Where Are The Great Comic Book Video Games?
We tend to focus our attention on Comic Book Movies (hence the site title) but when it comes to the realm of video games it seems that the genre could use more care and attention. Read on to hear more.
Recently I begun to think about comic book video games. With the comic book movie realm being populated by big name actors, producers, and overseers; it seems like the studios are finally taking these movies seriously and putting serious effort into them.
Games on the other hand are a mixed bag; I can safely assume many of you have either heard of or played the Arkham series. Those two games are the best offerings on the market. On the other side of the spectrum you have these movie tie-in games like The Dark Knight Rises or Man of Steel. The latter was basically a ripoff of Infinity Blade. Not a bad idea, but hardly original.
If you've read Editorials of mine before you know my structure; so I want to break down what's missing from this section of the gaming sect and as always offer suggestions for improvement. Grab your poison of choice and let's get started.
I would say that if you look at DC and Marvel (and even Marvel properties over at Sony and Fox) they are all being guided by what I'm starting to call the Uber-Director or Visionary. People who's job it is to oversee these franchises beyond just one film. Joss Whedon is obviously the biggest name when this comes up as he, Feige, and the individual talent are all collaborating to bring us great movies and now TV series.
When it comes to the games though, these companies seem to just distribute to whoever will work on the project. Sure, Rocksteady has been working on the Arkham games but even they are on to different things. In a perfect world, I'd hope DC is using them to shape an overall DC universe in video game form. We don't know what Rocksteady is working on, but I'd almost imagine at this point it'd have to involve members of the JLA.
Marvel is also lacking this clear and conscious voice for their games. Instead licensing out to whoever has the man power for the job. If they used the same strategy for their movies, I doubt they'd be 'winning' like they are. It's simple, a single unified voice helps spur creativity in that you keep a through line, a single line.
TALENT WHERE TALENT'S DUE
When it comes to handing out these games sometimes I have to wonder what these guys are thinking. The Iron Man 3 game was basically a cheap-ass endless runner. I don't look at Iron Man and think "Wow, we could really use a game of him flying through red orbs and blasting robots"
Part of the responsibility of these companies should be to evaluate their properties and decide on a top-notch talent for their properties. It's not like I'd look at Spider-Man and hire a Romantic-Comedy director, or even say hire a dramatic director for Guardians of the Galaxy. It's about evaluating what works best with what.
We can list suggestions all day for developers who could do a great job with Comic Book games, but the fact of the matter is many of them aren't given the proper amount of time, or the company will spring for a more inexpensive developer who can make something fast and cheap.
PUSHING THE MEDIUM
When you look at some of the greatest games of this generation they are all games that excel in pushing the medium. Even movies like The Dark Knight and The Avengers do the same. Arguably, when Marvel goes with someone like Gameloft we know they won't do anything exceptionally mind blowing. That's partially the problem too. We need people who will show what gameplay opportunities are with each of these teams and characters.
I think one of the reasons the Arkham games are as popular as they are is because while they're great comic book games, they're also great games in general. If you gave those games to someone who doesn't know Batman or anything DC related I'm sure they'd say "This is a great game"
What I'm ultimately getting at is that we need better then just 'meh'. When comic book properties as a whole are improving and expanding in almost every regard, it's kind of sad that with the odd exception, we're getting nothing better then cheap cash-ins.
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