John Constantine, the name strikes fear to all those who dwell in the realm of magic or harness some of its power. Most hate him, not because he has so much power, but because he’s a huge con man, that surely wronged them somehow in the past. Constantine is a smooth talker, that gets what he wants using sleight of hand and his silver tongue. And he has conned so many powerful demons and gods that he has a long list of enemies. This could translate easily into a story for a developer, The First of the Fallen, (one of the demons Constantine tricked horribly) could be recruited all the other demons with a grudge against him. He will send them to Constantine and ruin his day. Surely a better writer could make this idea work, but there is a sound story here for gamers to enjoy. Speaking of better writers, Alan Moore was one of the individuals to create Constantine in 1985 in an issue of Swamp Thing. After numerous cameos he catapulted into his own long running series in 1988, that just ended this year so that Constantine could be moved into The New 52 at DC Comics.
Everyone loves a great story and since story does drive games now it would definitely be a plus in the win column for this game. But what about mechanics and game-play, what else can make this fairly unknown comic book anti-hero a smash hit game? There are several things, dialogue trees would have to be vastly important in this game, what’s a con man without words? If the developer does it right they could have a cunning enough player beat the game without ever having to fight a main boss demon, should the player choose the right con in the dialogue. That could be a platinum trophy for sure, and would allow the player to be a silver tongued sorcerer or a battle tested sorcerer. Replay value is huge nowadays too, and that would definitely not hurt sales.
Combat would also pull this game forward. Image tweaking Rocksteady’s Batman hand to hand, with a little magic and sleight of hand? That would be epic, watching Constantine throw playing cards at his assailants, then pummeling them without breaking a sweat and with a smoke in his mouth. But what about a stronger attacker that is immune to physical assault? That’s where the magic side comes in, you could use the LB and RB bumpers to map magic. Attack, heal, confound and other spells can be mapped to the wheel and used by simply pressing RB and Y. Amazing and intuitive controls, a story filled with intrigue and plot twists, a cult fan based anti-hero as the lead, well you’ve got yourself a hit on your hands with all the comic book gamers out there.
How would you do the graphics though, that is a tough on. The developer could go the Borderlands cell shaded route to make it more like a comic book, but had Rocksteady done that, Batman: Arkham Asylum would have flopped. So judging by that a photo-realistic Constantine would fare the best. That way the developer could show the world we know, and the world of magic that Constantine visits and knows quite well, kind of the way Twilight Princess took us to two different worlds within the same world.
With all these idea floating around in one’s head, one has to wonder what developer could take this on and be successful. Had Curt Schilling’s studio not gone belly up, they may have had a chance at making this title great. The controls in KOA: The Reckoning would have been perfect for Constantine’s magic and hand to hand abilities. Their game was also breathtaking to look at, but if they took on Constantine they’d have to be a little more realistic and less steam punk. Since they don’t exist, let’s look at another studio, Visceral would have a good hand with this game as well, after seeing how well they adapted Dante’s Inferno, they could easily use that strategy to convey a light and dark world, keep the photo-realistic visuals and tweak the controls to match that of Constantine’s needs. Of course this is all a day dream sadly, but maybe Warner Brothers will see this and a little light bulb will pop above someone’s head and they will green light this masterpiece. What other heroes do you think deserve their chance at a game? Let us know in the comments.