REVISITING THE IDEA OF A GREEN ARROW VIDEO GAME

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on my comicbookmovie.com account about how it’s perhaps the right time to seriously take into consideration the development of a Green Arrow video game. I want to revisit the topic after I saw a comment made by “Arrow” star Stephen Amell on his facebook page during E3 week:

“There should probably be an Arrow video game.”

Which was then followed by this image:

GTA starling city

A lot of what I stated in my original article stands true: 2012 was a huge year for archery in popular culture: The Hunger Games, released in March of that year, was the kicker, followed by Hawkeye’s appearance in the Avengers and subsequent solo comic series that has since gone on to win an Eisner award, Disney/Pixar’s Brave which followed the Avengers also featured a strong female archer protagonist, and this all culminated with the “Arrow” TV series in the fall of the same year.

Moving on from year to early 2013, publisher Square-Enix relaunched the Tomb Raider franchise to both critical and financial success so much so that they would re-issue the game with enhanced visuals on both the PS4 and Xbox One in 2014. This version of Lara Croft, the star of the franchise, was not unlike DC’s Oliver Queen: The young heroine becomes stranded on an island and learns to become a hardened survivor, mastering among other things, the bow and arrow. This tool could also get upgraded throughout the game to allow arrows to become grappling and traversal tools, almost like one of Ollie’s custom trick arrows.

The month following the release of Tomb Raider, WB Games DC alternate universe fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us which not only featured Green Arrow, but the voice of Stephen Amell from the “Arrow” TV series as an alternate costume option. The world also got a glimpse of the first non-Rocksteady developed “Arkham” game: Batman: Arkham Origins from WB Games Montreal.

With the fall came the return of the TV season and Arrow returned to the air with deadly force. The second season of the series proved that the popularity of the show was no fluke, as each episode of the season not only trumped the one before it, but offered a plethora of characters from the DC Universe including Deathstroke, Black Canary, the Suicide Squad and one Barry Allen who will be spinning out of the show into “The Flash” series later in the year. A character created purely for the show, Oliver Queen’s partner in crime fighting John Diggle, became such a liked character that he crossed over into the pages of the ongoing Green Arrow comic series. Only a few other characters have obtained this level of cross over success, namely Harley Quinn from the Batman Animated Series, Daryl Dixon from AMC’s The Walking Dead and of course Agent Phil Coulson from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

diggle comics

Meanwhile in the games space, Batman: Arkham Origins launched late in the October month to lukewarm reviews compared to its siblings. It’s unfair to call the game a failure, for though it didn’t set the gaming world on fire like “Asylum” and “City” before it, it certainly showcased that someone other than Rocksteady was indeed capable of emulating the “Arkham” formula to a degree of success, even if it’s just on the game’s mechanical side.

What the past two years have shown is that all the pieces have been created, both within and external from Warner Bros. entertainment, for an excellent Green Arrow game, it’s just a matter of assembling them together. Square-Enix with their Tomb Raider reboot produced a game about island survival that not only played well, but reviewed and sold well to boot. In fact, this past E3 which just happened not barely over a week ago, Square-Enix proudly showed a trailer for the follow-up to 2013’s Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, where Lara Croft is showing off a new bow and arrow. This may seem like something that shouldn’t be obsessed over, but the character’s trademark weapon since her inception in the mid-1990’s has been her dual pistols. The best and most refreshingly unique weapon in Tomb Raider was the bow and arrow, and Square-Enix appears to know that as well.

WB Games now also had a talented studio of people in WB Games Montreal that have experience in crafting a hit DC Super Hero game. Now that Rocksteady is retaking up the reigns on the “Arkham” franchise with next year’s Batman: Arkham Knight, WB Games Montreal could easily take what they learned in developing Batman: Arkham Origins and bring it to the Green Arrow character. The hand to hand fighting could remain the same as both the Dark Knight and the Emerald Archer are street level crime fighters, and Batman’s gadgets can be replaced with one of Green Arrow’s various trick arrows. The bow and arrow also lends itself to other gameplay opportunities that could differentiate it from the “Arkham” series with sniping sections and close quarters shoot outs.

What “Arrow” the series demonstrated each week is that viewers are not only tuning in for the present day events in Starling City with Team Arrow, but the flashback scenes to Oliver’s time on the island where he learned the necessary skills to become the hero he is in the present as well. A Green Arrow video game could also put this structure to good use and add some much-needed variety between urban and jungle environments. As discussed above, all WB Games really needs to do is to look at Square-Enix’s Tomb Raider to find out how to make this portion of a game as compelling as possible.

In composing this feature, another interesting development occurred over the past few days that adds some fuel to the Green Arrow video game fire. In a comment made on his public Facebook page, “Arrow” star Stephen Amell stated the following:

“I’m voicing Green Arrow for a popular video game franchise tomorrow.”

This news can be taken in several ways, all are equally exciting in their own way:

1) WB Games is either starting, or has already begun, the development of a Green Arrow video game

2) Amell is voicing the character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

3) The character may appear either in the story, or as a playable challenge map character in Batman: Arkham Origins

4) Both 2 and 3

However you put it, having Amell voice the character, whether in a game inspired by the TV series “Arrow” or the character as he appears in the pages of the comics is fantastic news. As far as the Green Arrow character goes in media outside of comics, Amell is to the character what Kevin Conroy is to the voice of Batman, in so much to say he is synonymous to it.  His inclusion in any video game project will only help bring more fans, both gamers and non-alike, to any Green Arrow game, as either part of an ensemble or in a solo project. Should the character make an appearance within Batman: Arkham Knight, it would be an excellent showcase for how Green Arrow would work within a game, not discounting the fact that it would definitely find its way into a lot of players hands as well.

WB Games is one of the most progressive companies when it comes to bringing comics to the world of video games, between the “Arkham” series, the “Injustice” fighting game series and Lego Batman, there’s certainly no shortage of quality projects. With the success of the CW “Arrow,” Square-Enix’s Tomb Raider and Stephen Amell’s willingness in including himself within a video game, the pieces are waiting to be assembled for a spectacular Green Arrow video game.

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