As I exited the movie theater on a sunny sunday afternoon, my eyes adjusted to the light and my head was awash with a frenzy of excited thoughts and what if’s. I had just experienced Marvel’s latest blockbuster film, Ant-Man, as I’m sure many of you have by now, and apart from deeming it, along with Guardians Of The Galaxy, the best of the MCU thus far, I also couldn’t help but fantasize about Ant-Man’s potential for a video game.
The film introduces us to Marvel’s most relatable hero yet, the second man to take up the mantle, Scott Lang. Lang is an electrical engineer and master burglar who having done time, is released and reforms, but when his daughter falls ill he returns to a life of crime. He’s lured, by Pym, to steal the Ant-Man suit, and soon, after some training, takes on the role, exploring the microverse with an army of ants in tow. There are some minor differences between Lang’s story in the film and the comics, but it in essence remains the same.
The original Ant-Man however may be the more interesting character to explore. Scientist Hank Pym creates the Pym Particle, a miraculous substance that allows matter of all kinds to shrink. Harnessing this extraordinary technology, he dons the Ant-Man suit, and in conjunction with a special helmet which allows him to communicate with ants, he becomes the leader of the ultimate miniature army. But Pym’s experimentation doesn’t stop there, he soon discovers his eponymous particles can be altered to make him grow, and thus the wildly creatively named “Giant Man” is born.
Pym’s role in the Marvel universe is much bigger than some may think. Hank Pym was a founding member of The Avengers, he underwent extreme personal tragedies, identity crises and psychotic breakdowns and went on to create a certain killer robot name Ultron (that’s right, it wasn’t Stark). With additional characters like Lang’s daughter Cassie, who inherits her fathers power and becomes Stature, Pym’s wife The Wasp and a plethora of creative and bizarre villains, Ant-Man’s world is a unique, diverse and expansive one.
So how could all this play into a video game? Well off the back of Rocksteady’s Arkham Trilogy, (the three finest superhero games made to date) fans are no doubt eager for more comic book adaptions in the form of interactive entertainment. Experiencing Ant-Man passively on the big screen is one thing, but actually being him and inhabiting his world opens up a whole host of possibilities, and allows the character the further study he deserves, that which a 2 hour film just can’t offer.
The most instantaneously apparent aspect of Ant-Man is his ability to shrink to the size of a, well you know. The game’s story, revolving around a thrilling set of burglaries and heists, much like the movie, and facing off against an array of villains, all whilst dealing with either Pym or Lang’s personal issues would run the gamut, from cinematic set pieces to poignant family drama. These heists and battles would no doubt offer some of gaming’s most unique and inspired stealth and combat, and the game’s more personal moments would bring out Ant-Man’s heart and humor.
But how would Ant-Man play? The game would have to take a unique approach to both gameplay and level design. A suburban home, a science facility, a warehouse, these may seem generic levels for a game, they may seem confined and limited, but shrink down to the size of an ant and they become expansive worlds, rife with opportunity. Utilising Ant-Man’s ability to change size at will and command an ant army, along with Lang’s electrical expertise, the means to your goal, whether it be a gang hideout or Avengers HQ, instantly become broadened tenfold.
Much like Batman has his gadgets, Ant-Man has his ants. Your powerful little allies would aide you in countless situations, be it blocking a cameras sight, removing a vent, forming a raft or providing a pair of wings, like beloved Anthony did (RIP), the ways in which they can be used are plentiful, making them essentially a second playable character.
All of these possibilities, and I am yet to touch on the fact that the Pym particle allows not only for people to shrink, but for them to grow. Having the powers of Giant Man as well as Ant-Man may be too much, a technical and design nightmare for game designers, but it would certainly add a whole other layer of perspective bending manipulation to an already ambitous game.
No hero is without his villains, and digging into Ant-Man’s comic book history, some fantastically inventive bad guys can be unearthed. The most obvious choice of villain would be Yellowjacket, the recent films antagonist, and he would make a fine foe, but superhero games should be all about epic boss battles, and as such just the one won’t suffice.
Taskmaster (above) is a mercenary with the ability to mimic anyone, allowing for deceptive cameos and plot twists, which combined with his criminal training schools (ripe for Ant-Man infiltration) would pose a force to be reckoned with. Other foes to stand in Ant-Man’s way could include Radioactive Man (not the Simpsons one), a scientist turned super villain who can harness the power of nuclear energy, Whirlwind, a mutant who can spin his body at supersonic speed and Ultron, Hank Pym’s rogue AI, who as we saw in the latest Avengers film is a most formidable adversary.
Who knows if we’ll see an Ant-Man game any time soon, let alone at all, but I couldn’t help hoping and speculating on the potential for something monumental based on Marvel’s smallest superhero.
What are your thoughts on an Ant-Man game? What would you like to see? Share in the comments below!