It’s been years since a we've seen a Marvel's Punisher-focused video game released. Sure, we’ve seen the vigilante hero in games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order as a playable character, but we haven’t seen a game built around the character since The Punisher: No Mercy in 2009 with The Punisher releasing before that in 2005. Marvel’s Netflix series The Punisher which starred Jon Bernthal was the most recent depiction of the character we’ve seen, but that series was cancelled earlier this year.
ComicBook.com spoke to Bernthal recently about his starring role in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, a Tom Clancy game where he plays an antagonist named Cole D. Walker. Breakpoint and the process of acting for a video game made up the bulk of the interview, but with Marvel expanding its catalogue of games through Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Avengers combined with the increasing frequency of celebrities appearing in video games, we had to wonder: Would Bernthal be down to play the Punisher in a video game if the opportunity presented itself?
There’s no known Punisher video game in the works, but we asked Bernthal anyway if he’d be up for the theoretical project. While some actors jump at the idea of returning to the role and give fans the answer they want to hear, the actor had a more thoughtful response. To Bernthal, how the project is handled and the story that’s told is more important than coming back just for the sake of returning as the Punisher one more time.
“You know … I don’t know,” Bernthal said when asked if he’d return for a potential video game adaptation. “Frank Castle, he’s enormously important to me. Getting him right is enormously important to me. So, for that, I’m not really interested in whether we would do something. I’m interested in how it would be done, and I just want to sort of protect him and protect my vision for him.”
While playing Frank Castle and the Punisher was a cherished role for Bernthal, he continued to say the characters belong to comic fans and those who find meaning in the symbol of the Punisher. He summed up his thoughts on the idea of returning as the Punisher by saying it’s more about whether the project was done right.
“For me and Frank Castle, it’s never about whether we do, it’s about whether we’d do it right,” Bernthal said.
The Punisher already rides a line between right and wrong while skirting the grasp of the law, but Bernthal’s Breakpoint character is much more strictly an antagonist. Still, the actor says it’s up to players to decide whether his character is a villain or not. He also said that it wasn’t his time as the Punisher on TV or other roles that helped him the most in acting for a video game. Instead, he credited his time in live theater as having the biggest influence.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC platforms. No planned video game adaption of Marvel’s Punisher character has been announced.