2020 is a year that everyone’s more than ready to put behind them. Outside of partners, family, and close friends, what helped many get through a tumultuous year was video games. Unlike the film and television industry which suffered production delays, and an ever shifting release schedule for major theatrical blockbusters, the video game industry adapted quickly to the new normal many faced.
Though there were titles that were clearly put out when they had no means to, 2020 was a great year for interactive entertainment, especially for comic book game fans. Marvel’s games division helped facilitate the release of three major AAA titles, Arcade1up continued their streak of resurrecting beloved classics and exciting titles as well as the return of beloved favorites were announced for release in the coming years.
As many look towards 2021 with a beacon of hope that life will slowly morph back to how it was in the Old World, lets take a look at the comic book games that we know players can expect to get their hands on in the new year.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD: THE GAME – THE COMPLETE EDITION
RELEAE DATE: January 14, 2021
WHAT IS IT?: When the film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim was released in theaters in 2010, it didn’t exactly light the box-office on fire. Still, the film has endured as a cult favorite that can easily be purchased on physical media or streamed online. The video game based on the film is another story, however.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, an homage to retro 8 and 16-bit era brawlers with a terrific art direction and phenomenal soundtrack, is a wonderful game that hasn’t been available for sale for six years. Fans have begged publisher Ubisoft to make it available for purchase since it was delisted but to no avail. Around the tenth anniversary of the film though, players finally got their wish granted when it was announced that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was not only coming back on modern consoles, but with all of its post-launch downloadable content in tact. Even if you do have the base game in your digital library, there’s a chance you don’t have extra characters like Scott’s high school girlfriend, Knives Chau.
Like it was for the original release, The Complete Edition is digital only, but Bryan Lee O’Malley is hoping to work something out to get a physical run happening so stay tuned.
SHADOW MAN REMASTERED
PUBLISHER: Nightdive Studios
RELEASE DATE: TBA 2021
WHAT IS IT?: At the dawn of the era of 3-D consoles, defunct publisher Acclaim bought the catalog of Valiant Comics to turn their characters into video games and multimedia properties. Among them was Shadow Man, and while it never achieved the success of Acclaim’s Turok franchise, Shadow Man remains to this day an underappreciated explorative action-adventure likened to Nintendo’s Metroid. In an era where most titles were headlined by white male protagonists or cartoon characters, it was refreshing to see a title with an African American hero proudly displayed on the cover too.
Nightdive Studios have developed a reputation for delivering quality work in efforts like their remaster of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and last year’s Doom 64. Given their pedigree, players can expect the same level of love and attention will be given to Shadow Man when it releases sometime in 2021. Though Nightdive have already rereleased Shadow Man on PC, this will mark the first time it’s been available for consoles since 1999.
Not only that, but the remaster will have 4K assets and include cut content not seen in Acclaim’s original.
THE WOLF AMONG US 2
PUBLISHER: Telltale Games
RELEASE DATE: TBA
WHAT IS IT?: Hot off of the success of The Walking Dead, Telltale followed it up with an episodic series based on the DC/Vertigo book Fables. Rechristened as The Wolf Among Us, it was a prequel to the long-running comic series and has garnered nothing but high praise since its 2013 release. Patient fans were rewarded with the reveal that after many years The Wolf Among Us was to get a second season, however Telltale closed their doors in 2018, seemingly shutting the door on a return to the world of Fables for good.
The following year, a company by the name of LCG Entertainment purchased the Telltale name and some of its back catalog. Late in 2019 during the Game Awards, Telltale 2.0 surprised the world when they put out at a teaser trailer stating that The Wolf Among Us 2 was back in active development. Not only that, but a newly formed studio, AdHoc, made up of former Telltale staff, was helping craft the episodic adventure.
Many hoped that Telltale would return to the Game Awards this year with an update, however before they show they released a tweet stating they had nothing to show at this time. It also indicated that unlike Telltale of old, their plans are to finish the entire series first before putting out a season premiere. Whether that means The Wolf Among Us 2 will have a clearer release schedule or arrive to be binged all at once remains to be seen.
Hopefully we’ll hear more about the project in the new year.
MARVEL’S AVENGERS UPDATES
PUBLISHSER: Square Enix
RELEASE DATE: TBA 2021
WHAT IS IT?: After a delay, Square Enix’s Games as a Service title, Marvel’s Avengers, received its first new character in Kate Bishop along with a brief story campaign starring the newest Avenger. During the War Table event where the Kate Bishop release date was made public, the next chapter was already teased with an early 2021 release date. This time players will take on the role of Kate’s mentor, the original Hawkeye, in an Operation event titled Future Imperfect. This will presumably take inspiration from the comic of the same name where in a future dystopia, the Hulk, now calling himself the Maestro, rules a desolate world where superheroes are no more.
It’s already known that Spider-Man is coming to the PlayStation family of consoles in the new year and many new characters have also been heavily rumored to be making their debut as well. The next-gen version of Marvel’s Avengers for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X, originally planned to arrive closer to the respective launches of those devices, will also come sometime in 2021.
PUBLISHER: WB Games
RELEASE DATE: TBA 2021
WHAT IS IT?: While the video game playing public patiently awaited for the sequel to 2011’s Batman: Arkham City, developer WB Games Montreal crafted the criminally over looked prequel Batman: Arkham Origins to keep the franchise from being forgotten. Now as Arkham studio creator Rocksteady has moved onto the Suicide Squad, the keys to Wayne Manor are being handed over to the Batman: Arkham Origins team.
Gotham Knights somewhat picks up from the ending of Batman: Arkham Knight with Bruce Wayne (presumably) being dead, but this is a fresh chapter for the Dark Knight’s video game legacy. For now, Batman himself is MIA from the playable roster of characters with Bat Family members Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin and Red Hood stepping up as Gotham City’s protectors. The group are going to have their hands full too, as an ancient organization known as Court of Owls are beginning to emerge from the shadows.
Slated for both current and next-generation consoles, Gotham Knights will allow up to two-players to take on the campaign simultaneously. If you wish to fight crime solo, you can do that too. Very little is known about Gotham Knights outside of its DC FanDome debut trailer, so here’s hoping WB Games starts showing more of this title soon.
These are just some of the comic book video games known to be coming in 2021. With next-generation consoles now in the hands of some players, it will be interesting to see what titles get shown off for the first time as the year rolls on. After all, the likes of Marvel’s Iron Man VR was made aware to the public early in 2019 so who knows that surprises are in store. Will we see the first look at Marvel’s Spider-Man 2? What about the long overdue return of the X-Men?
Keep checking this space for all of the major comic book video game news as it happens.
2021 will also be a big year for myself professionally. February will see the publication of my book The Avengers in Video Games from McFarland & Company. If you’ve at all enjoyed what I’ve produced here on Comic Book Video Games, it’s something you’re not going to want to miss.
You can find pre-order information HERE.