The turn of the century saw Marvel’s Daredevil character burst out of irrelevance thanks to the relaunch of the character from writer/filmmaker Kevin Smith. This resurgence, combined with the comic book movie boom thanks to the success of Fox’s X-Men and Sony’s Spider-Man, lead the character to get his own film starring future Batman, Ben Affleck. The film, though something I do enjoy despite knowing its problems and quality, did not push Daredevil into the multi-media crossover sensation like Spider-Man despite being a moderate box-office success ($179 millions against a $79 million budget,) and saw no sequel. On top of that, a console video game starring that would star the hero from publisher Encore would never see the light of day due to financial trouble within the company.
But that was then, and this is now. In the world of comics, Daredevil is enjoying a phenomenal award winning run from talented writer Mark Waid that recently received a relaunch push from publisher Marvel, and now that the film rights of the character have reverted back to the mega successful Marvel Studios (they made a little film called the Avengers…,) he’s set to star in a 13 episode series on Netflix with the aid of the talented Steven S. DeKnight (Starz Spartacus series.) In fact, the role of Matt Murdock was just awarded to actor Charlie Cox (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.)
Now that the character is getting another chance at expanding his awareness outside of the comic pages, it’s time for Marvel to rethink the idea of a Daredevil game, and I have some input to provide on that matter.
Firstly, Daredevil is a property that would lend itself perfectly to an “Arkham” clone, even more so than the other Marvel characters that have fallen into this category (Spider-Man and Captain America.) The character is by nature a hand to hand acrobatic fighter, whose only gadget is a billy club that can be detached to be used as clubs or combined to form a bo staff. Any developer could emulate a combination of Batman’s simple hit and counter two button layout and Robin’s weapon based fighting from the “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” DLC for some truly thrilling combat. Daredevil’s billy club also functions as a grappling hook tool that could be used to either zip to perches or for rudimentary Spider-Man-eqsue swinging.
Secondly, the hero’s powers would lend themselves naturally to the trend of auxiliary senses popularized by not only the “Arkham” games detective vision, but Assassin’s Creed’s “eagle vision.” For those unfamiliar with the character’s powers (and if you are, shame on you!,) a young Matt Murdock was hit by a radioactive isotope that robbed him of his sense of sight but heightened his remaining senses to superhuman level. In order to “see,” Murdock utilizes a form of radar to locate places and people in his environment. Thus, “radar sense” could be a way to track enemies or measure their fear or position by the beating of their heart. It would also make a pretty spectacular visual seeing the environment switch from regular view to how Matt would theoretically be viewing everything.
What could also make Daredevil stand out from other super hero themed games is his day job when he’s out of costume, as the only time a hero’s job was ever really incorporated into gameplay was Spider-Man Vs. The Kingpin on the Sega Genesis where you had to take pictures of enemies and bosses to sell in order to buy web fluid and power-ups. Matt Murdock when not being the “Man Without fear” is a defense attorney with his long time friend Foggy Nelson. Now, how can you insert being a lawyer into a super hero game? Well, for that you have to look at Capcom’s “Ace Attorney” franchise.
“Ace Attorney” is a series of games where you take on the role of a number of different lawyers and partake in investigations that eventually lead to a courtroom trail wherein you use that evidence to prove the innocence of your client. Now, imagine missions where in your after hours persona as Daredevil you would gather evidence for a client’s case which you in turn use in court along with your enhanced senses to catch a crook in a lie during an interrogation. Sure, some may think something like this could drag a game down, but I think it would go a long way towards making a potential Daredevil game as authentic to the character as possible. Sections like this could also help in breaking up the pace from the super heroics.
Daredevil is easily one of my favorite super heroes and one that I wish had more mass media appeal. Hopefully with a Marvel Cinematic Universe series on the way from a reputable show runner, it will show the world how spectacular the character is and lead into a video game that will actually see its way towards store shelves.