With New York Comic Con fast approaching, the eyes of the entertainment world are once again turning to that of comics. It's no secret to comic book fans that their local comic shop is a breeding ground for new and exciting forms of storytelling, and in recent years, Hollywood movie studios seem to have caught on. But with comic book properties being translated to the big screen left and right, we here at Game Rant think the unique experience that video games can offer is being overlooked.
Comics can offer more than just story-lines, as recent comic-based hit Batman: Arkham Asylum showed us that an entirely fresh take on stealth gameplay can be found fully created within the pages of a comic. And with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions's embracing of the comic's humor and fun side, it's clear that characters can exist in a world that is unchanged from the pages, it's gotten us thinking of other titles that are just begging to be translated into (good) video games. Not just for how cool it would be to finally see, but what they would be able to offer to the industry in terms of new or compelling storytelling.
So in the countdown to NYCC 2010, here's the first submission for Game Rant's '7 Comic Book Characters That Desperately Need Their Own Games', which we'll be unveiling one by one over the next seven days!
#7. Judge Dredd
If you haven't already heard of Rebellion Developments' favorite character Judge Dredd, he's best described as an embodiment of fascism. with every action he takes, he exemplifies the order and submission demanded of every totalitarian regime, using force to subdue the unruly masses. Did we mention he's the good guy?
In the year 2099, the world is a wasteland; the result of decades of ruthless warfare that destroyed much of the earth's surface. People huddle together in sprawling super cities with New York, now renamed Mega-City One, alone holding over 400 million people. With intelligent robots having replaced the working class, the majority of the public are unemployed and restless, so to keep the remaining population from tearing itself apart an order of elite police officers known as "Judges" have been created. Chief Judge Joe Dredd is the most decorated of this group of "Street Judges", officers sent into the city to enforce the law by acting as judge, jury, and executioner.
Crackdown showed that having a city-sized sandbox to play in can be an entire game in itself, so if the concept of patrolling a future city covering all of New England isn't worthy of its own title, think of the kinds of futures that current game developers seem intent on giving us. We either have a desolate, mutant-filled post-apocalyptic wasteland (Fallout 3, Borderlands), or a squeaky clean "city of light" that is more fiction than it is a glimpse at our own future. Judge Dredd is not immune to these tropes, with Mega-City One being surrounded by a vast desert known as the 'Cursed Earth', but the world itself simply feels more plausible. It's neither destroyed or immaculate, but a mixture of the two.
A Judge Dredd video game would also be about as close as we can get to the world of Bladerunner -- a desire I'm sure more than a few people will share. A future that is grungy, faceless, yet still undeniably human is a future that we need to see more of, and a real place to start building compelling stories.
Why We Need a Judge Dredd Video Game:
With a story so gritty and dark, it's no surprise that another Dredd film is currently in production. Just another sign of how the character of Judge Dredd manages to be both relevant and entertaining.
Although we have already gotten a Dredd game in Dredd vs Death, there are far more aspects of the character and the world that have been left completely unexplored. Still not convinced that Dredd would bring something amazing to a video game incarnation? Just take a look at how he's described by his Wikipedia page:
"Dredd is armed with a "Lawgiver" handgun (programmed to recognize his palm-print alone and capable of firing six types of bullets), a daystick, a knife, and stun gas grenades. He rides a large "Lawmaster" motorbike, which has machine guns, a powerful laser cannon, and full artificial intelligence capable of responding to orders from the Judge and of driving itself."
Game developers, please give us this game. Before you think that Dredd is a faceless excuse to see bad guys get what's coming to them, understand his importance as an embodiment of an entire way of thinking. The Judge may represent fascism, but the reason he's lasted so long is because paradoxically, he is also an inherently good person. Embodying a character who simultaneously represents everything that democracy stands against, and a moral compass stronger than our own would be a truly thought-provoking narrative given the present state of the world. And if you're wondering why Judge Dredd has remained masked for more than 30 years, just ask the comic's co-creator John Wagner:
"It sums up the facelessness of justice âˆ’ justice has no soul. So it isn't necessary for readers to see Dredd's face, and I don't want you to."
The best reasoning for a first person shooter that I've ever heard.
So with #7 on our list capably occupied by Chief Justice Joe Dredd, we throw it to you -- do you share our desire to see a virtual Mega-City One, or think that you'd rather spend your time waiting for the movie version? Let us know in the comments.
Tomorrow, we look at #6. We won't spoil it, we will confess that we spend many a night staring at our bedroom ceilings, dreaming of a game that would allow us to play alongside everyone in the Game Rant community. Deep down, we'd love to see a game that could bring about such an all-out war...