Marvel's New Secret Video Game Theory: Why It's Likely Fantastic Four – Screen Rant

Skydance’s new Marvel video game, which is being led by former Uncharted developer Amy Hennig, could revolve around the Fantastic Four.
Skydance Media’s new Marvel video game – which is being led by former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig – could be about the Fantastic Four. In the announcement for Skydance’s new Marvel game, Hennig mentioned that the Marvel Universe, “epitomizes all the action, mystery and thrills of the pulp adventure genre“, and also intimated that the game could focus on more than one character, specifying that the story will enable players to “embody these heroes that they love“, as opposed to just one. The Marvel Universe is of course home to dozens of superhero teams, but there are a few that lend themselves more to the themes Hennig spoke of in the announcement, with the Fantastic Four arguably embodying them most strongly.
There’s little information to go on regarding Skydance’s Marvel project, other than that it’ll be a “narrative-driven, blockbuster action-adventure game“, and that it’ll feature its own take on the Marvel Universe. With no specific mention of an open-world, and given Hennig’s past experience focusing on linear action-adventure titles with the Uncharted series, it is possible that the game will take a linear approach, unlike Marvel’s Spider-Man, which was open-world. Such an approach would fit the Fantastic Four well, as the adventurous and frequently ambitious nature of the group’s stories wouldn’t be able to be contained within an open-world environment. They don’t patrol New York City fighting crime; they’re frequently off traveling the cosmos and dealing with unknown threats – elements that perfectly encapsulate Hennig’s description of Skydance’s project.
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Originally created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Fantastic Four revolved around a group of scientists – Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Sue, and Johnny Storm – who became superheroes after being bombarded with cosmic rays during an ill-fated mission to space. As Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Thing, and the Human Torch, the Fantastic Four became the first superheroes of the Marvel Age of Comics, defending the Earth from a wide variety of threats, most notable among them being Doctor Doom. However, while the FF were and still are a superhero team, they’re also adventurers first and foremost. Kirby channeled his previous work on DC’s Challengers of the Unknown into Fantastic Four, and many of the team’s stories were about exploration and discovery, aspects that have rarely been reflected in any of the few video games they’ve starred in.
Although it’s possible to read too heavily into the language used in Skydance’s announcement, it would make sense for the Fantastic Four to be the focus of the studio’s new Marvel story game. Apart from the team’s stories aligning well with Hennig’s interpretation of the Marvel mythos, there’s also the possibility that the FF is on a bit of a comeback. Marvel Studios announced just last year that a Fantastic Four film had entered production, which should not only hopefully give the team a big-screen adaptation worthy of their comics, but also restore them to the forefront of the Marvel Universe after spending a few years in limbo.
For a brief period before Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019, the Fantastic Four essentially disappeared from Marvel Comics. This was, ostensibly, related to Fox’s ownership of the onscreen rights to the Fantastic Four, but since the completion of the Disney-Fox takeover, the FF is back in the spotlight at Marvel Comics, and appearances in related Marvel media should follow. The team already appeared as playable characters in DLC for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and although Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben don’t have a particularly prolific history in the gaming medium (at least not when compared to Spider-Man or Wolverine), that could be set to change now that they’re on a comeback.
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And really, the Fantastic Four deserves a video game reflective of the team’s importance in the comics. Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing effectively kickstarted the entire Marvel Universe and have starred in some of the greatest runs in Marvel Comics history, but they’ve yet to receive a video game reflective of their contributions to the superhero genre. The same could be said of several other Marvel heroes who deserve their own game, but the FF dwarfs the competition in terms of both significance and gameplay potential. Now, with a new film on the horizon, it makes perfect sense for a studio to deliver the AAA adventure they’ve always deserved.
Marvel’s Fantastic Four comics have spotlighted a range of incredible adventures of varying scales over the years, meaning there are a number of different approaches a studio could take in bringing the team to the gaming medium. However, in order to light up the next-gen in a way players haven’t seen before, a potential Fantastic Four video game should take inspiration from the character’s most epic stories, and take the team to various locations on not just Earth, but across the cosmos. Skydance’s Marvel game is unlikely to be open-world, judging from the wording in the announcement, and the Fantastic Four would lend themselves much better towards a title with a linear focus that had lots of exciting set-pieces, along the lines of what players have seen in Eidos-Montréal’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game.
However, any potential Fantastic Four video game should also do the opposite of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and make every member of the team a playable character as opposed to just one. Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben are all unique characters with their own powers and personalities, and being able to take control of each of them would be pivotal to any prospective Fantastic Four video game. There’s little point in developing a Fantastic Four video game that only allowed players to play as Mister Fantastic, and while the same could arguably be said about a whole host of other Marvel teams, like the Avengers or X-Men, it’s much easier to focus on individual heroes from those teams than it is in the case of the FF. They’re a bit of a package deal, with that family dynamic being a core component of the group’s stories. And with each character boasting their own impressive array of abilities, it would be a shame to only be able to take control of one.
With that family dynamic at play, it’s easy to envision how combat in an FF game would take on more of a cooperative focus, with players bouncing off of each character to pull off combo moves and special takedowns, similar to the Dual Play combat of Batman: Arkham Knight. Each character would traverse the environment in their own unique way too, with Human Torch being able to fly, Mister Fantastic being able to get to hard-to-reach places, and Thing and Invisible Woman being able to stomp through areas or stealth through undetected respectively. Throw in the addition of the Fantasticar for navigation, and the Baxter Building as a mini-hub for players to explore during downtime in between missions, and it becomes clear just how well the team could fit a linear, story-driven title.
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Then there are the villains. The Fantastic Four has arguably the greatest Marvel villain of all time in Doctor Doom, as well as other terrifying threats such as Annihilus, Galactus, and the Skrull Empire. Any FF game could also be populated by a rich assortment of supporting Marvel Universe heroes, with Spider-Man and She-Hulk just two of the many heroes who have a significant history with the team.
Ultimately, the Fantastic Four fits the vision of the Marvel Universe described in the announcement for Skydance’s Marvel video game. It’s too early to tell if the group will be revealed as the focus of the studio’s title, but their pulpy roots, coupled with the scope of their comics aligning more with a linear game than an open-world one, seems a perfect fit for Skydance and Amy Hennig. There is of course a litany of other Marvel characters and teams who could feature instead, but with a new movie on the way, and the team finally making a comeback in the comics, now seems like the right time for the FF to receive a game worthy of their reputation.
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Ewan is a Gaming Features Editor for Screen Rant and may in fact have way too many interests. His love for comic books, video games and Dad Movies also instilled in him a love for writing, which he’s been doing since he was about 16. Originally from Liverpool, Ewan made the move to Newcastle in 2014 to study History at Northumbria University (which he loved), and has stayed there ever since. You may have heard/seen him on YouTube a bunch as well.


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