Much like video games, comics have a hidden depth that most people don’t see past the initial portrayal. Where from the outside games seem to be all Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto’s and zombies, comics seem to be about superhero with never-ending plots and…zombies. But being the contrarian I am, I must hate all things popular.
Comic inspired games have a chequered history, some “based”(the term is used loosely) on the source material and others based on movies based on comics. From the XIII game being related to the comic only with the most tenuous of links, to the spiritual adaptation of “A Serious House On Serious Earth” in “Batman Arkham Asylum”. Comics permeate sometimes without us even realizing it, and when they are obvious it is either terrible (looking at you Iron Man) or cancelled and forgotten. News like the Fables comic series becoming a game is a rarity, but astep in the right direction.
In the spirit of forward thinking here are six comics that I think should be made into video games. Now while these aren’t meant to be taken seriously due to issues such as money and fantastic things always being cancelled, it is always good to think “what if”. The majority of these ideas would be practically impossible, no company would take the risks. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun though, so here we go!
Written by Warren Ellis
By prolific comic writer Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan had a 60 issue run between 1997 and 2002. Following journalist Spider Jerusalem as he works for “The Word”, Transmetropolitan can best be summarised with the short phrase “Hunter S. Thompson in the future”. If by this point you are already lost and confused I suggest to do a quick bit a research into who that is.
This isn’t the usual image of the future though. It is the future if all of our dirtiest habits, kinks and desires became fine and were taken to the furthest extreme possible. Sesame Street becomes The Sex Puppets, drugs are legal with substance abuse is easily solvable and humans have begun turning into area 51 style aliens for sexual kicks and to become future-hipsters.
You would think this could be used to show a dark mirror to society and how our needs our desires lead to self-destruction. It is all played for laughs though, and Spider is a focus of rage and humour as we, the reader, explore this undated future world of ultimate perversion.
How Can You Not Love This Man Already?
So why not turn it into an open-world game? Exploring The City would be a joy. Walking the streets as Spider uncovering stories of perverted politicians and unreported murders could make a Transmetropolitan game one of the most imaginative adaptions ever made. Using his unique Bowel Disrupter (a gun that makes you crap-yourself), spreading a wave of chaos and angry terror could equal the Saints Row series.
If written by Ellis himself, the story could be a side-note to the original run, taking place sometime in the years Spider returns to The City. It would also make it one of the funniest and thoughtful open-world game scripts. His talent to equate these abstract futuristic tales to current events and trends would be a great chance to once again delve into one of the best comic series out there.
Written By Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has a hard earned reputation for being one of the world’s best living authors. This was earned through years pumping out book after book as well as one of the mediums most critically loved comics.
Sandman centres around Dream, one of the Endless, seven siblings that personify facets of life in the universe. Dream has ultimate power of all things to do with sleep. He creates our nightmares and the worlds we see as we slumber in his realm known as “The Dreaming”. In his domain he houses everything we imagine, including all the books we dream of writing in an endless library that continuously grows.
The Cast Features God’s, Mythical Creatures And Personifications Of Abstract Concepts
During the 75 issue run Gaiman set up this world of characters that show how dreams tick. Characters range from the bumbling Abel, brother to his murderous sibling Cain, or Lucien, confidant to Dream and Librarian. Instead of a game focusing on Dream himself however, why not try something, or someone, else. In more than one issue a “dreamer” enters the castle and meets the staff and the world, this could be the premise for a Sandman game.
Taking and approach similar to Dear Esther, the player would be a dreamer as they enter The Dreaming. Guided by the voice of Dream as they explore the ever changing world of the dream landscape, players could interact with the menagerie of characters to perhaps solve an issue with the dreaming. Cameo appearances would of course be rife, with fan favourite Death being centre-stage.
Given the nature of dreams it would be an amazingly surreal experience, with visuals ever shifting and a vibrant cast of characters. While it would have to be a rather short experience, much like Dear Esther or the Stanley Parable, it could be different with each playthrough. Perhaps an approach more similar to Proteus would better fit the world, allowing for multiple playthroughs to see it all.
Written By Brian Wood
With a more serious premise compared to the last two entries, DMZ follows Matty Roth as he lives in the demilitarised Zone of Manhattan island. Set during a civil war between the Free States Army and the remaining US government, Manhattan is where the war has ground to a halt, with the remaining civilians unable to escape. Trapped in a ruined city with nothing to do but wait out the war, the comic explores themes of Fox News style patriotism and media news manipulation.
Hard themes of survival and a unwinnable struggles cross over into the roguelike genre. This deeply challenging genre has yet to see a wider release outside of indie games on windows, with the very rare console port. What if a big publisher took a crack at creating a AAA with a fully explorable ruined New York. Scavenging for meals, safe places to sleep and avoiding roving gangs would be the core aims. Additional missions could be given out by key characters from the comic and give fans an extra window into Brian Wood’s world.
Another Journalism Related Comic. This One Features Less Drugs And Profanity. Yay!?!
Interacting with the various factions while avoiding specific areas would be similar to the STALKER series, with a more realistic twist. Go down the wrong road without the right protection, BOOM snipers. Go into the wrong building and get into a scuffle with another survivor.
While it wouldn’t follow the story of Matt Roth, it could take place in the time before he arrives in the DMZ. While New York has been done to death in games, it would be a twist on the oft-seen city at the centre of the world.