I’m bringing up the rear in our Most Anticipated series, but Deadpool: The Game is by no means the least anticipated on our list. We’ve seen a lot of Marvel characters make the leap from page to console over the years, but Deadpool has the most to offer by far. Unfortunately, Deadpool was announced very recently. An individual dressed as Deadpool actually announced the game by “crashing” a Marvel panel during San Diego ComiCon 2012, saying the game was in pre-development, and wrapped it up with a short teaser trailer. As such, there is not an abundance of information regarding the gameplay. But don’t get too turned off by that; there is plenty to be excited about just knowing we are finally getting a game staring the most bad ass figure of the comic universe. So let’s up the ante and lock horns with this hero/anti-hero.
For those of you unfamiliar with Deadpool, you are truly missing out on the most dynamic comic book character of our time. Where most heroes are developmentally limited by the confines of “justice”, Deadpool is a mercenary who would just as soon save the day as he would sit back and narrate your own home invasion. To give you an example of how unpredictable this character is, in a recent series so simply titled Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, the mercenary slaughters the whole of the Marvel universe for no reason other than he’s a little mentally off balance. Now he’s under the employ of S.H.I.E.L.D., attempting to stop risen zombie Presidents from overrunning America.
While this, and his constant schizophrenia induced one liners, is enough to set him apart from his vanilla Marvel counterparts, what really makes Deadpool unique is he is one of the only characters that breaks the fourth wall. This guy is aware that he is a character in a comic, existing in an imaginary universe and capitalizes on this knowledge to further exacerbate his hilarious shenanigans.
While my knowledge of the character’s background is limited, I have learned enough from Charlotte’s annual Heroes’ Con to update the uniformed. Deadpool made his first appearance to the world in New Mutants #98 (1991). He was born in a small town in Ohio as Wade Wilson to unremarkable parents. Other than an affinity for firearms, Wade had no mutant powers of his own. As a teenager, he wandered the country gathering military training from various sources and honed his talents before finally deciding on a career of mercenary work. After a brief stint as an assassin in Canada, Wade was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. With nothing to lose, he signed up for the Weapon X program.
While the procedure to imbue Wolverine’s regenerate qualities into a non-mutant were successful, the operation broke Wade’s psyche. He quickly developed schizophrenic tendencies, often having entire conversations with himself, and eventually broke out of the facility. He took the name Deadpool from the pool that the facilities officers and scientists bet in as to who the experiment would kill next. His trademark personality traits were absent at first, but as Deadpool was expanded upon in his first solo adventure, the quips and borderline narcissism became his most beloved features.
“Go back to Spiderman, hussie.”
I won’t venture too far into Deadpool’s development as a character since his creation. As with most comic characters, there are multiple canonized story arcs and divergent universes that Wade has appeared in (including an unofficial appearance in a DC comic). The most important piece of information to carry away here is that we’re getting a game where we take control of character who knows he’s in a game. That’s what will really make your hard earned worth while. For those of you who have never played a game that bends the fourth wall, I assure you it completely alters your gaming experience.
“Pizza? I’m not killing anyone else for you until you bring me a damn chimichanga!”
Eternal Darkness for the Nintendo Gamecube comes to mind almost immediately when I think of games that have accomplished this. The title implemented a sanity meter that drained as you came into eye contact with the horrific abominations throughout the game. The initial effects did not really effect the difficulty of the game. Walls would bleed, audible whispers, that sort of stuff. But a fully drained sanity bar would go as far as telling you the Gamecube turned itself off or a simulated cockroach would crawl across the screen. But at the end of the day, these are all horror elements under restriction by a player controlled mechanic. Imagine the comedy potential.
I’m purely speculating here, so bare with me. I’m imagining Deadpool will comment to the player on the various encounters, be it scripted or combat, and the commentary will vary depending on how you choose to address the situation. Choosing to engage a group of enemies head on with your sword would be a completely different “conversation” than sneaking up behind someone and putting an RPG between their shoulder blades. Come to think of it, with a little magic the Kinect’s voice recognition software could be used to actually have a conversation the character on screen! Or at the very least, Deadpool could talk smack to you every time you scream in frustration. It’s very improbable that we’ll see this, but I can dream.
“I don’t know where you kids learned that word… but I approve.”
I cannot stress how little of the game itself has been officially unveiled, and quite frankly it’s a little depressing. From what has been released, Deadpool looks like a third person shoot ‘em/hack ‘em up. Similar Marvel games such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine have featured leveling systems that allow the player to upgrade and unlock devastating moves so it would not be shocking to see this revisited. Combat will no doubt be a healthy balance of sword based melee and firearm combos and Wade’s Olympic-level strength, speed, stamina, and agility will give him a mountain of an advantage over his lesser foes. Wade is at his most basic level a stupid canny marksman. I’m talking pistol-snipe-at-3-miles stupid canny.
Of all his noteworthy talents, I’m really hoping that High Moons Studio takes full advantage of his “bottomless satchel” ability. Deadpool often pulls guns, ammunition, explosives, chimichangas, and beer from his pockets. The weapons he conjures from these pouches are often bigger than the pockets themselves. Seeing the mercenary finish up a combo by pulling say, a minigun from his back pocket would work well with his over-the-top comedy.
There’s a lot of breathing room for this game to grow, and even more on the counter to cook with. Deadpool’s methods of engagement are already perfect for a title of this genre, so developers can put more work into the player/character relationship and take full advantage of the comedic potential. Of all the super hero games that were a cut above the rest, I honestly believe Deadpool: The Game will cut them back down to size. While there’s no official release date, expect to get your killjoy on before the end of the year.
“And hit the gym while you wait. I refuse to be puppet-ed by some girlyman.”