A new RoboCop game is in the works as action movie stars become hot commodities in gaming. However, some forgotten action stars deserve games as well.
RoboCop is the latest action star to etch his name into the upcoming games release slate, with the recent announcement of RoboCop: Rogue City set to come in 2023. Although little is known about what developer Teyon has in store for gamers, the promise of getting to play as Detroit’s favorite peacekeeper has fans of the classic action series eager to bring in punks, dead or alive. This announcement opens up the potential for even more iconic action movie characters to join the modern gaming sphere.
More and more classic movie characters from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s have been entering the gaming world, with the likes of Dead by Daylight, Call of Duty: Warzone and Mortal Kombat adding in retro movie characters as updates and DLCs, and games like IllFonic’s Predator: Hunting Grounds putting them on center stage. Looking ahead, Aliens: Fireteam Elite and Bethesda’s Indiana Jones are keeping this trend alive alongside RoboCop: Rogue City. Despite the long list of names, though, a few prominent action stars are notably absent.
Whilst technically more based in the world of comic books, Judge Dredd has hit the big screen twice, with Sylvester Stallone donning the helmet in 1995 and Karl Urban in 2012. Either way, he is firmly in the category of action star, and he’s overdue for proper video game representation. It’s been nearly two decades since the grimacing lawman was in the hands of gamers with Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death in 2005.
Several aspects of Judge Dredd’s character and lore could easily translate into a modern hit. For one, Mega-City One offers a unique open world that players have yet to experience, with Dredd’s motorcycle an easy way to navigate the sprawling metropolis. Furthermore, a Judge Dredd game has a ton of gameplay potential, with Dredd’s multifaceted Lawgiver pistol already an ideal blueprint for branching upgrades. Another interesting wrinkle that could make for new experiences would be Dredd’s adherence to the law, a mechanic implemented in Dredd vs. Death that still has a great deal of potential. Would players be strict enough to hold their fire until Dredd has a lawful reason to engage?
Though he has been referenced in several games across the years, Snake Plissken has never appeared in a major title, apart from a parody ‘Snake Broskin’ appearing in uber-macho side-scroller Broforce. Plissken’s film debut came with 1981’s Escape from New York, where he was tasked with rescuing the President of the United States from a New York that has been converted into a city-wide prison. Although the sequel Escape from LA failed to live up to the original in the eyes of critics and at the box office, the fact that many movie buffs still have a spot in their heart for Plissken speaks to his timeless appeal.
Plissken has all the makings of a video game protagonist. With an iconic look — long rumored to have been the inspiration for Metal Gear Solid‘s Solid Snake — and a set of skills that any Call of Duty character would be jealous of, Plissken would be a blast to play as. A possible adaptation could take a route similar to 2015’s Mad Max game in terms of story, acting as a sort of soft reboot of the character, taking players on a quest similar to those seen on the big screen, but different enough to keep things compelling. Whether in an open world or a more linear journey like Uncharted, in the hands of a competent developer, escaping from another dystopian city could make for a thrilling video game.
An underrated Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, critics have gone on to say Last Action Hero was ahead of its time in 1993. An over-the-top action-comedy that satirized the Hollywood blockbusters that star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his contemporaries had made famous, Last Action Hero‘s Jack Slater is the hero of all action heroes. He’s cool, calm and he spouts one-liners like it’s a sixth sense. Masterfully poking fun at all the cliches of the genre, Last Action Hero deserves more recognition and a video game adaptation (or, at least, one better than the bland tie-in game released on the NES and SNES) could be the catalyst.
Gamers are no strangers to satire and meta-commentary in their stories, and where the film took aim at the popcorn flicks of the 80s, a Last Action Hero game could do the same with the bombastic action titles of the past couple of generations. Though the likes of Duke Nukem have done similar in the past, none of them pulled it off quite the same tact as Last Action Hero. Plus, with his return to the role of Dutch in Predator: Hunting Grounds, perhaps an adaptation could even see Arnie reprise the role of Jack Slater.
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