Ever since Marvel Games gave Insomniac Games the greenlight to create a Spider-Man game on Sony’s consoles, there has been discussion of which comic book hero could find their home on the rivaling Xbox platforms. Of course, the conversation hasn’t been limited to just Marvel heroes.
Last year, it was rumored that Xbox was going to purchase Warner Brothers Games and take ownership of the Batman: Arkham brand. Thus, Xbox would have Batman in their back pocket as their main representative in these potential console superhero wars.
However, Warner Bros’ parent company AT&T appears to have decided against selling for the time being, leaving Xbox without an exclusive video game featuring a licensed superhero. Since the door is once again open to the possibility, we feel it’s fair to discuss which Marvel superheroes would be best suited to being exclusive to Xbox.
What better superhero to bring to the Xbox console than one of the most famous X-Men?
Since the X-Men franchise is on hiatus until Disney decides to bring it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is a great opportunity to reintroduce Wolverine to the audience, getting them excited about what’s to come..
It almost goes without saying that Wolverine is one of the most popular X-Men characters. After all, the famed mutant has cropped up not only in a range of films and television shows, but also video games like the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Marvel vs. Capcom series. Thus, there’s a clear built-in fan base waiting for such a title to give the man once known as Weapon X his due.
Among Wolverine’s iconic powers is his ability to unsheathe and retract adamantium-coated claws growing out of his hands, a brutal means of taking down and eliminating enemies that feels perfect for the rhythm of an action game. A potential Wolverine game could acclimate players to the concept by letting them live through the later years of his childhood when he kills for the first time and discovers that he has this mutation in his body.
Furthermore, with Wolverine having a very traumatic upbringing that leads him to fighting in World War II and becoming a member of Team X, we could see and play through significant portions of his life prior to his recruitment by the X-Men. It’s easy to imagine sequences in which he storms a battlefield with his claws out while charging towards the enemy, swiping his hands back and forth and cleaving through everyone he passes.
Without question, Wolverine would make for a strong single-player game with a dark tone that could still bridge the gap to other X-Men titles. The game could have a post-credits scene in which he gets a visit from Charles Xavier, informing him about his intent for Wolverine to be a part of the X-Men. This could lead to a sequel which features other playable X-Men characters and an online component similar to Marvel’s Avengers, though hopefully with more variety.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Our favorite group of rag-tag heroes are some of the best Marvel movies, combining a lot of action along with heart and hilarious dialogue. While we have seen the Guardians in their own Telltale Games adventure, it’s well past time to explore what these misfits can really do in a bigger environment with more involved gameplay.
Since many people know of the Guardians of the Galaxy thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an origin story wouldn’t really be needed since we already got a glimpse of each member’s past in several films. Ideally, we would be able to jump in and play as the Guardians at a time where they are looking for their next space adventure. As many a game has proven, there’s nothing wrong with taking us to an explorable planet covered with side quests to complete.
On top of that, each side quest could let the player choose which Guardian to play as, while letting the other members tag along and help take down waves of enemies they come across. To further incentivize repeat play, the various missions could also let the player earn credits with which to buy items like costumes, some of which could pay tribute to the various comic book iterations of the Guardians.
A significant aspect of the current Guardians’ team dynamic is their continued grappling with each person’s hangups and lingering issues, something which this potential game could reflect with ease. During a part of the game when the Guardians are feeling discouraged and they go their separate ways, there could be a moment where the game explores each Guardian’s past as they reminisce about where life has taken them.
While this Marvel hero isn’t quite as ubiquitous in pop-culture presence as the previous two, he does have his own Marvel film scheduled to come out this year.
For the uninitiated, Shang-Chi is not a superhuman, but he is the best at his craft in martial arts. In addition to this mastery, he is also able to dodge bullets and knows his way around swords. In other words, he is remarkably well suited to the realm of action game design.
By necessity, this game would need to be an origin story as not many people know about this character, owing in part to his reduced role in the comics since the early 1980s. We would follow Shang-Chi as an adult but often see flashbacks to his childhood training, similar to the approach taken in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
In overall design, we envision it being a linear story without side quests. The best frame of reference here would be God of War, in which players were able to explore the immediate area but weren’t allowed to stray far from the main goal.
Of note, Shang-Chi has some experience operating as a spy, an aspect to the character that’s interesting in itself yet could also tie into the game’s overall plot. Taking down enemies during missions would have Shang-Chi using his martial arts skills, with swordplay entering the mix as the story progresses.
When it comes to taking down the big enemy at the end of the mission, it would be exciting to see the fight go down akin to Street Fighter or Tekken. That would throw a curveball at the players and force them to adapt to the new gameplay style. At first the fighting battles wouldn’t be that difficult and could be handled without use of complicated combos, but getting further into the game might mean one’s skills are tested and combos get reinforced as a useful tool.
Like the Guardians of the Galaxy concept above, the player should be able to unlock costumes for the character, but it would be odd for this kind of game to get any sort of DLC. This would be best served as a one-off single-player story, possibly featuring an arcade mode to revisit the competitive fighting game style boss fights for fun.