, but acts as a first-party partner with its upcoming title, Death Stranding
Punisher seems like a good fit for a slightly more action-packed take on Metal Gear Solid’s brand of gameplay. The varying gameplay approaches in Metal Gear Solid V also tempt me to imagine having similar freedom when playing as the Punisher. It would be amazing to have a variety of options for wiping out mob dens, such as going in guns blazing, sneaking around and laying explosives, or stealthily taking down enemies one at a time. Choosing an approach based purely on how I am feeling at that moment would be incredible. Aside from Frank Rook, everything we have seen about Death Stranding is just so damn weird that I would kind of like to see his version of trippy Doctor Strange magic.
6) Naughty Dog: The Winter Soldier
Going on cool secret spy missions all around the world as the Winter Soldier sounds like a ton of fun and like something right up Naughty Dog’s ally. I imagine this as an Uncharted-esque game that maintains the exotic locations and tight third-person shooting, but is a bit more stealthy as a final product. Slightly more fleshed out melee combat would be nice too, since the Winter Soldier has an expansive martial arts skill set and a killer metal arm. Winter Soldier seems like a great character for Naughty Dog’s current M.O., cinematic third-person action games.
Will any of these ever happen? No. But, we can hope that Spider-Man revitalizes the superhero genre, this time with, you know, better games. Rocksteady hopefully has a DC universe follow-up to the Arkham games brewing, and Square Enix’s Avengers project is long overdue for an info-drop. In the meantime, we can make awesome pairings like these ones in our heads and dream of what could be. If you have some ideal Marvel-game-studio pairings in your head, or if you feel particularly strong one way or another about my list, feel free to sound off in the comments.