Marvel’s Wolverine was a welcome surprise when we saw the teaser trailer in 2022. The character, with his claws and healing abilities, is suitable for a video game. Additionally, one of the most reputable studios is developing it: Insomniac Games, known for its open-world Spider-Man games. The studio has an impressive track record and is reputable for Marvel fans. Despite the positive reaction to the game’s announcement, we have not seen anything about it since.
Due to Insomniac Games’ need to release Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, the absence is understandable. However, with rumors of a PlayStation showcase, we might get another look at the game. I have high hopes that Insomniac will do the character justice, but I would still like to see a few things confirmed about it. Here are five things we want to see in Marvel’s Wolverine for PlayStation 5.
5. Cosmetics but No Gear/Loot
Wolverine appeared in 1962 and has worn several costumes since then. There is everything from the classic brown and tan outfit to the modern and shiny yellow and blue. Marvel’s Spider-Man had several different suits that paid homage to different designs and Insomniac should do the same for Wolverine. Now, when we talk about cosmetics, items such as loot systems and gear often come to mind. This is because gear is often paired with costumes to buff characters. I don’t want a scenario where you have to find a certain jacket to give Wolverine a plus 2 in defense. I’d rather have the costumes be purely cosmetic and then we can focus on upgrading Wolverine via a skill tree.
4. Creative Approach to Health and Death
Along with his claws, Wolverine is known for his healing abilities. He can heal most wounds, making him an impenetrable and aggressive force on the battlefield. Of course, this poses some questions about how the video game will handle health and death. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine game handled it like a traditional video game with a health bar that regenerates after some time. Wolverine’s wounds, however, made the game interesting. They would expose his flesh and bones, then you would watch them slowly heal as your health regenerates.
Insomniac Games needs to do something like this for their version of the hero. A normal health system just wouldn’t make sense for Wolverine. With that said, I’m not sure what they could do to make deaths and restarts make sense. According to CBR, Wolverine has been sniped through the eye, ripped in half, and even taken the brunt of the force from a nuclear bomb without dying. This could be a problem for the traditional video game format, but I trust Insomniac Games will find a clever way around it.
3. Easter Eggs, Cameos, and Spider-Man
Superhero media has cameos, and Wolverine shouldn’t be different as long as they don’t overshadow the main narrative. Starting from the smallest to the most significant, Wolverine could find collectibles that point to nostalgic comics or other characters in the universe. Marvel’s Spider-Man does this well with the backpacks Peter can find throughout the city. The easter eggs and references make each backpack a rewarding find, making them one of the most impressive collectibles I’ve seen. Since the same developer behind Marvel’s Spider-Man is also making Wolverine, I could see a similar, easter egg-focused collectible.
Above simple easter eggs, I expect at least a few cameos from other Marvel characters. Some obvious ones are people from Weapon X, a genetic research program responsible for Wolverine’s adamantium bones. These could include Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, and even Deadpool. Of course, any of these could be potential main characters, but it all depends on the type of story Insomniac wants to tell. Another character pool to choose from is the X-Men. Wolverine has historically been a member of the team and I’m unsure how vital they are in the game. At the very least, I could see Charles Xavier meeting Wolverine in an after-credit scene.
Probably the character I’m most excited to see is Insomniac’s Spider-Man, either Peter Parker or Miles Morales. Their appearance would signify the connectivity between Insomniac’s two Marvel games and make each game suddenly feel bigger. Additionally, Spider-Man’s playfulness and youth would make for a fun contrast with the more hostile and serious Wolverine. I’m not sure if the Spider-Men would be a friend or foe, but I would like them to show up either way.
2. Wide Linear Design
Many superhero games fall into the open world or live service category. Take Marvel’s Spider-Man, Gotham Knights, The Avengers, and the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League for example. However, I don’t think the open-world format should always be the default. A genre or style of game should be based on what effectively serves the type of hero in your game. An open world for Spider-Man, who can swing around the city makes more sense than for Wolverine, who has no significant transportation powers. Additionally, linear or wide-linear games usually perform better critically than open-world live service games. Marvel’s Avengers, a live service game that is shut down has a 68 on Metacritic while the linear, narrative-driven game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has a 78 on Metacritic.
Instead of a cumbersome open world, I would like Wolverine to take a God of War Ragnarok or The Last of Us Part 2 approach. Both of these games have a strong narrative focus and tight-level design but still, give the player the freedom to explore. God of War specifically has side quests, open areas, and collectibles to find. The developers found a way to keep the high production values of a linear game without limiting player freedom. This structure would be ideal for Wolverine so that the developers could focus on creating action-packed set-pieces and wide areas to give the player optional side content.
Another approach could be the Naughty Dog style. Naughty Dog games rarely have side missions or optional areas throughout the game. Instead, the studio gives the player wide combat zones. Players have several options for flanking, stealth, and even escaping combat altogether. This would be perfect for Wolverine who could strike people from the front, stab them from behind and even climb structures with his claws. Naughty Dog also includes a few wide levels to break up their linear design, which in Wolverine, could be explorable via a motorcycle. Essentially, I hope Wolverine strikes a healthy middle ground between a massive open world and a strict linear design.
1. An M Rating
Anything below an M rating would not fit Wolverine’s character. He has always been one of the most violent and hardcore characters in Marvel, often cutting off limbs and being aggressively hostile. His claws and skeleton are made from adamantium, one of the strongest metals in the Marvel universe. Wolverine can cut through almost anything, so dismemberment and blood are essential for authenticity.
This reasoning can explain the complaints surrounding the lack of dismemberment in Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. A lightsaber will historically cut through anything so when the game’s lightsaber did not cut off limbs, it seemed disingenuous to the source material. Despite being a terrible movie, the game adaptation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine embraced the violence of the character, which helped solidify it as a decent adaptation.
With Insomniac’s track record of making family-friendly games (Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank), there may be some concern. However, I don’t see how a Wolverine game could be successful without the violent streak that identifies the character. I believe one genre or universal tone does not define a studio. Insomniac could easily shift its historical style to benefit the type of game it wants to make.