The newly announced Marvel’s Midnight Suns may feature the big-name likes of Captain America and Wolverine, a hero who is on almost as many teams as Beast—canonically Beast is a member of the X-Men, Hex-Men, Extreme X-Men, X-Factor, X-Club, Defenders, Avengers, Secret Avengers, SWORD, and, oh yeah, the Illuminati—but it also gives Magik, Robbie Reyes, and Nico Minoru from Runaways a rare opportunity to star in a videogame.
While Batman and Spider-Man star in strings of games, other characters wait for their turn. And not just superheroes. We’ve had videogames about the likes of Bone, Sam & Max, Scott Pilgrim, and let’s not forget Garfield Kart. Never forget Garfield Kart.
Which underappreciated comic book characters deserve their own game?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.
Tim Clark: As a man who grew up in Britain in the ’80s, no surprise that all my answers are from 2000 AD. My top three, in no particular order:
- The incredible future war strip Bad Company would make for an amazing (and amazingly grim) squad-based shooter.
- Mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha from the Strontium Dog series could be given a sci-fi Hitman-style romp.
- Flesh-warping Celtic barbarian Sláine would eat Kratos for breakfast in a third-person brawler.
And of course there are obvious picks like Dredd and Rogue Trooper, neither of which has ever had the game treatment they deserve. Oh, and mother, if you’re reading this. I haven’t forgotten you throwing out my entire collection while I was away at university. And although I understand the rationale (they were becoming a ‘fire hazard’), it still hurts.
Christopher Livingston: The Marvel movies are so overstuffed with heroes that it hasn’t done the villains justice, usually picking one big guy like Ultron or Thanos and giving them hordes of boring-ass CGI minions. Hell, there are so few decent supervillains in the MCU there was an entire movie where the Avengers just fought each other at a frickin’ airport. Snore!
I’d like to see more supervillains get some time to shine. There could be a theme park simulation game, but let me be Arcade and build an evil theme park full of traps and robots heroes would have to fight their way through. Or I could be Scourge, who went out to murder supervillains but also had to fight off do-gooder heroes who didn’t think he should murder supervillains. The Spot could throw these weird little dimensional holes into the air and then stick his arms and legs through them to punch and kick people. And I was always fascinated by this Alpha Flight villain Flashback, who could summon future versions of himself to the present for fights, which meant (I guess) at some point in his future he’d be summoned back by his past self. So if he lost the fight, he’d just have to live his life knowing he could be sucked back into the past at any moment to get his ass kicked. I dunno how you’d make that a game, but if someone did, I’d play it.
Robin Valentine: I’m not sure what exactly you would do in a game starring the Doom Patrol, but I’d love to find out. They’re a complete antidote to the squeaky clean Marvel formula—a bunch of broken-down weirdos whose adventures only just about make any sense. The recent TV series has proved their ’80s storylines actually feel more relevant than ever in 2021, with themes of gender identity, mental health, government oppression, democracy gone wrong, and more. Besides, wouldn’t you love to play a game where the entire city of Paris gets sucked into a painting, the villains tour the country in a bus that leaks airborne LSD, the heroes’ base is a sentient genderqueer street, and there’s a character whose ability is to have every superpower you haven’t thought of yet?
Evan Lahti: Fear Agent is a pulpy sci-fi book from Rick Remender, who had a big hand in Dead Space and Bulletstorm as a writer. And like those two games, it’s page after page of bad guys (aliens, mostly) getting mashed into goo. Texan hero Heathrow Huston runs around with a retro raygun and an atomic-age fishbowl spacesuit—I can practically hear Nolan North’s voice coming out of it already.
It’s a third-person action game, probably? Time travel, giant brain creatures, interstellar war, imaginative gadgets. Some light platforming and jetpacking. But perhaps it could have some deeper systems: there’s already a tabletop RPG setting for Fear Agent based on Savage Worlds.
Rich Stanton: An Uzumaki puzzle game that slowly drives the player insane with ever-more-complex spirals. Garth Ennis’s The Boys turned into a 2D brawler (if you tried to do anything more complex it would fall apart, just lean into the daftness). Garth Ennis’s Punisher MAX run as a 3D action game. Planetary and the Authority seem obvious shouts for an EDF-style brawler where you plunge into uber-screwed Earth locations full of baddies and punch their jaws clean off. I think the better eras of Hellblazer could work as tactical RPGs, you’d need a top-tier scriptwriter though. I think that if I had the budget of dreams, no pun intended, I would get Media Molecule to make a Green Lantern game. A character all about the unlimited power of imagination, that is so rarely realised as such. Finally, I know you said Spider-Man, but all we’re getting is Peter Parker and Miles Morales. The one true Spider-Man is Ben Reilly and I demand a game about the clone saga!
Natalie Clayton: I’ve never read Saga (we only have Volume 7 in the flat, which seems like a wild place to get on board) but I would die for Ghus. Put this delightful seal lad in a game ASAP.
Jody Macgregor: I would absolutely play a Saga game. Also, an adventure-RPG based on Bad Machinery, which is a comic about two groups of competing high school youth sleuths from Griswalds Grammar School. Imagine Disco Elysium, but instead of voices in your head it’s bickering teen detectives trying to solve some Scooby Doo shit about ghosts or whatever.
Brian Boru: Probably not what you have in mind, but…
The Flintstones: imagine Fred & Barney in a peaceful version of Jurassic Park, where dinos have been domesticated and Bedrock is the first thriving settlement at the dawn of humanity’s emergence as a socially organized industrious species.
Mr Magoo: clear candidate to lead a Hidden Object series.
Sylvester: if Stray is a hit, that’s gotta open some doors and mouseholes.
Sheriff bing-bing-bing Ricochet Rabbit: good guys chasing bad guys, what more do you want?
I’ll see myself out…
Colif: Not just 1 character… The Far Side… but it would need the world to remember it first. Imagine an rpg made in the The Far Side galaxy where everything is probable.
Mazer: I’d have to go with the perennial favourite for this exact topic: Moon Knight. An Arkham style outing for Marvel’s own Batman-clone would be amazing, as has been pointed out by a million other nerds on the internet.
On the other hand, if we’re allowed to wish for an actually decent game for a character who has already had at least one crappy video game adaptation then my wishlist would include Hellboy, Spawn and Daredevil, all criminally lacking a great videogame.
ZedClampet: I don’t know whether they are underappreciated or not, but I enjoyed the Fantastic Four as a kid. As popular as 4 player co-op is, they would do great in a game, particularly as they all have their own unique powers. I’m not really a comic guy, though. If I’ve heard of them, they probably aren’t underappreciated.
Wasn’t Avatar (airbender, not blue guys) a comic first? There are a lot of mods that add Avatar mechanics and characters to games, but I don’t know of any games on PC that feature Avatar. I think my kids had a Wii game, but that’s all I’m aware of.