The X-Men Game We Wish Someone Would Make
1) The Mass Effect/Fallout Route, with a single central character. In this case, given how the story ends I suggest Jean Grey’s boyfriend Cyclops. Not only because Wolverine is completely played out, mind you. Cyclops is the field leader of the X-Men, which means players could make both strategic and tactical decisions while also having a plausible reason for being so close to the center of events. But he’s also on hand at the moment Jean dies; having the player play that moment personally would make for an exceptionally cathartic experience.
2) The Elder Scrolls/Dragon Age route, in which the player chooses from among several archetype characters, each with a unique view of events and a personal outcome. This would satisfy lame fanboys who want to snk-snk with Wolverine’s adamantium claws while the rest of us can actually get into the meat of the story through the eyes of other characters.
My personal preference is for option #2. While my first playthrough would probably be as Cyclops, I’d love the chance to see how Nightcrawler or Storm experienced the death of their friend. Better still would be the possibility of a ‘rogue’ option, allowing players to play the game as a member of the Hellfire Club, brotherhood of mutants or even non-aligned characters like Beast or the Shi’ar aliens.
Allowing players to take on the role of different characters would create some interesting tactical and strategic options as well as ultimate objectives. There’s also vast potential for major boss battles depending on who you choose. Playing as a Shi’ar alien could allow players the chance to change alliances as needed, while playing as Beast might see a game focused on tasks designed to provide support to the main story. This could mean seeing the game’s conclusion with vastly different, yet non contradictory endings.
And those worried that a game based on the story couldn’t succeed because the outcome is a foregone conclusion can relax. Before deciding on Jean Grey’s death, Marvel entertained numerous other ideas. The original ending, in which Grey survived but was depowered and separated from the Phoenix entity was eventually printed in a special one-off issue. The existence of another ending suggests that the story could retain its weight and still give players the chance to see it end differently.
Ultimately, the Dark Phoenix saga has the potential to be every bit as engaging and deep as the best of what gaming has to offer, and a game based on it would finally deliver what fans of X-Men have been denied for going on 22 years. Sadly, it’s unlikely to happen. But my mutant ability is wishful thinking, so consider this an open letter to the current owners of the adaptation rights.
On behalf of all X-Men fans, I beg you to give us something worth our time.