A Fantastic 4-style game might be built on the foundation laid by the recently released Guardians of the Galaxy’s squad mechanics.
Except for one notable exception, Marvel’s recent video game efforts have been nothing short of spectacular. Although Ultimate Alliance 3 and Iron Man VR were enjoyable while they lasted, both Spider-Man games from Insomniac have received overwhelming acclaim. Despite its limitations, Marvel’s latest big-budget video game, Guardians of the Galaxy, showed a lot of promise.
One of Guardians of the Galaxy’s biggest aspects was its squad dynamics, which allowed players to use the other members of their team to help them in battle and puzzles. There is little doubt that a game based on the Fantastic Four is inevitable, and it may take some influence from the squad mechanics of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Translating Guardians of the Galaxy’s Squad Mechanics to the Fantastic 4
Until now, the Fantastic Four haven’t had much of a chance to shine in video games. Aside from one PlayStation game, the Fantastic Four have only appeared in a handful of movie-related games and Marvel Ultimate Alliance team-up games.
We had a lot of fun making this game, and we put our hearts and souls into it. We hope it shows, and that it’ll put a smile on your face, make you feel something.
— Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (@GOTGTheGame) October 29, 2021
In all of these examples, the team dynamic isn’t stressed at all. These games go as far as allowing the player to bounce a combo off another member of the Fantastic Four for a more powerful assault, but that’s about it. The Fantastic Four’s comic book group is all about teamwork, although the prior games didn’t truly emphasize it.
A modern Fantastic Four game would need to focus on the team chemistry as Eidos-Montreal did in Guardians of the Galaxy to succeed. Only Star-Lord could be controlled, but the rest of the crew was controlled via some admittedly awkward squad dynamics in the game, Guardians.
Players could direct Gamora to dart between targets with her sword, Drax to attack an enemy, Rocket to throw a gravity grenade, and Groot to heal the team with a few taps of the shoulder and facial controls. Even though the skills weren’t groundbreaking, it was an excellent idea to incorporate gameplay elements into the story’s primary themes of family.
An improved Fantastic Four video game should take influence from the Marvel comic book series, but it should also focus on enhancing its squad mechanics when necessary. Players should be able to give orders to the rest of the team using something like the squad system found in Guardians of the Galaxy, such as ordering The Thing to rampage through the arena or instructing Mister Fantastic to encircle an adversary and render it immobile.
At some point, each member of the team will gain a new combat skill as the campaign progresses. This is similar to how Guardians’ ability trees evolve. It’s a simple mechanic, but as the game’s powers grow in complexity, the player becomes more immersed in the action.
A Fantastic 4 game would be incomplete without the squad combinations from the Guardians of the Galaxy. For example, in Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket’s gravity grenade would draw adversaries together for Drax or Gamora to launch an AoE assault and damage all of the enemies at once.
That’s why this mechanic rewards player for taking time to think about their team’s strengths and weaknesses.
I’m sure a Fantastic Four video game would benefit from this idea. As well as rewarding tactical play, having the squad’s talents complement one another underlines the team dynamic that should be central to every Fantastic 4 story. Although a Fantastic 4 game is still a ways off, there is a solid basis from which to build.
The Future of Marvel’s Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy
There’s still no word on whether or not Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics will get another shot at Marvel’s Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s impossible to say at this point. Considering the $300 million acquisition of its studios and IP, as well as Crystal Dynamics’ recent comments about Perfect Dark and Unreal Engine 5 powered Tomb Raider, it appears that Embracer Group may want the studios to return to the original IP for the foreseeable future.
It’s unlikely that Marvel’s Avengers will get a sequel any time soon, aside from the planned content upgrades for 2022, due to Crystal Dynamics’ focus on Tomb Raider and Perfect Dark.
In light of the alleged $100 million investment by Square Enix, Embracer Group probably wouldn’t want to go right into a sequel to such a costly game after acquiring it.
While Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has received high praise from critics and fans alike, sales for Eidos Montreal’s game have fallen short of Square Enix’s projections.
Rather than delving headfirst into contractual agreements and licensing with Marvel and Disney, Eidos Montreal may be urged by Embracer Group to revert to its catalog of legacy IPs like Deus Ex and Thief.
However, given the commercial success of the previous game, it seems improbable that Eidos Montreal is already preparing a sequel to the popular Guardians of the Galaxy series.
Marvel’s games may face a different destiny when the acquisition is approved, even if the short-term status of these titles remains questionable. While a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is unlikely shortly, the studios will likely return to this series in the future.