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Turning a respected license into a video game is no easy task. High Moon has a lot of work ahead of it if the studio wants its new Deadpool game to live up to fans' expectations. Here are some rules for navigating that minefield.
I recently went to San Diego Comic-Con and sat through the Marvel panel where Activision and High Moon announced their upcoming Deadpool game. The crowds went nuts over the trailer; excitement over the game seemed almost palpable. As a longtime Deadpool fan, I was thrilled – the game looked amazing.
But something strange happened after I returned from Comic-Con. I began to realize that not everyone was as excited for this game as I (or the thousands of other Deadpool fans at Comic-Con) was. I went back and re-watched the trailer, and I have to admit, it’s not as good as I originally thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited for that game, but I’m really only excited by the promise of a great game featuring a character I like. After re-watching the trailer I understand why so many non-Deadpool fans aren’t excited. Nothing about the trailer was particularly impressive. Many of its jokes fall flat, the gameplay mechanics are completely undefined, and the story is a mystery.
The point of a teaser trailer isn’t to lay out the entire game, so I’m fine with not knowing more. However, the point of a teaser trailer is to tease the game – and right now the only people who have been teased are pre-existing Deadpool fans. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, though, because more than anything else, I’d like High Moon to stay true to the spirit of the character.
So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to come up with several rules – maybe more like guidelines – which High Moon should keep in mind while developing the game.
Rule #1: Nail The JokesDeadpool is known for being a humorous character. He’s called the Merc with a Mouth because of his constant stream-of-conscience ramblings. Sometimes this can be funny. In the wrong hands it can be annoying. Get a writer with some serious humor chops to tackle the jokes, then iterate on them. Humor isn’t easy to do, but that just means you’ll have to spend as much time polishing the jokes as you would polishing the gameplay. This applies to the story as well. Deadpool fans can appreciate a silly story, but it should be an entertaining kind of silly. Deadpool works best when he is a crazy man in a sane world. Let’s see that reflected in the game.
Rule #2: Tap Into Your InsanityOkay, this sounds a bit like Rule #1, but it’s more complicated than that. Be willing to do things that other games don’t. That’s what people love about Deadpool. His solutions to problems are often unorthodox, but they work. Sometimes when he gets himself out of trouble, he gets right back into because of some stupid mistake or joke. Break that 4th wall (already a given). Deadpool is often a villain, but sometimes he’s a good guy. Explore that dementia. He’s friends with supervillians and often fights people who shoot glue or some other stupid thing. Embrace the absurdity of that world. What can I say? Deadpool is a little crazy. This will be a hard balance.
Rule #3: Embrace Comic ActionDeadpool has a wealth of great powers. Not only is he loaded with an arsenal equivalent to an entire Marine squad, he has gadgets that let him teleport and a healing factor that makes him neigh invulnerable. Also swords. It could play a bit like DMC, but it would be great if Deadpool acquires some of these weapons and gadgets as he progresses, allowing him to access new areas of the world à la Batman or Metroid. However, if that doesn’t happen, at least let us have fun with the character. Be creative with the powers and make us feel like Deadpool.
Rule #4: Be a Deadpool GameIn short, be side-splittingly funny, wildly fun to play, both insane and smart, and feature an intelligent story that’s also charming and amusing. Do this while toeing a perfect balance between mature content and acting immature, and manage to wrap it all around a game whose mechanics are a joy to play. In shorter short: be perfect.
That’s all we ask. No pressure.
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