DCnU Media: 10 Titles Now Ripe for Games, Movies, & TV1 of 12Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor
The world of the DC Comics Universe is changing in September. Some books are changing in big ways with new allegiances, shifted histories, and even characters that are up and disappearing entirely. Some are just moving a little to the left or a little to the right, but generally keeping their bigger stories going from the months prior.
Whether the changes are big or small, however, they're being done for a very big reason: to bring in new fans. DC isn't resting on their laurels and just keeping the current folks around, they want new readers, new watchers, and new players of their superheroic stories. With a relaunch designed around making characters more iconic and more accessible, that should also mean these properties are more easily adapted to other mediums.
Some of these properties seem more ready than others for the realms of Video Games, Movies, and Television. To that end, we decided to play Chief Creative Officer, pull out ten of our favorites, and offer our own slight suggestions on how to take them into the hands, eyes, and minds of far more people than are currently consumed by DC's comic books.
Click Start here to see some of our suggestions, then click over and tell us yours!
ALL-STAR WESTERN2 of 12OK, sometimes a very popular game comes out, and other game makers rush to clone it with their own little twist (or sometimes without the twist, which is why we have bad games). If you take Red Dead Redemption, replace the protagonist with Jonah Hex, and put it in a fledgling Gotham City, you have yourself a damn fine video game.
Hex can gunsling, do a little detective work, ride horses, blow stuff up, and even find little clues and shout-outs to the future of the DC Universe along the way. Get Palmiotti and Gray to write the game, and it'll have that certain sensibility an outlaw cowboy needs to keep the story clicking.
Hex deserves a real movie, too, but after the atrocity that hit theaters all-too-recently, we'll have to wait a bit for that one. Still, that game idea does sound pretty fun, doesn't it?
THE LANTERN CORPS3 of 12This game isn't really necessitated by the relaunch, but it is a way DC could play with a franchise in a completely different way. With essentially 7 armies full of light-wielding characters now, why not do a "War of Light" real time strategy game? If you want to go easy you can do two factions, using green, blue, and violet vs red, orange, and yellow. Or each can be completely independent. Or each can be certain types of units. You can even have "hero" units like Guy, John, Sinestro, etc. It's a unique way to expand on the idea of making games out of comics, and a genre of games that has never been used for comic book characters.
The various Lantern Corps would have been a neat way to more thoroughly explore the mythos for the masses in animated form, as well. Why limit yourself to just green when you have the freer reign of animation? Start with "Tales of the Corps" highlighting a leader and a "hero" from each, then get into how they all interact.
FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E.4 of 12With so many covert organizations in the DCnU, can't at least ONE of them get a decent spy shooter made out of it? With a character like Frankenstein, you have the bonus of using super strength, pulling in his other monster pals, and really bucking the trend by putting a literal monster in the role of a James Bond type. It may seem a little out there, but that's the point. While most people probably don't even know that DC has a version of Frankenstein's Monster as a superhero, they sure as heck recognize the character himself; it would be a way to pull people into the world of DC comics in a bit of a...covert action.
This could work equally well as a film series, if it hadn't already kinda been done with Hellboy. If you make this more of a spy thriller than a detective one though, DC could still set themselves apart with this franchise.
NIGHTWING5 of 12Take Batman, subtract the broody, up the speed, make him lithe, young, dashing, brash, funny, and romantic, and you have Nightwing. Now why the heck can't that be a video game pitch all on its own? Take the basic framework of the Arkham series and add on some cool free-running mechanics, acrobatic moves, and a little lighter story (maybe even a multi-city globe-trotting adventure?). You can easily show people how it's not just Batman that's cool, but his extended family. Now that Barbara Gordon is returned to Batgirl, why not throw her in there as both a love interest and a second playable character? Oh, and for main villain? We gotta go with Two-Face. "Nightwing & Batgirl: Two Sides of the Coin" or some such title just sounds good.
Nightwing is another character that could be served well with some animated presence. He appeared in the Red Hood direct-to-dvd feature, so broad-base fans know who he is. Maybe this is a character we could play with digitally a bit. Do some digital shorts, and even make that itself a bit of a game, where you have to chase down clues (maybe even in the real world, via QR codes on things like Nightwing comic books look, it's a way to get fans to directly read comics off of multimedia!); the clues then unlock the next short for the next part of the story. Make it downloadable on Xbox Live and PSN as well as the web and via iOS apps. Call it "Batman's Protégé Nightwing" if you must, and get this character in front of some other eyes.
JUSTICE LEAGUE6 of 12No, we don't want a fighting game crossing over with another franchise. No, we don't want a game with essentially 2 characters and a few re-skins and extremely linear gameplay. No, we don't want a Green Lantern (or any of the other big characters) that can't freaking fly. So what do we want out of a Justice League game?
While many hold up the X-Men: Legends and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance franchise as the gold standard, those games weren't without their flaws. They also just plain may not work for a team like the Justice League. The biggest thing the Justice League needs to do is fight massively strong threats in situations that none of these individual gods can handle, and have each one play completely differently with their own strengths. If you're thinking MMO, you're in the right general direction, but we'd want it limited to just MO - a seven player online game that puts you and six of your friends in the Justice League uniforms ready to take on the biggest threats to the Earth. This way, you can let players both play together and separately.
Aquaman needs to go off and complete a task underwater, Green Lantern needs to disable a satellite in orbit, Batman goes off to create a new device, and Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg keep the big bad busy in the meantime. Let different missions be tailored a little more toward a different 2 or 3 who go off to complete individual goals in order to wind up helping the team, and you have an immense variety of gameplay and a game that serves a good Wonder Woman game, a good Flash game, a good Green Lantern game, all while being a great Justice League.
As for film or TV, film is clearly the way to go with these larger-than-life characters, but no, we don't think the shared universe solo-then-team model that Marvel has been using would work. Here you need to simply say "Here's this team, let's go to work." The pitch is all-out war. Whether it's the full might of an army of Brainiac robots a la DC Universe Online, or an invading Thanagarian alien army of winged super-soldiers, the threat has to be bigger than the League itself, and has to be present from the very beginning. While Marvel films can do, and have done, nuance and character building (which DC has also done with the Batman franchise of late), overall DC's approach should be just the opposite. Make a big-budget all-out action flick, and watch the kids say how cool the Justice League is again.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS7 of 12Yeah, you read that right. First or third-person 3-player squad based shooter. One player is Red Hood, complete with Batman gadgets and guns. One is Arsenal, with a complement of trick arrows and oh yeah, guns. One is Starfire, the gorgeous alien princess who doesn't need no f*@#in' guns, cause she shoots energy out of her damn hands. This is a tough group who goes out fighting militias and supervillains alike in crazy battles that could put "Call of Duty" to shame.
This is what DC needs to do with its superhero properties: think outside the box a little bit. With FPS being sales juggernauts, why not put some of their actual heroes into one? 3rd person action-adventures are all well and good, but giving fans a little variety in how they consume their DC Entertainment is only going to be a good thing. If any property has potential to be outside-the-box, why not one that's already that in the comic book world?
And yes, DC, if you feel like you need to slap "Batman" on the cover in name or image, go ahead and do it!
This also seems like a natural extension for something in animation, since we already have all three characters well-known in one animated form or another. But please, for either of these, fix Starfire's freaking costume.
BLUE BEETLE8 of 12Side-scrolling platformer-shooter. I mean come on, the guy already looks and acts like Mega Man, might as well rock it, right?
Aside from the extremely easy-to-make downloadable video game pitched above, this is probably the DC character that would best fit a new TV series. With the family-friendly approach, you have a Peter Parker style character who is updated for the modern American family. Jaime Reyes is a great "everykid" sort, who lives the dream of having superpowers, and also finds out how much work it is. Dealing with adventures in high school, budding hormones and romance, jealous friends, and intergalactic war, this could be the superhero-in-high-school show that Smallville never quite was.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES9 of 12Now, you may say "but Legion is barely even changing!" and you'd be right. For once, Legion of Super-Heroes really isn't rebooting. However, we're here to pitch some new ideas, and this one is just too good: LSH: The RPG.
With a large cast, a role playing game would be an easier way to juggle the many characters in the crew. Play with time-travel, throw in some guest stars from present day DCU for recognizability, and let these young characters assemble and go on an epic journey 1,000 years in the making. The variety and flashiness of the powers fits perfectly into RPG tropes, and time-hopping makes a three-act structure a breeze. Let a company like BioWare handle the game, and you can have conversations that delve into the deep relationships built between these characters over the last several decades in comics, with enough fan service to bring in comic readers and enough intrigue to make the gamers want to read the source material.
Legion of Super-Heroes doesn't get the respect it deserves as a deep, entangled franchise equally full of excitement, heavy hitters, and heavy drama. An RPG could show that off nicely, and would be great to tie in to a fresh #1.
As far as movies or TV goes? Well, there was an animated series a bit ago; maybe waiting and doing a direct tie-in to the game, full on anime style by Gonzo or a similar production company?
WONDER WOMAN10 of 12For gosh sake if not now, when?!
OK, with that out of the way, it sounds like Wonder Woman's new position under writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang will be one of a mythical nature once again. With popular films like "The Lord of the Rings" or massive-sellers like "God of War," why on Earth can't anyone seem to make a Wonder Woman pitch stick?
You see, all you say is, "So there's this woman, born of the magic of ancient Greek Gods, and she comes to our world to protect us from all that would harm us. She has most of Superman's powers, and she's stunningly gorgeous." How is that not a movie pitch right there?
In games, maybe this is the chance to do right what most Superman games have done wrong. You have better, more recognizable foes in Greek gods and monsters. You have a not-quite-as-invincible power set, and the possibility of using weapons. Unlockable costumes? Yeah, she's got a few. Set her in a "God of War" style third person action-adventure, and let Diana be a freaking warrior for once, and people would eat that up. You could even stretch the game out a bit, adding things like interrogation sequences with the lasso of truth, or sections that require lightning fast reflexes for blocking bullets and shattering jaws.
There are a million reasons to have a Wonder Woman game or movie; we're just touching the tip of the proverbial lost island of Amazons here.
AQUAMAN11 of 12Thanks to a simplified pitch: "Aquaman, former king of the sea fights purely for the people and his family, not for the throne," Aquaman #1 has some of the most potential of any of the DCnU 52 titles in September.
When making a game for a character like Aquaman, you need to keep it simple. With a big trident, the ability to call in sea creatures, super strength and super speed underwater, you have the makings of an incredible video game. Exploring the depths of the oceans while you fight Black Manta and his goons, the right game developer could have an incredible time playing with undersea mechanics, letting you control this man/fish. Think "Ecco the Dolphin" with updated 3D graphics and superpowers, and you're on the right track.
The drama is ripe for a movie as well. You have the brother who wants nothing more than to usurp the throne. You have the wife that kicks as much (if not more) ass than the main character. You have a surrogate son...who is the son of your worst enemy. These are amazing classic tropes that any screenwriter should be able to have a field day with.
Aquaman is commonly known as the "joke" member of the Justice League, and this is the perfect time to show fans, be they comic book readers, video gamers, or movie goers, why that's simply not true.
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