Video games based on comic book properties have been around for years. Being one of the biggest publishers in comics, DC has released numerous games. Many of the early ones have faded into obscurity (who knew there was a Swamp Thing title?) and surprisingly it took a long time before one was critically acclaimed. That game was of course Batman: Arkham Asylum. This landmark game started the Arkham series with its sequel, Arkham City, being hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. Since then there has been a few other notable titles, such as Injustice: Gods Among Us and the free-to-play DC Universe Online.
There has been the occasional odd game out, such as Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (though many want to forget that game exists) and the Constantine tie-in to the 2005 film. There was also the fun Teen Titans game based on the 2003 show. These detours, however, seem to be rare, as DC has generally played it safe. With the company's recent 'Rebirth' initiative and the start of a film universe, now is a good time to branch out in the video game landscape. There are quite a few characters that would be excellent candidates for their own games. Likewise, there are also characters who might be better suited to a secondary role. This list will take a look at 8 DC Characters Who Should Have Their Own Game And 7 That Shouldn't.
15 Should: Green Arrow
Starting off this list is a character well known today thanks to an ongoing show on the CW. Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, has been around since the early 40s. Since his debut in More Fun Comics, Arrow has appeared in numerous stories. He was also the very first hero to appear in Justice League Unlimited and got his own short animated film in 2010.
Mr. Queen has appeared in quite a few video games, but never in a starring title. There are not many protagonists who use a bow and arrow, which is just one reason of many why the archer deserves his own title. Oliver is more often than not an engaging protagonist that uses intense long range combat and up close fighting styles. The grounded, street level aspect brings a sense of realism to the superhero story. There are obvious Batman influences when it comes to Green Arrow, but enough differences to make it a unique, compelling title. That's why Rocksteady, the studio behind the successful Batman: Arkham series, would make the most sense to develop a game centered on the archer. It would be thrilling to see what they could do with putting bow and arrow gameplay at the center (using the boxing glove arrow would be a great guilty pleasure) mixed in with their signature stealth-based gameplay seen in the Arkham installments.
14 Shouldn't: Harley Quinn
It's easy to pinpoint popularity surges for some characters. The rest, however, are nearly impossible. One such character is Harley Quinn. Introduced in the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, Harley would go on to become a mainstay in the comics and eventually a member of the Suicide Squad. She was always popular, but in recent years that popularity has sky-rocketed to the point where she's even more popular than The Joker himself. Of course, having that kind of popularity doesn't mean a video game has to made about the character.
Harely Quinn works best when there's other characters around her. In the Suicide Squad film, she was special because she stood out in comparison with the rest of the cast. There's already a current Injustice comic series from her perspective, so we don't need a video game solely focusing on her as well. Plus, as iconic as her voice is, it would probably get annoying after playing for a few hours.
13 Should: Shazam
Captain Marvel Shazam is one of the original superheroes, debuting all the way back in 1940. Like Wonder Woman, he has something of a Greek background (the courage of Achilles, the strength of Zeus). With his own film coming up, and the fact that he's appeared in a very low number of games, Shazam is an excellent candidate for getting his own starring adaption.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect about Shazam is that he's actually a kid named Billy Batson. The gameplay could be divided between the grand Shazam gameplay and the more subdued perspective from Billy. There could be an emotional touch to the narrative because Billy has a history in the foster care system.
To mix things up, the game could feature other members of the Marvel family such as Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. for local multiplayer. Shazam has been portrayed more as a joke character in recent media, so a game bringing him back to his former glory would be welcome.
12 Shouldn't: Jonah Hex
The Western genre seems to be less popular these days not only in films, but in video games as well. Jonah Hex has enjoyed a pretty good amount of popularity as perhaps the most notable Western superhero. Unfortunately his film from 2010 is known as one of the worst comic book movies of all time. A video game would definitely be better, but with something called Red Dead Redemption (and its upcoming sequel), a Jonah Hex game doesn't need to happen at the moment.
It would be hard -almost impossible- for a Jonah Hex game not to be compared to Red Dead Redemption. There's only so much one can do in this genre without it looking identical to one another. Perhaps first DC can look into making Jonah Hex a playable character in something, because he has to this day not appeared in any video game. Once Red is over, then the time would be right to adapt Hex's engaging backstory for a game.
11 Should: The Flash (Barry Allen)
Back in the early 2000s, Wally West was the most well known version of the Scarlet Speedster, mainly thanks to the critically acclaimed Justice League cartoon. Nowadays, however, Barry Allen is back to being in the spotlight, which is thanks to the current CW show and the fact that he's been the main Flash in the comics for over six years. Zooming through Central City is too good of a concept not to use in a game.
The closest we've gotten to a Flash console game might be a 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title. That level of speed transferred to the more realistic look of The Flash's world would be a treat. We've seen some fast-paced Flash gameplay in the game Justice League Heroes, which serves as a prototype to what we could see today. A sandbox Central City with the title character running around could give us the most fun open world comic book game since The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.
10 Shouldn't: Plastic Man
Plastic Man has been around since the Golden Age of comics and his stories are usually on the comedic side.(He even had his own show called The Plastic Man Adventure/Comedy Show. Typically portrayed as a joke character, Plastic Man is fun to have around to lighten the mood. He hasn't had his own comic title though in a long time and for good reason: he just isn't interesting when he's solely the focus.
There just isn't enough in the Plastic Man world to justify a video game starring him. At best, Plastic Man could star in a low budget small console beat 'em up. But we don't need that. Instead, NeatherRealm Studios should look into including him in Injustice 2. His elastic powers would make make him a unique fighter.
9 Should: Rorschach
Watchmen is known as not only one of the greatest graphic novels, but also one of the greatest works of 20th-century fiction. One of its central characters is the vigilante, Rorschach. His ruthless justice and views on morality makes him a fascinating character to read. Out of all the characters in Watchmen, a game narrative focusing solely on him could be the most interesting.
There's a lot of unexplored backstory in Watchmen, so there's the opportunity for numerous stories taking place before the graphic novel. A game focusing on one or several of Rorschach's journal entries could make for a great way to expand on the character and the Watchmen universe as a whole. Telltale Games would be the perfect company to deliver an engaging narrative exploring the psyche of Rorschach and the grim world he fights. Also the aesthetic, episode nature, and decision-making system of Telltale are just a few more reasons why Rorschach would be the perfect character to see adapted.
8 Shouldn't: Robin (Damian Wayne)
It's interesting to think that Damian Wayne, Batman's son, has been around for over 10 years. Since his debut, he has appeared in numerous comics and a few of the DC animated films. His backstory makes him an interesting character, but the last thing we need is a video game starring him.
Damian is often portrayed as extremely obnoxious and rebellious. Yes, it's part of his character arc having been under Talia al Ghul and The League of Assassins. But after all this time he's grown tiresome. He could work as a partner to Batman in an adaption of the Batman and Robin comic series from 2009 (Namely the disturbing first arc with Professor Pyg). A Telltale Series adaption could be a great way to explore the dynamic between Bruce/Damian and Dick Grayson/Damian.
7 Should: Wonder Woman
It wouldn't be a stretch to call Wonder Woman one of the most well known comic book heroes in the world. Debuting in 1941, she has gone on to appear in many stories, TV shows, and finally in her own overdue live action film this year portrayed by Gal Gadot. That's why it's shocking she has yet to star in her own video game title.
It might be even more shocking to learn that there have been very few female-led comic book based games. The most well known might be the Catwoman film tie-in from 2004, which was obviously not a high budget game. A Wonder Woman game on today's consoles would look outstanding. She has a rich Greek mythology backdrop, which be a nice change of pace when compared to the more grounded world of the Arkham series. Her homeland Themyscira would give the setting a God of War-like look. There's a ton of potential for the gameplay. Wonder Woman has Superman-like strength, something that has yet to be seen in full glory on a console. Of course, using her bracelets to block bullets and throwing her tiara as a boomerang would also make for excellent mix-ups in the gameplay. Out of all the characters on this list, a Wonder Woman game could be the most grand.
6 Shouldn't: Supergirl
Supergirl's inclusion in this list is a bit tricky. She has been in numerous comics, some animated shows, her own movie and a current successful series on the CW. She's a great character, so why shouldn't she (yet) get a video game? It's quite simply because her cousin has yet to get a definitive game.
Superman's video game history is a bit tragic. His Nintendo 64 appearance (which was titled Superman: The New Adventures) is known as one of the worst video games of all time. Shadow of Apokolips for the GameCube was decent and so was the Superman Returns adaption, but few would call those games great. As shocking as it may be, the Man of Steel to this day has not had a critically acclaimed game like Arkham City. So, before any other character with the 'S' insignia gets their own game, first Superman needs to get his definitive installment.
5 Should: James Gordon
Commissioner James Gordon has remained one of the most important characters in the Batman universe (Recently in the comics he even became the Dark Knight when Bruce Wayne lost his memories). Currently he's the main star on FOX's Gotham show. These reasons and more are why the Commissioner deserves his own video game title.
There haven't been many games focused in a police department. A narrative about Gotham City from the GCPD's point of view would be something unique. The comic book series Gotham Central did an excellent job portraying that kind of narrative. Wouldn't it be great to see a story like "Soft Targets" (a Joker attack from the perspective of Gordon and the department) adapted? Exploring Gordon as a character and the GCPD (what does each officer think of Batman and the corrupted city?) makes for an interesting plot line. A third person perspective could work, though the Telltale Series' episodic take would be stellar as well.
4 Shouldn't: Jason Todd
Jason Todd has one of the more tragic backstories in comics. Originally the second Robin, he was brutally beaten to death with a crowbar by The Joker in the famous Death in the Family arc. In 2005's Under the Hood storyline, Jason was resurrected and began a reign of vigilante terror in Gotham City as Red Hood. Nowadays he's portrayed more as an anti-hero and leader of a group called The Outlaws.
Jason has an interesting character arc, but it has been best viewed from Batman's point of view, such as in the film Under the Red Hood and the game Arkham Knight. If a proposed game were to feature Jason Todd as an anti-hero, there would be little point as he's basically just a more violent version of Batman who uses little of the Dark Knight's gadgets, opting for more of the generic shotguns and missile launchers. It would be difficult to make a game not unlike what we've seen recently in third person shooters and the Arkham series.
3 Should: Batman (1966)
Flashback 10 to 20 years ago and you would be hard-pressed to find a Batman fan with kind words for the 1966 Adam West series. Today, however, the show is more fondly remembered, as there's a successful ongoing comic series based on it, (the dynamic duo battled the Green Hornet and currently they're teaming up with Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman!) and recently there was the animated film Return of the Caped Crusaders which brought back West and Burt Ward for the voice work. That's why now is the perfect time for a video game based on the classic show.
The Batman games have almost always been on the darker side (Two of the most recent ones were rated M). An installment based on the 1966 show would be a fun change of pace. The closest to it is probably The Brave and the Bold adaption from 2010. A 1966 adaption could take it to the next level, complete with the iconic "BAM!" and "POW!" word bubbles appearing when the Dynamic Duo strike a foe. "Holy video games Batman!" Robin would be shouting right now.
2 Shouldn't: Booster Gold
Similar to Plastic Man, Booster Gold is often portrayed as a joke character (Though to a lesser extent). Unlike Plastic Man, he has an interesting backstory having been from the future. There's definitely some game potential, but it would work better as a Brave and the Bold team-up.
Sometimes characters aren't strong enough to hold a long narrative, but together things work. A team up between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle for example would be fun (In fact, a series of game focusing solely on two characters could be a fantastic idea). Local multiplayer has been sometimes dropped recently in favor of online play (Just look at Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z.). A game featuring a unique character like Booster Gold and another character would be a great way to deliver a different comic book game with an emphasis on teaming up with a sibling or another person in close proximity.
1 Should: Captain Carrot
Anthropomorphic animals have always been big pieces of pop culture. Marvel has Howard the Duck and DC has Captain Carrot. A sort of Bugs Bunny Superman, Captain Carrot led a team of talking animals called The Zoo Crew back in the early 80s in a short-lived comic series. In modern day, he was seen recently in Convergence and Multiversity. He was also a founding member of a team of multi-verse heroes called Justice Incarnate. Honestly...who wouldn't want a game with this guy?
Captain Carrot has come out from obscurity these last couple of years. With a lack of Looney Tunes presence these days, now the time is right for a game starring the captain and his Zoo Crew pals. Taking on foes such as Frogzilla and The Egg From Space, Carrot would make for a thrilling, humorous adventure. The game could work as a self parody, or pretend to take itself seriously. Outside the LEGO Batman series, there haven't been many all-ages comic book games. Captain Carrot could make for a bright, 4 player co-op adventure for the whole family to enjoy.