Marvel is starting to take its video game business way more seriously as of late. Along with a handful of continuous mobile hits like Future Fight and Contest of Champions, the company has poured a tremendous amount of heart into its forthcoming Spider-Man game for PlayStation 4 alongside developer Insomniac Games.
On top of that, it’s also working with Square Enix on several Marvel’s Avengers games that we may get a peek at in just a few weeks during the company’s E3 showcase.
But there’s still untapped potential, and one particular hero who could easily earn his keep in the video game realm is Black Panther.
As the film proven, Black Panther is incredibly popular, and ripe for video game stardom, especially if his treatment comes from the right studio. Although Marvel hasn’t said anything about whether he’ll get his own adventure down the road or not, we have a suggestion for a team that can truly do him justice: Rocksteady Studios.
Rocksteady, the developer behind the Batman: Arkham trilogy, has been hard at work on a yet-to-be-announced project. Who knows, it could be a Superman game or a Suicide Squad game, or maybe something completely different, as we’ve suggested in the past. Hopefully we’ll see some answers at E3.
That said, the studio could very well work on a Marvel property down the road. After all, WB and Marvel are kind of cozy at the moment with its Lego Marvel Super Heroes franchise, so it’d obviously be within good graces.
Now comes the real challenge: creating a Black Panther experience that differentiates from the Batman games, while keeping some of its nuances intact. But if any studio could make that formula work for them, it’s Rocksteady.
Black Panther fights differently than Bruce Wayne ever could. He uses speed to his advantage, along with his bullet-proof armor; handy for deflecting bullets back towards gun-toting thugs. He could use his claws to take down more heavily armed foes, along with quick strikes and kicks to bring down closer adversaries. He could also activate his suit to deliver pulsating wave attacks that could hit multiple enemies at once (like in the finale of the film). Done the right way, combat could be a blast.
Not to mention upgrades. Rather than just visiting some tech shop, T’Challa could pay a visit to Shuri in her shop and not only offer some helpful upgrades, but demonstrate how well they could operate in the heat of combat as well.
And it doesn’t have to be limited to fighting. Shuri could introduce him to several new tools of the trade in general missions, like power outage-creating spheres. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Black Panther’s capabilities and strengths.
In the past, Rocksteady Studios has made it clear that they can truly design impressive structures within Gotham City. Even smaller places within the city, like Arkham Asylum and the makeshift Arkham City prison, show an incredible sense of detail that only a company like Rocksteady could really gel.
So why not adapt this way of design to the world of Wakanda? Obviously that’s where T’Challa could begin his journey before eventually moving on to other locations. For instance, like the movie, he could go hunting after Ulysses Klaue in an exotic city while taking on his thugs. This could also be a novel opportunity to introduce several other Black Panther villains into the fold such as Killmonger, and maybe even Kraven the Hunter, who made a name for himself in several Spider-Man video games. He would clearly take T’Challa’s game to a whole new level, especially if there was a stage where he was on the hunt.
Marvel is no stranger when it comes to going all out with world design. Along with Insomniac, it’s invested enough in Spider-Man to create a gorgeous, involving take on New York City, complete with locales like Avengers Tower and Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum.
If Marvel paired up with Rocksteady on Black Panther, it’d make for a damn good-looking game, no matter where they go.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the DLC .. And before you go, “Well, does DLC really need to be added?” keep in mind that the Batman games flourished even further thanks to side chapters that included Nightwing and Robin, among other characters.
Rocksteady could easily re-introduce us to the likes of Okoye, one of the best characters from the film, as she completes side missions for her king. For that matter, why not give M’Baku a shot with his own chapter, where he commands the Jabari and takes part in a number of combat rituals. (And maybe utters his awesome “vegetarians” line as an Easter egg.)
And with the Avengers universe expanding, it wouldn’t hurt to introduce some side characters into the equation. We could see Captain America teaming up with T’Challa on a mission, or maybe even Spider-Man stopping by to get some tips from Shuri on his web shooters. (We know a lot of folks that really want to see this in the next film.)
Again, there’s a ton of potential for where Rocksteady could take a Black Panther game. But keep in mind nothing is official -- this whole article is merely speculating about what the developer could do if it got its hands on the franchise.5comments
Obviously whatever Rocksteady is working on next will be a thing of beauty, just as its Batman Arkham trilogy was. But we can’t help but think what would happen if their team got together with Marvel to see what it could offer Wakanda, not to mention the rest of the universe.
Maybe one day. But in the meantime, at least we can enjoy Black Panther in the likes of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. And the movie, of course.