How to make a better xmen game
Commemorating 50 years of X-Men we here at the Arsenal have decided to put together, in our opinion what would make a stellar piece of gaming for marvels children of the atom. It seems that within the last 3-4 years of this console’s generation or so, the quality of licensed video games have risen considerably with the likes of Batman Arkham asylum, Transformers: War For Cybertron, and Ghost Busters. It has been with great pleasure that we, the fan get to experience Batman sleuthing or Optimus transforming or even Peter Veckman dry humoring.
But what about the X-Men? To the disappointment of many fans, marvel’s band of merry mutants has never reached the potential of blockbuster status within the video game medium. Sure there are games featuring the X-Men like Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom where Wolverine, a very high tiered character i might add, can give Ryu a run for his money. But these kinds of games don’t necessarily count as the X-Men are only featured and not starring. The fact of the matter is that all the makings of a legendary title are there so long as developers lend a critical eye to some of their contemporaries.
For instance, the sandbox super hero is overdone. But way before the gaming market spammed itself into submission with mediocre and made up superheroes, there was The Spider-Man movie series of games that uniquely captured the realistic feel of what it would seem like for Spidey to web sling in a fictional representation of New York. The game had its faults surely. But it was one of the most memorable moments on a last generation console and a milestone for comic based video games.
Another game albeit different than spider man and an original for the Xbox went by the name of freedom fighters. It combined the premise of the original Red Dawn with tactical gameplay within an urban environment. Players had to control the protagonist and recruit soldiers along the way. It even featured a limited but extremely fun multiplayer mode with a capture the flag feel about it.
Now picture an X-Men game that takes the best of what a sandbox game has to offer, but takes extra care to create a fighting system that feels seamless with the rest of its components. Like Batman Arkham asylum. Not one aspect of the game overshadowed the other. From Batman’s detective skills to his impressively bone crunching fighting abilities, there was nothing about this game that wasn’t to like. Pay attention Silicon Knights. The X-Men can play similar but doesn’t necessarily have to be so combo and counter driven. Instead it can focus on team combat with different classes similar to Transformers: WFC. As Cyclops you are taken to a drop down menu where you can pick and choose up to 5 individual mutants for your team. They encompass five classes: brawler, projector, psionic, heavy, and healer. Depending on which character you choose you could potentially have someone like Psylocke who specializes in two classes like psionics and brawling. The point is that you get to pick and choose your own team and then customize their abilities within the realm of their specific mutancy.
The story of the game should be driven by comic continuity. Could you imagine playing through several missions where you have to go through the events of Second Coming where an endless wave of Nimrods keep attacking the X-Men on the Golden Gate Bridge? Or what about playing through the Dark Phoenix Saga complete with old school costumes and a dwindling roster as your team gets separated and taken out by the imperial guard, leaving you with just cyclops and jean grey.
Let’s talk about the art style of the game. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 3d game. What about a two dimensional game with multiple plains and drawn by some of Marvel’s heavyweights like Chris Bacchalo. The game could play say for instance like Guardian Heroes where the emphasis can be on a revolving team of mutants who clash with the opposition in iconic multi-plain levels. A recreation of the x-men’s first encounter with magneto could be among the first couple of stages.The game could have a skill progression tree for characters and even feature a versus component that pits players against other players from all around the world.
An idea that could fit well for marvels children of the atom, what about a war room component where the ability to get intelligence plan your mission is critical. Here players could be treated to a nuanced tactical experience with commentary from heavy hitters like Storm, Beast Professor X and Cyclops. You can send mutants like Wolverine out on recons and await intelligence before sending out your team to assault the mutant registration building. This would be something innovative and an approach that fans were at one point only able to fantasize in their readings of the comics.
now lets add that to a hefty base simulation mode similar to Xcom: Enemy unknown. You can upgrade the Xavier estate through the Professor’s family fortune but eventually it runs out so securing wealthy students like Warren Worthington or Roberto Dacosta will ensure funding at different points in the X-Men’s colorful history. The narrative could run seamlessly with continuity as different decades could mark certain milestones, i.e. the late 80s early 90s would be the extinction agenda. Watch your team’s dynamic and chemistry change like when the original xmen left to form a government sanctioned X-Factor.
Do these ideas sound like the ultimate X-Men game? Feel free to comment at the bottom.