When you consider the amount of source material that is available to developers, superhero video games should be a piece of cake to produce. Concept creation, design, characters, abilities and not to mention the hundreds of storylines to draw from, yet good superhero games are a rare breed. Infamous had a good crack, although that was an original character and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a nice surprise when you compare it to the movie from which it was spawned but of course the Arkham series undoubtedly the best of the lot. Rocksteady was incredibly loyal to the Batman lore, they hired the true voice artists from the animated series and that combat system is a beauty to behold. So now that Rocksteady has announced that the Arkham series is done, they have a reputation to uphold and speculation is ripe to what they will do next. Of course, they should stick to the superhero genre considering they have the entire market in the palm of their hands, yet a lot of superheroes are up for debate. That’s why I have decided to compile a hopeful list of Rocksteady’s next vigilante badasses.
The obvious pick and the entire internet is already ahead of me on this one, with various rumors floating around. Rocksteady have already built a good relationship with Warner Bros.(being owned by them) so it would be easy for them to pick from DC’s enormous line-up and who else is more famous than Superman? Still there have been many Superman games in the past and none have quite got the feel right. The problem? Superman is basically a god and no one has been able to capture that feeling. This is the guy that can lift infinity, travel at millions of times the speed of light and destroy entire planets just by sneezing. That is the kind of power gamers want at their fingertips so if you are going to make a game revolving around the man of steel you can’t pull any punches. When you are dealing with a character this strong it may even be impossible to make a game that can contain that amount of muscle but if there is any studio up to the job, it’s Rocksteady.
Of course I know that Rocksteady is owned by Warner Bros. and chances of making a Marvel game is very slim but in a world where the Spider-Man license is being shared by Marvel and Sony, there may be a glimmer of hope. Storm is a character that I think has always been sorely unappreciated. Weather manipulation is a big deal and it’s a power that has the potential to wipe out entire cities. If you have got a hero that has this kind of power, that surely is the perfect choice for an origin story. Discovering power, not being able to control the power, becoming an outsider among friends and family and then finding a mentor and new friends to help with the power. That is the superhero origin story and with Storm‘s troubled, orphan childhood surely it’s the perfect choice for an emotional game concerning moral choices and (super)power struggles.
When you compare Spidey‘s video game history to Superman, he’s had a much better run that Suppey(doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?). That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve another shot at the video gaming big time. If you’ve ever played the 2004 film adaptation, Spider-Man 2 you will understand how much fun swinging around New York can be, in fact it can be so much fun that you may even forget to finish the missions. Combine this web-slinging with a fluid combat system, agility and a well honed Spidey Sense mechanic and you would be on to a winner. The other thing Spider-Man is famous for is his quick-witted sense of humour, something the movies never truly managed to pull off. If Rocksteady were to attempt a Spider-Man game, maybe they should take a leaf out of Activision’s book, concerning Deadpool and actually get the comic book writers to write the game.
Wolverine is another character that in a similar vein to Superman is ridiculously OP. That’s what Raven managed to portray in their 2009 adaptation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What they didn’t quite get right was the X-Men universe. Which isn’t really their fault when the task was to stick to the movie, rather than the comics. Nonetheless, it’s still a great shame and gamers never had the desirable chance to go up against Magneto, not forgetting the countless other great X-Men that never even got a mention. Rocksteady has proven that they are incredibly adapt at including as many characters from the comics as possible and the world of X-Men characters is as adverse, if not more than Batman. Where Wolvey(hey it’s still not as good as Spidey but it’s better than Suppey) differs from the other crowd of superheroes is his moral compass. Wolverine isn’t always the good guy and I think Rocksteady could have a lot of fun with that fact.
Just because Rocksteady is leaving Arkham behind, that doesn’t mean they have to forget everyone. While not technically a superhero, more the defining, polar opposite, everyone wants to play as the Joker. He’s easily the best character in the Batman universe and when it comes down to it, he’s the one that has all the fun. It’s very rare in video games, in fact in most mediums for that matter for a villain to be the star of the show. Infamous had a shot at it but if Rocksteady made a Joker game, they could go the whole hog. I only have one rule for Rocksteady if they plan on a Joker game and that’s, get Mark Hamill back!