Marvel Studios is taking a big and important step in 2018. For the first time in its decade-long dominance of the big screen, the studio will release a film featuring a black actor in the lead role. Chadwick Boseman will star as Black Panther, having previously made a sort of introductory cameo in Captain America: Civil War. We posted the first trailer back in June, and moving forward from now, excitement will only build for the project.
As we know, however, Marvel characters and properties are about far more than just what we see on the big screen. This is a full-fledged, multi-faceted entertainment empire, and if a character is popular, he or she can generate merchandise, new comics, spinoff sequels, cameos – and video games. The latter may be the most significant category aside from film, and thus it would be awesome to see a Black Panther video game in the aftermath of the 2018 film. This is particularly true in light of Marvel having publicly recommitted itself to console gaming.
In a general sense, this would be important for the same reason that it’s important to see Boseman and the Black Panther on the big screen. Diversity needs to be celebrated in the world’s most popular films and franchises, and a Black Panther console game would further cement the character as an integral part of the Marvel entertainment empire. But there are also some specific reasons we particularly need a high-end console game, and not something smaller.
For one thing, Black Panther already appears in some of Marvel’s existing video games in which giant collections of characters can be enjoyed. Marvel Heroes online, Marvel Contest Of Champions in the app stores, and even the forthcoming console brawler Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite all feature Black Panther. However, he’s just one of many heroes in all of those instances, just as he was in Civil War. Releasing a solo Black Panther game would be a natural progression after the company chose to give him his own film.
There also seem to be fewer other opportunities for Black Panther to get a solo game. One popular avenue for hero-based titles featuring Marvel characters, up until this year, was the casino industry. There were major slot reels based on the likes of the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, and others. Yet after allowing its licensing agreement with slot developers to expire, Marvel’s time in the slot game spotlight has reached an end, which means this is likely not a possibility for even a small Black Panther game. The only true alternative would be a mobile game based on the film. But typically games like that are attractive at a glance and utterly lacking in substance.
Most important of all, however, is the fact that Spider-man is leading the way in Marvel’s aforementioned recommitment to console game. The upcoming Spider-Man game for PlayStation 4 is supposed to be incredible, and while it’s not at all based on the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, it’s pretty easy to draw parallels between their releases. Spider-Man and Black Panther were the two exciting new characters thrown into the fray during Civil War, and both quickly had solo films on the way. If Spider-Man gets his video game and Black Panther doesn’t, things are quickly going to seem a little bit unbalanced once again.
So that’s the case for why we should all keep our fingers crossed for this game. Plus, when you actually imagine it, a Black Panther game would be an absolute blast!