We are currently living in the age of superheroes. They’re everywhere; the comic shops that they’ve always called home, on our televisions, on Netflix, and in theaters. What’s interesting about the huge surge of vigilante popularity is that it hasn’t exactly transferred over to video games. Sure, there’s the occasional Marvel Puzzle Quest, Injustice, or LEGO title, but for the most part superheroes in video games are dominated by one name: Arkham .
The Batman: Arkham trilogy (quadrilogy if you count Origins ) has been the benchmark for superhero video games several years running now without much competition. I think part of the problem is translating scale and ability to something as confined as a video game experience can be. Action/adventure fits superheroes well, but with rare exceptions ( Ultimate Alliance, DC Universe Online ), there’s no other genre where superheroes are explored in any meaningful way. As a result, I think most developers tend to shy away from them.
What superheroes need in video games is the equivalent of a Mass Effect or a Dragon Age –an action-RPG title that showcases several different characters and power sets, and allows you to experience life as those characters. How would you balance your secret identity and your superhero lives? Who would you partner up with? Would you form a team? What happens when your closest comrade betrays you and becomes the villain of the story? These are all questions that can only be answered by introducing RPG and exploration elements.
The genre of superheroes is so big, and so expansive, that it deserves to be better represented in games. It’s a huge challenge, no doubt, but for the studio that can crack the code, they’ll have the honor of creating one of the most well-realized superhero titles ever.