X-Men, prepare for an all out attack!
X-Men has been one of Marvel’s biggest properties for a long time, and not just in comic books. Before the days of the MCU, Marvel actually seemed to enjoy putting X-Men on a pedestal. The mutant team had a character almost everyone could relate to and the plight of being ostracized by the masses is pretty timeless.
I’m here today to talk about the mutant superheroes in video games, but not their past or even necessarily their future, just one specific, hypothetical game that seems like it could be damn near perfect. What if the X-Men starred in a Persona style RPG?
It may not seem like a perfect match at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it fit like a blue and yellow glove. I didn’t read a whole lot of comics until I was in high school (cool dude here) so up until then most of my knowledge on the team came from the animated series. It was the show’s play up of that “high school” drama, and later X-Men Evolution’s doubling down on that idea that makes Persona’s formula lend itself to the team so well.
For those unfamiliar with Persona, it’s a long-running Japanese role-playing game with a premise that sets it apart from the typical Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest formula. Your party is composed of high school students who attend class and form relationships during the day and explore dungeons in a fantastical world by night.
Imagine having a party of classic mutants in their first year at Xavier’s Institute. Attend class during the day, from a basic English and Science lessons, to Mutant history and Danger Room drills, then fly off in the Black Bird on covert missions as the X-Men by night. Going to class could help you master new abilities for combat and forging personal relationships with teammates could help build cooperation and maybe even some combo moves. Colossus throwing Wolverine into a Sentinel is pretty badass.
Persona’s time management aspect has always made it one of my favorite parts of the game, and it’s easily applied to the X-Men universe as well. Do I want to train in the Danger Room tonight, or study for my science test? Having a ticking clock on stopping The Brotherhood but knowing that finals are coming up could be a real factor for teenage superheroes, even if it is a little bit silly.
On the combat end, Persona’s turn-based combat system would lend itself just fine to a diverse team of young mutants. Finding the perfect team could become a labor of love, I know Cyclops and Nightcrawler are already in my party.
The most exciting part of the premises is how you can place it basically anywhere within the comic’s timeline. You could have the first class of Xavier’s students like Iceman and Beast, or even do an entirely original team. Multiple games could span different years for the class, seeing new mutants come and go or even explore spin-off teams such as the New Mutants.
I tried to do some digging, but couldn’t find out exactly who the X-Men video game license rests with at the moment. My dream game for everybody’s favorite mutants seems pretty unlikely, but then again Square Enix is putting out an Avengers game. This is just one idea for a franchise with almost limitless potential, Wes did a pretty great piece a while back bouncing around similar game ideas, but I couldn’t let this idea of mine go unmentioned. Maybe one day we will see X-Men back in the spotlight, though with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe making money hand over fist without them they’ll probably be playing second fiddle for some time.