Why The Upcoming Deadpool Game Both Worries and Excites Me
Disclaimer: All views stated here are opinions based on released trailers and articles concerning the game so far. It’s all purely speculative. I know nothing about the game beyond what the general public knows.
A new trailer was released today for High Moon Studios’ Deadpool, and I’ve decided to use this opportunity to discuss my hopes and fears for the upcoming game. As someone who loves Wade Wilson with a great and terrible passion, I feel both excitement and concern for the imminent depiction of my beloved Merc with the Mouth. It is, after all, his first true debut into the mainstream.
Since the game’s release is only a couple short months away (presumably, since the release date is tentatively Summer 2013), I think it’s time to sit down and hash out what I’m anticipating and what I’m dreading from this game. To start off, here are both the SDCC Debut trailer and today’s “Reveal” trailer to catch you up if you’ve somehow missed them.
The Marketing: I was actually at San Diego Comic-Con when I heard about the surprise revelation of a Deadpool game (sadly, I was not at the Marvel Games panel, which Deadpool himself crashed). I found out about it because I looked up at what used to be a gigantic The Amazing Spider-Man game advertisement and saw this:
Further investigation of the exhibition hall revealed crudely duct taped posters on the walls and other clever Deadpool-esque marketing ploys. And so far, that’s been my favorite aspect about this game. The fanfare surrounding it is quite fitting. High Moon Studios has fully dedicated themselves to not only pretending Deadpool is a real person (who is forcing them to make his game), but also marketing in ways that the Regenerating Degenerate would approve of. There has been copious amounts of duct tape, chimichangas, jabs at Wolverine and Spider-Man, and even a couple interviews given by Deadpool himself (or rather a man hired to play him). I think the care that they’ve put into creating a “Deadpool experience” is laudable, even if I think they may be going a little too crazy with him (see below). I’m just as aware as any of the manipulation I face at the hands of advertising but damn it, if it’s gonna happen anyway, I want it to be clever.
The Cameos: Deadpool is not nearly as exciting by himself as he is when he’s surrounded by his friends, colleagues, allies (who sometimes double as enemies), enemies (who sometimes double as allies) and fellow supers. Wade’s true charm lies in the interactions with the other Marvel characters, nearly all of whom find him to be annoying at best and psychotic at worst. A game without the likes of Cable, Death, Domino, Weasel, Bob, Agent of HYDRA and every other member of Deadpool’s posse wouldn’t be a game worth playing. So it’s pleasing to know that Cable, Death and Domino have been confirmed to appear, as well as cameos from Psylocke, Wolverine and others.
For your reading pleasure, my dream list of Deadpool cameos:
Outlaw, Sandi Brandenburg, Taskmaster, Alex Hayden, Weasel, Bob, Agent of HYDRA, Wolverine, Blind Al, Bullseye, Hit Monkey, Spider-Man, All The X-Men, All The Avengers, Everyone Who Has Ever Has a Conversation with Deadpool, A Dress. Preferably on Deadpool.
Nolan North: North has voiced at least two of my fictional boyfriends (Deadpool, natch, and intrepid hottie extraordinaire Nathan Drake) and I’ll forever associate him with warm, sexy feelings.
Daniel Way: Out of all the possible Deadpool writers that I would have picked to pen the script for his game, Daniel Way is not high on my list. Not that I don’t enjoy reading his serial (I’m about seven trade paperbacks in and still going strong), but his depiction of Wade has been one of my least favorites thus far. I started my journey into Deadpool with the excellent Cable and Deadpool series by Fabian Nicieza, which introduced me to a character with a more controlled madness. Did he still break the fourth wall? Yes. Was he still psychotic and violent? Yes. But the Deadpool of Cable and Deadpool had the benefit of a sane friend who kept him grounded and actually valued him as a person, which lead to some nice character development and several touching and thoughtful moments. So far I haven’t really found that in Daniel Way’s serial. He writes Deadpool only as an over-the top caricature of himself, or a sum of characteristics as opposed to a fully formed character. Zany? Check. Extremely violent? Check. Knows he’s in a comic? Check. There are too many in-jokes, too many self-aware text boxes and not as much introspection to balance it out. While Way’s serial is enjoyable and even fun, he doesn’t present a Deadpool I’d be happy for non-fans to get to know. Wade Wilson is an incredibly complex and conflicted character with hidden depths that he hides behind his mask and his manic personality. Based on what I’ve seen in the trailers, I worry that Deadpool will be reduced to that over-the-top guy everyone thinks he is, and it’s mostly because of Way’s writing.
Missing the Point: I feel like the writers of the game may be misunderstanding aspects of Deadpool’s character, and I mean that in the best possible way. It just seems like they might be so focused on giving us the craziest, most over-the-top game they can think of without giving us the much needed nuance that makes Deadpool such an interesting character. Wade’s harassment of women (and on a more mild level, all of his Stupid Sexy Flanders moments toward men), for example, most likely stems from his crippling self-esteem issues and his own inability to reign himself in. I don’t think his casually misogynistic ways (Deadpool’s crimes against women are more about ignorance and social ineptitude than straight up misogyny) are meant to be taken lightly or encouraged. I certainly don’t think that having him harass Psylocke or Domino just for kicks is as hilarious as the writers seem to think it is. Similarly, the re-design of Death seems both exploitative and completely off the mark, since Deadpool (himself disfigured) loved and admired her despite the fact that she was literally a skeleton.
Of course, a crazy, bloody action game may not necessarily be the place to explore all these intriguing and subtle aspects of what makes Wade Wilson who he is. I just hope that they’re not losing themselves in a sea of references and one-off jokes without seeing the deeper characteristics of their protagonist. I’d hate for this game to be nothing more than juvenile fluff.
The Graphics: They look a little bit behind the curve, but *shrug*
Overall: Obviously, these are observations I’ve made about the Deadpool game based only on the trailers and other tidbits of news that have come out. I could be completely off the mark about my concerns, and I’ll probably still enjoy the game no matter what. But ultimately, my fingers will remain crossed until release day, where I’ll get to judge for myself just how terrible an impression by beloved Wade Wilson will have made on his awaiting public.
Deadpool will be released in Summer 2013 by High Moon Studios and Activision for the PS3 and the XBox 360.