Faith in X-Men: Destiny

Here is where my morals and my values go astray.

X-Men Legends, regardless of everything, is one of my favorite games of all time. Here you ask, “But Tom? What about the vastly superior Legends 2, or Ultimate Alliance, or Ultimate Alliance 2?” If you know me creepily well (and I don’t talk about comics with people) you will add, “Legends 2 has Blink, who you like because you are an Exiles fan, and Ultimate Alliance 2 has elements of Civil War, which you like.”

Yes, but X-Men Legends had Magma. X-Men Legends had the stuff that made the first two hundred some (give or take) issues of the X-Men so cool, and what made the Ultimate X-Men work for about 25 issues: domesticity, and insertion. It’s very hard to empathize with mutants with cavernous back stories when they have problems; I don’t give a fuck that Cyclops is sad because Jean Grey died. Again. I was sad the first time, though, because I could empathize with his character. I could understand him. And in Legends, I could understand Magma. She was a character who, despite being whiny and having a very recognizable voice actress, I could empathize with.

And you know what? Destiny could be the same.

This is all hypothetical, of course. All we know about the game is that Silicon Knights (makers of Eternal Darkness and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes if you’re feeling charitable, mega flop whose existence I forgot but now want to find for 5$ Too Human if you are not) is making the game, and that Mike Carey, writer of such things as the Lucifer series for DC Vertigo and (more presently) Ultimate Fantastic Four and X-Men Legacy and X-Men Legends the game, will be doing the story and that the game’s main theme is choice. According to everyone and their brothers, you’ll play as a new recruit, on a new team, which hopefully allows for there to be lots of interesting new characters we haven’t seen a million times (or “game universe” versions of more minor characters), and there will be choice. 1Up deftly links this game’s potential release date (next year) as coinciding with the release of X-Men: First Class, and it would follow that Marvel would like to connect their cash cow film franchise with a follow-up game, and would allow them to use young versions of the “original” team. It could even be in the film universe.

But let’s not think about that. That’s really depressing. I can’t help but get my hopes up. A serious, intense X-Men game is #2 on my all-time list of useful desired properties (right behind a 7 year Hogwarts game not in any way related to Harry Potter the boy). The thought of a team based but combat “light” X-Men game with branching paths, where your teammates changed depending on your choices? Awesome. Totally awesome. Friendship mechanics, like something like Persona 4? Cool.

Though really, it gets down to the teenage boy’s fantasy: what would happen if you got super powers, and you could join the X-Men? It’s something a lot of the X-Men games miss, and it’s what *every* Harry Potter game misses. No one wants to be Wolverine, except in a cut the fuck out of everyone way. In fact, even the people who *want* to be Wolverine want to be him because they want those powers themselves. You want to be some other guy, with a story you create, with powers you decide on that are awesome, who has their own story. In part because you want to have your own personal experience, and in part because you’ve heard Wolverine’s story THIRTY THOUSAND TIMES in six mediums.

So, cautious optimism from our front for X-Men: Destiny. Come on, Activision and Marvel. I want to be a flip-flopping asshole, who breaks his boycott* of your games because one of them is really fucking good.

*Yes, technically Arcanum off of Good Old Games was Activision, but come on. I imagine at least one person formerly from Troika getting half a cent for the sale, and I feel better because I have a functional version of one of the penultimate RPG experiences.