Marvel’s Spider-Man game broke records for PS4 exclusive launches, becoming not only the highest-selling single-player PS4 exclusive but topping the opening weekend gross of recent MCU flick Spider-Man Homecoming. After the tremendous success of Marvel’s Spider-Man, creative and financial attention turned to the future of AAA superhero games. The Batman: Arkham trilogy held up the mantle for a very long time, providing nuanced, original takes on our favorite characters while expertly putting Batman’s detective skills and use of fear into combat. Spider-Man did the same for Peter Parker—presenting arguably the best version of the character since Tobey Maguire donned the spandex in 2002 for the first time.
While a sequel to Spider-Man is all but guaranteed, as well as Marvel having their much-anticipated Avengers Project in development for Square Enix, eyes have turned to the future of AAA superhero games. Gone are the days where a video game adaptation would accompany a film’s release. When those do come, they’re typically mobile games, that are incomparable to the level of time and sophistication as Spider-Man and Batman: Arkham.
Superheroes fit the medium of video games perfectly. In the animated video game style, creators can perfectly capture the heroes the way they are in the comics, doing things they aren’t able to in live action. Similarly, video games allow for a much more interactive quality. Why watch your favorite superhero fight when you can fight as your favorite superhero for several hours on end?
So today, I wanted to take a look at some of the prime candidates for an AAA video game adaptation in the near future for both Marvel and DC Comics. What would their video game counterparts potentially look like? Here, I’ve ranked these heroes from 10 to 1 with some honorable mentions to get us started:
#13: Ghost Rider (Honorable Mention)
I adamantly insist that there actually was a Ghost Rider game, one that I dimly remember playing in the deepest recesses of my childhood memory. There was. Released February 2007, the game was a hack-and-slash, third-person open-world fight game. In it, Ghost Rider essentially went around thrashing villains with his chains. Imagine how cool that would look today considering the evolution in video game VFX and technology. Ghost Rider has always been a very cool character who, in my opinion, has never fully gotten the treatment he deserved outside of comics. This could be an awesome way to reinvent the character for modern audiences.
#12: Hellboy (Honorable Mention)
With an upcoming movie reboot starring David Harbour and a dope appearance as a DLC in DC’s Injustice 2 late last summer, our resident red badass is on fire right now. Though he has already had a video game adaptation, it was that attempted to recapture the feel of the movie. It didn’t work. Hellboy has a long and extensive comic book mythos that includes gods, monsters, and blood queens. Such a mythos is worthy of an entire video game trilogy. Who wouldn’t love to see a Hellboy game (in the style of The Witcher) where he travels the world, cutting monsters down and roaming on incredibly fun side quests?
#11. Thor (Honorable Mention)
It might be controversial to have him so low on this list, but the truth is this: God of War has already done Thor with the reinvented version of Kratos. The Leviathan Axe trades lightning for ice, and Kratos deals with Norse mythology, the same wheelhouse that Thor would need to operate in. However, a Thor game, if tackled by the people behind Spider-Man, could still potentially be so cool that there might be a market for it anyway. One of the things so many people loved about God of War was the combat style. It might be interesting to see that applied to Thor. Maybe he has a ‘god mode’, where he unleashes a fury of hellfire and lightning. Perhaps Mjolnir is capable of cool combos that render enemies dead in seconds. A well-written story with Malekith as the main villain would make for a great Thor video game.
#10: Iron Man
It’s a little shocking that Iron Man has yet to have his own video game (we don’t talk about that travesty that came out in 2008 to accompany the movie). He is a character ripe for a video game counterpart. Tony’s struggle with alcoholism, his mental health battles, the impostor syndrome that he suffers, and his amazing rogue gallery of villains practically write a potential video game. Imagine a game with the visuals of Spider-Man and the writing of Uncharted. Tony would be able to fight with and without the suit, stripped down, using only his wits and skill to survive. It could be sensational. Cast an Asian actor to voice Mandarin as the villain and make it a globe-trotting adventure starring Tony, Pepper and maybe Rhodey.
#9: Gotham City Sirens
There was an intriguing rumor floating around a couple years ago that Harley Quinn would lead a Suicide Squad Rocksteady game that might feature Deadshot, King Shark, Captain Boomerang, Poison Ivy, and Riddler. This game was eventually scrapped, but the idea stuck with me. What if Rocksteady did a Gotham City Sirens game? Imagine choosing to play as Harley, Selina, or Ivy based on the mission similar to Grand Theft Auto V. Imagine villains ranging from the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Black Mask, and even Justice League members like Batman and Wonder Woman. What if you have the ability to choose, in each mission, whether you want to take the ‘hero path’ or the ‘villain path’? It would be so much fun and an obvious cash cow for DC.
#8: The Flash
This one is a no-brainer. After Batman, Flash has the most appealing and diverse rogues gallery in DC Comics, better than Superman even. There’s also a wide variety of ways to approach the character. If you go with Barry Allen, you could either do Silver Age and basically adopt the comics we all know and love, or you could do Wally West and have a more modern, timely, comedic version of the character that is more in line with Ezra Miller’s DCEU version. In addition, the Flash wouldn’t just do well with one game; he would require a whole trilogy to properly flesh out his story. Imagine a Flashpoint game that’s basically Justice League 0.5. The mechanics of Batman: Arkham would really suit the Speed Force as well, with some really cool opportunities for combos.
#7: Green Lantern
HOW HAS THERE NEVER BEEN A MAJOR GREEN LANTERN GAME? The obvious choice is Hal Jordan or John Stewart, but the Green Lantern property could literally span SEVERAL trilogies. There are so many Lanterns in the Corps, and what each of them has their own storyline/character that can be focused on. Think Destiny or Elder Scrolls with more of a singular, linear storyline and a third-person POV. Batman has been a tremendous success for the studio, but if WB wants to consider expanding and moving beyond the Dark Knight, Green Lantern should be one of the first ideas presented.
If Marvel wants to replicate the success of Batman: Arkham, this is their golden ticket. After three fabulous seasons on Netflix—each season being thirteen of the best hours of television I’ve seen in my life—Daredevil has been brilliantly reinvented to be the Dark Knight for Marvel’s Knights catalog, and it works so well that it is unimaginable for Marvel to not do more with it in the future. A Daredevil game would be the perfect way for the much-adored (and sadly cancelled) series to live on with a different spirit. Charlie Cox could even return to voice the character. The game could tie into the Spider-Man PS4 universe (Hell’s Kitchen is already mentioned as a major location in the game) and having a video game that stars a disabled superhero is a pretty awesome idea.
He’s currently enjoying massive success with the smash hit movie starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, which has just hit $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Aquaman’s star is on the rise—so why not give him a video game counterpart? The Aquaman movie proved that the mythos of Atlantis is ripe for exploration. The game could adapt Jason Momoa’s version of the character, embracing his Polynesian heritage even more deeply than the James Wan actioner did. Imagine Arthur visiting the Kingdom of the Trench as one of the worlds in a mission to rescue Mera or to retrieve a stolen artifact. I’m thinking YES.
This one is something everyone wants, and it’s likely to actually happen. Rocksteady keeps saying they’re not working on a Superman game, but the likelihood that they are is pretty high. Aside from Batman, Superman is one of the most popular superheroes of all time. His merchandising has spawned billions of dollars. Each of his movies has done spectacularly at the box office. Somehow, he has never had a good video game that was worth our time. Rocksteady would be a perfect fit with the character. Their versions of Metropolis, Lex Luthor and Lois Lane are something I would really love to see as soon as possible.
#3: Black Panther
The smash hit 2018 film finally brought the popular character into focus in a way that no medium had ever been able to do. Black Panther is on fire. What better way to celebrate him and his newfound success than by giving him a video game counterpart? Just imagining the lush, extravagant visuals of video-game Wakanda is making me swoon. Pit T’Challa against Killmonger or Klaue in an epic, Wakanda-focused adventure that puts a catlike twist on the excellently used Spider-Man PS4 combat. There could also be side missions and DLC that are playable by members of the Dora Milaje, like Nakia and Okoye. There could even have a mission where T’Challa is unable to use the suit and Shuri takes over for him, giving players a chance to see Shuri in her iconic Black Panther suit. How about it, Marvel?
I’ve waited my entire life for an X-Men game where Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Wolverine, and Jean Grey are all playable protagonists and Magneto is the villain. Somehow, that game has yet to happen. Now that Marvel has the rights to all their characters back, perhaps this is in the cards for the near future. X-Men has the potential to be just as huge in video games as it is in film and comics. An Injustice 2 style fighting game where the X-Men get to use cool combos and show off their powers would be fantastic.
#1: Wonder Woman
And finally, the #1 candidate! Now, I might be a little biased here, as Wonder Woman has always been my favorite superhero. But it just makes no sense that she doesn’t have a video game already. Having been defined spectacularly by Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot with her stellar 2017 DCEU film adaptation, the character had a banner year. As one of the strongest playable characters in Injustice 2, Diana needs a video game adaptation badly. Imagine a game with the globe-trotting, hardcore combat, mythology based feel of God of War—with side missions and explorative quests that feel right out of Tomb Raider, similar to the way Wonder Woman infiltrates a gala in the movie. A superhero game led by a female character: radical idea, right?
What do you think? Which superheroes do you believe deserve their own video game adaptations? Let us know!