The Marvel universe has transcended its popularity among core comic book fans, and become a household name within the last few years. Much of this is attributed to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but a lot of the credit can also be placed upon other multimedia projects as well, specifically in the video game industry. The mighty minds at Marvel have begun taking even the gaming scene by storm, with blockbuster hits like Marvel's Spider-Man and the recent Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. This will continue with the new announcement of a partnership between Skydance New Media and Marvel Entertainment.
Acclaimed video game director Amy Hennig, who's responsible for the Uncharted franchise, is working on this new Marvel project, which immediately generates excitement. There has been no confirmation as to what Marvel property Amy and her team at Skydance New Media will be tackling, but rumors have suggested that it will be a Daredevil game. The man without fear brings with him tons of potential for narrative, tone, and visual style. At the end of the day though, the gameplay is key to success in this medium, so below are a few games with mechanics and features that Skydance New Media should look to for inspiration.
An aspect of Daredevil that sets him apart from other superheroes is that he's blind, and relies on heightened senses to fight crime in New York City. In the comic books, this augmented ability has often been called a "radar sense," meaning that Daredevil can't technically see, but objects and sounds give off enough sounds and smell to paint a picture in his mind. This has been depicted in numerous ways both in the 2003 film starring Ben Affleck as well as the Netflix show starring Charlie Cox.
The 2017 horror title Perception may be the best place to look for how this could work as a game mechanic. In the game, the player controls a blind woman, who sees the world through a haunting blue hue, creating a visually stunning effect. It's doubtful this would be implemented for Daredevil's entire game, as it would likely be a third-person action game, but this would be the best inspiration for how to use the radar sense when it is utilized.
Assassin's Creed Unity
Daredevil may not be able to swing webs or leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he is extremely skilled in parkour and gymnastic abilities. These reflexes and agility allow him to prowl the rooftops and alleyways of Hell's Kitchen at night, watching for criminals down below. The most notable example of this kind of traversal in recent games would have to be the Assassin's Creed franchise, which has now been commonly associated with parkour acrobatics because of its impressive efforts.
While all have done a good job of making parkour fun in video games, it would have to be 2014's Assassin's Creed Unity specifically that made some impressive additions to these mechanics that would be perfect for Daredevil. Every movement has a good weight and sway to it, while the way main protagonist Arno grabs and arches around climbable objects is extremely lifelike. Even more importantly, were the animations and moves added for players to seamlessly descend buildings, something just as important as ascending for a superhero like Daredevil, who is still mostly a human being.
Insomniac nailed what it would feel like to fight as the wall-crawler with Marvel's Spider-Man, having plenty of superhero style and flair to each encounter. While Daredevil certainly has some of that comic book flashiness to his fighting prowess, he is a more gritty and grounded character than the wall-crawler. Not being enhanced by super strength, he hits much harder to ensure that his enemies hit the floor and stay down.
For this reason, Amy and her team would do well to look to other sources of inspiration for a combat system, and Sleeping Dogs may be just the right place. Daredevil is able to fight many opponents at once with a wide range of brutal martial arts, but he is also very resourceful, making good use of the environment around him to take cover and fight back. Sleeping Dogs' combat system featured a unique set of finishing moves tied to the environment itself, allowing players to smash enemies into walls or tables to bring them down.
Ace Attorney Franchise
This may seem like an odd inclusion at first, but it's worth remembering that Daredevil isn't always a red-suited superhero flying off rooftops. By day, he is Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer of Hell's Kitchen. In order to add some variety to the overall experience and break away from the parkour and combat elements above, it may be wise for the team at Skydance New Media to consider tapping into this aspect of the character.
Perhaps the most famous law video game series is Ace Attorney, the long-running, wacky visual novel adventure mysteries. The investigation sections and eventual court cases in these titles are very thorough and complex, resulting in some very engaging storylines during the experience. Maybe Daredevil can't win every fight with just his fists and will need to tap into his ability as a lawyer as Matt Murdock to overcome some obstacles.
Skydance New Media's Marvel game is currently in development.
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