Rocksteady bid farewell to the Batman video game franchise after the release of Batman:Arkham Knight. Opening to rave reviews, the final chapter in the Arkham saga has lived up to its predecessors. The Arkham games have been critical acclaimed by fans and industry experts alike due to their excellent gameplay value, making the players feel as if they were really in the shoes of The Dark Knight.
Having done justice to Batman in the video game industry, Rocksteady would surely be turning towards new projects. Imagine if they choose to make a new game on our favorite wall crawler, Spider-Man!
Spider-Man has rarely been done justice since it first arrived in the video game industry on the Atari 2600 in 1982. With the rare exceptions of Spider-Man for PSX(2001), Spider-Man 2 for PS2(2004) and Ultimate Spider-Man(2005), most of the games based on Spidey have been half baked and half-hearted, some being movie merchandises hurried to the stores just to match with the release dates of movies they were licensed to or just poor creative choices and execution. This has led to us, the Spidey-fans being extremely thirsty for a truly excellent game based on The Spider-Man for a long long time.
So, here’s my idea of how it would be if Rocksteady developed a Spidey game:
1) It would have a darker storyline:
Spider-Man is well known for being one of the most light-hearted superheroes in the Marvel Universe, what with all the wise-cracking and sarcastic conversations he has with his foes, all the while beating them to a pulp. But despite all of that, deep down, Peter is a very troubled man indeed, he is a normal guy, who faces normal everyday problems, doing his best to protect the ones he truly loves. His story is sort of dark in a grounded, realistic sort of way. Rocksteady’s version should up the stakes for Spidey, making him fight for the ones he loves, making him fear for their safety, all the while the guilt of his previous failures weighing him down. Just like the Arkham games, the game should last the duration of one full day in the storyline, testing both the physical and mental prowess of Spider-Man to the ultimate level. If they can implement the same sense of drama and urgency as in the Arkham games, then gamers are in for a memorable experience. Which brings me to the next point.
2) Adapt the best of the Spidey mythos, all the while crafting an original story:
In his 50+ years of history, Spidey has been part of many memorable story-lines, both in the comic books and other media. Why not take some of the best of them and intertwine an original story around them!
One of my favorite parts of Batman: Arkham Asylum was the Scarecrow sequences. It really made us delve very deep into the mind of the Batman, and face his worst fears, his apprehension. For all the friendly neighbourhood image Spider-Man holds, he has also been part of some terrible tragedies in his lifetime. Bring them forward, make him face his worst fears.. How? Well remember the Gaines twins in the MTV Spider-Man Animated series, bring them back and have them play with Spidey’s mind, creating scenarios adapted from legendary spidey stories like ‘The Night Gwen Stacy Died’ and Uncle Ben’s death. Playing through these sequences will make players realise the fears and disappointments of Spidey like never before. Also, to show off the strength and experience of Spidey put him up against Kraven ala “The Last Hunt” scenario. Pitting spidey against all his arch-nemesis in one day in a sort of apocalypse ridden New York city would be the scenario Rocksteady are known to best deal with. Wind the story around one evil mastermind(More on that later) holding the city for ransom after getting hold of the symbiote and leading a city-wide infection. Ultimately round off the story with Aunt May finally knowing Peter’s secret identity, Peter being afraid of telling her this secret for so many years fearing the consequences is surprised that it brings the two of them even closer(Adapted from “The Conversation”).
3) One definitive Master-Mind:
Spidey has an excellent roster of super-villains, but none have as much depth as his arch-nemesis, Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin. Make him the center, the creator of all the chaos in the storyline. Grabbing hold of the symbiote, he will infect all the citizens of New York City, turning them into Venom-esque monsters(Thus also eliminating the worry of spidey ever hurting an innocent by-stander in game). Twist is, he has also developed an antidote inside the walls of Oscorp, demanding that all the citizens will be cured, only if Spidey unmasks himself to the public and gives himself up to the Goblin. That would be the ultimate prize for Osborn as he has forever wanted to eliminate Spidey once and for all.. Osborn will be calling all the shots and manipulating all the threads with the story ultimately converging towards an epic fight between the two sworn enemies.
4) Spidey will have his allies:
Just as he has his enemies, Spidey has also made his share of friends. With the city at risk and under siege, he will be receiving help from all corners. The likes of Black Cat, Moon-Knight, The Human Torch etc. Surprise ally? Venom! Eddie had apparently nothing to do with the symbiote invasion and is willing to help spidey in which ever way possible. Kind of like Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows. And make all of them playable characters! Spidey’s gonna have a long day, and he needs every sort of help he can get.
5) Implement the strengths of Spider-Man:
One of the reasons the Arkham games are so successful is because they made the players realize that they were in the boots of The Batman, doing things in ways that only Batman can. And that was achieved only by realising the strengths and abilities of Batman. Similarly, Spidey is an athletic, light footed wise-cracking superhero, he wont make his foes shiver in fear at the mere sight of him, but he can very well jump into a fight and rapidly prance around them, all the while throwing fluent strikes at them with great flair. That’s Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man game tried but miserably failed to implement stealth components into the game, and that is because Spidey doesn’t do a whole lot of hiding. Whenever he does, he either gets caught or jumps into confront the enemies face to face anyway. He depends on his speed and agility, and that should be better implemented to make Spidey feel in character. It would be so satisfying you enter a room full of 20 people and take them out rapidly all the while making Spidey crack stupid jokes! That’s the wall-crawler experience to the core! Another aspect is web-swinging, but mostly it has been handled well in the recent incarnations, so no worries there.
6) Make it open-world, but distinctive:
Spidey’s no stranger to open-world games, and there is nothing like swinging through the NYC streets at full speeds. But where developers of the past have erred is they have put very little importance on making every part of the city unique. We have got bland building textures, lazy designs, and the same NPC models strewn throughout the city. Rocksteady has shown us how they can bring life and detail to every part of Gotham City, and really the map of Arkham Knight is a very large one. New York is a very lively city, and Rocksteady can very well pay huge attention to even the little details which will enhance the experience in more ways than one.
7) Easter Eggs! Easter Eggs!:
A lots of winks and nudges throughout the game is Rocksteady’s signature style and will have hardcore gamers playing for months even after they have beaten the main story-line.