Marvel films are ruling the box office, whether in the MCU or in Fox’s X-Men movies. Meanwhile, Marvel’s partnership with Netflix has already led to Daredevil and Jessica Jones being some of the most critically lauded (and popular) shows on the streaming service. But as Marvel soars elsewhere, there haven’t been many new video games starring the Avengers or Spider-Man, even with some promising titles getting cancelled before the world had a chance to know them.
Over the recent history of games being made based on Marvel Comics, a handful of promising projects have been developed, only to be cancelled months later. Some were cancelled due to quality concerns or slow productions, but whatever the reason, there’s still a glimmer of hope in what was ultimately created. So, let’s take a look at a few cancelled Marvel games that deserve another chance at completion.
Not only has there been no game to take advantage of Daredevil’s recent success on Netflix, there wasn’t one to tie-in to the 2003 Daredevil film either. Not that Marvel didn’t try to have one ready on the PS2 back in the day, but things just couldn’t come together for it. Developer 5000ft INC and publisher Encore were working hard to create a game for Hell’s Kitchen’s savior, and it had some really ambitious ideas that would ultimately derail the property.
The game would feature open world exploration, with Daredevil hunting down Kingpin and his goons all across the city, using his radar senses in ways similar to Batman’s Detective Vision in the Arkham games. It also included the kind of combat and high-flying acrobatics you’d see in Spider-Man games. At the time, 5000ft INC was brought down by budget issues and disagreements between Marvel and Sony over the project’s direction, leading to the game’s cancellation in 2003. A tragic end, but the recent details of the game revealed in the above video make it painfully obvious that the world needs a new Daredevil game that can incorporate all those ideas now that Batman’s Arkham adventures perfected them.
When it comes to comics-inspired fighting games it’s hard to top Marvel vs. Capcom, as was proven in the mid-2000s when EA attempted a new approach with a 3D fighter called Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. It wasn’t the worst game, but the combat was a bit bland and no one particularly cared for the new characters introduced to fight Marvel’s heroes. Despite that setback, EA was ready to continue its partnership with Marvel in an Xbox 360 fighting game called Marvel Chaos.
The game was developed by EA’s Chicago studio, the developer behind the Def Jam fighting games. Marvel Chaos would take some of Def Jam’s city-based combat and add in a new level of destructibility to fights between Spider-Man and Doctor Doom. And there would be civilians around to react to the chaotic battles between the colorful heroes. Unfortunately, EA didn’t feel that the game’s quality was where it needed to be, ending the game’s development, closing the developer, and ending its partnership with Marvel. A sad end, because there still hasn’t been a good 3D Marvel fighter, which is extremely overdue. If it ever happens, that theoretical game should take advantage of Marvel Chaos‘ unique approach to street level battles.
We’re so far along in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that it’s hard to even recall a pre-Avengers world when Phase One was just getting started. But at the time, Sega was producing some less-than-stellar games based on Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America, but not an Avengers game. Up until 2011, that was being handled by publisher THQ and its Australian studio. Or at least it was until the studio was shut down that August, meaning there was no new game in time to capitalize on the success of Marvel’s big team-up film.
It’s a real pity, because THQ Australia was attempting something special with its Avengers game. Unlike Sega’s pedestrian third-person action for its tie-ins, THQ was going for a first-person brawler feel that would put you right in the driver’s seat of characters like Hulk or Iron Man. The above footage of the unfinished game looks promising and different from any big budget games you were seeing in 2011. Maybe by the time Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters, another Avengers game will be ready and it can take some lessons from THQ’s ambitious project.