Marvel’s success with video games have been hit and miss over the years. For every great game like “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” or “Spider-Man 2,” there have been a dozen dumpster fires like “X-Men: Destiny” or “Fantastic Four.” One of the consequences of this limited success is that Marvel tends to only give the biggest names a chance to shine in the video game world, namely Spider-Man and the X-Men.
Marvel fans want so badly to see a game led by some of their favorite heroes that have so far been relegated to bit players in an ensemble or worse, a cameo appearance in a cutscene. With such a massive lineup of characters to choose from, it’s about time Marvel gives some of its heroes who have never led their own solo game a chance. Here are the top 15 Marvel heroes who need to get their own solo game.
Hawkeye might seem like one of those characters that, at first glance, seems like a risky character to center a video game around. He still hasn’t led his own solo movie and without the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a lot of people wouldn’t even know he exists. Furthermore, in a world full of games with characters wielding an entire arsenal of firearms, who would want to be stuck with just a simple bow and arrow?
However, recently games like the rebooted “Tomb Raider” series have proven that bow and arrow gameplay can be even more fun than guns and bombs. He’s not just the “arrow guy” either. With his hand-to-hand combat training with Captain America and swordsmanship skills, Marvel could create a well-rounded action RPG with him traveling the world as an Avenger or just defending his neighborhood from the mob, a la Matt Fraction and David Aja’s famous “Hawkeye” run.
14. BLACK WIDOW
Black Ops S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, deadly assassin, international super spy, Avenger: Natasha Romanova, the Black Widow, is probably one of the easiest characters to adapt to a solo video game. She’s a master combat tactician and martial artist as well as a weapons expert who has been known in the past to use a grappling hook for quick travel. Aside from that, she’s one of Marvel’s longest-running and most well-known characters, with a rich and interesting backstory that could be explored thoroughly in a video game.
Games like “Perfect Dark,” and “Uncharted” have set a solid foundation for what a good “Black Widow” game could be, combining the spy genre into an action RPG, with a touch of the supernatural that makes the Marvel Universe what it is. While the rebooted “Tomb Raider” franchise has had a lot of success, the video game industry still has a startling lack of good female-led material. With an already established universe and a well-known character, a “Black Widow” video game could be one of the first steps in changing that.
13. CABLE & BISHOP
Cable and Bishop are two of the most interesting characters in the entire X-Men lineup, but they’ve been sorely under-utilized in every medium except the comics. Bishop has the ability to absorb energy, like from Cyclops’ optic blasts or Gambit’s exploding cards and direct it back at enemies. Cable has extremely powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Both of them often wield massive futuristic energy weapons. What sets them apart from other characters in the Marvel universe is their use of time travel, which is an interesting story mechanic that’s largely absent from video games.
A Cable and Bishop video game would most likely be a first-person shooter or action RPG modeled around games like the “Timesplitters” series; that could see the characters hopping back and forth between the future and present-day, teaming up to stop an imminent threat in the war-torn future. Such a threat would most likely be caused by Apocalypse, who Cable’s life is centered around destroying.
Gambit is a fan-favorite character who has yet to make a really satisfying solo appearance in either a video game or a movie, but his unique skills and power set, combined with an interesting backstory and characterization, could make for a spectacular game. Gambit is primarily known for his trademark exploding playing cards, which he throws with deadly accuracy, but he can charge any non-organic material with kinetic energy, causing it to explode. This includes body armor, your braces or even a house if he wanted to.
Gambit was raised by the Thieves Guild in New Orleans from a young age. Their training, along with his powers over kinetic energy, give him incredible acrobatic skills, which, combined with a unique power set and the character’s cajun charm, could make for an insanely fun game, It could also finally spell the return of an intriguing character who hasn’t really gained back his popularity in any medium since he was cast out of the X-Men in 1997’s “Uncanny X-Men” vol. 1 #350 by writer Steve Seagle and pencilers Joe Madureira and Andy Smith.
An “Ant-Man” video game would be the most unique game on this list and, if done correctly, one of the most unique and interesting games of all time. Ant-Man’s powers come from his suit, which gives him the ability to shrink down to microscopic size, and later, to grow to the size of a skyscraper. It also gives him the ability to communicate with and control ants, which surprisingly makes him a pretty formidable opponent to anyone who crosses his path.
An “Ant-Man” focused video game could take notes from the character’s combat style in the MMORPG “Marvel Heroes,” where he can rapidly bounce from target to target like a rubber bullet and send swarms of fire ants against his enemies. More importantly, it could create an interesting world to explore as the story requires you to change size, fighting carnivorous spiders and animals while you’re tiny or giant, city-destroying monsters while you’re giant-sized.
In 2016, Marvel launched a new team of superheroes in “Champions” #1 by writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, consisting of Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, Hulk, Viv Vision and Cyclops, all of whom are next generation iterations of characters. That is only part of why Marvel needs to give them their own video game. Marvel has had a lot of success with their core heroes that all date back to the ’60s, and while the comics have been introducing new and popular characters all the time, they often never make it out of the comics due to a fear of broad audiences rejecting them.
Each individual character might make a successful game on their own, but introducing them all at once to the video game world would give a broader appeal to audiences and make for a great new team-based Marvel game that wasn’t the X-Men. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a video game with a team led by a female Muslim character, considering neither demographic is very well-represented in the medium, despite the fact that Muslims and females play video games in equal measure to non-Muslim males.
The Inhumans seem to be Marvel’s pet project lately with the extreme popularity of the MCU, and not being allowed to include the X-Men in that universe. The Inhumans have essentially taken the place of mutants in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and soon, the royal family of Attilan will get some time in the spotlight with an “Inhumans” tv series. With Marvel doing its best to replace the X-Men with the Inhumans, could they replicate the massive success of “X-Men” video games with “Inhumans” games?
The royal family includes Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Triton, Gorgon, Crystal, Maximus the Mad and their dog, Lockjaw; but so far, the only member of the royal family that has ever been a playable character in a console video game was Black Bolt in “Lego Marvel Superheroes.” However, with the tv show dropping in 2017, you can probably expect to see a lot more of them from now on.
8. BLACK PANTHER
Black Panther is the most dangerous man alive and unlike many Marvel heroes, he has no problem with killing his enemies, so long as they deserve it. His suit has razor-sharp claws on the fingertips and is made out of vibranium, the same indestructible metal that’s in Captain America’s shield. He’s a master of several real-life forms of martial arts including Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga and Muay Thai.
Aside from fantastic combat potential, one great aspect that a “Black Panther” solo video game could bring to Marvel games is the setting. Though Black Panther has spent time fighting alongside the Avengers in New York, his primary location is in his kingdom of Wakanda. A technologically super-advanced nation in Africa, complete with all the deadly animals of the African jungle, as well as dangerous cults and the constant threat of attack from rival nations, Wakanda would be a rich setting to explore in what would undoubtedly be an incredible actioner starring the Black Panther.
7. CAPTAIN MARVEL
Captain Marvel has been steadily gaining popularity in the comics since Carol Danvers took the name in 2012, but the character has actually been around since 1968. Soon, she’ll be given even more mainstream attention with the release of a “Captain Marvel” movie in 2018. This makes it the perfect time to give Captain Marvel her own solo video game, as she could be poised to take over Captain America’s spot as leader of the Avengers, with rumors that Chris Evans will be stepping down in the MCU.
Her power set essentially makes her like Marvel’s version of Superwoman, with superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, flight and energy blasts. She also spends a lot of time in the Marvel cosmic corner of the universe, which means a game focused on the character could see her on Earth or in space, or ideally a combination of the two. This is another instance where a female-led video game could provide some diversity to video games, and if the movie is as successful as the MCU’s other properties, fans will be clamoring for a video game.
There’s some current debate about Nova among Marvel fans right now. Like so many Marvel heroes lately, the original Nova has been replaced by a new teenaged character, and a lot of fans prefer the original incarnation. The Nova Corps came to the MCU in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” so it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing Nova himself sometime soon; however, the question remains, will it be the original Richard Ryder or the new Sam Alexander?
The same question would hold true for a “Nova” video game, but regardless of which version they use, Nova needs his own video game. The Nova helmet gives them access to the Nova Force, which grants warp speed flight, super strength and durability, energy projection, telekinesis and the ability to breathe both underwater and in space. There’s not a single corner of the Marvel universe that a “Nova” game couldn’t explore, and with open worlds in games getting more and more expansive all the time, Marvel has a chance to create an incredible experience with the character.
5. MOON KNIGHT
Moon Knight is often compared to Batman of the DC universe, and that’s a fair comparison. Both of them are billionaire playboys with a small army’s arsenal of technology and weapons at their disposal. Both of them are masters of hand-to-hand combat, who roam the streets at night beating thugs and criminals to a bloody pulp, and both of them have clear monochromatic color preferences. However, there are a few key differences that would make for a drastically different video game experience between the two.
First, Moon Knight has no problem killing or mutilating his enemies, going so far as to cut off his nemesis Bushman’s face in 2006’s “Moon Knight” #2 written by Charlie Huston and illustrated by David Finch. Second, Moon Knight is completely insane. Not only does he have at least three distinct personalities, but he’s driven by religious fervor in the Egyptian god, Khonshu, who uses Moon Knight as his fist to deliver vengeance upon the scum of the world. He’s also been known to hallucinate both people and places, so just imagine the trippy, twisted, brutal game we would get from “Moon Knight.”
4. IRON FIST
There’s a sorry lack of martial arts based action RPG games that don’t mostly revolve around the use of weapons. “Iron Fist” could get around this issue because Danny Rand is “The Living Weapon.” Aside from being the world’s greatest martial artist, he can focus his chi giving him greatly intensified strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, durability and agility. His most well-known feat is focusing the chi into his fist (the “Iron Fist”), turning it into a destructive force. However, performing this act tends to leave him very physically drained.
With the Netflix series releasing recently to what could delicately be called “mixed reviews,” Marvel may have to do something big to revitalize interest in the character before the second season. The budget of a tv show may not allow for more wild and mystical aspects of the “Iron Fist” story — like his defeating an immortal dragon to gain his powers — so there are aspects that a video game could easily explore that would be too expensive to shoot for Netflix.
3. ROCKET & GROOT
Your first thought upon reading this suggestion might be “why not all of the Guardians of the Galaxy?” The reason we’re focusing solely on Rocket Racoon and Groot here is two-fold. First, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” have a game coming out in 2017 from Telltale, so it’s kind of cheating; and second, the strengths of Rocket and Groot would probably be somewhat diminished in a full ensemble game and neither character would be properly done justice if the studio uses Star-Lord as the clear star.
The beauty of Rocket and Groot is how well they complement each other. Rocket is a small, fast-talking, gun-toting, explosion-loving rodent. Groot is a huge, super-strong and super-durable tree creature. Imagine the ability to switch between one character loaded with guns and bombs and the other who can take tons of damage while he bashes enemies with extendable wooden limbs. Putting aside their abilities, the characters were clear fan favorites in their MCU debut, and centering a video game around them would promise an action-packed, hilarious story set in space. The possibilities are endless.
Storm is possibly the only entry in this list that might work better as a video game than any other medium. She’s almost always a minor teammate on the X-Men, but with the possible exception of Professor X and the Phoenix, she’s by far the most powerful and dangerous. Ororo Monroe has the ability to control the weather in such a way that she could level a city with a simultaneous tornado and hurricane, while striking individual people with lightning.
Despite these god-like powers, she’s rarely been given the chance to shine as a solo hero. It took nearly 40 years on the X-Men before she finally got her own 4-issue limited book, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Terry Dodson. Then it was another 10 years before she got another limited series written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Victor Ibanez and Scott Hepburn, and despite widespread acclaim, it ended at issue 11. Imagine being able to create thunderstorms and tornadoes to destroy your enemies at the press of a button playing as Storm.
1. DOCTOR STRANGE
This may be the first time in history that a “Doctor Strange” game is actually a feasible idea. Even five years ago, the graphics and capabilities of video games would have left Doctor Strange fans kind of disappointed, no matter how much effort the developers put into it. This is the Sorcerer Supreme we’re talking about here, with an infinite supply of magic and fantastical enemies that transcend dimensions.
For the first time, the latest generation of gaming consoles may provide the range of abilities and possibilities that make the character so fascinating, and could provide a game unlike anything we’ve seen before. Picture “The Witcher 3,” but focused solely on magic and set in realms that defy physics and logic. If they took visual cues from the 2016 film, you could get the most visually stunning game ever created. With the film’s popularity, even a half-decent attempt would make millions for Marvel.
Which Marvel character do you want to play as in a video game? Let us know in the comments!