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Now that Insomniac Games' Marvel's Spider-Man is tearing up the sales charts and ripping through the review scores, one must imagine that other game publishers and development studios are looking over the superhero masterwork and thinking to themselves that they could pull off something similar with another hero of choice. Maybe it's time a few developers step up and attach their names to some notable superheroes who could use the Marvel's Spider-Man treatment of having an open-world outing? What other great comic book characters could shine in their own big video game outing? Here are a few ideas.
One of the most surprising Marvel Studios films is Ant-Man. It's a movie series that combines comedy with spy-thrills. One wouldn't immediately assume that a movie like Ant-Man could translate into a video game, but the concept of going on espionage missions while growing and shrinking in size could totally work. Now can you imagine an open-world game where you're Ant-Man or the Wasp and you have the ability to shrink down to microscopic size?
It would be a real challenge for developers to get the design right because you'd have to design a world that accommodates the microscopic sensibilities of Ant-Man's abilities, as well as allowing players to have fun making him grow to towering heights as well. The hook for the game would be that you can shrink down to size, beat up baddies, and grow large enough to stop vehicles or other villains. Traversal could be done using Wasp to fly around the city, which could make for some great exploration opportunities, both big and small.
Poor 'ole Ghost Rider never gets a lot of love. He's mostly only ever appeared in other games as a secondary character, like in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 or Marvel Ultimate Alliance. He had an often forgotten PS2 hack-and-slash title, though it didn't score very well on Metacritic. He also had a couple of movies starring Nicholas Cage... that also weren't particularly great. However, Ghost Rider would be ripe for an open-world video game, especially one that makes full use of his vehicular capabilities just as much as his melee capabilities.
The hook for the game would be that much like Marvel's Spider-Man there would be open-world events where you play as Johnny Blaze and super hero segments featuring the Ghost Rider. During the day you could compete in motorcycle races, partake in stunt derbies, or race around the city to finish side-quests. At night the Ghost Rider comes out, where you fight enemies and creatures from the underworld using Ghost Rider's iconic flaming chain. Vehicular action sequences featuring the flaming bike could be spaced throughout the story with epic, Hollywood-style set-pieces.
After having a resurgence of popularity with the CW show The Flash, it would be pretty cool to see Warner Bros. try their hand again at bringing the speedster to life in the world of video games beyond his appearance in fighting games like Injustice or team-up games like Justice League Heroes. The biggest hurdle for The Flash has always been the mechanical template for his game. How would the speed force work and how would you scale the city to make it fun?
Well, luckily there's already a template thanks to Sega. Yes, Sega. Instead of trying to get The Flash to work like other superhero games, they should make him control like Sonic The Hedgehog. Let players race through the city stopping crimes and beating up bad guys with rapid punches and special abilities like the tornado attack. To help control Flash's speed while running, the bumpers could be used just like in games like Sonic Unleashed to guide The Flash around by banking turns. To really mix things up they could even have him hop dimensions using the Speed Force as he travels through time to battle against the Reverse Flash or other Speed Force-enabled villains.
Matt Murdoch doesn't ever get any video game love. While he's appeared as a supporting character in fighting games and compilation titles, Daredevil's solo outings have always been mired in production issues that prevented the games from properly releasing. Well, in a perfect world there would be a game called Daredevil: Justice Is Blind. The title would be setup very similar to Marvel's Spider-Man insofar that you would have day time segments involving Murdoch working the bench as a lawyer in a Telltale-esque dialogue wheel mini-game, while at night he slips on the mask and defends Hell's Kitchen from criminals.
Unlike other games on this list, the Daredevil title would feature a very unique echolocation system where you could use his sonar-like hearing to spot enemy movement from behind walls. The hook would be that Matt is squishy, and so you can't get shot or take a lot of damage (not until you at least upgrade his gear and armor). The idea would be that it's a tactical brawler, with a lot of stealth, almost like a mix between Batman: Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V. Lots of rundown interiors and rooftop traveling would round out the overall experience.
I know what you're thinking, "Why is The Punisher on the list when he's already been in great games?" Good question. The reality is that while he's been in some fantastic titles, including Capcom's 1993 beat-'em-up The Punisher & Nick Fury and THQ's ultra-violent third-person shooter from 2005, it just seems like it would be a missed opportunity for an open-world crime thriller featuring the vigilante anti-hero. Could you imagine a dark New York City working as the backdrop like Grand Theft Auto, but with a taut character-focused narrative like Max Payne?
Have Take-Two publish and Remedy Entertainment develop the third-person game where you scour the city looking for a crime boss who committed a heinous act. The hook would be that the interrogation system from the 2005 game would return, but with more of the environmental interaction from the intimidation system featured in EA's The Godfather. Lots of interior set-pieces with destructible environments would compliment a Max Payne 3-style shooting system, and top it off with Frank having to evade the police and FBI investigators while scouring the city for clues, and you have yourself one mean, narrative-driven action shooter.
The granddaddy of them all. The mythical Superman game. No one can get Superman right as a character in a large-scale, AAA game because they oftentimes approach the game from the wrong angle. Instead of trying to make a game where you play as an invincible hero who can't be hurt, maybe someone should take the advice of God of War's creative director, Cory Barlog, and make a game about saving people and keeping Superman sane instead.
Barlog's pitch makes the most sense for the kind of game and technology currently at the industry's disposal. As opposed to remaking a bigger version of Superman 64, it would be awesome if the idea is to keep Superman from falling into despair by saving people. This will enable you to get to use all sorts of powers and abilities while also fighting off foes. Instead of just beating villains you also have to prevent villains from killing or injuring civilians. You have to stop giant objects from crushing innocent people, or saving cars from flying off cliffs. It wouldn't require any new groundbreaking tech to make it happen, and it would be a completely different sort of super hero experience compared to all the other games out there.