Why Comic-Based Games are Hard to Pull Off & What Would Make a Good Avengers Game - IzzyOtaku Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Why Comic-Based Games are Hard to Pull Off & What Would Make a Good Avengers Game

 

There are a couple of studios and developers that try their hand at creating a video game based off a comic book entity, but good ones are rare and few. In most recent years the Batman Arkham series headed by Rocksteady are one of the select few to attain critical acclamation. Although one has to wonder why that is, comic book enthusiasts are not in short demand, and in the past years have grown increasingly with the heightened amount of comic based movies being pushed. So why are well received video games based around comic characters so hard to come by?

PLEASE NO ORIGIN STORY: The biggest portion of the demographic that flock to these types of games are the fans. The people who know most, if not all, the ins-and-outs of the character, their backstory, rivals, etc. Comic characters alike, both Marvel and DC in this case, have multiple origin stories dating back to their creation and even spanning into different versions based on alternate universes. When playing that game there is no need to further explore how that character came to be, you just want to be thrown into the game as the person outright.

No Movie-Based Games: Any game based off a movie is hard to turn into a success in general. Doing so with a comic character is an even more fruitless endeavor. These characters have a wide range of universes to explore and tones of villains to combat. Limiting them to an upcoming or recently released movie is pointless. Even if the movie is a success that doesn't mean it will spell the same for the game as the transition is never that fluid. Rather, take all that attention gathered and focus it towards something new and different, utilize the vast amount of resources provided in that characters already established history and fashion yourself a grand new IP. Also, we've seen the movie...we don't necessarily need to play the movie...

Progression Progress:  When you are playing a game you want things to keep you interested, make you feel like you are that character, and that you are progressing through that game and getting better. Most if not all comic-based games that I have seen, have had a sort of leveling progression system. You continue on, your character gets better, and you earn skill points to perk up and boost various abilities of your characters. Although this takes a bit of time and thought and doesn't really transition well with some characters well if not incorporated properly. Batman has an excellent system in the Arkham franchise. You upgrade his gear and as the game goes along he has more gadgets delivered to cope with oncoming threats or deterrents. Even Deadpool had a nice system with combat upgrades that let you perform new moves, etc. But how do you do this with characters that already have a wealth of powers/abilities from the beginning?  For example, Superman, another comic book character who has never really had a decent game and holds more powers in his arsenal than Bruce Wayne's bank account holds money. How exactly would you turn Superman into a successful game franchise knowing this? I won't say nobody, but as I stated before, not everyone is enthusiastic about playing an origin story or purchasing a Superman title only to be grounded as Clark Kent in brief scenarios.  We want to play as the Man of Steel, equipped with the whole shebang and are an unstoppable force, although half the thrill isn't just playing the character and increasing their stats, but unlocking things like powers. I guess an interesting arc would be that Superman was captured by Darkseid or some other powerful being and weakened into a near vulnerable state in which he has to re-unlock these powers and his strength by releasing magic restrains placed on his abilities by some other force working against him alongside Darkseid, but it doesn't just take the right mechanics and story to make a good comic game. It also takes the right studio, which is what I'll get into next.

The Right Guys for the Job: Most studios and developers use their own custom engine to create video games, this helps to give them an identity, or a reputation of what they are best known for as well as the typical genre/type of games they produce. It's also fair to say Rocksteady revolutionized tight, reactive and effective combat controls with their mechanic for the Arkham series. Either the studio itself or the game community wish for a similar experience in most video games if they know it will involve a 3rd person perspective hand-to-hand combat. It's important to know what kind of system to add into a game to give it a better and sometimes immersive experience, that is why it's also good to know what studio/developer is best suited for the job, after all you wouldn't want a butcher sells you fruits would you.

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