The great risk and great reward of adding video games to the DC Universe

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As part of James Gunn’s big reveal for the newly released DCU, he shared that video games will be linked to the films, television and animation projects that will make up the great reboot of the DC universe from Warner Bros. Discovery. While Hollywood has spent the last century perfecting the production process for movies and TV shows, paving the way for grand interconnected universes, adding video games to the mix could be a bold direction that even DC’s competition isn’t. at Marvel are trying to do.

During a press conference, Gunn revealed: “And what we’re doing with the DCU is that animation is directly tied to live-action television and movies and games, all intertwined within the same universe. We’re going to cast actors who can play the characters in both this and other things.” This opens the door to a possible future where a DCU actor could play the same character in a video game. But incorporating video games into a universe cinematic is much easier said than done, considering that not even Marvel and their Disney-backed powerhouse have attempted anything similar.

What games can we expect from the new DC Studios? At the moment, the details are not as concrete as the announced film, television and animation projects. But everything indicates that direct linkage games are ruled out, which means that any video game plans DC has will be for original storiesjust like the movies and series already announced.

“I think what’s very different for us, for DC, is that it’s not like we’re going to put out Superman and then the Superman game,” Gunn said. “It’s more like we have the [película] of Superman and two years later we had Supergirl. What’s the story in between? Will there be a Krypto game [el perro de Superman] which we can play in between that it continues to be set in the world of these characters, but that it be something of its own?

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Considering what we now know about modern AAA game development, just take a look at the number of delays a game has experienced in the past five years. We know that it takes years of pre-production before a big video game project even gets off the ground, so with the five or six years it takes to finish a game, James Gunn and DC will want to start planning their first game now if they want to release it in 2026-2027, between the Superman and Supergirl movies.

Not even Marvel and their Disney-backed powerhouse have attempted anything similar.

To put it another way, I would probably feel safer betting on a movie or TV series meeting its announced release date than on a video game, which makes the prospect of including video games as part of the DCU’s overall plan is incredibly risky. If one of the video game projects hits a snag, it could be delayed years and release long after the movie or TV series it was meant to follow, or even canceled altogether.

There’s a reason that, even with Marvel’s synergy in film, TV, and animation, the only exception is video games. Marvel games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers can live (and in the case of Avengers, die) regardless of what happens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Spider-Man from Insomniac’s game is not related to Tom Holland’s character in the MCU, and whatever reboot plans Marvel has for the X-Men, they likely won’t include Insomniac’s Wolverine game.

But if James Gunn and DC Studios get it, will have made a potentially transformative addition to the shared universe conceptand they will have an advantage over their Marvel rivals.

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Imagine for a moment seeing the new Superman: Legacy in theaters in 2025 and a year later playing a game that is not just a licensed version of that movie, but a continuation or side adventure that adds to the film. And with the same actors and creatives reprising their roles. He could turn DCU into a multimedia company, the first of its kind.

It’s not that Warner Bros. Discovery doesn’t have the resources to at least try.. While Rocksteady will likely be busy with The Suicide Squad Kills the Justice League for years to come (and who knows how it’ll fit into the DCU, if ever), WB Games boasts talent like Avalanche Software, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, TT Games and various WB Games offices in North America.

A solution would be reduce the type of games that will be part of the DCU. While we can’t and shouldn’t expect a AAA DC game to follow every major movie or TV release, a compelling but small title, with fewer development resources but packed with creative ideas and canonical attachment to the DCU, might be compelling enough for fans. fans who can’t wait two years between the Superman or Batman movies.

If even one of the game projects hits a snag, it could be years behind schedule.

I think it says a lot that the example Gunn shared about the games mentions a possible Krypto story. You know, Superman’s superpowered dog. It suggests that the games we can expect from the DCU will not depend on Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. as protagonists. Maybe one of Gunn’s Suicide Squad villains, like King Shark, has a Ninja Turtles style fighting game? Or will we have an urban management simulator starring The Penguin, who will oversee his criminal enterprise? A 2D platformer starring Damien Wayne, given his new importance in the DCU, or even a competitor to Marvel Snap for DC. And these smaller titles could fill the gap between the big releases. Monolith Productions is continuing to develop its open-world action game Wonder Woman, which could replace the missing Wonder Woman in the DCU Chapter One schedule.

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It’s the “can you do it?” kind of idea. that has defined Gunn’s career thus far. And if the DCU can successfully add video games to his plans, will be another response that Gunn can return to his critics.