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LONG BLOG

Intellectual Properties that Deserve Better Games: Iron Man

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Brian Peppers?

Two dedicated games, another MvC title (followed by the same MvC title done properly for forty more dollars), and three years after the fact, we’re still rounding that particular corner. Both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 were movie games, and carried all the baggage therein. They were clunky, slapdash affairs, designed firstly to look dazzling in trailers and previews, with fun gameplay and functional controls being a distant afterthought. It’s not even that they were that horrible, either (though don’t get me wrong, still bad enough to have spurred the publisher, Sega, to restructure, then close, the studio responsible for them). Mostly, they were a huge letdown. After the movie turned out to be such a pleasant surprise, with so many fledgling fans eager to take that armor for a spin, it’s a shame Marvel would squander that good will on something just another cheap, quickie movie game. Yes: a licensed game, no matter how crapped out, is going to make money. A good licensed game? That’s going to make a lot more money over a much longer period of time, or so my limited research and wide-eyed naiveté tells me. People are still buying Wolverine: Origins, are still fondly talking up Spiderman 2. Hell, a lot of us have bought Goldeneye twice now. I suppose I just don’t understand how the shovelware business model is still a viable one when it makes you less money in the long term and actively hurts your brand. Perhaps someone will set me straight in the comments.

Even though it hasn’t materialized yet, I’m still optimistic that a decent Iron Man game will come together somewhere down the line. With so much attention on the character, they’ll have to get it right eventually. It only took Spiderman ten some odd years of terrible, terrible games before he got a decent one, right? Besides, Iron Man is prime material for a current generation game, with his city-leveling fights, his huge selection of alternate outfits, a weirdly diverse rogue’s gallery that ranges from rival businessmen to nefarious Chinese sorcerers to a whole rainbow brigade of ray gun toting doofuses shooting every variety of concentrated energy a shaky grasp of science can conceive. What’s not to love? And while it’s a understandably tricky to integrate shooting mechanics with superhuman melee combat, tack flight on top of those and somehow cook up something that doesn’t control like the haphazard messes the license has already put forth, perhaps the HD remake of Zone of the Enders, of which I have publicly aired grievances, will give them a few pointers?

Note: It has come to my attention that my “Intellectual Properties that Deserve Better Games” segment bears a striking resemblance to SephirothX’s “Characters Who Need a Good Game” series. I suggest you read them over, and then choose sides for the inevitable West Side Story-esque jazzy knife-fight dance battle. I’m with him, because a Jack Burton video game would be ridiculously awesome.
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About Zugzwangone of us since 7:48 PM on 05.09.2011

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