As superhero movies continue to dominate at the box office, many television networks are taking advantage of the excitement among fans and are pumping out at least one new superhero-based show each season. And as the hype for these shows continues to grow, we imagine there will only be more to come.
It’s not just television networks taking advantage of the current popularity of superheroes, either - the video game industry is also doing its best to capitalize on the trend. It seems that for every new superhero movie, there’s also a new superhero game. Not all of these games do well, but that doesn’t seem to stop game developers from creating them. Superheroes are huge business, for almost any industry that’s interested in participating.
There’s something we noticed, though, about this whole situation. Superhero movies have helped drive more superhero shows and superhero games, but we have yet to see superhero games based on the growing selection of TV shows. And we have to ask ourselves: why? Why haven’t shows like Arrow, Agents of Shield and the upcoming Supergirl received their own quality video games? It seems like fans would pounce on the opportunity to play games that coincide with the shows they love.
One thing that's great about video games is they allow the players to become a part of the characters within the game. And what better character is there than a superhero? When it comes to TV shows, viewers are only able to watch the superheroes take down the bad guys - in video games, players are able to do it themselves. By developing a video game alongside a show, fans can gain a stronger attachment to the characters, which can improve their experience with both the game and the show.
Episodic Storytelling is King
Television shows also offer a unique opportunity for the video game industry. As has been seen with shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, when a show is ongoing it can help drive continued sales of a companion game. This is especially true for games that follow a similar episodic structure that the show follows.
Something both these games do well, and that could work just as well for current superhero shows, is how the games take on a secondary story within the same world as the show. Games that come out alongside superhero movies, however, often follow the same storyline as the movie. Unfortunately, this means players experience the same story and action with little deviation, and there’s nothing new for them to enjoy. However, with a television show, gamers can expand their experience through a game that provides a different take on the same characters. And it’s an experience that can continue throughout the life of the show, not just around the time of release, like with a movie.
That’s not to say we think every superhero show would be a Telltale Games episodic-style game. What we’re saying is we think there’s a huge opportunity that’s going untapped and we’d love to see a game developer tackle games for a few of these shows. They could even do some cross-over play within the games, similar to what DC is doing with its shows.
In the hopes of seeing superhero shows converted into games, we’ve put together a list of those shows and the games we’d love to see.
The CW series was a powerful pioneer in the current superhero TV show environment. Arrow, which kicked off in 2012, has garnered a huge following among comic book and superhero fans, and it has received positive reviews from critics and viewers alike.
Due to Oliver Queen’s focus on working silently in the dark as the Green Arrow, we think this show could translate well into a stealthy game along the lines of Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, with open-world fighting elements like the Batman Arkham games. We would love to see Rocksteady Studios take on the Green Arrow, just as it has with the Dark Knight.
The Flash is a spinoff show that also appears on the CW. The new take on Barry Allen’s speedy adventures would work well as a mobile game in the same vein as Temple Run. But since mobile tie-ins are mostly mediocre, it might be better to develop The Flash as a side-scroller arcade game.
The Flash could even become a Kinect game on Xbox, where the faster a player moves, the faster the Flash runs on the screen. This type of game would have the added benefit of getting players to stay active.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Avengers spinoff has found a lot of success in the last couple years. With fun twists and engaging action, we doubt the show will be ending anytime in the near future.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s straightforward action would work well as a first person shooter game, with side mission elements along the lines of the Far Cry games. Players could take on the role of a new S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who moves through the ranks, taking down Hydra and supervillains. It might also be the best choice for that Telltale approach, forcing players to make tough S.H.I.E.L.D. decisions that influence the direction of the organization.
While this show doesn’t actually focus on superheroes, its premise would work well as a video game similar to L.A. Noire. The show centers on James Gordon’s rise to commissioner as he takes on Gotham’s rising corruption and crime.
Players could who work alongside Gordon in an effort to take on Gotham’s biggest threats. An open world adventure would be a nice change of pace from the Arkham games, while still giving players a chance to rome the lawless streets of Gotham.
Women superheroes have been receiving a lot of attention lately. After the success of Agent Carter, we are sure to see many more female hero leads to hit the small screen.
A Supergirl game would obviously be similar to past Superman games, which works out great considering it’s been a while since we’ve seen a new Superman-only game hit shelves. Players could take on the role of Supergirl and show the world that female superheroes deserve as much attention and respect as their male counterparts.
Netflix has confirmed quite a few new Marvel superhero shows coming out this year, including the Defenders, plus individual shows for each of the four members: Luke Cage, Daredevil, A.K.A. Jessica Jones and Iron Fist. With the vast number of superhero shows now available and coming soon, we recognize it may not make sense for all of them to get their own shows. However, with the amount of cross-overs happening in all these shows, and the fact that they are happening in parallel worlds, there's so much potential for video games to fit in the mix. At the very least, we could always get another Lego video game.
Overall, with the growing trend of superhero movies, shows and video games, we would love to see a developer take on the challenge of translating current superhero television shows into games. We have no doubt, if done well, these games could be just as successful as titles like Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. We also think it would provide a great opportunity for superhero fans to expand their experience with the superhero characters they love.
Would you like to see developers make games based on superhero TV shows? What types of games would you like to see come from the shows? Sound off your ideas in the comments.