Titles like Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series and Ubisoft’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World show that games based on comic books can be amazing gameplay experiences if done right, but unfortunately it’s easier to mess it up than it is to get it right. There are more than a few comic characters that would feel right at home in game form, it’s just a matter of getting the right licenses and developers in place.
Judge Dredd is one of my favourite comic book characters of all time so there might be a bit of bias in this entry but the depth of the world, characters, weapons and vehicles are so ideal for a game. There have been games in the past but they weren’t interesting or expansive. Picture an open world of Mega-city One where you control Dredd driving to petty crimes and being involved in chases in the tutorial to demonstrate the controls and gameplay, but eventually expanding to taking down intricate organisations and bad Judges. Sentences you carry out could be taken into consideration and affect the way civilians and Judges treat you, there could also be the option for co-op where your partner plays as Judge Anderson. A comic based Dredd game where I choose the sentence and take down big crime rings and weed out the corrupt Judges really gets me excited. Someone needs to get on this!
An Avengers game might not seem like it would work but bear with me. Imagine a story driven game, I’m thinking along the lines of the Infinity Gauntlet comic narrative, where you play as a character crucial to that segment in the story, and as the story progresses through different characters it’ll be a great chance to play and see powers of characters you might not have heard of before. Instead of the generic ‘do escort missions and destroy robots until the boss fight’ superhero game strategy, the narrative driven game would provide tons of brilliant locations and characters to accompany gameplay that’s actually relevant to the plot and fun to play.
The Silver Surfer
The Silver Surfer is a super powerful being thanks to his board but he isn’t invincible, and his tragic story of loss and sacrifice could be the groundwork for a great gaming narrative. The game could follow his story from being Norrin Radd to the herald of Galactus and breaking free from Galactus’ power long enough to recruit the help of heroes on nearby planets to take down Galactus. Imagine a Mass Effect 2 style structure; completing loyalty missions to earn the heroes’ help and ensure their planets safety. The Surfer could ride around a semi-linear galaxy giving the player a choice of which planets to recruit/save and which planets to leave no warning of the impending battle. Leading the charge of a comic superhero army to take down Galactus in a fight could be the greatest boss fight ever.
The Watchmen comics are nothing short of amazing and the movie was an admirable Hollywood adaptation. Unfortunately the tie-in movie game wasn’t up to the franchises potential. Imagine a story-based game where you play through the campaign switching between different characters (similar to my Avengers idea) excluding Dr Manhattan because as Superman games have shown, there’s no good way to simulate infinitely powerful characters. The combat will vary slightly depending on the traits of each character, for example Rorschach is much more brutal than others while Silk Spectre is more agile and acrobatic etc. I think it should draw characters from the comics but try to follow a different story.
This might be cheating a little because Iron Man’s in The Avengers but a standalone Iron Man game based off the comic series could be amazing. Imagine a first person game from inside the suit, with JARVIS’s display as your HUD and tutorial/guide for the beginning of the game. It might be a bit disorientating at first but a free flying FPS Iron Man game would really put you in Tony Stark’s overtly expensive shoes. Using the left stick to control direction and the right stick to control a reticule, while the left and right triggers control each hands blaster. Since Iron Man comics don’t exactly have the best villain rosters, the story could follow Warmachine going rogue or something/someone taking control over his other suits, but one of the best upgrade from previous games would be no damn escort missions.