I signed up for the closed beta for the Marvel Heroes MMO which is coming out on June 4th of this year. The prospect of playing as these characters has gotten me in the mood to revisit some of my favorites from back in the day. When I was a kid, I collected X-Men, Spider-Man, Alpha Flight (Canada, fuck yeah!), Captain America, and a bunch of other stuff. The comic I loved the most however was the Man Without Fear; Daredevil.
Thanks to both the movie and games industry finally figuring out how to best capture superhero stories, we have entered an age where they are producing movies and games that not only capture the spirit of the source material, but are legitimately excellent works that stand up with the best the format has to offer. There’s Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, Batman games, … now it’s Daredevil‘s turn to get some love.
For those of you not familiar with the Daredevil saga, here’s a quick primer:
Matthew Murdock was raised in poverty in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. One day as a child, he saved someone about to be hit by a chemical truck. In the ensuing accident, his eyes are exposed to a chemical causing total blindness. His other senses however become super strong, and he also acquires a bat-like radar. He then grows up to become a lawyer by day and masked vigilante by night, effectively transforming himself into a 24-hour crimefighting entity. His more notable adversaries and peers include the Kingpin, Bullseye, and The Punisher — a frequent frenemy.
He’s appeared in a bunch of games over the years but has never been given the opportunity to star in his own adventure. Well, there was a GBA game that looks like a Bad Dudes clone and a cancelled PS2/XBox title, but neither are worth mentioning beyond this. Before you mention that movie with Ben Affleck? It was a hoax, it didn’t exist and it will not be spoken of. Fuck that movie and everyone involved with it.
For such an inherently fascinating character, it really is too bad nobody has made a proper Daredevil game. Let’s pretend that somebody were going to however, and ponder some developers that could do a great job of it.
In order to accurately capture what makes Daredevil a unique superhero amongst the legion of others is his defining trait; he is blind. A bold choice for a Daredevil game would be to have it in first-person mode with an aesthetic based more on sound and abstractions than realistic visuals. I was thinking about DICE as a possible developer on the strength of the free-running in Mirror’s Edge, but upon further review I think ACE Team might be a more interesting choice.
They know how to do melee combat and have a visual philosophy unlike anyone else out there. I would just love to see how they visually convey the perceptions of a blind superhero, just for the sheer thrill of seeing incredibly creative people stretch their minds.
This one is pretty self-explanatory really. Daredevil is about the closest thing to Batman in the Marvel Universe, and in many ways they operate in similar neighborhoods. Not only that, but their M.O. is similar as well — strike fear into the hearts of thugs by beating the ever-loving shit out of them on a regular basis. One of the most important features of a proper Daredevil game would be to get the combat right. His style is all about darting in and out of darkness, picking enemies off one at a time, and using misdirection and stalking to hunt them down.
I’m obviously not the only person to have come up with this idea, as one brilliant soul has created a mod for Arkham City. Check out this video above and tell me you wouldn’t want to play it:
While I’m not the biggest fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, I do think its free-running sections in an open world would be a wonderful template for a city environment. Instead of Renaissance Italy however, the projects of New York could be Daredevil’s playground.
Aside from his radar and heightened senses, he has no super powers so it’s important to create a world and navigation mechanic that is exciting but (somewhat) plausible. Using parkour-type mechanics in a modern urban environment could potentially capture the reckless-yet-graceful movements of the Man Without Fear.
This one is a little bit of a wild card, but after playing the Shank games as well as the stunningly realized Mark of the Ninja, I could see Klei taking the Daredevil license and knocking it out of the park. Their aforementioned titles have a beautiful comic book visual style to them, not to mention clever and inventive level design. I could easily see levels involving him trying to sneak into the Kingpin’s penthouse.
Hell, better yet, let’s see a version of the Elektra/Bullseye story arc that made Frank Miller famous. You’d have co-op possibilities, unique combat scenarios, and one of the best comic book stories ever told all wrapped up in a brilliant 2D package.
CD Projekt Red
One notable thing about Daredevil aside from his powers is that he gets down with the ladies. His list of ex-girlfriends includes some of the hottest and baddest women in comics: Elektra, The Black Widow, Typhoid Mary, Karen Page. That’s one of the things I always liked about him — he’s not some teenager or altar boy, he’s a man…with needs.
Thinking about this aspect of his character makes me think about another hero who wears red and has a way with the opposite sex: Geralt from The Witcher. Developer CD Projekt Red is working on Cyberpunk 2077, but why not try something like this afterwards? Daredevil has always been one of the more mature heroes out there, and perhaps a game featuring him might need that kind of touch. CDPR can certainly handle complicated combat scenarios, so it would be cool to see what they could do with this property.
I’m definitely excited about seeing how Gazillion Entertainment handles Daredevil in Marvel Heroes, but in the meantime it’s fun to dream that maybe there are devs who feel as passionately about him as I do. If ever there was a time to take this property and run with the devil, it’s now. Are there any other Daredevil fans out there? I’d be really interested to hear about your ideas for what kind of game would best suit it. Please leave a comment, and thanks for reading.