For such a long time superhero games have been, well let's face it: terrible. When you've got such phenomenal source material, it seems crazy to think that there haven't been more great games based on the characters we love. Yet, we've been given games like these: Superman 64, The Uncanny X-Men, Catwoman, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, Batman: Dark Tomorrow and Spawn: The Eternal.
Even with the superhero games that were specifically tied to the various movies that have been saturating the theaters over the years, nothing has really knocked our socks off. At least that is until Rocksteady introduced us to what a superhero game could be.
In 2009 we played Batman: Arkham Asylum and we fell in love, at least I know I did. What Rocksteady did was leaps and bounds ahead of every other game developer had done with their respective heroes. Guinness World Record even gave it the title of "Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever." That seems like pretty high praise to me, but it begs the question: why aren't there more games like it?
And honestly, that question is harder to answer than some would expect, especially when you're dealing with some characters who have enough power to end life as we know it a-la Superman. Most heroes that would translate to a game either aren't popular enough to warrant a studio risking loads of cash into development, or they may have the popularity but don't have a story that would fill hours worth of gameplay. Sometimes, though, there are characters that have just the right balance of popularity and story to fill hours of gameplay. These are the 7 games that I think would do well.
With the incredible success of the Netflix series based on Daredevil, I could easily see a major game developed along the same lines. In the Netflix show we met Matt Murdock at the beginning of his journey to become the protector of Hell's Kitchen. You would start off exploring Hell's Kitchen as Matt Murdock and as you progressed you would put on the suit and traverse the city as the vigilante. You would use similar tactics as Batman does in his games, but without the detective work. You could interrogate criminals and have gauges that measure their heart and breathing pattern. All the while training your character all the way to the final conflict with, as you would imagine, The Kingpin.
2. Green Arrow
A Green Arrow game could possibly take advantage of the rising VR world. Green Arrow's gaming success would rely quite heavily on the mechanics of shooting arrows, which isn't surprising considering that he is an archer at heart. Yet, he isn't solely a hero that runs around shooting arrows, he is a skilled combatant which makes me have faith in his ability to throw down like Batman did in the Arkham series of games. Even if you don't employ the VR system, having a game jump into the fray of Star City and watch as Oliver Queen has to remove all those that have failed it, could be quite exquisite.
3. Wonder Woman
This would probably be one of the harder games to create, seeing as her current power level is on-par with that of Superman (that debate will be had another day). Yet, even though she wields unfathomable power she would introduce an interesting dynamic to the heroic gaming world. Her backstory is deep enough for the game to introduce her on the island of Themyscira as a young warrior, learning about the truth of the world outside her home. She would bring in a bit of mythology and could have more of a God of War feel as she faces off against a variety of Greek deities, Ares & Hades in particular.
4. The Bat-Family
Thanks to Batman: Arkham Knight we found out just how amazing it is to play as Nightwing, Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl & Catwoman. I think that given the popularity of all the characters it would be crazy to NOT bring them all into a game that affects both Gotham and Bludhaven, that way it wouldn't feel completely copied from the Arkham series. Each character, although trained by Batman, employs different tactics, which would make playing as each character different enough to make it exciting to switch between them. You could play a mission or two in Gotham City as Robin, then take a swing as Batgirl before taking over as Nightwing in Bludhaven. Then how about changing things up, getting into a brutal conflict at Red Hood?
5. Black Widow
Now, I'm on the get-her-a-solo-film bandwagon, but if that doesn't happen I'd be 100% interested in a game based on her escapades. She has a really deep backstory that hasn't even been touched upon in any of the Avengers/Captain America/Iron Man films outside of knowing that she's a badass assassin. With the rise of the female-driven video games, it would be easy to see Black Widow join in the fun. Having a game in which she earns experience and new tactics (similar to Batman's unlock tree) and interact with society in the shadows using her subversive spy skills could be a unique twist on the game, giving it an almost Tom Clancy: Splinter Cell-like feel.
6. Doctor Strange
Even though his feature film isn't even out yet, I believe that Doctor Strange is due for a major game of his own. He would introduce a completely new feel to the superhero game, as he's going to do the same in his feature film. A game based on Doctor Strange would work really well if you think about it. It would have a natural RPG feel to it and I could easily see his game start as an origin tale. As you progress through the game, you'll learn new spells, visit new locations and ultimately discover the truth about the universe.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
I see the Guardians of the Galaxy joining the gaming world in the same vein as Final Fantasy, where you have both real-time-strategy based fighting as well as open-world exploration and progression. And now that I think about it, there was a game that I used to play all the time on my PS2 called Rogue Galaxy, and that's really how I see a Guardians game being developed. You would start off as Peter Quill and slowly collect the various heroes that you need to ultimately protect the entire galaxy/universe/whatever scope you want to use. The game would hinge on the ability to progress the main campaign while still being the rogues that we love so much and doing both good and bad as you saw fit.
So there you have it, these are my suggestions for new heroic games that could do well. But, only time will tell to see if another studio can duplicate the success of Arkham to bring us an another brilliant superhero game.