It was around this time last year that people were either playing their brand new PS4’s, impatiently waiting for Microsoft’s Xbox One or holding out until Rocksteady dropped the trailer for the next “Arkham” game which we found out earlier this year would be titled Batman: Arkham Knight. This is the time when these machines really show off what they can do, as evidenced by recent releases like Destiny, Shadows of Mordor and Sunset Overdrive, games designed specifically to be played the best on new hardware. Today however I would like to look back on the one year anniversary of what we now call “Current Gen” and in particular the various comic book themed games that have made their way to these machines.
The PS4 would get a leg up above the Xbox One out the game in the volume of comic book games available at launch. Both launched with WB Games Lego Marvel Super Heroes, however the PS4 would also get receive a rerelease of Injustice: Gods Among Us, collected as an “Ultimate Edition” with all of the previously released downloadable content on disc. This SKU of course made it to both last gen boxes, the PS3 and Xbox 360, however those look for some current generation DC fighting could only do so on Sony’s machine. MMO fans also received an additional treat by picking up the PlayStation 4 with DC Universe Online being made free-to-play with the ability to communicate not only with fellow PS4 owners, but those still playing on the PS3.
WB Games, and in particular the Lego series, make up a lot of great comic book video games on either the PS4 of the Xbox one. Outside of Lego Marvel, they released The Lego Movie Video Game, which is technically not a comic book game per se, but it does feature several members of the Justice League including Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, all of which made a reappearance this fall with 146 other characters in the recently released Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
Following the release of several Lego games and Injustice, the next major comic book themed game to see release was late April’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, yet another game that nearly avoided the Xbox One hardware. Initially the game was scheduled to release across nearly every device manageable, yet a news story leaked just inside of two weeks from the April 29th release of the game that it would miss the retail launch on Xbox One, and in fact, maybe not make it to the system at all. Whatever the issue was, it did arrive as a digital only release on the Xbox One and eventually as a retail disc game early in the month of May.
Summer 2014 saw no comic book themed releases for either machine, other than the various comic themed pinball tables for Zen Pinball like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead, but as the summer turned to fall, that situation changed. The first big game of the fall comic book wise was the Disney Infinity sequel, Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes that introduced the Marvel pantheon of characters into the toys-to-life genre for the first time. Launching alongside the starter pack that featured the Iron Man, Black Widow and Thor figures as well as the Avengers play set were two additional play sets: One themed after the Guardians of the Galaxy and the other after the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. The starter pack and play sets were of course met with numerous other figures that can be used in-game with the two most recent additions being Hiro and Baymax from the Disney film Big Hero 6, inspired by the Marvel comic of the same name.
One of the big breakout developers of the last generation of consoles Telltale Games due in large part to their games based on such properties as Back to the Future, Sam & Max, Jurassic Park, and of course, The Walking Dead. Their produced work from 2012-2014 arrived in a staggered release schedule through late October and early November, starting with the complete season one with 400 Days DLC of The Walking Dead, followed by Season Two a week later and their latest series, The Wolf Among us, based on the Vertigo comic Fables in early November.
While we don’t know what a lot of either developers or publishers have it store for us for next year and the one’s following that, there are a few things that we know of to get excited over. Early in 2015 another round of Disney Infinity 2.0 figures will land on shelves, including the new Captain America, The Falcon, Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some villains like Green Goblin, Loki and Ronan the Accuser.
Speaking of Telltale, though they will be busy with both Tales from the Borderlands and their upcoming six-episode series based on Game of Thrones, they’ve committed themselves to another season of The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman, co-creator of the franchise, also teased an upcoming co-op first-person game based in the universe of the comic from developer Overkill expected in 2016.
Perhaps the most prolific comic book game that’s yet to be released is Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight, a game once scheduled to arrive this fall before being delayed to June 2nd, 2015. This outing will mark the return to the franchise Rocksteady created back in 2009 and also their first published work since 2011’s Batman: Arkham City. Arkham Knight is also the closing chapter of the best received comic book themed video game franchise to date, but as stories close, some keep going. Though we have yet to hear anything official, it’s been rumored that a potential Injustice sequel is in the works, though with Netherrealm Studios hard at work on Mortal Kombat X, it will either be much later down the line or perhaps handed off to another development team entirely.
What comic characters or properties do you hope received the current gen treatment? Start a discussion in the comments below.