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If you missed it last night, Telltale Games announced that it will be releasing a Batman game, with a planned launch in 2016. The announcement trailer was light on actual details, but it looks like we're getting a decidedly noir-themed Batman. In fact, the art looks like it would fit right in with the Batman: Black and White anthology series DC Comics published a year ago.
It's odd that Telltale Games is doing a Batman game. The company previously announced a deal with Marvel Comics to work on an unannounced title, so it's interesting to see Telltale working with both sides of the pond. Even odder is the Marvel title was announced for a 2017 release, while this Batman game is coming next year. I guess this is just another step towards a future where Telltale makes all the games. They already have The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Borderlands, Fables, Minecraft, Back of the Future, Jurassic Park, Marvel Comics, and Batman under their wing. I guess Star Wars or Doctor Who is next?
The problem is, Batman is a pretty safe choice. If the DC Comics lineup was ice cream flavors, Batman is Chocolate, Superman is Vanilla, and Wonder Woman is Strawberry. They're always around and you probably can get by with one of the three. Hell, you might even mess with Neapolitan from time to time. But what if you want something different? A Rocky Road, Moose Tracks, or Mint Chocolate Chip? Well, here's a few of those flavors that Telltale could turn to if they wanted to do something interesting with its new partnership.
If there's any DC Comics character that's absolutely perfect for Telltale's style of game, it's the Hellblazer, John Constantine. If you never read a Hellblazer comic, watched his short-lived television show on NBC, or seen his guest appearance on Arrow, think of Constantine like a magic detective. He solves problems for people when they involve the supernatural. The thing is, Constantine is a trickster, a con man, and a bit of a selfish asshole. Many times, the "help" he provides is paper thin at best. Constantine is trouble walking on two feet, smoking a cigarette, and speaking in a working-class English accent. Telltale should get the folks behind A Wolf Among Us on a Constantine game immediately.
Green Lantern Corps
This is technically another DC Universe procedural, but it trades in the supernatural for more space-faring action. You may have heard of Green Lantern, but the entire corps has their own beat that stretches across the cosmos. Telltale can pick any number of characters in a starring role, but it's probably best to go with either John Stewart and Guy Gardner, or Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner. Guy Gardner is is the angry Green Lantern, the one always breaking the rules and ready to fight. John Stewart is the straight man, while Kyle Rayner is the empathetic one. Give your chosen partnership a case that spans many planets and brings them into contact with some other awesome Green Lanterns like Kilowog, Soranik Natu, Sodom Yat, and Mogo and you'd have a winner of a game.
You could throw the Suicide Squad in this slot. That team has more name recognition and an upcoming film, but the Secret Six is more fun in my opinion. The Secret Six is a team of six villains brought together for a common cause, not because the government put bombs in their head. That means you have a team where motivations and loyalties are all over the place. Who's going to betray who? Who has a heart of gold? Will these six loners be able to work together long enough to complete their shared goal? The current incarnation is Catman, Black Alice, the Ventriloquist, Big Shot, Porcelian, and Strix, but there are other stronger incarnations (one shown above) Telltale could mine for a great title.
Dial H for Hero
Imagine a device that could give you the powers of not just one hero, but a thousand? Introduced in House of Mystery #156 way back in 1966, the original incarnation of the H-Dial is a device that turns the wearer into a different superhero every time they dial H-E-R-O into the device's keypad. The form of the Dial and its specific powers have changed over the years; it's been a handheld dial, a watch, a necklace, and even an old phone booth in its most recent form. (If the character sounds familiar, it's because the children's show Ben 10 works on a similar concept.) While there have been stretches with a single user of the device, the H-Dial is at its best when it passes from user to user.
The strength of Dial H is Telltale has room to not only come up with its own protagonist and conflict, it can also come up with its own superheroes. There's been way more than a hundred identities tied to the Dial, so making more fits right in wiht the concept. Dial H for Hero is all about freedom, while allowing Telltale to mess around with the rest of the DC Universe as needed.
This might be a contentious choice. Stormwatch is the name of a team of super-powered operators that used to belong to Jim Lee's Wildstorm before the imprint was purchased by Warner Bros and brought into the DC Universe. The current Stormwatch has little to do with that original team and is more of lighter take on The Authority, Wildstorm's angrier version of the Justice League. Regardless, the point is that the team is all about protecting the Earth from all threats, covertly. They're also not heroes, so their solutions are allowed to be a bit more "final" than the Justice League's. The last we saw them, Stormwatch was comprised of Superman and Batman analogs Apollo and Midnighter, The Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor, Adam One, and Jenny Quantum.
This team crosses over all of the DCU, covering magic, technology, and other realities in its overall scope. DC also hasn't been able to make the team really work within the confines of the DC Universe up until this point, so Telltale has a chance to truly establish the team for a wider audience.