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Holiday Wish List: Marvel Heroes Who Need New Games

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When you consider the whole range of the video game industry, Marvel may have more games out there than any other entertainment company or studio. There are hundreds of different versions of games featuring Marvel heroes and villains in some capacity or other. And yet in the span of Marvel’s cinematic takeover since the dawn of the 21st century, only a handful of characters have actually been used to produce great video games; Spider-Man and Wolverine come to mind as perhaps the most successful. So, as we look toward 2015 and gamers consider some of the upcoming releases for next-gen consoles, here’s our holiday wish list of Marvel characters that could spawn excellent games.

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Captain America

Best Existing Games:

Given that he’s essentially the team captain for the Avengers, Captain America has been shockingly inactive in gaming spheres. Following his first standalone film, the console game Captain America: Super Soldier actually received a decent score on Metacritic. The consensus opinion is that its battle mechanics were top-notch, but it was lacking in other areas. There was also an app game released in coordination with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Cap’s second film, which is fun in a limited way.

 

Why A Next-Gen Game Works:

One reason that heroes seem difficult to adapt to video games is that many of them fly. But the likes of Spider-Man and Batman get around with other advanced means of transportation, and Captain America could join that club. With even the shooter genre focusing largely on parkour-style movement lately (it’s seen in both Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Far Cry 4), an athletic, leaping style is a nice place to start. Throw in a unique weapon in the Captain’s shield and endless Marvel material for storylines, and a bigger, better Captain America game makes sense.

 

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Star-Lord

Best Existing Games:

Star-Lord essentially doesn’t exist in a standalone game, but he does make a few appearances in collaborative Marvel games such as LEGO Marvel Superheroes and the recently released app Marvel: Contest of Champions, which just earned a four-star review from Touch Arcade. Both offer a fun chance to play with tons of comic characters, though neither focuses on Star-Lord.

 

Why A Next-Gen Game Works:

For one thing, Guardians of the Galaxy just became the most surprising Marvel hit yet, setting itself up almost as a parody of The Avengers or even Star Wars. And Star-Lord is its goofy, flawed Captain America/Han Solo. Chris Pratt brought new life to this strange hero, and as mentioned sometimes it’s the more grounded humans-those without over-the-top superpowers-who work best in gaming. With the galaxy as his setting, Star-Lord has infinite potential in an open-world/modern-gaming format, and getting by on wits and holstered guns could be a nice twist for the genre.

 

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Iron Man

Best Existing Games

Aside from aforementioned collaborative Marvel hero games, Iron Man’s reach in gaming is limited. There have been games to accompany all three standalone Iron Man films (with the third coming in app form). In addition, Iron Man is the subject of a number of slot and arcade games at Betfair’s online casino, which you can play here. Each of these options is fun enough in its own right, though none of the film games was particularly impactful. The Iron Man slot games offer a refreshing twist on bland, ordinary slots, though it isn’t built as an action or adventure game. Still, at least it gets the images and animations right.

 

Why a Next-Gen Game Works:

I’m going against my assertion that flight is difficult in video games simply because Iron Man has achieved new popularity with a younger generation. Thanks in large part to Robert Downey, Jr.’s eccentric and amusing portrayal of Tony Stark, there’s an argument to be made that Iron Man is now the most popular of Marvel’s heroes. Thus, designing a game big enough for both the hero and the billionaire behind him is an intriguing concept. People tend to love strategy games these days: building teams of characters, establishing cities, developing cultures, conquering territories, and so on. With that in mind, building up Stark Industries, developing new technologies, and running off on Iron Man missions should fit right in. And if Downey, Jr. voiced the character, the game would sell itself.

Naturally there are plenty of other characters to choose from. But given character popularity and gameplay potential, these three are primed for their own major video game releases. Here’s hoping our wishes come true!

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Former Producer/On-air Co-star for the Ed the Sock Show (G4, City-TV, MuchMusic)

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