It's Way Past Time For Wonder Woman To Headline Her Own Video Game

Diana of Themyscira has a big movie coming out today. She's also a major player in new release Injustice 2, a video game where superheroes fight each other over crossing moral boundaries. But Wonder Woman shouldn't just be part of an ensemble; she should be the main character.

With the release of the Wonder Woman movie this weekend, Diana Prince finally joins Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and others in the ranks of DC Comics characters who became the focal point of a major motion picture. Superman and Batman have both also anchored dozens of video games ever since the days of the Atari 2600, but Wonder Woman still hasn't been afforded the same honour. It's a bizarre fact because so many of the component parts of the Wonder Woman would be great fodder for a video game.

I've written about this subject before, seven years ago to be exact, and much has changed on the video game landscape. Nowadays, thanks to the shifting fortunes of the video game publishing business, we're lucky if a shallow mobile game accompanies a superhero movie release. It used to be that such occasions were accompanied by a big-budget video game featuring the same character. Yes, games for the first Captain America and Thor movies -- along with Green Lantern, Batman Begins and Superman Returns -- were cash-in opportunities designed for marketing and ancillary revenue streams. While these releases were largely middling in terms of quality, they made those characters and movies feel like important cultural moments. They also dangled new chances to control these characters in modern-day game design worlds, so that we could leave horrible memories of Superman 64 behind.

With the Batman Arkham games, the Dark Knight has gotten a whole cycle of games that stood apart from goings-on in the realms of movies or TV. Wonder Woman is an important enough character to merit the same treatment. She's one of the most meaningful superheroes ever, a global icon on par with Superman, Batman or Spider-Man. And, like those characters, her publishing history and character mythos feature enough scope and depth to power any number of possibilities in the video game space.

Diana is a character that game-makers could put in just about any time period or setting with plausible narrative justification. You can put her in World War I, World War II, or any armed conflict and she'd be right at home. She's an ambassador of peace so seeing her broker a truce between, say, warring alien races wouldn't be out of the ordinary, either. Her ties to the Greco-Roman pantheon mean that a Wonder Woman game could be also be a widescreen action-adventure in the style of the God of War franchise or the new Tomb Raider games, something that send her far and wide. She's one of the best fighters in the DC Universe, with access to a plethora of enchanted mythological weapons that could be used against elite soldiers, demons or celestial beings. Flying around and lassoing giant myth-beasts, then wielding magical axes or swords against them, is reason enough for a Wonder Woman video game to exist.

At the same time, in her best iterations, Wonder Woman works toward greater compassion and peace, and her inherent contradictions could make for great narrative branching. Does the player have her extend an olive branch to antagonists at a critical moment or harshly eliminate a threat with the edge of her blade? She's done both in comics stories over the years, and putting players in control of such moments would be a great way to illustrate the layers that Wonder Woman has.

It's great that Wonder Woman is getting a special Multiverse event in Injustice 2 to celebrate the release of Wonder Woman in theatres. But, in the dysfunctional Injustice universe, Diana is one of the main enablers of the oppressive regime that Superman established after taking over the world, preaching a lot less mercy and a lot more murder. She needs a video game star turn that spotlights all the best aspects of her character. A full-blown AAA Wonder Woman game should have been out this week; let's hope we don't have to wait much longer for Diana to show up in the Man's World of superhero video games.


Comments

    This is as a fan of the character/property moreso than a fan of video-games:

    Only if it's worthwhile. There are many Wonder-Woman-esque characters in the medium as it is, if she's going to stand out (like she should) I would not want to see any half-measures.

    A League of One? Great story to adapt into a game.

    An episode from Justice League/Justice League Unlimited maybe? Sure, get the same voice actress.

    But the game needs to be good. The Arkham series of games seem bloated now, but the first one was a brilliant representation of Batman before it was a brilliant video-game.

    Just be thankful we didn't get an endless runner mobile game tie-in where she's constantly running and beating up WW1 soldiers. Looking at you, Hunger Games.

    Would be interesting to see how a not generic movie tie in game would work. Would it end up as some DMC style brawler? How do you maintain interest? Two hours is very different from eight, maybe it could be themed after the bombshells line? This would give her a wide female line of interesting supporting characters, that aren't overly sexualised and also happen to be quite bright/vibrant in terms of pallet.

    Last edited 01/06/17 6:19 pm

    I think the struggle is that her power set is hard to represent in a game interestingly. The Arkham Batman games were awesome because you have this massive range of gadgets to incorporate into traversal, puzzles and combat, making all three interesting. A Wonder Woman game would pretty much be punch things until they die. So Injustice-style games obviously work, but I can't see anything else being fun to play for more than about 5 seconds.

    This is the same reason that Superman games, as a general rule, suck.

      Yeah I think the lore and design would work great but mechanics would be very tricky...

      She doesn't have a 'huge' powerset so the best way it could work I'd think would be to aim for something like God of War, Tomb Raider and Horizon but that'd still mean giving her enough weapons/abilities to make the combat feel varied.

      I think it's doable but personally I'd rather see a story-focused Justice League game first.

      Games like the last couple of Saints Row, Prototype, Infamous and the Countdown games show that being OP can still make for fun and varied gameplay

    After Lara Croft got rebooted as a mass murderer there has been a definite gap in the market for a strong and rational female heroine.

      You make that sound like a bad thing.... Both those were incredibly strong titles.

        I did a double-take on that last word. This is Lara Croft we're talking about here after all.

    Whilst I can understand the want, I would be majorly hesitant.
    The Arkham games we got for Batman have ranged from good to great, but apart from that the only other superhero game I remember being any good was Spiderman 2. And that was just because of the amazing web-slinging.
    Every other single-superhero game I can think of has been lacklustre (putting it lightly for some). Hopefully the upcoming Spider-Man game proves to be good and paves the way for more non-cash-grab superhero games.

      Xmen Origins Wolverine was a pleasant gory surprise.

        I didn't even know that there'd been a tie-in game to that film. Good to know something good came out of that mess. :P

    Why? That's the core issue.

    Because women are under represented as heroes? Sure.

    The real problem is a wonder woman game would be a poor reflection of a game that has been done better previously.

    Her skillet isn't unique, the unique points are hard to place in an interactive frame and her unique enemies aren't well known in Amy sense comparable to Batman.

    The earlier comment of there hasn't been any strong female leads in a game was laughable when Horizon did it perfectly. It was unique, relateable, logical and fun. That won't be that case with a Wonder Woman game.

    Pander for it and make yet another article to tie in with the marketing budget but a Wonder Woman game would just be a failed expectation.

      'The earlier comment of there hasn't been any strong female leads in a game was laughable when Horizon did it perfectly.'

      That's ONE game. And sure, you could probably, given some time, name a handful more.

      Aaaaand how many strong male leads in games to compare with that?

      It's not 'pandering' for crying out loud. 'Pandering' is 'Let's make the main character a 30 something year old male with stubble who grunts stoically because otherwise a whole bunch of dudes will start screaming REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'

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