A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK PANTHER’S APPEARANCES IN VIDEO GAMES

Co-created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and debuting in the pages of the Fantastic Four in 1966, it would be forty years after his introduction to the world that Black Panther would make any appearances in a video game. It was in the massive Marvel crossover action-RPG Marvel Ultimate Alliance released in 2006 that players would be able to play as the heroic King of the fictional nation of Wakanda. Though not readily available as a selectable character from the onset, uncovering five Black Panther figurines enabled you to add Black Panther to your chosen team of heroes and villains. For the sequel Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Black Panther wouldn’t initially be playable however the character would play a much larger role in the game’s narrative.

While starting out as an amalgamation of the Secret War story written by Brian Micheal Bendis and the first Civil War penned by Mark Millar, MUA2’s story concludes on its own terms. The forces of the pro-registration side of the Civil War conflict use minituare nanites to control super villains to bolster their ranks, but when said nanites spread out of control, the anti and pro-registration forces join forces and take refuge in the last safe haven left: The technologically advanced nation of Wakanda. Wakanda was used as both a hub world in which players could interact with characters between missions and could be explored in one of the game’s missions towards the conclusion of the campaign. Black Panther was added to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 as an extra downloadable character that many would not be able to obtain due to publisher Activision losing the license to house the content on services like PSN and XBLA. This changed however when a deal was made to bring both Marvel Ultimate Alliance games to PC and current generation consoles in 2016 with all of its extra content.

Like how his role started out small in the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance before getting expanded in future titles, so too would Black Panther’s representation in TT Games’ series of Marvel themed Lego games. In 2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Black Panther can be added to the large roster of characters by completing a side-quest in the New York City hub world wherein the player through a series of missions has to track down his missing cat, Mr. Tiddles.

After making his live-action film debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther would eventually be added to the MCU-themed Lego Marvel The Avengers in a Civil War themed pack and he even got his own stage which retold his origin through that game’s Season Pass. 2017’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 was the game that to date Black Panther has played the largest role in as he’s featured predominately throughout the game’s campaign where Kang the Conqueror merges different eras of the Marvel Universe across time and space into one massive world called Chronopolis. Panther’s home of Wakanada is one of the many parts that make up the world and there’s many characters to unlock and missions found within that area. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2’s season pass will add a missions inspired by Marvel’s Black Panther as part of its downloadable content plan similar to the origin mission from Lego Marvel The Avengers.

Another family friendly title that Black Panther had a significant role in was the now defunct Disney Infinity toys-to-life game. Before the game was shut down in 2016, Black Panther received his own figure which was released alongside the final Marvel play set that came to the game, Marvel Battlegrounds. Battlegrounds was an arena brawler inspired by games like Capcom’s Power Stone and one of the arenas in the game has you fighting in Wakanda on a platform that is rapidly moving down a river within a tunnel before all combatants end up in the jungle with a large panther statue in the background. During it’s close to three years on the market, Disney Infinity only ever featured on one Marvel comic book cover which happened to be the first issue of the new Black Panther series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates that featured a take on Infinity’s Black Panther toy.

The Marvel fighting game series that Black Panther was sorely missed from until last year was Capcom’s series of Marvel Vs. Capcom crossover games. After making a cameo during Storm’s ending in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Black Panther would become a fully controllable fighter as part of Marvel Vs. Capcom’s Infinite’s downloadable roster of characters. Even without buying Black Panther, you can still see him in Infinite’s story mode where Marvel’s Ultron and Mega Man X villain Sigma use the power of the Infinity Stones to merge the Marvel and Capcom universe. In this new world, Black Panther’s home of Wakanda is merged with Val Habar from the Monster Hunter series into the nation of Valkanda. Black Panther and Monster Hunter, both characters who are in Infinite’s story who would be added to the game later, would be sold as two-pack of Funko Pop Vinyl collectibles inspired by their characters in the game.

video via MaHalo VideoGames

Before they were shut down and became unplayable, Black Panther was featured in a number of free-to-play Marvel titles including Marvel Heroes, Marvel Avengers Alliance and Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. There are still  titles within Marvel’s mobile and F2P video game portfolio that are still running that feature Black Panther including Marvel Future Fight, Marvel Avengers Academy, Marvel Puzzle Quest and Marvel Contest of Champions. Said mobile titles are currently running events that are tied into Marvel’s Black Panther that will give players new costumes and characters inspired by the film that is now playing in theaters.

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