The Live-a-Live remake came out not too long ago and it’s absolutely fantastic. The story where you choose from a variety of stories that are completely separate from each other, with completely different playstyles, made every moment of the game feel interesting and unique, even if some weren’t as good as others. And all of these eventually find a common thread that leads to a remarkably beautiful finale. One would think that other games would try to imitate this formula, but so far nothing.
Marvel, a company that has been struggling hard to find its place in the world of video games for a while now, could now have a property that would be perfect for the Live a Live style treatment and they don’t seem to realize it.
Look, I’m not a big music guy, so when I’m driving or working, I usually have audiobooks or podcasts. You haven’t lived until I pull up next to you at a red light, crashing into a sweet, sweet MBMBAM.
But a long time ago, I discovered that Marvel has FANTASTIC audio stories on Spotify. It started when my kids and I REALLY got into The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl radio show. But from there, Spotify recommended a show called “Marvel’s Wastelanders.” No one talks about this show and it’s easily one of the best things I’ve heard in years.
Here is a breakdown of the story.
The first book, titled “Wastelanders: Star-Lord,” takes place thirty years in the future when an elderly Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, the only surviving Guardians of the Galaxy, are tasked with retrieving an object from planet Earth. When they arrive, having been away for several decades, they discover that at some point something called “V-Day” happened in which the villains won, killed almost all of the heroes, and divided America among themselves under the rule of the President. Red Skull, a president whose bigotry and hatred made him a surprising hit with many Americans (that’s not familiar at all). However, the item Star-Lord and Rocket need to find is out west in an area of America now known as the Doomlands, a massive mining operation run by, you guessed it, Doctor Doom.
There they find a bar run by an old lady named Emma Frost, and together they try to get hold of the artifact while, at the same time, trying to escape from Doctor Doom’s number one henchman, Kraven the Hunter, a bounty hunter who now has his own. Reality show on state media where drones follow him hunting down people who dare to disobey.
After that book, he changes places and characters. “Wastelanders: Hawkeye” follows an elderly Clint Barton, the only surviving Avenger, saved by Baron Zemo because Zemo thought he would be funny. Clint is now blind and works at the ringmaster’s circus as part of a show that pokes fun at the concept of heroes in that he is essentially forced to play a drunken clown version of himself.
“Wastelanders: Black Widow” centers on a state-owned “security” company that spies on all the residents of a building and discovers that one of the people in the building may be a former hero known as Black Widow. Along the way, layers upon layers of conspiracy unravel as the security firm becomes obsessed with this aging yoga instructor.
And the most recent, “Wastelanders: Wolverine,” is a harrowing story in which Wolverine, one of the only surviving X-Men, takes a young mutant under his wing (as he usually does) and tries to escape to Canada when he discovers that Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers are still alive. All while he’s trying to escape from the Red Skull and his top hitman, Crossbones.
All of these stories, unlike Live-a-Live, take place at roughly the same time. But just like Live-a-Live, they all take place independently of each other. Each one takes place at a different point in America. Each is completely unaware of the events taking place in the other stories. Specifically, because the new state media would never cover any kind of progress the heroes might be making to take back the country. But they are all working towards a similar goal. Stop the villains who rule America and try to fix things, even if only a little bit.
Here’s why this would make a great Live-a-Live style game. Each one plays completely differently because the stories progress differently. Star-Lord’s story unfolds like a spaghetti western with shootouts and uneasy alliances. The feeling of anticipation knowing that big bad men are coming to town. Because of this, it could actually feel like a western with similar filmmaking elements to the Sundown Kid’s part in Live-a-Live.
Hawkeye’s story largely focuses on his daughter coming to town and discovering her father’s whereabouts. Trying to learn from him and eventually trying to be his own person. This is very much like the Earthen Heart Shifu story where you train your replacement.
The story of Black Widow is told from the point of view of a security agent who begins to discover more and more while examining someone who he thinks might be Black Widow. Her information comes from her conversation with people and operating devices as she tries to organize what is happening. Also, Susan Sarandon is the best person to play Black Widow. I am not going to discuss this further. This would be VERY similar to Cube’s story on Live-a-Live.
And the current one with Wolverine, which isn’t quite done developing, mostly focuses on Wolverine discovering some horrible things about himself that he wasn’t ready to examine and wondering where he stands in the grand scheme of good versus evil. A story that is uncomfortably similar to the first hidden chapter, the Medival Period, in Live-a-Live.
To sum it up, Wastelanders could be the perfect game where you have multiple short stories, all with different playstyles, which, once completed, could unlock a massive final chapter where the stories suddenly come together. It’s right there with so much potential and as long as Marvel doesn’t use the same people who messed up Marvel Alliance 3, most of the Marvel mobile apps and geniuses who decided to kill off Marvel Legends could really have a hit on their hands unlike any comic book game ever made.