A reader is nonplussed over the lack of superhero games this generation and in particular the way Warner has handled DC Comics.
Just as it was a quiet E3 this year it seems to be a quiet San Diego ComicCon as well for 2019, at least from the perspective of where I’m writing on Friday morning. A lot of that has to do with Avengers: Endgame having just come up and there not being any new Marvel movies until next year now (baring any shock reveals at the Marvel panel on Saturday night). You might have thought that would be the perfect opportunity for DC and others to take advantage but as far as I know they don’t have anything to show either.
So, yes, film companies are just as bad as games publishers when it comes to taking advantage of an opportunity or any kind of forward planning. But when you combine film and games, well… then you get a kind of super-stupidity that stacks up into some of the most bizarre decisions I’ve ever seen from any so-called business. Or rather the complete lack of decisions.
One of the few big things at ComicCon so far has been Marvel’s games panel, which is literally the first year they’ve been able to have one because at last they have more than one console game coming at the same time. Much has been written about how weird it is that Marvel has ignored gaming for the last decade and is only now, slowly, starting to get into it – just as the original cast start to leave the movies (much like how the entire Star Wars sequel series is going to have been and gone before EA has a single dedicated game out about it).
This week it was revealed that Marvel’s Spider-Man has become the best-selling superhero game of all-time, which is such a minor achievement I’m surprised they even bothered to mention it. The only notable game it beat is Batman: Arkham City and the other Rocksteady games, a series that started just a year after the Marvel Cinematic Universe and seemed to put Warner Bros. (who own DC Comics) in the position to dominate superhero video games just as Marvel dominates superhero movies.
And what happened? They made four Batman games (one of which they now pretend doesn’t exist, because Rocksteady didn’t make it) and didn’t do anything else except a couple of Mortal Kombat clones. No Superman game, no Wonder Woman game, no new Batman, no Suicide Squad, no Aquaman, nothing…
The studio that made Batman: Arkham Origins (the one Rocksteady like to pretend doesn’t exist) have gone this entire generation without making a single game, supposedly after having several ideas, including Batman and Suicide Squad games, cancelled. I mean, if you thought the DC movies had been badly managed then that’s nothing on the games. At least the movies actually exist!
Presumably, at some point before the next ice age, there will be new DC games that aren’t just Injustice but it’s been so long now that it’s almost certainly going to be Batman again and then we’ll be right back at square one. The Arkham games should have been the gateway to the whole DC universe and now even they’ve been forgotten and it’s almost as if they never existed.
There is the question of what Rocksteady is working on, which is rumoured to be some kind of multiplayer game, maybe something like Marvel’s Avengers, but that’s obviously going to be next gen now. Which means they will have gone half a decade at least between releasing a major new game, of any kind.
We hear a lot about entitled gamers, and I really hope that’s not how I’m coming across, but I really don’t know how this could’ve been handled any worse. These companies – and really Marvel has been just as bad up until the last year – are given a literal licence to print money and they’ve just let it sit there being ignored. It’s an act of management supervillainy that I will never understand.
By reader Roach
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