Insomniac's Wolverine Shouldn't Be An Open World Game – TheGamer

Wolverine should break away from Sony’s exclusive mould and try something different.
Sony’s bread and butter throughout the past generation has been narrative-driven adventures and open-world epics, with Insomniac whetting its appetite for both formulas with the excellence of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Yes, that’s its real name. Both of these games are great, but if I’m being honest, they are also predictable takes on the genre that we’ve seen time and time again since open worlds of this scope became commonplace almost a decade ago. It was bolstered by a fantastic story, lovable characters, and movement that felt endlessly satisfying. While my praises for Spidey are numerous, Wolverine needs to be different.
When I think of Wolverine my mind doesn’t jump to a vast, brightly lit city filled with friendly citizens screaming his name and begging for him to save the day. I think of a man broken by years of hardship, cursed with immortality and forced to watch friends die as he does battle in countless wars just to survive and find his place in the world. He’s also a man with a biting personality, unafraid to murder those who do him wrong before throwing out a handful of swears along the way. He’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice. A hyper-focused experience like this isn’t one that lends itself to an open-world setting, at least not a traditional one filled with collectibles and procedural combat encounters. Spidey doesn’t kill (allegedly) but Logan does, and that element could be leaned into for a tale that willingly grapples with the morality – or lack thereof – that comes with being a hero.
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Wolverine should be dark, bloody, and aware of how nuanced superhero stories can become if you aren’t afraid to subject your protagonist to seemingly insurmountable challenges. James Mangold’s Logan did exactly this, painting the character as a battered, broken man ready to accept his own death. The age of mutants was over, and the character was trying to make a living while the people he’d spent years admiring were beginning to die around him. So when a young girl emerges and presents a new future for his race of people, Logan is compelled to step up and put his life on the line. It’s a brutal, utterly heartbreaking film that spells the end for this iteration of the character, and is clearly inspired by The Last of Us.
After taking cues from some of the medium’s most masterful efforts, Wolverine is returning to put its own spin on things. This isn’t a movie tie-in or a licensed brawler designed with surface-level sophistication, it’s a first-party PS5 exclusive that will come with all of the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from that moniker. It will have a deep narrative and meaningful characters, alongside gameplay mechanics that lend themselves perfectly to the protagonist. However, there’s also a risk it will fall into the homogenous selection of visually spectacular open-world, narrative-driven experiences that the platform has grown accustomed to. I don’t want this to be Days Gone with Wolverine, the husky mutant jumping onto a Harley-Davidson and leaping off to murder people. That sounds rad, but it also sounds predictable, and I think an iconic hero like this deserves something more than the expected blockbuster.
I’d love a relatively linear action game with combat that feels heavy and deliberate. Wolverine’s claws are capable of slicing through metal, so in practice they’d turn flesh into ribbons, tearing limbs away from enemies and leaving them to bleed out on the filthy path you walk. I’m talking ultraviolence, but with a reliance on blood and gore that is reinforced by how the character and his overarching story are depicted. A principal setting or hub area that Logan could explore to bond with an ensemble of characters that changes throughout the narrative would be excellent if executed correctly, taking the open-world template of Spider-Man and turning it into something more concentrated and refined, leaving no room for busywork that the average player might overlook. Don’t make the plot overbearingly miserable, but have it be melancholic enough that overcoming adversity feels rewarding, while Logan is perceived as a sympathetic anti-hero with a troubled past we want to delve into. If this game is set to tie into the existing Spider-Man universe, as in the games, perhaps the tone will need to be more uniform, but I sincerely hope Insomniac is able to experiment.
Wolverine is still in the early stages of development, and will likely be coming a couple of years after Spider-Man 2 in 2023. That’s half a decade away if we’re being optimistic, so a number of key elements might still be in flux, but it should be a game that takes this hero to a place he’s never been before.
Don’t give us The Last of Us or Days Gone with a superhero coat of paint – Logan deserves better than that.
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Jade King is one of the Features Editors for TheGamer. Previously Gaming Editor over at Trusted Reviews, she can be found talking about games, anime and retweeting Catradora fanart @KonaYMA6.


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